Hot Chili Pepper Truffles

hands holding a glass bowl with cocoa powder and a chocolate truffle

These Hot Chili Pepper Truffles are made with a dark chocolate ganache spiced up with cayenne pepper for a unique homemade candy with a kick!

chili pepper truffle in a glass bowl

hot chili pepper truffles are flavor bombs!

I know this is a terrible tease. All you see are little balls of chocolate. They could taste like anything, really.

How would you know that when you bite into one of these silky truffles you not only get the rich flavor of extra dark chocolate, but a pleasant hit of spice at the back of your throat as you swish the silky ganache across your palate?

It’s a lovely experience, but not a visual experience. You need to pop one of these hot chili truffles into your own mouth to really get it. If you’ve made my SMOLDERING HEART COOKIES ~ dark chocolate shortbread kicked up with cayenne ~  you’ve got the idea.

Making chili pepper truffles in a glass bowl

it’s all done with a simple cast of ingredients ~

  • heavy cream
  • extra dark chocolate
  • cayenne chili pepper

But like so many interesting flavor combinations, this one is anything but new. Chocolate has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years, and it was originally consumed unsweetened, paired with chili peppers. The word chocolate comes from the Aztec word for ‘bitter’, and the dark or bittersweet chocolate in these truffles plays off the spicy chili in the most alluring way.

If this interests you, you can read more in depth about the relationship between chocolate and chili on Serious Eats.

making chili pepper truffles

hot chili pepper truffles are positively romantic!

I’d say this would be a perfect thing to make for your Valentine, or, better yet, with your Valentine. The process of making truffles is easy and pretty sensuous, actually.

rolling chili pepper truffles

craving more truffles?

I have several other great truffle recipes on the blog if hot chili peppers aren’t your thing. My COFFEE AND CARDAMOM TRUFFLES, for instance, or my HOMEMADE FERRERO ROCHER TRUFFLES.   And if you’re truly obsessed with truffles check out my epic collection of 20+ best chocolate truffle recipes.

chili pepper truffles in a glass bowl

 Ingredient spotlight: Cayenne pepper

Cayenne peppers are long tapered red peppers, and as hot peppers go, they’re only moderately hot. That makes them a good choice for drying and grinding into a powder for cooking, and you’ll want to use it when you need a reliably moderate kick of spice in your recipes. I like it because it adds heat without a strong flavor. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and adjust to your taste.

I use cayenne pepper in everything from CARROT or CHICKEN SOUP to PINEAPPLE CHILI SORBET and MOLTEN LAVA CAKE!

hands holding a glass bowl with cocoa powder and a chocolate truffle
3.6 from 52 votes

Hot Chili Pepper Truffles

These Hot Chili Pepper Truffles are made with a dark chocolate ganache spiced up with cayenne pepper for a unique homemade candy with a kick!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Yield 18 truffles
Author Sue Moran


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne chili pepper more if you dare!
  • 8 oz good quality dark or bittersweet chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling


  • Heat the cream until it just comes to a simmer. You can do this in a small saucepan on the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave.
  • Meanwhile, if you are using bar chocolate, chop it into small pieces.
  • Add the chocolate and chili powder directly to the hot cream. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy. If the chocolate isn’t completely melted you can heat it for about 15 seconds in the microwave and stir again.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and set the bowl in the refrigerator to cool for about 2 hours, or until the ganache has hardened enough to be scoopable.
  • Using a small 1″ sized scoop, a melon baller, or a teaspoon, scoop up small amounts of chocolate and set them on a plate. Work with about 10 truffles at a time.
  • Roll each truffle around in your palms until it is a smooth ball.
  • Roll each truffle in the cocoa powder until they are completely coated.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the truffles, cleaning your hands in between batches.
  • You can store the truffles in the refrigerator, and you can serve them chilled or at room temperature.

Cook’s notes

  • Feel free to adjust the amount of chili to suit your needs, if you’re feeling adventurous, add more cayenne.
  • You might try using other hot spices in place of the cayenne ~ try chipotle chili powder, or even hot smoked  paprika.
  • You can use milk chocolate as well.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Sue,
    If these were going in a gift tin with other cookies – would you recommend wrapping them?
    They will have their own compartment but (Worried about melting or cocoa powder everywhere). Thanks!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      Ii would definitely partition them off if you can, like in a paper muffin cup type thing…that way they won’t get damaged and they won’t shed cocoa powder everywhere. The key is to get your tin pretty tightly packed so nothing has a chance to shift around too much.

