Chocolate Candy Making
... Made Easy

Homemade Double Boiler

Do you need to know how to make a homemade double boiler?

Practically since the beginning of time, double boilers have been used for chemistry, precious metals to good ole home cooking and chocolate candy making.

It's commonly referred to as a double boiler, Bain Marie, Bain de Marie and even au Bain Marie.

It's a simple kitchen tool that takes no time to construct and can be a life saver to melting and tempering chocolate.

We can improvise a homemade double boiler by using one large pan with taller sides for the bottom part of the double boiler pan.

Picture of Improvised Double Boiler

Use another pan with a rounded bottom (like a mixing bowl) for the top pan to satisfy the making of an au Bain Marie and the task of tempering or melting chocolate.

Double boiler (Bain de Marie) pan is essentially two specific pans (like saucepans) that fit together (one within, or on top of, the other).

The upper pan's perimeter is less than that of the lower pan (about 1-inch narrower).

Picture of Improvised Double Boiler

This allows the steam to flow evenly around the bottom & sides of the upper pan for a gentle chocolate melt.

The upper double boiler pan also has a lip that is larger than the lower pan to keep it above the water, or from falling down into the lower pan.

For the double boiler to be successful, the upper pan must not touch the water.


The lip also helps deflect the steam away from the contents.

Diagram of a Double Boiler

There needs to be ample space between the water and the bottom of the upper pan of the homemade double boiler to provide room for the steam.

The temperature of the steam translates (indirectly) to the contents of the upper pan of the double boilers (Bain Marie).


As long as the temperature in the lower pan is consistent, the contents of the upper pan will stay the same temperature while mixing.

You'll want to make sure that the lower pan of the double boiler (au Bain Marie) contains water filled to about a third the distance to the bottom of the upper pan.

The space between the water and the bottom of the top pan allows for the indirect heat.

So where did the double boiler begin or originate from? Check out the Bain Marie!

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We can make homemade double boiler literally out of any two, heat resistant, or microwavable containers.

As long as the top container sits semi-snug over the lower (don't fall off, or in), without touching the water below.

If using a microwave, simply heat the water in the microwave using a microwavable container.

Bring it to a boil (careful it's very hot), remove from the microwave, and place the upper container on top and proceed to melt.

Tempering would be a challenge at this point, but melting chocolate chips for dipping strawberries..., done.

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