Chocolate Ice Cream


Oh.My.God. In his prologue to this recipe in The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz says that when he first made this ice cream it was so good he licked the dasher clean when it was done churning. I may have done him one better. After licking the dasher clean, I took a spoon to clean up all the bits of ice cream that were still frozen to the sides of the bowl and hadn’t made it into the freezer container. This is, without question, the absolute best chocolate ice cream I have ever eaten. And I certainly have eaten enough to guarantee that the previous statement is statistically accurate. Smooth, creamy, and the most intense chocolate flavor you will ever find in a chocolate ice cream.

Let’s talk about the chocolate, shall we? This recipe calls for Dutch-process cocoa powder*, which adds a tremendous amount of depth and richness to this ice cream. I believe it’s a drastically improved flavor over what you would get using a regular unsweetened cocoa powder. The recipe then gives the option of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and I used 60% bittersweet. I love dark chocolate and it definitely added an extra oomph of richness to the ice cream. I really just can’t say enough about the incredible flavor of this ice cream and I think the Dutch-process cocoa and the bittersweet chocolate is a stellar combination.

And now, on to the texture. This is the first time I have made ice cream using egg yolks to thicken the custard and I’ve been officially converted. While the other ice creams I’ve made have had a nice texture, this ice cream is completely unmatched. It is unbelievably smooth and creamy, and you can run a spoon through it straight from the freezer like you’re cutting butter. Absolutely superb.

And now I need your help. I am in need of a quality ice cream scoop. I want the pretty round scoops. Does anyone have any recommendations? I recently saw the Rösle ice cream scoop received high praise from Cook’s Illustrated, but am interested in hearing about any that you use and  love. Thanks for the input!

*I typically can’t find Dutch-process cocoa powder in the regular grocery stores in my area; if you’re in the same boat, you can easily order it online. I have ordered it both from Penzeys and Amazon with no problem. I would highly recommend getting it, as you can use it in many other chocolate baked goods as well. Penzeys offers smaller quantities, so if you just want to try it out, you can get a small bag of it through them for a much lower cost.

Want more ice cream? Check out the Blueberry Cheesecake and Classic Vanilla recipes.

Don’t forget! If you’re dying to make homemade ice cream and cursing yourself for not having an ice cream maker, head straight to this tutorial on how to make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker!

One year ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

(From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz)


157 Responses to “Chocolate Ice Cream”

Comment Pages 1 2 3
  1. Mathilde's Cuisine on July 10, 2009 at 4:58 am

    It looks absolutely delicious and the picture speaks to itself!


  2. jonathan on July 10, 2009 at 6:15 am

    The ice cream looks to have perfect texture, great! Thank you for the recipe, I would like to try at home.


  3. VeggieGirl on July 10, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Ahhh classic ice cream!!

    The best ice cream scooper I’ve ever used is from Crate & Barrel.


  4. Little Scarlet on July 10, 2009 at 8:46 am

    This makes me want to run out and buy an ice cream maker! There are so many good ice cream recipes out there, and this just looks to-die-for!


  5. Carrie on July 10, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I just made this ice cream over the weekend too, and I totally agree! It’s the richest, creamiest chocolate ice cream that I’ve ever had! I love your photo!


  6. Michelle on July 10, 2009 at 9:29 am

    VeggieGirl – Thanks for the scoop recommendation! I’ll have to check out Crate & Barrel – their stuff is usually pretty reasonable.


  7. Michelle on July 10, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Carrie – Thanks for the compliment on my photo! Glad to hear that you tried this as well and loved it too. I just can’t get over the flavor, it’s to die for!


  8. Tracey on July 10, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Wow–I can’t wait to try it. Is there an ice cream maker you recommend?


  9. Michelle on July 10, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Hi Tracey, I use the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer, and I have also heard good things about the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker – Hope that helps!


  10. Bridget on July 10, 2009 at 11:48 am

    David Lebovitz is pretty amazing, isn’t he? Apparently I need to make this ice cream next.


  11. stephchows on July 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    This looks so amazing!!! I’m a huge dark chocolate fan :) delicious!


  12. Erin on July 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I agree you can’t beat the ultimate creaminess of ice cream made with egg yolks.

    And I always lick the dasher!!!


  13. Erin on July 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I made this a few months ago and I agree- it’s the best ever!


