How Long Does It Take Chocolate to Harden?

Whether you’re making delicious chocolate candies or covering your beloved lollipops or strawberries, you need to know how long it’s going to take – especially if you’re under a time constraint.

If you’re wondering how long it takes chocolate to harden, you will be happy to know that it’s relatively speedy. Tempered chocolate takes as little as four or five minutes, while untempered melted chocolate can take anywhere from five to 60 minutes, depending on thickness and location.

Howdy, y’all! My name’s Michelle, and my family and I are serious chocolate fanatics. If we could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we would! Needless to say, we make lots of chocolate in this house – and I’ve discovered just how long it takes chocolate to harden.

We have a choco-LOT to talk about!

How Long Does It Take Chocolate to Harden (4 Options)

When we’re talking about how long it takes chocolate to harden, there’s no “simple” answer. A lot can go into how long it actually takes. For instance, was the chocolate tempered or not tempered? How thick is the chocolate? Where is the hardening location?

This can all sound pretty confusing, but I promise you, it’s pretty basic once we break it down.

1. Tempered Chocolate – 4 or 5 Minutes

Many bakers temper their chocolate rather than just melt it. The benefit is that tempered chocolate hardens impossibly fast and remains set for an extended period. It also creates a stunningly glossy finish that makes any treat look glamorous and delicious.

While the process can be tricky, it’s obviously well worth the hassle.

When you opt to temper chocolate, it will only take four or five minutes to harden at room temperature (60F to 70F is best!). Pretty impressive, eh?

2. Melted Chocolate at Room Temperature – 20 to 60 Minutes

20 to 60 minutes? Yeah, that’s a pretty significant range. What gives?

Well, the amount of time it takes for your chocolate to harden at room temperature depends on the thickness. While small-sized treats can take as little as 20 minutes, larger and thicker slabs of melted chocolate can take as much as 60 minutes.

3. Melted Chocolate in the Fridge – 10 to 20 Minutes

Waiting for melted chocolate to harden at room temperature can take quite a long time. If you’re on a time crunch, this simply won’t do!

What’s your next best option? The refrigerator, of course!

In the fridge, melted chocolate shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes to harden. Yes, that includes the ultra-thick and decadent chocolate you’ve just melted. Yum.

4. Melted Chocolate in the Freezer – 5 to 10 Minutes

So you’re on the impatient side and don’t think 20 minutes is fast enough, huh? I don’t blame you. I’m not someone who likes to sit around waiting for their dessert to cool off or harden. It’s like some type of taste bud torture.

If you want your chocolate to harden as fast as Buzz Lightyear can swing up to the ceiling fan, you’ll want to stick it in the freezer.

In the freezer, most chocolate will harden in around five to ten minutes. Of course, very thick melted chocolate may need a few extra minutes. Don’t panic – it’s still way faster than the room temperature or refrigerator method.

Why Won’t My Chocolate Harden (3 Possible Reasons)

Let’s say you’ve done everything right. You’ve purchased and used the best chocolate for melting and followed all the steps in your recipe. Yet, your chocolate refuses to harden. What’s the problem?

Actually, a few things may be standing in the way of you and beautifully melted chocolate. 

1. It’s too hot

Tempered and untempered melted chocolate will have a difficult time hardening at temperatures above 70F. So, double-check the temperature in your kitchen. If it’s higher than 70F, the process will be slowed down or come to a halt altogether.

If it’s a particularly warm or humid day, opting for the fridge or freezer is best. Not only will it work, but it will work faster. And as the ole saying goes, “Work smarter – not harder.” Let’s work smart here and stash those bad boys in the fridge or freezer, k?

2. Not letting it sit for long enough

I know, I know – you’re antsy to get your hands on your perfectly hardened chocolate treats. I get it. But if you keep “checking” and “fiddling” with the chocolate, it won’t harden properly.

The solution? Leave the chocolate alone and let the process take its course. Yes, it might be a little longer than you initially anticipated – even if you’re using the freezer. But opening the freezer and pressing it with your fingertips certainly isn’t going to help. Patience, my friends!

3. Improper tempering

Tempering definitely isn’t for amateurs. Many things can go wrong during this delicate process. And, if it’s done improperly, the chocolate won’t harden like it’s supposed to.

The main issue people struggle with is the temperatures. Tempering requires precise temperatures. If you’re off the mark, your chocolate won’t harden.

The other common problem is water. Even a sprinkle of water will ruin tempered chocolate. 

If you think that something went haywire during the tempering process, don’t panic. Simply melt it again in the microwave and try again.

FAQs

Now you know just about everything you need to know about how long it takes for chocolate to harden. Pretty cool! If you’re still curious and want to learn more, I’ve added these commonly asked questions for you to check out.

Will chocolate set with oil in it?

When adding oil to your chocolate, you need to be extra careful. A little goes a long way. If there is too much oil, the chocolate will take quite a long time to set – if it sets at all. The result will always be somewhat softer, too, so keep that in mind.

Should melted chocolate be refrigerated?

The fridge is an excellent spot for melted chocolate. If you have a big batch, it’s best to portion them into smaller sizes so you don’t have to reheat and re-refrigerate, which can cause quality deterioration continuously. Stash smaller portions in an airtight container and use when needed!

Can I add milk to melted chocolate?

You certainly can – as long as the milk (or other liquid) is added during the melting process. Never try to add a cold liquid to melted chocolate. This can and will cause the chocolate to seize up, a problem you don’t want to struggle with!

How long does it take chocolate to harden on strawberries?

Chocolate will harden on strawberries in as little as 30 to 60 minutes in the fridge. However, it’s always best to let them stay in the refrigerator for as long as possible. This will ensure the chocolate is “stuck” before biting into it, resulting in a delicious burst of flavor!

It Doesn’t Take Long for Chocolate to Harden!

Whether you temper or don’t temper, place it in the fridge or the freezer, the common denominator is this: chocolate doesn’t take very long to harden! While tempered chocolate is the fastest, stowing your untempered melted chocolate in the freezer is also impressively quick.

How long does your chocolate typically take to harden?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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