Lecithin in Chocolate Making

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The Struggle:

We talk a lot about how emulsifiers work. Two ingredients that don’t get along living together in harmony. But are oil and water the only ingredients that will work with an emulsifier? How about chocolate? Chocolate is cocoa butter and dry solids, it contains no water. How does an emulsifier work when there is no water present? Is there a specific kind of lecithin that will work best when making chocolate? 

“What role does lecithin play in chocolate?” 

A Chocolate Maker Sidekick

Chocolate as we stated has no water. Technically chocolate is classified as a suspension rather than an emulsion. The solids are dispersed within the cocoa butter. The solids that are present in the cocoa butter are cocoa, sugar, and sometimes milk. As chocolate is heated, it softens and begins to flow. If the amount of solids is too high the flowability can be slowed. This is where soy lecithin can help. Soy lecithin comes in two different types, liquid and powdered. The liquid soy lecithin and powdered have different HLB values. HLB stands for Hydrophilic Lipophilic balance and it is a 14 point scale. This is the scale that is used to show how water loving (hydrophilic) or oil loving (lipophilic) an emulsifier is. Soy lecithin powder is known as a “deoiled” product and therefore will not mix in as easily into foods with a high fat content. Soy lecithin powder falls around a 7 which is dead center. This makes it great for mixing oils and water for dressing and breads. But what it doesn’t work great for is making chocolate flow more freely. Liquid soy lecithin falls around a 4 on the scale, the lower the HLB value the more it is oil loving. So liquid soy lecithin will work best for chocolate. That is not the only thing that soy lecithin does for chocolate. Just because liquid soy lecithin is more lipophilic doesn’t mean it only attaches to fats. Each liquid soy lecithin molecule can still attach to water or water based ingredients, it’s just not as good at it as soy lecithin powder. But what they are good at is adhering to milk solids and sugars. When the little particles that our tongue can detect are covered up it makes the chocolate feel smoother when it is eaten. It also prevents unsightly fat bloom on the exterior of chocolate bars. If you are looking to improve the melting, texture and appearance of your chocolate then liquid soy lecithin is the way to go.


  • Silvia Freitas
    April 2, 2020 1:31 pm

    I’m from Portugal and I don’t find liquid lecithin anywhere. I only managed to buy powdered lecithin from the UK. In a recipe where the major ingredient is oil, how can I transform the powdered lecithin into liquid?
    I look forward to your reply.
    Thank you.

    • You can’t really turn powdered lecithin into liquid lecithin, they have very different properties.

      • Satinderpal Chopra
        December 5, 2020 3:15 am

        Soya Lecithin is messy Can it be diluted in coconut oil. If yes in what ratio. Thanks

  • Hi.
    I want to mix tahini with suger and the balance is approximately 50% from each one. Would mind please telling me how much lecithin should be added, when and which type is better?
    Thank a lot.

    • Try liquid soy lecithin in a ratio of 0.5% of the total weight of the recipe. The liquid soy lecithin should be mixed into the tahini prior to making the recipe.

      • I am trying to make chocolate bars, I was able to get the lecithin from your site but they melt in left at room temperature. What can I use so they can stay solid at room temperature? I love forward to hearing from you

        • are you using liquid soy lecithin?

          • The best thing to do for chocolate bars is to temper the chocolate to prevent that room temperature melting. Tempering the chocolate allows the chocolate to have a better snap and melting temperature.

  • Hello I am Riti from India .I am making vegan hazelnut spread wanted to know how much quantity of e322 should I use for a 200 gram of bottle and should I go for powdered one or liquid ? How to add that in your spread.Can e322 helps in increasing the life shell? is e322 considered as a preservatives?

    • Liquid would be better, but you’ll have to R&D your recipe. It is not a preservative.

  • Hi I’m Magaret , is it possible to mix in powdered lecithin to melted chocolate. If so i need help with a recipe.
    So far i cant find liquid lecithin anywhere.

  • Hi can I add liquid lecithin after I have made the hazelnut spread? I was thinking of melting my hazelnut spread in a pot then adding 4% to the total amount of 2 cups?

    • Yes this sounds like a good way to prevent separation in a hazelnut spread. I am unsure of the 4% ratio. I would suggest starting at a lower ratio and increasing it if need be.

  • Hi, I observed that my chocolate spread separates within 2-4 weeks of making it, despite using liquid soy lecithin. And I’ve done this for quite a lot of time, but still get the same result. Although I add the lecithin at intervals. Could that be the reason for the separation? Or would would you say went wrong?

    • The only improvement I can think of is to add slightly more Liquid soy lecithin and make sure it is incorporated very very well. This way the emulsion is more stable to prevent the separation.

  • Adeyinka Seyi
    March 13, 2021 10:51 am

    Thanks… I’ll so like to know if I should add the lecithin at once or at intervals.

  • When is the ideal time to add liquid soy lecithin while making bean to bar chocolates in a small wet grinder ?

    • We’ve never made chocolate from bean to bar but would suggest adding it closer to the end of the process. So as to not interfere with the grinding.

  • Hello
    I would like to know if the soy lecithin powder changes the HLB value depending on the pH. Thank you.

  • How much lecithin should I use to make chocolate at home as I am making first time with lecithin

    • Cole Whitney
      June 25, 2021 4:29 pm

      You can use liquid soy lecithin at a ratio of 3% of the total weight of the chocolate.

  • Hi! Can I use liquid lecithin as an emulsion between chocolate (white) and water? Water mix with chocolate will cause the fat to separate so i’d assume blending in liquid lecithin would emulsify the two together for a more flowing and unseparated (but thin) chocolate?
    How do i go about emulsifying my hazelnut spread? At what stage should i add the liquid lecithin?
    Should i make the spread first then blend in the lecithin or should i blend the lecithin with chocolate first then mix the oil in after?
    Looking forward to your reply.

    • No, we don’t think this would work by adding it in water. It would work if you were adding in a refined oil like vegetable oil to make it thinner.

      The liquid lecithin can be added to the hazelnut spread early in the process for the best emulsion.

  • Hi! I want to emulsify chocolate milk, should I add powder lecithin to the milk before mixing or liquid lecithin in the chocolate? Thank you very much!

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