Creamy, Dreamy Chocolate Mousse
We’ve got 15 ways to make any night special with this elegant but low-key treat
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If ever there was a dessert made for savoring in slow, lingering bites, it’s chocolate mousse. Creamy yet airy, rich yet light, it’s a velvety, fluffy paradox that I want to enjoy one amazing spoonful at a time — but also want to stuff into my mouth.
While the phrase "homemade chocolate mousse" brings up visions of traditional chocolate mousse cups made with whipped eggs, it turns out this elegant dessert comes in lots of variations, too, from healthy chocolate mousse recipes and ones for special diets, to over-the-top treats that are perfect for your next celebration. Whichever you choose, I predict it will end in many satisfied sighs.
Chocolate mousse basics
Dark chocolate meets a frothy foam. Think of the words, chocolate and mousse, and you’re halfway to understanding the different ways it can go together.
What is chocolate mousse? Traditionally, chocolate mousse is a combination of melted chocolate, sugar, whipped egg whites, and sometimes egg yolks, and/or whipped cream, all folded together. Some modern approaches add gelatin for a firmer texture, or they skip animal products entirely (some even use avocado to get the rich, creamy results).
How do you make chocolate mousse? Though there are multiple methods, the classic way is to melt chocolate in a pan over simmering water and let it cool, then fold in fluffy beaten egg whites and sweetened whipped heavy cream with a rubber spatula. If you’re anything like me, you’re tempted to eat the mousse immediately after making it, but you should really chill the chocolate mixture at least 2 hours to thicken. For recipes that call for raw eggs, if you’re concerned about food safety, shop for pasteurized eggs in the shell.
Can you make chocolate mousse ahead? Yes! Mousse is convenient: You can make batches of it and refrigerate it, covered, up to 5 days. You can even freeze chocolate mousse and defrost it later.
Is chocolate mousse gluten-free? Yes, chocolate mousse is fine for people who need to avoid gluten.
Classic chocolate mousse recipes
Here’s the ticket when you’re looking for a rich and creamy treat that doesn’t take long to make.
If you want a straightforward, classic chocolate mousse, this is the place to start. Ready in just 35 minutes, this easy, 6-ingredient recipe calls for beating a large egg and large egg yolk and adding in a hot sugar syrup. Whip cream to soft peaks, and then fold in melted chocolate and the cooled egg mixture. The resulting mousse is decadent and cloud-like.
Here’s another one for all you dark chocolate lovers out there. This easy chocolate mousse recipe focuses on just a few key ingredients so that the flavors really shine, and includes lots of tips, which is handy if this is your first time making chocolate mousse. First, you’ll melt your dark chocolate over a double boiler and let it cool, then gently combine it with egg whites whipped until stiff peaks form. (There's no whipping cream in this recipe.) After a couple hours in the fridge, the mousse is ready for a sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings, sea salt, or a dusting of cocoa — or just savor that rich, dark chocolate flavor as-is.
Yes, you can make a gorgeous, creamy chocolate mousse with only two ingredients! (The cocoa powder, raspberries, and grated chocolate toppings are merely suggested additions.) This chocolate mousse doesn’t require eggs, gelatin, or a complicated technique. Simply add melted chocolate chips to freshly whipped cream, being careful not to overmix, and cool in the fridge for a couple of hours. Boom, you have yourself a delightful chocolate mousse that’s also great for anyone who doesn’t eat eggs.
In only 10 minutes — perhaps the amount of time it takes to write an email — you can throw together a quick chocolate mousse that will feed and impress four people. Simply blend semisweet chocolate and boiling hot water in the blender; add cream, vanilla extract, and an egg; and blend again. After 2 hours in the fridge, you’ve got a fancy, silky chocolate mousse. To dress it up, just add a dollop of whipped cream, berries, and a mint leaf or two.
Chocolate mousse for special diets
As I mentioned, chocolate mousse is gluten-free, but it’s also adaptable to other diets. You can make dairy-free chocolate mousse, vegan chocolate mousse, even keto.
Olive oil takes the place of cream in this mouthwatering, dairy-free recipe, which also incorporates orange zest to complement the fruity oil (make sure to use a high-quality olive oil). With plenty of eggs and dark chocolate, this is a sophisticated, absolutely heavenly dark chocolate mousse.
