This chocolate mousse is light, lusciously smooth, and intensely chocolaty. It’s so simple yet elegant and indulgent. This effortless dessert is bound to impress. It’s vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.
I don’t know anyone who makes traditional, French-inspired chocolate mousse at home.
Maybe because the traditional method, for which you melt the chocolate over gently simmering water, then beat hot cream into the melted chocolate, and then split your eggs into whites and yolks, and then mix the yolks, at room temperature, into the chocolate, and then whip the whites into a stiff meringue — but not too stiff! — and then fold the meringue into the chocolate until there are absolutely no streaks, but also not for too long, because the mousse starts to deflate, is so stressful.
In French, the word “mousse” means foam and it’s an apt description of this dessert – light and airy. According to French chefs, the perfect rendition of chocolate mousse is based in its simplicity. That’s why the most basic chocolate mousse recipe has only five ingredients – chocolate, eggs, butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. From here on out it takes little more than your innovation to produce a special blend all your own. There are so many directions you can go, though you must be careful to maintain a proper balance of ingredients to keep the consistency.
This vegan chocolate mousse has even a shorter list of ingredients and the method is much easier.
Tips for Making Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Classic chocolate mousse is made up of just a few ingredients – a base, an aerator, and a thickener (optional). The base of a classic mousse recipe is the main flavoring component. If you’re making a chocolate mousse, chocolate alone will most likely be the base. The aerator makes the mousse light and fluffy. If the aerator isn’t stable enough, a thickener is added to make the mousse set.
For this vegan chocolate mousse, the ingredients are even simpler:
- Cocoa powder: melted chocolate is the most frequent base in mousse recipes. However, since I don’t always have chocolate on hand, I use dutch-processed cocoa powder instead. It’s important to use high-quality cocoa powder. Some cocoa powders are tasteless and some leave a bitter flavor in the finished recipes. So, find one you like.
- Coconut cream: there are many aerators that work well in chocolate mousse, but coconut cream is my favorite. Some brands of coconut cream whip up better than others, so make sure to refer to this guide to see which brands I recommend. The fluffiness of the final mousse heavily depends on the quality of the coconut cream – whether the cream separates from the water, how smooth (as opposed to grainy) the cream is, how well it forms peaks, etc.
- Coconut sugar: the sweetener is really a matter of preference. As long as it’s powdered (liquid sweeteners will loosen the mousse while granulated sweeteners will not dissolve), you can use anything you like. My favorite is powdered coconut sugar because it’s similar to regular sugar (in terms of sweetness), has a slight hint of caramel, and complements the flavor profile of coconut cream perfectly.
How to Make Chocolate Mousse
Making homemade chocolate mousse is no trickier than making coconut whipped cream. That is, the hardest part of this recipe is getting the coconut cream whip well. However, as long as you use good quality coconut cream (see above), all you have to do is follow these easy steps:
- Chill the coconut cream. Whether you’re starting with canned coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, place the can in the colder part of your refrigerator overnight. The coconut cream must be very cold for this recipe to work well. If you’re using coconut cream, you can use the entire content of the can. If you’re using coconut milk, gently scoop the coconut cream at the top out of the can and leave the coconut water behind.
- Chill the tools. One of the most important things when making this chocolate mouse recipe is to start with cold tools: a cold bowl and a cold whisk or beaters. Chill them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes. This helps the coconut cream stay cold longer and set up faster.
- Whip the coconut cream. Add the cold coconut cream into the chilled bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the coconut cream on medium-high speed until it starts to increase in volume and soft peaks form. It will take about 45 seconds, depending on how thick the cream is to begin with. Don’t over-whip the cream or it will go from smooth and creamy to broken (separated) and grainy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Add the cocoa powder and coconut sugar into the coconut cream, and whip on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about a minute. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts. Don’t be afraid to stop the mixer and check the consistency of the chocolate mousse as you go. The peaks should not collapse.
- Chill. Cover the mousse tightly and chill in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. One of the ways to make this chocolate mousse even more special is to pipe it. To do that, transfer the mousse into a piping bag fitted with a star decorating tip 1M. (You can use any tip you like. This is just the one I like for this particular recipe). Place the piping bag into the refrigerator and let the mousse chill for 15-30 minutes before piping.
- Pipe a swirl (optional). To pipe a swirl, hold the piping bag straight up, with the tip about 0.5 inch/1.3 cm above the surface of the serving bowl. Squeeze to form the center of the swirl. Without releasing pressure, raise the tip a little bit and move it slightly to the side. This will be the starting point of the swirl. Pipe a line of mousse toward the top of the star. Using a circular motion, pipe a “C” until it connects to the starting point. After completing the first rotation, move the tip slightly inward and repeat the circular motion. Continue spiraling until you reach the desired height. End the spiral at the center of the bowl.
How to Serve Chocolate Mousse
For serving the mousse, you can use martini glasses, champagne flutes, small bowls, or espresso cups. Or, if you’re hosting a party and want to give your guests a small taste, you can serve the mousse in Asian-style porcelain soup spoons.
This is an elegant dessert that you can change by adding different ingredients. If you use coconut extract and shredded coconut, you’ll boost the tropical flavor. Raspberry extract will produce a raspberry chocolate mousse that pairs nicely with fresh raspberries. Orange extract and orange zest is a favorite of citrus lovers. A sprinkling of ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground red chili pepper gives it a Mexican hot chocolate flavor. A pinch of ground cardamom and a sprinkling of chopped pistachios will lend an Indian flavor. Use your imagination.
More Chocolate Mousse Recipes
There are many options for making vegan chocolate mousse. Other than coconut cream, you can also use aquafaba, tofu, avocado… I have tried all of them and aquafaba chocolate mousse is the airiest of them all. Compared to the coconut cream version, aquafaba chocolate mousse is much fluffier but not as creamy or smooth. It is also vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.
If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.
- Chill the tools. Chill a medium-size mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. This helps the coconut cream stay cold longer and set up faster.
- Whip the coconut cream. Add the cold coconut cream into the chilled bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the coconut cream on medium-high speed until it starts to increase in volume and soft peaks form, about 45 seconds. Don't over-whip the cream or it will go from smooth and creamy to broken (separated) and grainy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Add the cocoa powder and coconut sugar into the coconut cream, and whip on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about a minute. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more cocoa powder for a chocolaty flavor and coconut sugar for sweetness.
- Chill. Transfer the chocolate mousse into a piping bag fitted with a star decorating tip 1M. Place the piping bag into the refrigerator and let the mousse chill for 15-30 minutes before piping.
- Serve. Pipe or spoon the chilled chocolate mouse into serving bowls, glasses, or espresso cups. Serve immediately.
- Store, Leftover chocolate mousse keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
*Place the can of coconut milk in the coldest part of the refrigerator overnight. Make sure not to shake or tip the can to encourage separation of the cream and liquid.
Note: very rarely, you may get a can of coconut milk that is chalky and hard or won’t firm up. So, I like to always keep two cans of coconut milk (or coconut cream) in the refrigerator just in case.
**Prep time does not include chilling the coconut milk (~12 hours).
***Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.