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”

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  3. Jessica on June 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I have gone through so many so called “perfect” recipes for chocolate ice cream. But either the texture didn’t suite my taste or the flavor lacked intensity. So in order to be cheap I decided to be “smart” and 3rd the recipe so if it turned out to be “meh” it’s not a big loss of my fairly expensive dutch coco and chocolate.

    Quiet possibly the dumbest mistake I’ve made in the kitchen. It’s sooooo creamy and inteansly chocolaty and rich and ……I’ll stop….

    I have just enough for a small serving but once thats gone I’ll defiently be making another batch of this.


  4. Aimee on August 11, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Hi Michelle,
    I’ve never made homemade ice cream before and I’m excited to try this recipe along with the help of your “how to make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker” post. The chocolate ice cream looks absolutely divine in your photo! But before I can begin my ice cream endeavor I have a question, all I have at home is regular dutch processed cocoa powder, i don’t have unsweetened dutch cocoa powder. Can I use the dutch powder that I already have or must I go buy the unsweetened?


    • Michelle on August 11th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Aimee, Does your dutch cocoa powder specifically say “sweetened”? If it doesn’t, it probably is actually unsweetened. If it is indeed sweetened, you’ll need to go with the unsweetened.


      • Aimee on August 15th, 2011 at 3:12 am

        Thanks so much Michelle, I went through with the Dutch cocoa powder I already had and it was an absolute success! I was thrilled that everything worked out and the chocolate ice cream turned out very rich in flavor- utterly delicious! Thanks again!


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  6. Ryley on December 27, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Hi, I am planning on making this today and I was wondering how long to chill it in the fridge for before pouring in the machine??



    • Maggie on December 27th, 2011 at 11:18 am

      I’ve always heard at least 4 hours but up to 24 hours.


    • Michelle on December 30th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Ryley, At least 8 hours, or overnight.


  7. Ellie Stroh on January 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    This looks SO GOOD!!! I will definitely make some and keep visiting this site! Thanks!!


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  9. pooface222 on February 13, 2012 at 3:52 am

    well i taught dis was yum!!! tasted grate and wen i ate it i cut my fingers on da churner because i had to eat it LOL!!!
    it was delish. but couldn’t find da cocoa power (Duch) anywere! LOL so i used unsweetend CAbury powder LOL yeah so u shood make it! LOL yeah so i may got bluud in the churner thing but tasted delish and added texture and flavour! Great job! I thoroughly enjoyed making this delicious treat to share with my family and friends! Thank you. – Mr. Japoor


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  11. Donnie on April 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Definitely Zerol make the best scoopers. Others such as the Pampered Chef with the liquid in the handle are knock offs of the Zerol. Probably made by Zerol. But Zerol is the original heat transfer scooper and used by many shops. They are color coded as per size and they have different shapes such as ball, round, and flat for gelato.

    I also find Zerol cheaper than otehr brands since you are buying direct form Zerol and not from a 3rd party such as pampered chef. Just visit your local restaurant supplier and they should have a line of Zerol scoopers available.


  12. catloveschanel on April 9, 2012 at 3:19 am

    Delicious! I used my KitchenAid for the first time as a overachiever newlywed and it turned out so fine, chocolatey and creamy! I used the 5 egg yolks for a gelato recipe from someone on the food network who thinks she is Italian but lives in LA and wears extremely lowcut shirts and it was flavorless. But yours was so great for Easter dessert!


  13. Kari on April 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Just made this for my family and it was AMAZING! Everyone loved how chocolate and creamy it was. Absolutely the best! Can’t wait to try the other recipes!


  14. Jeffery on May 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    We just made this and, though I hate to say it, the chocolate is almost overpowering. It’s very, very rich. Also, in our batch, the texture is more like that of a gelato and not as firm as an ice cream. We’re going to try another batch, but this time leave out the chocolate and only use the cocoa.


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  16. Mit Ailbu on June 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I made this today. It is a little time consuming, but will worth it.

    I made 3 variations. 1) I didn’t have bitter of semisweet chocolate, but I have a big block of some REALLY good milk chocolate. 2) With the first cup of cream and dutch cocoa, I added about 2 tablespoons of coconut cream. 3) I toasted about 3/4C almond slivers and added as I poured the custard into the churn.