  14. Eliana on July 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    OK – I’m not a fan of chocolate ice cream but the way you described this one made me want to try is ASAP!


  15. Donna @ Way More Homemade on July 10, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I have been thinking about making some chocolate ice cream. This sounds great!


  16. Ben on July 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    That looks sinfully delicious! Yum!


  17. Erin Brooks on July 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I can’t wait till one day I have a standing mixer. For now I have to dream.
    Your ice cream looks decadent!


  18. Talita Gomes on July 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Wow!! I love ice cream!! This looks so creamy and yummy!


  19. April on July 10, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Just wanted to let you know I voted for your banana bread and I’m making it tomorrow!


  20. bakingmomma on July 10, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Once again delicious. People must love being your neighbors lol


  21. Katrina on July 10, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    While I’m certainly not “fightin’ ya” on this one, I recently made Dorie’s Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream and THAT was the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had. I haven’t tried the Perfect Scoop one yet, but I’m going to. You should try Dorie’s and see what you think. Definitely LOVE ice cream made with egg custard since getting my new ice cream maker a month ago. Love it. Your cone looks yummy. I’m off to order some Dutch cocoa, you’re right, can’t find it here anywhere.


  22. Jenny on July 10, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Sounds yummy! My favorite all time ice cream scoop is from the Pampered Chef. “Heavy-duty dipper uses the heat of your hand to warm the defrosting liquid sealed inside the handle to easily cut through hard ice cream.” It gently melts the ice cream so that it scoops into perfect balls. I have bought one for all of my family and they all love it as well. It’s under $15 and lasts forever!


  23. Indigo on July 11, 2009 at 7:28 am

    After licking the dasher clean, I took a spoon to clean up all the bits of ice cream that were still frozen to the sides of the bowl and hadn’t made it into the freezer container.

    Could’ve been worse – I’d have licked out the freezer container itself, haha! This looks AMAZING. Gorgeous photography!


  24. Katie on July 11, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Boy you have been busy this week! Looks great keep it up!


  25. Cookin' Canuck on July 11, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I can tell by the color of this ice cream that it is rich and delicious. I finally broke out my ice cream maker last night, so I will have to give this a try.


  26. Kerstin on July 11, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Wow, after that endorsement I’m going to have to get over my fear of using eggs in ice cream and just go for it! It looks amazing!!


  27. Mama Mel on July 12, 2009 at 12:01 am

    This looks sooo good! I saw another recipe for ice cream recently, and it looks like I’ll have to get my ice cream maker out and start making my own! :)


  28. miranda on July 13, 2009 at 7:06 am

    I absolutely adore your site.
    That is why I am giving you an award….It is located at my site.
    Thanks for all of the amazing bakes.


  29. Jaime on July 13, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    i recently made this after seeing it on another blog, too, and LOVED it.


  30. Karine on July 13, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    This ice cream looks wonderful!!!!!


  31. Em on July 17, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I had been on the fence about buying this book but after now making this recipe, I’ve fallen off on the BUY IT side.


  32. Joshua on September 6, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I just made this icecream and couldnt figure out the part where you have to scrape the egg yolks back into the saucepan. My wasnt thick enoguh to scrape and then the mixture of milk, sugar and salt and egg yolks never got thick enough to cover the spatula until it was all grainy. Is that the way it suppose to look perhaps maybe you could take a picture of what your end result of egg yolks, milk, salt, sugar looks like before pouring into strainer.


  33. Michelle on September 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Joshua,

    I’m sorry to hear that the custard didn’t quite turn out for you. As far as “scraping” the egg mixture back into the saucepan – it is not thick at this point, but the instructions say scrape merely to stress that you should get all of the mixture back into the pan and not leave any in the bowl. It should not be grainy; the only thing I can think of is perhaps the heat wasn’t up high enough to actually cook the custard and thicken it, but rather was just heating it and it never came together. The next time I make ice cream I will definitely take a picture of this step.



    • Laura on September 3rd, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      I was also confused about the ‘custard’ part. How thick was is supposed to get? I was worried about overcooking and making scrambled eggs out of the whole thing- but of course worried about undercooking…. I don’t feel like I got enough volume out of the whole mixture (it only filled about half the maker?), so now I’m certian that I didn’t do the custard part correctly. I felt that my spatula was lightly coated with the ‘custard,’ but should it have been as thick as, say, a pudding?


      • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 10:57 am

        Hi Laura, It should not be as thick as pudding, but it will thicken enough so that it clings to the back of a spoon and not just run off. The mixture should not fill the entire ice cream maker, as it grows in volume when it’s churned. In the future, you should try to use an instant-read digital thermometer. The custard is done when it reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. You can then see what the accompanying consistency is like.


        • infinity on August 19th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

          can you make a video for this on youtube or something? it’s my first time using the ice cr3eam maker and i’m having a hard time thinking of what everything is.


  34. Janene on June 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I don’t have an ice cream maker ~ but my mom does. :) We may just have to take a grocery bag up to Grammie’s house and make some of this. Chocolate is my FAVORITE ice cream.


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  37. Maggie on June 23, 2010 at 8:49 pm You’re right! It was, hands down, the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever made. I did as you did – licked the dasher, and squeaked every last bit out of the chilling bowl (or whatever you call that thing). Thanks! I’m taking this recipe to Beersheba this summer.


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  39. Ana-Maria Popescu on June 25, 2010 at 1:29 am

    I will definitly try to make this icecream these days. I looks absolutely delicious!


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  42. Jujey on September 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    OMG, I made this today, and I totally agree this is the best ice cream I have ever tasted…’s still not completely frozen and already the kids, hubby and I can’t seems to leave it alone…..i think by the time it is done, half of it will be done. It is so smooth!!! I love your website!!! Great pics, and u and I must have the same taste buds, b/c I love everything that u have posted. Keep up the great work!!!


    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

      Jujey – Thanks for coming back to share your results – I am a total slave to this ice cream too – intoxicating! And thank you for the kind words about the site – much appreciated!


  43. Carrie M on December 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Just got this out of the KA and WOW! Such a great, creamy texture!! The dutch process/bittersweet combo is amazing. Thanks for the recipe!


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  45. Anzelle @ Scrambledpancakes on February 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I just made this. Without an ice cream maker. And it is (I have the bowl next to me as I type) the best chocolate ice cream I have ever tasted. I followed the suggestions for making the ice cream with no ice cream maker, and it came out so smoothly, better than any ice cream I’ve ever had anywhere. It’s the perfect Valentine’s day dessert.


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  48. Cindy on April 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    This looked so fabulous that I had to try it. It was the first recipe I made with my new ice cream attachment for my K.A. Instead of milk, I used 1/2 &1/2 (how did that change the recipe?). Also, I have no idea which cocoa is “dutch process”; I used Hersey’s. I used Ghirardeli semi sweet chocolate chips. Also I don’t know how I did it, but I totally forgot the vanilla! This ice cream is rich, creamy, thick, lucious.Beats any ice cream I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for sharing.


    • Michelle on April 29th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Cindy, Using half and half in place of whole milk would just create a creamier, richer custard base (um, yum!). Also, Dutch-processed cocoa can be ordered through King Arthur Flour, Penzeys, Amazon and a number of other online retailers. (I get mine from Penzeys). I’m glad you enjoyed the ice cream!


      • Laura on September 3rd, 2012 at 5:18 pm

        they also have it at World Market shops!


      • Gregg on May 18th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

        Michelle: I am being a pain in the neck tonight posting all over your terrific site, but I wanted to make one more recommndation. I use Pernagotti’s dutch process cocoa powder. Unbelievable smooth, intense choclate flavor with ground vanilla in it. In my humble opinion there is simply nothing that even compares. Once you try it, I guarantee you’ll be hooked. It works well in every recipe requiring chocolate I’ve tried. And that range is wide from ice cream to cakes and so on. I even used it to mix with chipotle, and pork spices to make a pork rub for ribs. It was mind blowing to say the least. Available @ at about 22.50 for a 2.2 lb bag. WELL worth the money. It’s Italian!!! It HAS to be good!!!


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  50. Johana on May 17, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I’ve never been a huge fan of chocolate ice cream myself, but when I read his prologue of the recipe, I knew I had to try it. The ice creams that I make usually last 1 week or more in the freezer. This one lasts 2 days. When I’ve made it, my family takes two scoops each as dessert after lunch and dinner. We most absolutely love it!


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