Avocado belongs in more chocolate desserts, I must say. It’s a healthy, dairy-free way to make foods creamy and rich and does not compete with cocoa’s delightfully intense flavor. This mousse incorporates a Mexican Hot Chocolate vibe, bringing in cinnamon and chili powder to fully round out the flavor. I’m tempted to pair this with a Mezcal cocktail!
This wonderful recipe omits refined sugars and all dairy for a vegan mousse that’s richly flavorful yet low-calorie. Coconut oil and avocado take the place of the cream and eggs, and agave syrup and dates standing in for granulated sugar. Best of all, this dessert also makes use of a blender, coming in at just 20 minutes prep time — though you do need to soak your dates for a few hours to make sure they’ll blend up nice and smooth.
If you want an ultra-rich vegan mousse, try this almond butter chocolate version, which uses coconut cream and coconut milk in place of cream and eggs. (You could also try peanut butter in place of almond butter if you’d like to mimic the flavor of a peanut butter cup.) It’s a cinch to make, coming together in 25 minutes, although you'll want to chill the canned coconut milk overnight so it’s easier to separate the cream from the liquid. Because this recipe doesn't use dairy cream or eggs, you don't need an electric mixer, either — a regular old whisk will do the trick!
Out of cream, sugar, or eggs? Here is a great vegan recipe to keep on hand when you’re down to pantry staples — coconut milk, honey, and cocoa powder. It also happens to be relatively low in calories. This light chocolatey mousse comes together in a mere 25 minutes. Just remember to refrigerate your coconut milk beforehand so the coconut cream is easy to scoop out.
Yes, you can enjoy chocolate mousse if you follow a low-carb diet such as keto if you use unsweetened chocolate and sugar replacements. This recipe also calls for the tasty addition of peppermint extract to add complexity to the flavor.
Creative chocolate mousse desserts
While your basic dark chocolate mousse is a fine thing indeed, there’s no reason to stop there. How about blueberry mousse? Or layered cheesecake mousse? Or pie, cake, or molten chocolate mousse? Mmm.
White chocolate and lavender, lavender and blueberries, blueberries and white chocolate…each of these flavor combinations enhances the other. This light-as-air recipe calls for both gelatin and egg whites for a foolproof, sturdy mousse. It also suggests lavender extract, but you can try gently heating lavender buds in the cream if you don’t have any extract. And while blueberries sound amazing here, I personally think that any sweet berry would be fantastic.
In another life I was a server at Baker’s Square, a casual restaurant chain known for its pies. Of the many pies on the menu, the clear favorite was always, ALWAYS French Silk — basically, chocolate mousse in pie form. (I’m convinced that half of the restaurant’s foot traffic was thanks to that pie.) This delightful recipe reminds me of that beloved pie: sky-high mousse anchored by a crunchy cookie crust and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I can’t imagine a better pie to (not) bake this summer.
Now, here is an exciting take on chocolate mousse: warm, fudgy chocolate mousse cups! This recipe calls for six eggs and plenty of butter, which help to create a gooey, molten center (which is also aided by freezing the prepared mousse cups for three hours or up to a few weeks prior to baking; note for a future dinner party). I’m dreaming about plunging my spoon into this light, fluffy mousse with its satiny interior. And while you can serve these at room temperature, for the best texture, serve them warm.
Two treats in one! You can’t get much more decadent than the combination of silky, delicate mousse and thick, creamy cheesecake, and the hands-on time is only 20 minutes. You'll start by combining chocolate, butter, and instant coffee such as instant espresso over a double boiler (which you can hack by putting a large bowl over a pot with water; just make sure the water and the bowl don't touch). Once the melted chocolate is cooled, gently fold in your beaten heavy whipping cream, pour into ramekins, and chill 3 to 4 hours. Then whip sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese and pour this over the mousse. After another few hours in the fridge, you've got chocolate mousse cheesecake. This has got to be the easiest way to impress everyone at your table.
You need this recipe in your life. Maybe a birthday is coming up, or you’ve just got the urge to make (and eat) something decadent. Whatever the occasion, here’s an absolutely extravagant treat. It starts with a rich, flourless, bittersweet chocolate cake base layer, followed by creamy dark chocolate mousse, and then a towering layer of white chocolate mousse! This is definitely your ticket to turn heads on Instagram.