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How to Set Up Chocolate Fountain (Recipe With Cream or Oil)

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note the paper towels needed to stabilize the machine!

I developed this chocolate fountain recipe with cream to help celebrate a friend’s engagement party, and we fixed several issues before everything was flowing smoothly. When I was first searching, I had a hard time finding chocolate fountain recipes using cream, so I ended up just experimenting until I found the perfect ratio for the desired thickness. This post includes our final recipe for a chocolate fountain, along with our hard-won tips for how to set up a chocolate fountain.

On my birthday this year we even double-checked my ratios, so hopefully your chocolate contains enough cocoa butter to flow a smoothly as ours. Remember that you don’t need to buy Belgian chocolate for the best chocolate fondue or fountain. Though it’s important to note that using cream in a chocolate fountain recipe turns it more into a chocolate fondue fountain, so get ready for a rich treat!

Use the ‘Jump To’ table of contents below to jump to different sections.

Before setting up chocolate fountain

Pick a Location. Be wary of the wind, rain, and sunshine when choosing where to set up & what goodies to offer for dipping. A windy day can tip over the fountain completely, so avoid using a chocolate fountain when windy, and set up an indoor chocolate fountain bar at special events in the fall/winter.

Level the Fountain. Make sure your fountain is somewhere it can be 100% level! I cannot emphasize this enough, because the more level it is, the more stable it is. You can use a paper towel to even out a wobbly table, as we did, but make sure to look at your machine from every angle before starting to add chocolate.

Read the Manual. For best results, I always recommend to read your manual, because your instructions may be different from mine. I have a Nostalgia 3-Tier 24oz. Chocolate Fountain, and this is how I set it up for an August event outdoors.

How to set up a chocolate fountain: step-by-step instructions

Step 1. Take your machine out of the box and read the instruction manual, at least the quick start guide that all machines include. Most will tell you to take out the chocolate fountain and wipe down the three main parts: the tower, the auger, and the base (which contains the bowl).

Step 2. Before you preheat your machine as directed (just 3-5 minutes for the Nostalgia), you’ll want to heat the chocolate. Measure out 1 1/2 cups heavy cream per 22oz. of chocolate, preferably a high-quality dark chocolate like Guittard or Valrhona, though you could also use a milk chocolate (see notes to use white chocolate). Note: if you have a smaller crowd, you can use as little as 3/4 cups heavy cream with 11oz. chocolate. Most chocolate chips come in 11.5oz. bags, so this makes it easy to halve the recipe.

2a) MICROWAVE METHOD (easy). To heat chocolate for a chocolate fountain in the microwave, start by putting all your chocolate and cream into a silicone or glass bowl. Heat for 1 minute on high, then stir it and put it back for 4 bouts of 20 seconds, stirring between each one. After the 4th bout, let the chocolate sit in the microwave for 30 seconds before taking it out and stirring again. Heat for about 2 more minutes in 20-second bursts, until all melted evenly. It took us about 4 minutes’ total heating in the microwave for all the chocolate to finish.

2b) STOVETOP METHOD (medium). For the stovetop double-boiler method of chocolate melting, you’ll need a large pot and a large glass bowl that fits atop the pot. Heat 2-3 inches of water on high in the pot, and once boiling, switch to low heat and place the bowl atop the pot, making sure it fits well enough that no steam can escape. Add the chocolate and cream to your bowl, and over the next 10-15 minutes, stir the mixture until well-combined & the right viscosity. Once there are no more clumps, your chocolate is ready to be used, but be careful not to get any water inside of you may separate the mixture.

2c) INSTANT POT METHOD (easy). To use an Instant Pot for chocolate fountain chocolate, you’re basically turning it into a double boiler. Start by pouring 2 cups of water into the bottom of the liner, then place a glass bowl on top, large enough to create a seal above the chocolate so that no steam can escape. Then add your chocolate and cream, and set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ on Normal. Your cream will heat and the chocolate will slowly lose its shape over the next 12-15 minutes. Once everything has melted, stir it well to ensure no air bubbles and the proper consistency; if it needs more cream, add it before taking the chocolate off. Turn on ‘Keep Warm’ until you’re ready to add the chocolate to the fountain.

