Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake

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This Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake is a game-changer: Warm, gooey chocolate cake (made from scratch!) nestled in a river of thick fudge sauce. Make this easy, luscious dessert right in your crockpot. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or both for an extra special treat.

A slow cooker with chocolate lava cake in it.

Many Lava Cakes start with a cake mix and a box of pudding, but I don’t usually keep those around much (at least not the chocolate ones… but lemon? all day every day). I wanted a lava cake I could make from scratch.

I also thought the idea of ​​doing it in a slow cooker was so great! Fun, unique, interesting, and EASY. So fire up your crockpot and try out this self-saucing chocolate cake. It’s amazing!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for slow cooker lava cake.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Cocoa powder: Look for the unsweetened baking cocoa powder, not the mix for making hot chocolate. Both natural and Dutch-process cocoa powder will work in this recipe.

Step-by-step instructions

To make the cake batter:

  1. Coat a slow cooker with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
Preparing the batter for chocolate lava cake.
  1. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredient into the well and whisk until smooth.
Preparing the batter for chocolate lava cake.
  1. Pour into the bottom of a slow cooker.
Making chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.

To make the topping:

  1. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the slow cooker.
Making chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.
  1. Pour the hot water over the top of the batter and topping. Don’t stare.
Making chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.
  1. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 5 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached (see recipe notes).
Chocolate lava cake in a slow cooker.
  1. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, spooning the chocolate sauce from the bottom of the slow cooker over the top. Garnish with maraschino cherries if desired.
Chocolate lava cake with ice cream on top.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 gooey, delicious Chocolate Lava Cake, enough for 8 generous servings.
  • Storage: Large leftovers covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
  • Keep it warm: If your crockpot switches to “warm” after it’s done cooking, you can leave it in the crockpot on the “warm” setting for at least 2-3 hours without changing the cake. For example, I cooked the cake on LOW for 5 hours, then left it in the crockpot for 2 more hours on the “warm” setting, and it was still perfect.
  • Double recipe: Double the ingredients and it will still fit in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 5 hours or LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.)
  • Half recipe: Half the ingredients fit nicely in a 2-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 3 to 4 hours (or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.)
Chocolate lava cake with ice cream on top.

Recipe FAQs

Can you make this chocolate lava cake without the sugar topping?

No, that’s not a good idea. At the request of a reader, I tried it out. The “sugar topping” is actually the underlying fudge layer. If you make just the cake, it is not sweet enough, the chocolate flavor is lacking, the whole cake is dry, and it might even burn in the bottom of your slow cooker. I suggest making the cake as written, sugar topping and all.

Peanut Butter pie in a silver pie pan with one piece removed.

More clever desserts

Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake

This Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake is a game-changer: Warm, gooey chocolate cake (made from scratch!) nestled in a river of thick fudge sauce. Make this easy, luscious dessert right in your crockpot. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or both for an extra special treat.

Prep Time 15 my s

Cook Time 4 hrs 15 my s

Total Time 4 hrs 30 my s

Servings 8 servings

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Calories 321

To make the cake batter:

  • Coat a slow cooker with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and vanilla.

  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredient into the well and whisk until smooth. Pour into the bottom of a slow cooker.

To make the topping:

  • Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the slow cooker.

  • Pour the hot water over the top of the batter and topping. Don’t stare. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 5 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached (see recipe notes).

  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, spooning the chocolate sauce from the bottom of the slow cooker over the top. Garnish with maraschino cherries if desired.

  1. Cocoa powder: Look for the unsweetened baking cocoa powder, not the mix for making hot chocolate. Both natural and Dutch-process cocoa powder will work in this recipe.
  2. Yield: This recipe makes 1 gooey, delicious Chocolate Lava Cake, enough for 8 generous servings (see Tips and Variations for double and half recipe information).
  3. Storage: Large leftovers covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Serving: 1scoopCalories: 321kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 3gDish: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 261mgPotassium: 125mgFiber: 2gSugar: 46gVitamin A: 261IUCalcium: 99mgIron: 2mg


Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.


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