Simplest Chocolate Mousse

This easy chocolate mousse boasts rich flavors, and comes together in just minutes.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins

The process of making a classic chocolate mousse is enough to make anyone, amateur or expert, a little twitchy. It usually starts with a chocolaty egg custard, which, in and of itself, is notoriously finicky. The eggs can scramble or make the base lumpy, while the chocolate can easily seize if it gets too hot. Then you fold in whipped cream. This step also makes me nervous, even with all my years of practice, because over-mixing will quickly deflate your mousse. But there’s an easier way to make mousse, and I’m sharing it with you. Rather than starting with a custard base, I just melt chocolate in hot heavy cream. Then I whisk in cocoa powder to make it intensely chocolaty, and espresso powder, which adds lots of personality. Once the chocolate cream cools, I tuck it into the refrigerator until it’s well chilled. Done! — Justin Chapple


  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (5 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Shaved or grated chocolate, for sprinkling


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of the heavy cream just to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in cocoa powder, instant espresso, and salt. Transfer chocolate cream to a large bowl and let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

  2. Using a handheld mixer, beat chocolate cream until smooth and holds stiff peaks when you lift the beater from bowl. Do not overbeat cream because the fat will begin to separate and it will look curdled (see Note) — you’re making mousse, not butter! Spoon chocolate mousse into bowls or glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  3. In another large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat remaining ½ cup heavy cream with vanilla until smooth and holds a soft peak when you lift the beater out of the bowl. Spoon whipped cream on top of chocolate mousse and sprinkle with shaved or grated chocolate. Serve cold.


If you happen to whip the cream a little too much, very gently fold in cold heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is creamy again.

Recipe excerpted from JUST COOK IT © 2018 by Justin Chapple. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Related Articles