How to Temper Chocolate + Thermapen Giveaway! (Giveaway Closed)

by alexandra

How to Temper Chocolate (the no-frills microwave method)|

I’m going to be real here and tell you right off the bat that tempering chocolate is NOT my favorite thing to do. It’s sort of a fussy thing, and being the mess that I am, I also tend to get chocolate errrywhere when I do it. That being said, it’s something that I’m glad I know how to do because it has its purposes, and so today’s gonna be me teaching you the what’s what of tempering chocolate. :) <——- If you already know how, my advice would be to just stick with what you’ve got going for you because if it works, IT WORKS. There are all kinds of variations on how to temper chocolate and all kinds of little differences in each person’s technique. This is just what works for me, and since most articles I’ve read on tempering make my head spin, I thought maybe – maybe – I could help someone else with what I hope is a very straightforward explanation of my process.

How to Temper Chocolate (the no-frills microwave method)|

Before we jump in with the instructions, let’s just clear the air on the whole tempering thing in the first place. (Unless you’re super into food science, I’m going to get boring here for just a few seconds and I’m sorrrrry.) Tempering chocolate is just a way of melting it so that it sets and dried shiny and snappy, like chocolate should be, rather than kinda dull, streaky, and soft. Usually when you buy chocolate, it’s been tempered, but unless you’re super super neurotically careful, you end up bringing it out of temper when you melt it. It’s all about the type of crystal formation in the chocolate, but I’m not really going to get into that because I’m not a scientist (and again — head spinning). The main thing to know is that if you need your chocolate to set up hard and shiny, like if you’re drizzling it on florentines or making filled chocolates, you need to temper it. Like I said, there are multiple ways to do this (and lord knows I’ve tried multiple ways and failed multiple times), but this is the way I do it: with a microwave, using the seed method, which you can read a little bit about in the recipe notes. There’s one thing – besides chocolate and a microwave – that you really really have to have for this process and it’s a good kitchen thermometer, because tempering chocolate is allll about temperature.

How to Temper Chocolate (the no-frills microwave method)|

Which…(drum roll please)… brings us to the giveaway! I always use my Thermapen for tempering chocolate (that’s this little gadget right here ↑) and it’s literally my lifesaver for this and so many other kitchen tasks. I’m SO excited because one of you gets to win a Thermapen this week thanks to the super-nice people at ThermoWorks who have offered to give one away to an awesome lucky reader. You can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will be open until 12:00 AM PST on Friday, November 7th. And you guys? I’m sorry that you can’t all win this one, but to whoever does win, ohmygosh you will lovvvvee this little tool. It’s awesome.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Temper Chocolate (the no-frills microwave method)|

How to Temper Chocolate


A guide to tempering dark chocolate with the no-frills microwave method.


  • bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (preferably about 12 ounces or more)*


  1. Place about 2/3 (by weight) of the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, setting aside the remaining 1/3 to use as seed.**
  2. Heat chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to melt another 15-20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and gets close to 114º-120º as registered by a candy/kitchen thermometer. Continue to melt in very small increments (around 5 seconds each) until chocolate reaches correct temperature range, stirring in between.
  3. Add seed chocolate a bit at a time, stirring vigorously until all seed has melted before adding more. Wipe down sides of bowl often as you stir to ensure all chocolate gets tempered and doesn’t set on sides of bowl. Continue to stir well as you bring the chocolate down to 88º- 91º, adding seed only as it melts. If the chocolate is still warmer than 91º once all seed has been added, keep stirring and feel free to add a bit more seed chocolate to help it along if needed. Once the chocolate reaches the desired temperature range, it should be in temper and ready to use. A good way to test chocolate is to drizzle it on a piece of parchment; it should set in a few minutes and be shiny.***
  4. To keep chocolate at working temperature, you can set the bowl on top of a heating pad at low heat while you work. If chocolate drops below working temperature, reheat in the microwave in very small increments until it reaches 88º- 91º once again.


*A larger amount of chocolate is easier to temper because the change in temperature happens less drastically, and is therefore easier to control. If you decide to temper more than you need for a recipe, you can easily just pour the remaining chocolate in moulds, or on a sheet or parchment, to set and use later.

**The chocolate you use for your seed should be solid tempered chocolate. It’s used to “seed” the melted chocolate with the good crystals that create tempered chocolate. All pure chocolate is usually sold tempered, so as long as it has been kept in an environment that allows it to retain its temper, it should work as your seed.

***If chocolate is at working temperature and does not appear to be tempered, you can continue to stir it until it cools to 84º, and then reheat in the microwave in very short increments to bring back up to working temperature. Lowering the temperature like this will increase the formation of good beta-crystals that keep chocolate in temper.

I have to give so much credit to Nicole from Baking Bites who was a huge source of knowledge to me when I was learning this process. David Lebovitz also wrote a helpful post on this that I’ve referred to many times.

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Katie October 30, 2014

I would definitely use this for meat and poultry. So useful!

alexandra robertson October 30, 2014

My thermometer just crapped out so I would love to win one!

Evelyn Goettner October 30, 2014

I would use it to make caramel!

Karla October 30, 2014

This has been on my wish list. I would use it for bread baking and cooking steak and chicken! I enjoy your blog.

alexandra October 30, 2014

Thanks Karla! :)

Jess @ What Jessica Baked Next October 30, 2014

Love reading posts like this- always looking for new tips and tricks! I love my thermometer- always so reliable!
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alexandra October 30, 2014

Thanks Jess!

