Copycat Chili’s Molten Lava Cake

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Chili’s Molten Lava Cake is full of indulgent chocolate flavor and is absolutely delicious!! Individually portioned chocolate cakes with a melted center are topped with vanilla ice cream plus a magic shell to create something, well… magical! Create your own molten chocolate lava cake like Chili’s with my super easy recipe!

titled: Chili's Molten Lava Cake


Chili’s Molten Lava Cake

When Chad and I have date night, we go ALL out — we order drinks, an app, an entree, and dessert almost every single time. Hey, we like to indulge, what can I say?!

On nights when we go out to Chili’s, molten lava cake is one of our go-to’s. And when we head there after one of Munchkin’s school events, she loves it too.

Ooey, gooey chocolate cake with ice cream and even more chocolate on top? Say no more!!

Like all of my favorite restaurant dishes, you guys know I had to whip up my own version of molten chocolate lava cake like Chili’s.

To my pleasant surprise, they actually weren’t that hard to make! Once you master the correct cooking time, you’ll be off to the races.

I’m definitely making these for our next at-home date night!

ingredients for Chili's molten lava cake recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cocoa Powder – You’ll need cocoa powder to dust the ramekins — that way, nothing sticks and you a get a bit more added chocolate flavor. 
  • Baking Chocolate – Chili’s molten lava cake is essentially a chocolate cake with an ooey gooey center, so you’ll need to melt some baking chocolate to create the chocolate batter.
  • Butter – I’m using unsalted butter for this sweet recipe. That’s my personal preference… if you prefer salted butter, you can use it!
  • Eggs – You’ll need quite a few eggs for your molten chocolate lava cake Chili’s copycat — 4 large ones plus 4 additional yolks.

    Save the egg whites for a frittata or omelet, or freeze them for later use!
  • All-Purpose Flour – Also for the cake batter. All-purpose is my go-to for baking, but if gluten is a concern you can substitute it with your favorite 1:1 GF option.
  • Sugar – I’m using granulated sugar for the cake batter.
  • Vanilla – I love pairing a bit of vanilla extract with chocolate. It does so much to enhance the flavor!
  • Toppings – I top my molten lava cake like Chili’s does it: with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, magic shell, and powdered sugar!
butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl

Tips and Tricks to Make the Perfect Molten Chocolate Lava Cake Chili’s Copycat

  • Use high-quality baking chocolate.

Chocolate really is the star of the show when it comes to making Chili’s molten lava cake! That’s why it’s important to use the best quality you can find. 

The better the chocolate, the more rich and decadent the final results will be!

  • Keep an eye on the clock.

To get that molten lava look and texture, it’s crucial not to overbake the cakes. 

Start checking in on your Chili’s molten lava cake recipe after about 12 minutes of baking time. The edges should be set, but the centers need to be soft and gooey. 

If they look ready, don’t hesitate to pull them out of the oven early!

  • Let the cakes rest a little before turning them out.

Allow the hot cakes to cool in the ramekins for about a minute before you try to invert them onto the plates.

This lets them set slightly, which makes it easier to remove them from the ramekins without them breaking.

Making molten lava cake like Chili’s is truly an art form, so it’s important to work slowly and carefully!

  • Don’t skip the toppings.

It wouldn’t be a Chili’s molten lava cake recipe without a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some magic shell, and powdered sugar!

The magic shell topping will harden as soon as you pour it on top of the ice cream, giving you a delightful crunch in contrast to the soft, warm cake. YUM.

eggs and sugar in a glass mixing bowl

Prep Ahead

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F
  • Grease the ramekins with butter and cocoa powder

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Ramekins – The perfect vessels for these mini cake desserts.
  • Microwave-Safe Bowl – Not only does it make melting chocolate easier, but you can use it to quickly steam vegetables too!
  • Large Bowl – This one is my go-to!
batter for chili's molten lava cake recipe

Serving Suggestions 

You’re going to want to serve your homemade Chili’s molten lava cake as soon as you invert them on the plates and add the toppings.

They taste best when they’re nice and hot!

If you want to serve these at a dinner party and are looking for ways to get ahead, you can always prepare the batter ahead of time, pour it into the ramekins, and then refrigerate until you’re ready to bake.

Add an extra minute or so to the baking time if you go this route.

I love the idea of including them in an indulgent chocolaty dessert spread.

They’d pair well with frozen chocolate-covered bananas, and this chocolate lasagna is an easy no bake option. 

3 ingredient fudge is another super simple idea… and if none of these caught your eye, I have no shortage of other desserts that you can get lost in!

baked molten lava cake chili's copycat

Storage and Reheating

Molten chocolate lava cake like Chili’s is best enjoyed fresh, but don’t throw out those leftovers!

Keep them in the fridge in an airtight container without the toppings and they’ll keep for 3-4 days.

To reheat, pop them in the microwave for a few minutes until warmed through, or use your oven.

I personally like to repurpose my lava cakes and create a sundae with extra ice cream and even more toppings — crushed nuts, sprinkles, and whipped cream are all delish!

Molten Lava Cake Chili’s FAQ

How do you heat up molten lava cake from Chili’s?

You can reheat single servings in 30-second bursts in the microwave until hot.
Or, for larger servings, use your oven. Preheat it to 400°F and place the lava cakes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until warmed through.

What is the difference between molten cake and lava cake?

Both are cakes with a liquid center, but there are some slight differences between them. 

A molten cake can be any type of cake with a melted center. A lava cake is a specific type of chocolate cake with a liquid center. 

So, a lava cake is a molten cake, but a molten cake isn’t necessarily a lava cake.

Can you eat molten lava cake cold?

You could, but it’s typically served fresh out of the oven. If you eat leftovers without heating them up, you’ll get a similar flavor but the texture will be totally different. 

Take the extra time to heat yours up… you won’t regret it!

closeup of chili's molten lava cake

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chili's molten lava cake in a bowl with melting vanilla ice cream

Chili's molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream

Copycat Chili’s Molten Lava Cake

Donna Elick
Chili’s Molten Lava Cake is a mini chocolate cake with an ooey gooey center and topped with ice cream. Make your own with my copycat recipe!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 4


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces baking chocolate
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream for topping
  • Magic shell for topping
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, optional


  • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Lightly grease four 6-ounce ramekins with butter and dust them with cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and baking chocolate. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth.
  • In a separate large bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the melted chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, and salt into the egg mixture until well combined.
  • Gradually fold in the all-purpose flour until just incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges of the cakes are firm but the centers are still soft.
  • Allow the hot cakes to cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted small plate. Carefully turn each one over, allow it to sit for a few seconds and then remove the ramekin.
  • Top each cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with magic shell topping. If desired, dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

It’s crucial not to overbake the cakes, or you won’t have the molten “lava” center. Start checking at 12 minutes to see if they’re done.
You can prepare the batter ahead of time, pour it into the ramekins, and then refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. Just add an extra minute or two to the baking time.
The magic shell topping will harden upon contact with the cold ice cream, providing a delightful crunch to contrast with the soft, warm cake.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1175cal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 86g | Saturated Fat: 51g | Cholesterol: 502mg | Sodium: 247mg | Sugar: 76g | Fiber: 11g | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 12mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Chili's Molten Lava Cake - PIN

Originally published April 2024

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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe from The Slow Roasted Italian is an absolute winner! It’s easy to make and so decadent.

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