Chili’s Molten Lava Cake

Chili’s Molten Lave Cake is a rich and moist chocolate cake with hot melted chocolate on the inside. It’s topped with ice cream and more chocolate. An incredible dessert you can make at home for any occasion!

copycat Chili's molten lava cake dessert on a plate.

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What Makes This the Perfect Chocolate Lover’s Dessert 

Chocoholics have it pretty good these days. Superb chocolate is available just about everywhere, and if your local stores don’t sell it, you can always order online.

There is something special about old-school chocolate classics like a Chili’s Molten Cake that clicks all the right boxes for the ultimate chocolate experience. Serving this typical restaurant-only dessert at home makes it extra special.

Making a Molten Lava Cake Is Easier Than You Think! 

If you can bake an ordinary cake, you can make this Chilis Chocolate Molten Lava Cake recipe. The key to baking the perfect Molten Lava Cake is using the best ingredients and watching your time.

Also, making a lava cake from scratch is so much better than with a cake mix. The taste is richer and the center is velvety chocolate.

On your first few attempts, the cakes may be a bit over or underdone, but once you learn the quirks of your oven, you’ll be able to bake perfect, impressive Chilis Molten Lava Cake every time.

To speed up the learning process, you can split your first batch of cakes and cook some at different cooking times to see which time works best for your setup.

Ingredients for Chilis Molten Lava Cake

To make Chilis Lava Cake, you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter 
  • Cocoa powder
  • Baking chocolate 
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream 
  • Chocolate Magic Shell 

Magic Shell is the brand name for an ice cream topping that forms a hard shell when it comes in contact with ice cream. You can find it in most supermarkets or purchase it online. If you prefer, try making it yourself with my Magic Shell recipe.

Chili's molten lava cake ingredients on a tray.

How to Make Chili’s Molten Lava Cake

Preparation of molten lava cake:

  1. Grease the ramekins or other molds very well with butter. Do not use cooking spray. Dust the inside of the buttered molds with cocoa powder. This step is critical as it helps to prevent the cakes from sticking. Place the greased ramekins on a baking sheet.
  2. Place the baking chocolate and remaining butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and heat for another 30 seconds. Continue until the chocolate melts fully. Watch it closely because overcooked chocolate has a burnt flavor.
melting butter and chocolate together.
  1. Crack two eggs into another bowl. Separate two more eggs and add just the yolks to the bowl.
  2. Whisk the sugar with the eggs until the sugar dissolves and the eggs become foamy. You can also do this with a mixer on low speed. 
whipped eggs and sugar in a bowl.
  1. Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. 
adding chocolate into whipped eggs and sugar mixture..
  1. Stir in the flour, salt, and vanilla extract.
adding flour to Chili's molten lava cake batter.
  1. Fill each of the greased molds 3/4 full with the cake batter.
  2. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and no more than four hours before baking. 

To bake Chili’s Molten Lava Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. When the oven is hot, remove the plastic wrap from the top of the ramekins and place them into the oven on the baking tray. 
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. This is the critical step. You don’t want overcooked molten chocolate cakes, so the centers set, but you need to bake them long enough for the outsides to harden. It may take a batch or two to perfect the timing, but it is worth the effort. 

To serve Chili’s Molten Cake:

  1. Serve warm. If you are not having the cake a few minutes after baking, look below for hints on rewarming. 
  2. Carefully run a thin, dull blade between the sides of the still warm cake and the ramekin. 
  3. Put a serving dish upside down on top of the ramekin and flip. Gently unmold the cake. 
  4. Place a scoop of ice cream on top of the cake and cover the ice cream with the Magic chocolate shell garnish.
  5. Serve immediately. Garnish with a sprig of mint if desired.
copycat Chili's molten lava cake dessert.

Special Equipment Needed 

To make this recipe, you need to have cup oven-safe cups, ramekins, or some other type of mold. Fluted individual brioche molds make a decorative but harder-to-remove cake. Reusable silicone cupcake liners can work as well. 

Recommendations on Chocolate To Use 

Use quality 70% cacao baking chocolate for this recipe. Dark chocolate’s slight bitterness creates a much more sophisticated cake that is not overly sweet. Note you can use 60% semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer the cake not to be as dark chocolate.

Do not use chocolate chips, as many manufacturers use additives to help the chips hold their shape when hot. That is the exact opposite of what you want to happen for this recipe. You want gooey flowing chocolate in the center of the cake.

Lava Cake Topping Variations

Instead of the chocolate Magic shell, you can top it with other sauces:

Bump up the level of topping with a dollop of vanilla ice cream that you made too.

How to Store Chilis Lava Cake

Although it is best to serve the molten chocolate cake while still warm, you can allow them to cook thoroughly in the ramekin and then store them covered in the fridge for up to two days. Lava cakes stored this way won’t have the same texture as fresh ones.

To freeze: Cool the lava cakes to room temperature. Wrap them with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil or place the plastic-wrapped cakes in a freezer bag. Keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

How to Reheat Chilis Molten Cake  

The best way to reheat cooled lava cakes is in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Flip the refrigerated cakes in their molds upside down on a baking sheet. 
  3. Reheat for about 10 minutes and serve as in the original recipe.

To reheat in the microwave oven:

  1. Place the cake on a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Cover it with a moist paper towel.
  3. Heat at medium power for about 30 seconds, or until heated and the center is soft.

To reheat in an air fryer:

  1. Line the air fryer basket with foil.
  2. Place the cake on the foil.
  3. Air fry at 350°F for about 5 minutes.
three copycat Chili's molten lava cake desserts.

Love Chili’s Bar and Grill? Try These Copycat Recipes!

Check out more of my easy cake recipes and the best copycat Chili’s recipes on CopyKat!

copycat Chili's molten lava cake dessert.

Chili’s Molten Lava Cake

You can make Chili's molten lava cakes for dessert with this easy copycat recipe.
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate lava cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 1052kcal


  • 2 teaspoons butter for ramekins
  • ¼ cup cocoa for dusting ramekins
  • 6 ounces baking chocolate (ideally 60% cacao)
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 8 tablespoons Magic Shell


  • Grease the ramekins with butter. Then dust the buttered ramekins with cocoa powder.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the baking chocolate and butter.
  • Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until the chocolate and butter are melted.
  • Whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until they are lighter in color and foamy.
  • Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and flour.
  • Pour the batter into the ramekins.
  • Cover the dishes with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. The tops will be firm, but the insides will be melting.
  • Unmold the cakes onto a plate.
  • Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the lava cake.
  • Pour Magic Shell over the vanilla ice cream.
  • Serve immediately.


Calories: 1052kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 75g | Saturated Fat: 45g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 305mg | Sodium: 667mg | Potassium: 735mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 1652IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 10mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Bettie Haller

    Can you give me a brand name of a baking chocolate that is 60% cacao? I normally use Hershey’s or Baker’s Baking chocolate for my chocolate cakes, but Baker’s is 100% cacao. So what brand is 60% cacao and where might I find it?

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