Sue Ellison October 30, 2014

I would use it to make peanut patties.

manda October 30, 2014

I would like to use it for meat.

Elin October 30, 2014

I’d love to get better at sugar work, so this would be perfect at knowing temps!

sathyapriya October 30, 2014

This seems to be so useful while making bread ?I just want one of this .Thanks …
sathyapriya recently posted..Egg Curry/How To Make Egg MasalaMy Profile

alexandra October 30, 2014

It’s definitely helpful for bread. :)

Sarah October 30, 2014

I would use it when roasting chicken in the oven.

Erin M. October 30, 2014

I’d use it to make caramel

Jayne @ Tenacious Tinkering October 30, 2014

I’d love to make toffee with this. I’ve always been afraid of making caramel etc because I can never find a reliable enough thermometer!
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Heather October 30, 2014

I would love to win this to help me get my liquids and meats to the right temperature!

lee p October 30, 2014

make x-mas candy

Fran B October 31, 2014

I have seen this before and would love to own one

Cynthia C October 31, 2014

I would use this for cooking meat and poultry and for bread making.

Amy Pratt October 31, 2014

I would love to have this to make sure when grilling, my meats are at the right temp.

Nancy S. October 31, 2014

Thanks for the write up on chocolate. Wonderful giveaway, too!

Patrick Krieger October 31, 2014

Thermapens are great for candy making. I’d love to have one!

stephanie October 31, 2014

Honestly, I have the WORST time telling if grilled meats are done. I would love this for that and to test internal temps of baked bread. YAY! Thanks.

karen October 31, 2014

I’m dying to use it to get the oil the perfect temperature for frying DOUGHNUTS!

annika racadio October 31, 2014

I am dying to do exactly what this article is talking about, tempering chocolate. It definitely is not my thing. However i would love to learn and have a great tool to do so.

Heidi October 31, 2014

This gadget looks cool…warm…hot… would love to have one.

Olivia October 31, 2014

Chocolate and caramel, definitely! I’m always messing up my tempers :(

Erin October 31, 2014

I will be using this method this weekend for decorations for my tiered cake!

alexandra October 31, 2014

So hope it works well for you!! :)

Carolsue October 31, 2014

I would probably use it most with meat — that’s so hard to cook correctly w/o a thermometer like this.

Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine November 1, 2014

I’d make some damn good vegan and gluten-free caramel!

Ally November 1, 2014

I love making toffee but I don’t have a thermometer and it can be hard to get it JUST right :/

(I know about the bowl of water and the ball and crack stages, but it’s an imperfect science…)

D SCHMIDT November 1, 2014

I would love to use it in my fall baking recipes.

Samantha November 1, 2014

I would love to use it for when I”m baking chicken.

ikkinlala November 2, 2014

I’d probably use it mostly for roasts, but I’d definitely try the chocolate too.

Jessica November 2, 2014

This looks much easier to use than the clip-on-the-side-of-the-pan model I have now

alexandra November 3, 2014

YES! That was one thing I loved about it from the start. :)

Dawn November 3, 2014

This would be so useful for the Christmas Candy I make for Christmas presents!

Sarah Kat November 3, 2014

Oh man! I recently got into making candies and truffles. The last time I tried to temper chocolate using the microwave method I burned the heck out of the first batch of chocolate (oops) and had to start over. When I finally succeeded the truffles tasted great! But they were pretty dull and I did a terrible job of decorating them. Not very pretty!

alexandra November 4, 2014

Oh no! You really should give it another go – practice makes perfect! ;)

Sue November 4, 2014

I would love this for roasting meats, making caramels and other candies.

Helena November 4, 2014

Christmas is arriving and I need to do delicious chocolae rcipes!
Thank you for this wonderful giveaway!
My rafflecopter username:Jens Ken Lundstrom

Wendy Hatton November 5, 2014

I’ve had more chocolate failures than I care to mention so would love to give this a go and have nice shiny chocolate to decorate cake with for a change.

beth shepherd November 5, 2014

This would be wonderful for meat and of course caramel and chocolate!

Dora Trani November 5, 2014

Vorrei tanto usarlo per gli arrosti o il pollo ^_^

Cristina November 5, 2014

I would love to use it to improve my mum’s caramel recipe!

Erica B. November 5, 2014

I’d use it for meat.

Brittney House November 5, 2014

I would love to use it while i’m baking.

Efi Michailidou November 6, 2014

i would use it if i would cook a turkey or in recipes with chocolate

Richard Hicks November 6, 2014

I would use to check foods for safe temperatures when cooking like chicken.

Annette November 6, 2014

I really need this for cooking chicken and pork. I tend to overcook both of them.

Debbie Shirley November 6, 2014

Every Christmas I make chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge and candies to give as gifts; and each year I break at least one candy thermometer, which requires me to throw out a whole batch. I would love to avoid waste and complete my tasty goodies more effieciently with a Therapen!

alexandra November 6, 2014

Haha after my first candy thermometer started failing on me I switched to the Thermapen. Best decision ever :)

Salman K November 6, 2014

Really need for make sure my meat is cooked already :)

kyl neusch November 6, 2014

use for meat

Melissa Stover November 6, 2014

I would use this for making home made Christmas candy, Caramels, and even for my Meats :) Thanks

Megan Filzen November 6, 2014

I would love to make carmel!

Pauline November 6, 2014

I always have a hard time measuring the temperature of the goodies I bake (or cook). Most of the time, I just guess (based on my own instincts lol) the temperature.

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