    This is without a doubt the creamiest textured ice cream I’ve ever had. My wife has never liked homemade ice cream because she says it is gritty/grainy. This smooth and creamy. Better than my Haagen Dazs.


    • Michelle on June 10th, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Your adaptations sound absolutely amazing! Delicious!


  17. sandy on June 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    it was sooooooo amazing i cant wait to make it again


  18. sandy on June 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    its me again and i just want to say the picture speaks for its self, it was so good.


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  20. Lena on July 2, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I have never commented on any recipe I have ever tried, no matter how amazing. HOWEVER!!!!! I made this ice cream with my new KA ice cream attachment for my very first batch of homemade ice cream. Words can not express how amazingly delicious, smooth, rich, creamy and chocolaty this ice cream was! I was texting my mom until 1 am about this ice cream. I took it to work and didn’t tell anyone, since there wasn’t enough for everyone. Word got around fastanyways! The whole container was devoured, even by people who don’t like chocolate! Every bite makes you love it even more. Seriously- USE THIS RECIPE!!!!!


  21. Shannon on July 4, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Excellent recipe…… and my husband says that it is beyond excellent!


  22. Rene on July 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    This looks delish, but – if I want to make 4 quarts, then that means 20 eggs and I just can’t imagine using that many. It would taste too eggy, then (IMO). Has anyone made a gallon of this and if so, did you augment (reduce) the number of eggs, or did you use the full 20? My husband and I don’t like eggy-tasting ice cream (otherwise known as custar). I need to know before tomorrow (planning on making this for Saturday, July 7th. I want it to ‘cure’ in the freezer for a day or so). Thank you for taking the time to reply! :0)


    • Michelle on July 4th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      In my personal opinion, custard-based ice creams (which is any ice cream base made with egg yolks) taste a million times better – they’re creamy, rich and smooth. If you like this ice cream as-is, it’s not going to taste any different if you scale it up. Yes, it’s 20 egg yolks, but you’re increasing all of the other ingredients by the same amount, so it shouldn’t be an issue at all. This is by far the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had, so I highly recommend it. It does not taste “eggy”. If this concerns you, be sure that you don’t ignore the step of straining the custard through a fine mesh sieve – this will ensure that any little bits of cooked egg in the pan don’t make it into your ice cream.


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  28. Kendal on July 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Ok, so my ice cream has yet to be churned but it already taste amazing!! I can not imagine how delicious this will be once it is churned in my ice cream maker. I agree with the above comment. If you want creamy ice cream, using a custard base is the only way to go. Without the eggs, it’s essentially and ice milk….yuck!


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  32. John Ee on September 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    If I use honey instead of sugar, will it change the recipe taste significantly?


    • Michelle on September 26th, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Hi John, Yes, using honey in place of the sugar will definitely change the taste and it will also change the texture of the ice cream. I wouldn’t recommend that substitution due to how much sugar is used.


  33. John Ee on October 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for answering my previous question, I have one more question, can I add the egg yolk to the heavy cream that has already cooled down if I used pasteurized eggs.


    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Hi John, No, you still need to cook the eggs as indicated in the recipe. Cooking them thickens the mixture into a custard. If you don’t do this, you will end up with a very thin mixture that may not churn up into a true, thick ice cream.


  34. John Ee on October 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I used bittersweet chocolate and I zest the chocolate bars till very fine like sawdust and it was literally melting in my fingers. So I thought you might want my feedback, to avoid this, I think before zesting the chocolate, it would be better to put them in the freezer first till totally frozen before zesting :-)


  35. John Ee on October 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I made the ice cream and tasted it, it was very creamy, no doubt, it seems the best proportion is 2 cream : 1 milk. But taste wise I don’t think this is a winner, it taste good but lack the wow factor.

    I found this recipe, migh make it soon.


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  37. Wendy on April 22, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I made this ice cream yesterday and I can’t believe how good it is! It was my first attempt ever at making ice cream- I don’t own an ice cream making machine. I only hope that I can make it once again and have it turn it just as good or better!
    I live in The Netherlands and therefore used ingredients available in a Dutch grocery store. For anyone who may be interested, I used the following successfully:
    ‘slagroom’ (Dutch whipping cream)
    180g Verkade ‘puurchocolade’ (dark chocolate bar)
    3 T Blokker ‘cacao’ (unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa)
    I also note that I used only 4 egg yolks.
    Hats off to David Lebovitz for this incredible recipe and thank you to all the people who shared their experiences making this. I may just buy an ice cream maker soon!