  • Reply
    Erin Gore
    February 13, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    I’m kind of freaking out since it’s the day before Valentine’s Day and I’m making them for my Valentine. I saw this recipe and just now tried it. All the chocolate is melted but there’s this layer of grease on top of the chocolate. I assume from the whipping cream? I thought it would all incorporate once heated. Help!!

    • Reply
      February 13, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      Not sure what happened Erin, be sure to stir the mixture thoroughly, and then it should become smooth and glossy. You can also re-stir it while it is chilling, which should help to get everything combined.

      • Reply
        December 20, 2019 at 9:45 pm

        Late reply but if the ganache gets too hot or if it sits on heat after mixing too long it will “break” , where the fat from the chocolate and the cream will separate….just add a splash more cream and whisk back together

  • Reply
    September 22, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Would it be all right to let the ganache chill for longer than 2 hours? Or even over night?

    • Reply
      September 22, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      That should be fine, and if it seems too hard to scoop when you take it out, you can leave it at room temperature for a bit.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    This recipe was very easy and tasty!

    I didn’t have a melon baller, so I used a 1/2 teaspoon to scoop out the chocolate. Sadly, my truffles just turned out to be clumpy eyesores. Not sure why I couldn’t get them to form beautiful balls like those pictured.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      I used a little scoop like an ice cream scoop and it makes them perfectly round, for sure. But remember Justin, truffles are named after misshapen little fungi ~ they’re supposed to look rustic! If your ganache is very cold it can be hard to get them round, try it a little less chilled next time.

    • Reply
      December 27, 2019 at 8:49 am

      I have the exact same problem my truffles never come out beautifully round spheres they are knobby and ive tried everything I’ve had the chocolate mixture very very cold so it’s in and hard I push the small ice cream scoop in and slide it against the side of the bowl and then squeeze the handle and I get a half circle in my hand and then I try to reshape the flat bottom by rubbing both hands in a circular pattern similar to the way I make my peanut butter cookies before putting them on the pan and squishing them with a fork. That technique is the best way with gloves on to get the correct shape or as close to spherical as I can manage and then I roll them in the cocoa powder. One thing for sure if you don’t have them perfect before the cocoa powder forget it because u don’t want to handle other then picking them up and putting them in a storage container. If you try to adjust the shape after the cocoa is on you end up with an enormous mess and it looks like a second grader got their hands into the mix. Lol! Seriously these are super easy but don’t try for perfection, the more you work with them the warmer the chocolate becomes and then presto chocolate mush in your hands. One thing I like to do is put the gloves in the freezer and the tray or storage container I’m putting them on prior to making them that way they will be well chilled. The cooler your working environment the more chances of success.

      • Reply
        December 27, 2019 at 9:21 am

        Traditionally these are called truffles because they’re supposed to be wonky shaped! But if you do want a prettier round, try letting the ganache sit out for a while before scooping, so it softens. That should help.

  • Reply
    Alina | Cooking Journey
    February 3, 2018 at 5:56 am

    I love to spice the food with cayenne, too 🙂 never tried it with chocolate, it’s a great idea! I think it should taste perfect together – dark chocolate with spicy hot aftertaste, yum!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2018 at 12:47 am

    These truffles look so good! I love chocolate and chili together – so delicious ? Perfect for Valentine’s day too!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    February 2, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    There’s nothing better than chocolate truffles… these look dreamy!

  • Reply
    Jean |
    February 2, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Sue, I think this would be fabulous. I’m not a candy eater myself, but I’m sure I’d score points with my husband and friends by whipping up a batch or two of these!

    • Reply
      February 2, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Those points would be ‘truffle points’ instead of ‘brownie points’ 😉

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    February 2, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I love my cayenne too. And my chocolate so I’m quite certain by just looking, that these would be a hit! Great photos too!

    • Reply
      February 2, 2018 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Chris!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2018 at 9:32 am

    I love chocolate and spice together! It is such a surprise when you bite into them! Beautiful photos!

    • Reply
      February 2, 2018 at 11:22 am

      The heat is so interesting, too, Beth, because it doesn’t ‘hit’ you right away.

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