Sultry as a summer night. That’s what we thought when we experienced this seductively smooth, devilishly dark chocolate ice cream that’s almost naughtily intense. One taste and you’ll understand.–Stella Parks

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream FAQs

Why do you add alcohol to homemade ice cream?

a nip of alcohol slows the freezing, which allows the ice cream to slow down while churning and incorporate more air, giving you a lighter end result. Omitting the alcohol will make the ice cream more dense, harder to scoop, and less velvety smooth. If you don’t have crème de cacao, use vodka, bourbon or rum. You can even add a complimentary flavor like crème de menthe or triple sec.

Don’t worry about the kids not wanting any, as we’re guessing the intensely dark chocolate taste is going to send most kids back to their tub of vanilla. Let them have it. Means more of this for you.

How long will this dark chocolate ice cream last in the freezer?

Homemade ice cream will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

A frosty metal pan full of dark chocolate ice cream on a counter covered with sprinkles.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

5 from 1 vote
This dark chocolate ice cream takes the rich flavors of devil's food cake and turns them into a creamy, smooth frozen treat.
David Leite
Servings8 servings | 1 quart
Calories411 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time5 hours


  • Ice cream maker


For the ice cream base

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (use 1/8 teaspoon if substituting iodized salt)
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the chocolate paste

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, such as Cacao Barry Extra Brute
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped 72% dark chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons crème de cacao*, (see note above)


Make the ice cream base

  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and milk in a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan over low heat and gently stir until warm, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-low and stir until the custard is slightly thickened and steaming hot, about 5 minutes more. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, scraping the pot.

Make the chocolate paste

  • In the same pot, whisk together the sugar and cocoa and then add the chopped chocolate and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture is bubbling hot, 5 to 7 minutes.

Make the ice cream

  • Strain the cocoa mixture into the custard and then stir in the vanilla extract and crème de cacao. Let cool to room temperature (if you like, to hasten the process you can place the bowl of custard in a larger bowl filled halfway with ice water) and refrigerate until the mixture is cold and thick and pudding-like, about 4 hours. (You can cover and refrigerate the custard for up to 1 week.)
  • Dump the custard into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions until your ice cream is creamy and thick. If your machine has an open top, cover it with an inverted baking pan or pie dish or something like that to keep it cold as it churns. Meanwhile, place a flexible spatula and quart container (an empty yogurt tub works great) in the freezer.
  • When the dark chocolate ice cream is done, if you like a “soft serve" consistency, you can serve it straight from the ice cream maker or, if you prefer a firmer consistency, you can scrape the ice cream into the chilled container with the chilled spatula, press some plastic wrap against the ice cream to minimize the risk of freezer burn, and seal the container. Freeze until it’s firm enough to scoop, about 12 hours.
Bravetart Cookbook

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 411 kcalCarbohydrates: 41 gProtein: 7 gFat: 26 gSaturated Fat: 15 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 180 mgSodium: 113 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 31 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Stella Parks. Photo © 2017 Penny De Los Santos. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Sultry as a summer night, this dark chocolate ice cream is for grown-ups. Bittersweet, dark, rich, and creamy, it will haunt you at midnight until you dip a spoon in and let the ganache-like frozen treat melt in your mouth and satiate your cravings.

The chocolate is intense but this chocolate ice cream recipe has the perfect balance of sugar to round it out along with a hint of salt and the slight warming sensation of the alcohol which meets your palette on the back end. Another lovely bonus, it stays scoopable after being frozen for a few days and never loses the fresh churned flavor. If you’re looking for a sophisticated dessert, this is it.

This dark chocolate ice cream is one of the best ice creams that I’ve made–and I’ve made quite a few over the years. It came out exactly as promised: jet black, intense chocolate flavor, creamy, and soft. I used Black Onyx dutch processed cocoa powder.

It kept well in our freezer, though I have to say it wasn’t something we were able to ignore for long so I wasn’t able to see how well it keeps its texture over the course of a week or longer. We just don’t have that kind of willpower when it comes to great ice cream.

We ate it with intensely chocolate skillet brownies that had been warmed slightly, which might have been a little much, even for someone like me who loves chocolate. My husband and our friend really enjoyed the two together, though, with the contrast of textures and temperatures.

Oh my, this dark chocolate ice cream recipe certainly delivers. I’m not usually a fan of chocolate ice cream, perhaps because it so often fails to convey serious excitement in terms of flavor depth and is frequently more reminiscent of chocolate pudding in terms of pleasant but basically benign flavor. But this approach—making a chocolate paste that’s nearly black with cocoa—results in a whole different beast.

The look and flavor are striking, and even my husband (who is generically happy with all kinds of chocolate ice cream) said “WOW.” before even swallowing the very first bite. (Actually, he said, “This tastes like a really good chocolate cake” = BINGO!) Fabulous recipe. Super simple and straightforward recipe that works exactly as written. And it looks EXACTLY like the photo—deep and dark and mysterious. Very rich and a little goes a long way.

Great to pair with a butterscotch blondie or brownie or even an after dinner pour of Grand Marnier or anything with orange flavor notes.

Chocolate ice cream is one of those recipes that I never seem fully satisfied with. Just when I think, “Found it! This is it!” along comes another recipe that takes that spot and then another and so on. This delightfully dark, intense, chewy delight is the current pedestal resident.

It is a chocolate ice cream for those of us who love dark intense chocolate with a nice bitter edge. It’s not for wimps. I loved it. I don’t have crème de cacao, so I used instead a tablespoon of bourbon and tablespoon of dark rum. That worked great and I did not have to buy a bottle of a liquor that I will most likely never use again.

This dark chocolate ice cream was easy enough to make and the end result was to die for, a must for any chocolate lover. The consistency is perfectly creamy and the chocolate flavor is incredibly intense. It’s just frustrating having to wait 5 hours before being able to eat it all! It was a hit with my partner and I am sure it be a massive success at any dinner party.

Oh my, this is it, this is the only chocolate ice cream you’ll ever want to make. Rich and creamy and velvety chocolate goodness. Pure heaven. I’m sure I looked like a five year old after been given the spoon to lick clean. Chocolate-coated fingers and face.

I did manage to get some into a container to share with my family but I will never regret every little spoonful I took along the way. This won’t last long so be prepared to make a second and a third and a fourth batch. Perfect straight from the ice cream maker as soft serve and scoops easily right from the freezer.

Extremely decadent and luxurious and the first spoonful tastes like more but a small serving is all you’ll need to feel extremely indulgent.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Stumbled across this looking for another recipe on the site. Tried it out and nearly had to stand guard over the refrigerator overnight to keep my chocolate loving wife out of the custard.
    Then almost had to chain the freezer door shut for the ice cream to harden. She sampled it when I took it out of the churn. We had some after lunch on one of these hot Alabama summer days. Well worth the wait. Will be making it again. If I don’t my wife may do unkind things. One of the best more or less adult ice cream recipes I’ve come across. The small amount of alcohol helps keep the ice crystal size down and keeps the end product as smooth as possible. Love it.

    1. So glad you’ve found a keeper that makes everyone happy, Vincent! You definitely don’t want to disappoint your wife, so I’m glad to hear you’ll have it on repeat. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  2. 5 stars
    I make a lot of ice cream, and have for quite some time. This by far is the best chocolate one I’ve made. Of course, I should have known Stella Parks would involved in something so deliciously good. I could use a dozen superlatives, but until you make this, you’ll never understand how good this really is. I made the base one day and put in the fridge to cool overnight. It was so thick and pudding like the next morning before freezing that I almost stopped then and there and ate the whole bowl. Wow!