Once all your chocolate is heated, don’t let it keep heating, as if it gets above 110°F/43°C it could warp the machine. If your chocolate looks smooth but still has a few little clumps here and there, let it sit for 30 seconds at room temperature, and then beating it well, until shiny; it’s not ready until 100% smooth (air bubbles are fine).

Step 3. Once your chocolate is done heating, go back to your chocolate fountain base, plug it in, and turn it on ‘heat’ mode. You need to wait 5 minutes before the heating element in your machine will be ready, so set a timer, and then take this moment to assemble the tower. Stack all 3 parts of the tower, attach the auger, and then place the tower atop the heating base. This is a good time to gather your dippables into bowls.

Step 4. When your timer goes off, your bowl should be warm to the touch and your chocolate fountain all assembled. Grab your melted chocolate and begin pouring it over the top, just drizzling a little over the entire machine before pouring the rest directly into the bowl. From there, the auger will lift it to the uppermost layer and it will start cascading down. Your chocolate fountain is now ready to be used!

For troubleshooting any common issues, check out the notes section. We recommend starting by dipping fruits, marshmallows, chips, and pretzels.

How to clean a chocolate fountain

You must clean your chocolate fountain right after using it, setting aside any unused chocolate for later recipes (as long as it didn’t get too many crumbs in it!). To clean a chocolate fountain, first turn off the machine and then scrape down the tower with a silicone spatula. Remove the auger and the tower and scrape off as much chocolate as you can into the bowl

Then place both pieces on a plate while you scrape any remaining chocolate from the bowl into an air-tight container. This chocolate can be safely refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 year. Gently wash off any chocolate from the auger and tower with warm water, then take the tower apart and wash every piece with soap and water.

Gently wash the base & bowl piece with a soapy damp cloth, but DON’T submerge it in water. The whole process should take 10 minutes, and then it can all be dried off and easily stored for next time.

Recipe notes & tips

Use the Spoon Test. To see if chocolate is thin enough for your fountain, simply pour the chocolate out of a regular spoon, and if it’s too thick then add more cream (or coconut oil) one tablespoon at a time. This is important to establish while you still have some heating time left, because adding cold cream will cause some of the chocolate to harden.

Fondue Forks. If you don’t have toothpicks or fondue forks, you can also use dinner forks, kabob skewers, or very thin chopsticks.

Vanilla Extract. Several of the chocolate fountain recipe ideas I found mentioned adding vanilla extract, but if your chocolate is good quality, you won’t need anything extra.

In Case of Clumping. If your chocolate starts to bead up or clump in the chocolate fountain, check to make sure no liquid has entered the fountain’s reservoir or any pieces of food aren’t stuck in the bowl of the base, creating a clog.

For Uneven Flow. If the chocolate flows down unevenly, make sure that your fountain is on a flat surface and there isn’t anything stuck somewhere in the fountain. If it continues, you may just not have enough chocolate left for even flow.

13 Best Foods to Dip Into Chocolate Fountain

In no particular order, these are some of our recommendations for what to dip in a chocolate fountain.

  1. dried mango
  2. fresh strawberries
  3. chunks of fresh coconut
  4. cherries on the stem
  5. apple slices
  6. gummy bears (without sugar!)
  7. fresh churros
  8. oreos
  9. nutter butters
  10. marshmallows
  11. bacon
  12. macadamia nuts
  13. spiced pecans

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to include a little trashcan nearby for toothpicks if guests don’t have their own fondue forks.

Chocolate Fountain FAQ

What kind of chocolate do you use for a chocolate fountain?

Any kind you have on hand that can be cut into or is already in small chunks, like chocolate chips, though remember that you’ll need oil or cream to thin it out before adding to your machine.

