This rich chocolate mousse has a secret ingredient making it dairy-free (hint: it's not coconut oil!). Dark and smooth, you won’t miss the milk (or milk substitute). Perfect for Passover or when you want a pareve (non-dairy) dessert!
Why this recipe works
- This chocolate mousse replaces milk (and milk substitutes) with extra virgin olive oil, making it dairy-free
- The flavor is rich and the texture is smooth and creamy
- As a flourless dessert, this mousse is great for those following a gluten-free diet or those observing Passover
With so many milk alternatives now, it's easier than ever to adapt recipes for those sensitive to milk.
Indeed, chocolate mousse is doable, even if you're lactose intolerant. But what if you run out of soy milk, or almond milk, or oat milk, or... ?(Yeah, we get the picture!)
Fear not, for I bring you a dairy-free chocolate mousse recipe that tastes so wonderful, you won't miss the milk (or milk substitute). It has a secret ingredient that might surprise you...extra virgin olive oil!
What you need
Eggs: This is where the body of the mousse is built. The egg white meringue lightens the texture, while the egg yolks add richness and flavor.
One caveat I should note is that this mousse contains raw eggs. If you're concerned about the risks of eating raw eggs, you can use pasteurized eggs without affecting the results.
Chocolate: Using dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao) will result in a richer chocolate flavor, but you can use semisweet if you want to back off on the intensity. Whichever you choose, try to use the best chocolate you can.
Sugar: Chocolate mousse needs sweetness, don't you think? Plus, it balances the chocolate's dark undertones.
Olive Oil: This non-dairy chocolate mousse recipe uses olive oil to add richness and fat, and you probably have a nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil in the pantry. That's the key here - use the best olive oil you have, one whose flavor you enjoy. It's time to break out the good stuff here, people.
The olive oil will add fruity undertones to the chocolate mousse, but the chocolate will still be front and center. Just dark, rich, chocolate goodness...mmmmm...
(Come back to us here!)
Toppings: Cacao nibs and sea salt flakes add a crunchy counterpoint to this silky-smooth mousse. They're optional, but so worth it!
How to make chocolate mousse
The method for making a chocolate mousse recipe is pretty straightforward. It's only 5 main steps!
Step 1: Melt the chocolate
Start with melting the chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave on short 30 second bursts (stir in between). Or, place a heatproof bowl atop a saucepan with 1-inch of simmering water (don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Either way, stir the chocolate to keep it from burning.
While the chocolate is melting, dissolve the espresso powder in 1 tablespoon of boiling water. The espresso deepens the chocolate flavor.
Once the melted chocolate is smooth, stir in the olive oil, espresso, vanilla extract, and salt until combined (photo 1).
Step 2: Prepare the egg yolks
Separate the eggs carefully . You don't want any egg yolks mixed in with the egg whites (see my Pro Tip below).
Whisk the egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar together until the mixture is pale yellow. This helps the sugar dissolve fully so you don't get a grainy texture. Stir the yolks into the chocolate mixture until it's smooth (photo 2).
Step 3: Prepare the egg whites
Wipe out the bowl of a stand mixer with a bit of white vinegar or lemon juice. This will remove all traces of fat in the bowl.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and whip until you have stiff peaks (photo 3). Don't over whip the meringue because it will start to separate, and you need all that air to lift the mousse.
Step 4: Fold in the egg whites into the chocolate
Add a generous spoonful of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture. Stir gently until completely incorporated. Transfer the chocolate mixture to the bowl of egg whites.
Gently fold with a large spoon or rubber spatula until completely combined. And I mean fold, stirring gently so you don't lose that previous volume (photo 4).
Step 5: Portion mousse into ramekins
Chocolate mousse is very rich, so I serve it in 6-ounce ramekins (photo 5). Wipe up any drips, cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve, garnish with a light sprinkling of cocoa nibs and/or sea salt.
This recipe will make six servings (with a bit left over for the chef...for tasting purposes, of course!).