  38. Gregg on May 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    You asked about ice cream scoops and the one I recommend is the Wilton Ice Cream scoop. It can scoop the hardest ice cream, covers the corners and has a silicon oadded handle and is available in at least 6 cool colors. The Rosle looks like a great tool but I’ve never used one so I cannot attest to it’s usability. It is also around $26.00. While I recognize that Rosle makes very high quality kitchen tools, the Wilton is hands down a wnner for less than half the cost. Most were under $10.00 and free delivery.


  39. Ariane on May 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

    OMG……just churned this off. AMAZING!!!! My husband and I are licking our spoons. THANKS! I am a very happy woman right now.


  40. Carmen on May 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for this amazing recipe. The ice cream is very creamy and silky and the taste is amazing.


  41. Amy on May 22, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Amazing. Better than shop bought. The texture was somewhere between a mousse and ice cream. Gobbled up by all the family. The richness of the dark chocolate (I used 85%) means small portions are enough.


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  43. June on June 12, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Hello! This (and the Strawberry!) is epic, epic epic!! I am making this for the second time! I have a question…When you have a recipe, like this one, that calls for 5 egg yolks, do you have a “go to” recipe for the whites? Thank you and many blessings in your new home!


    • Michelle on June 13th, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Hi June, It really all depends on what else I’m making in the coming days. Sometimes I have something specific I know I can use the whites for, or else I just save them for an egg white omelet!


  44. ChristyK on August 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Made this over the weekend. Absolutely amazing! My daughters were fighting to see who got to finish it off. My oldest (and sneakiest) took the container and locked herself in my room so she had enough time to finish it off before her sister could break in and get the ice cream back! :) Making again today to appease the heathens. Thanks for the recipe!!!


  45. Smalldeluxe on August 26, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    You will go to heaven for publishing this recipe. I licked the dasher clean, scraped the inside of the ice chamber and licked the custard bowl. I am sitting on the floor next to the fridge, spoon in hand, waiting for the ice cream to firm up. I might not make it.


  46. Lynne on September 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    After making the Coconut Vanilla Bean Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, I had 12 egg yolks left over. Even though I don’t have an ice cream maker, I decided to try this. It is truly a “sucker” ice cream recipe. I followed the directions, and it wasn’t that difficult, and it was SO good. I used David’s directions for making ice cream without an ice cream maker, but I used an immersion blender for breaking up the ice crystals, and I can’t imagine it coming out any better using an ice cream maker. I put the custard in a Ziplock oblong 8c plastic container, and this meant it was only ~2″ deep in the freezer, and it gave me some area to get the blender in there and really mix it up. It was also convenient because I just left it in the same container to scoop it out. I am now trying the apple pie ice cream with the same method. We’ll see how that goes, I’m not sure about the step of adding the snickerdoodles in the end, but I’ll figure it out.


  47. Zainab on October 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    This ice cream looks great. I would just like to ask why dutch process cocoa powder is used, isn’t natural cocoa powder supposed to give a more intense and chocolaty flavor? I cant find dutch process cocoa but really would love to make this ice cream. Thanks!


    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      I think Dutch-process cocoa powder a wonderfully clean and robust flavor, but you can make this with natural cocoa powder if you’d like.


  48. Gloria on October 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I have this custard cooling in the refrigerator as I type. It was dark. I used the dutch cocoa and 5 oz Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips. Did your base come out darker than the end product?
    BTW, I made your chocolate malt ice cream for my gluten-free nephew and after it was done, I realized malt powder is NOT gluten free. Oh Snap! I had to make another batch so chose this one. Poor me!!!


    • Michelle on October 17th, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Hi Gloria, It does get a little lighter when it churns, but I wouldn’t be worried about the color!


      • Gloria on October 19th, 2013 at 10:06 pm

        It came out perfect. Thanks!


  49. Gloria on October 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I used your malted ice cream and added cocoa to make it chocolate malt.


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