Where to buy chocolate for chocolate fountain?

I don’t recommend using the meltables stuff because it’s sugar with oil not real chocolate, but any plain chocolate from the grocery store would work. Just make sure you use enough cream or oil.

Can I add other flavors to a chocolate fountain?

Yes, you can add up to 1/4 cup of liquor or any number of other liquids to a chocolate fountain. The key is to make sure everything is well-blended and stays warm enough to flow steadily.

What to do with leftover chocolate from a chocolate fountain?

If you used cream, try this chocolate between cake layers, to make cookie sandwiches, or on pancakes for a special treat. If you used oil, try this chocolate on brownies or to make chocolate-covered strawberries.

Home Chocolate Fountain Recipe Card

As always, if you like the recipe, I really appreciate a review or comment!

Yield: 16-20 servings

Chocolate Fountain Recipe (With Cream or Oil)

Chocolate Fountain Recipe (With Cream or Oil)

Simple 2-ingredient recipe for chocolate fountain chocolate, using dark, milk, or white chocolate!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

For 24oz. (1.5 Lbs.) Fountain:

  • 22oz. chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (alt: 3/4 cup oil)

For 36oz. (2 Lbs.) Fountain:

  • 32oz. chocolate
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream (alt: 1 1/8 cups oil)

Instructions

1. Take your machine out and read the quick start guide. Most machines just need you to wipe down the three main parts: the tower, the auger, and the base (which contains the bowl).

2. Before preheating the fountain, you’ll want to heat the chocolate. Measure out 1 1/2 cups heavy cream per 24oz. of chocolate, preferably a high-quality dark like Guittard or Valrhona.

3. Heat the chocolate (see 3 methods below).

Microwave Method

Put chocolate and cream in a silicone or glass bowl, then microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir gently, then put it back in on high for 20 seconds, stirring well afterwards. Repeat this process 7-8 more times. If the chocolate seems to be heating but not melting, let it sit in the microwave for 30 seconds before taking it out and stirring again, then proceed. This whole process should take about 5 minutes.

Stovetop Method

Heat 2-3 inches of water in a large pot, and once boiling, turn heat to low and place a large glass bowl atop the pot. Make sure it fits well enough that no steam can escape. Add the chocolate and cream to the bowl, and over the next 10-15 minutes, the two will slowly melt; stir the mixture until well-combined, with no more lumps of chocolate.

Instant Pot Method

Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot liner, then place a glass bowl on top, large enough to create a seal over the water. Then add your chocolate and cream, and set the Pot to ‘Sauté’ on Normal. Over the next 12-15 minutes, everything will melt; regularly stir the mixture well to ensure no air bubbles and the proper consistency. Turn on ‘Keep Warm’ until you’re ready to add it to the fountain.

4. Once your chocolate is done heating, plug in your chocolate fountain base and turn it on ‘heat’ mode. While you wait the 5 minutes for your machine to heat, assemble the tiered tower and attach the auger to your the base. Then place the tower over the auger, and your fountain is all set.

5. Your fountain is all heated when the bowl is warm to the touch. Slowly pour about half a cup of chocolate over the top, and then pour the rest directly into the base. From there the auger will lift it to top and it will cascade down, and your chocolate fountain is all ready!

For troubleshooting any issues, check out the notes section.

Notes

Using less chocolate: if you have a smaller crowd, you can use as little as 3/4 cups heavy cream with 12oz. chocolate in the machine (18oz. of liquid).

If clumping: if chocolate starts to bead up or clump, check to make sure no liquid has entered the chocolate fountain's reservoir or any pieces of food aren't stuck in the bowl of the base, creating a clog.

Uneven flow: if the chocolate flows unevenly, make sure that your fountain is on a flat surface and there isn't anything stuck somewhere in the fountain.

Heating: if you don't have a microwave-safe bowl, silicone containers are a good idea because they can be easily refrigerated or frozen afterwards for your next party.

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