Storage and make-ahead instructions
Storage instructions: The mousse can be stored in the refrigerator in a container with a tight fitting lid for 1 week, and in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Make-ahead instructions: This recipe doubles easily, and can be made up to three days ahead.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions that you might have...
Yes! It's perfect for a Passover Seder, especially if you're observant and want a pareve (i.e. non-dairy) dessert. Flourless, gluten-free, dairy-free, this is a dessert that can please many people's dietary restrictions (though not egg-free, sorry about that!). Almost everyone can partake!
No, you won't be able to tell that there's olive oil instead of cream in this chocolate mousse recipe. You might notice a subtle fruitiness from the olive oil, so make sure the olive oil you use is one you like.
When you're using a meringue of just beaten egg whites (aka a French meringue) rather than one that is stabilized with some sort of heat treatment (like an Italian meringue), the possibility of over-beating the egg whites is real. If that happens, the meringue will separate and won't have the ability to lift and lighten the chocolate mixture. Just keep checking how stiff the meringue is getting as you approach the stiff peak stage.
Pro Tip: How to separate eggs
It's imperative that you separate the eggs carefully when making a meringue. No yolk can be in with the egg whites because the fat will keep the whites from whipping into a meringue. As someone who tries to use less dishes, I'm forever breaking at least one yolk as I separate, thus having to start all over again.
Here's my tip for you: break the egg into a small bowl, remove the yolk into a medium bowl, and pour the whites into the stand mixer bowl. You can use an egg separator to help. If an egg breaks, don’t use it, just get a new egg (and wash the bowl). Washing that bowl is so much better than having to use more eggs!
Rich chocolate mousse, no dairy needed
Did I mention that my dairy-free chocolate mousse is dark, rich, and smooth? The flavor is all chocolate, all the time, with a light texture like satin.
And you can't tell that it contains extra virgin olive oil instead of heavy cream.
Oh, man, this is heavenly!
Give this easy dairy-free chocolate mousse a try. I'll leave deciding to divulge the secret ingredient up to you. No one will guess why it's dairy-free unless you tell them!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Passover is tough on a baker, having to leave off using flour and leavening. But that doesn't mean sweets are off the menu - your Passover holiday can be filled with lots of yummy treats!
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Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse (No Coconut Oil)
- 4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature, see Recipe Notes
- ¼ teaspoon white vinegar, or lemon juice
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips (1 cup), see Recipe Notes
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling water, cooled
- ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, see Recipe Notes
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Pinch kosher salt
- cocoa nibs, for garnish (optional)
- sea salt flakes, for garnish (optional)
- Break the eggs into a small bowl, remove the yolk into a medium bowl, and pour the whites into the stand mixer bowl. You can use an egg separator to help. No yolk can be in with the egg whites because the fat will keep the whites from whipping into a meringue. If an egg breaks, don’t use it, just get a new egg.
- Wipe out the bowl of a stand mixer with a bit of white vinegar or lemon juice (to remove all traces of fat in the bowl).
- Place the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and melt in a microwave on HIGH, stirring after each 30-second increment, until smooth. Let it cool slightly. Meanwhile, dissolve the espresso powder in 1 tablespoon of boiling water and allow to cool slightly.
- Stir in the olive oil, rehydrated espresso, vanilla extract, and salt into the melted chocolate until combined. Set aside.
- Place the egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow. Add the yolk mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.
- Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer) until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat just until stiff peaks form.
- Add a generous spoonful of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture. Stir gently until completely incorporated. Transfer the chocolate mixture into the bowl of egg whites. Gently fold with a large spoon or rubber spatula until completely combined.
- Divide the mousse into 6-ounce ramekins and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- To serve, garnish with a light sprinkling of cocoa nibs and/or sea salt. Serve and enjoy!
- Storage instructions: The mousse can be stored in the refrigerator in a container with a tight fitting lid for 1 week, and in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Make-ahead instructions: This recipe doubles easily, and can be made up to three days ahead.