Dark Chocolate Gelato

Dark chocolate gelato is such a simple, yet utterly satisfying, dessert for those of you who love something with more flavor than sweetness. It’s still sweet, obviously. But it also has a luxurious and sophisticated depth of flavor that’s so appealing.

2 rectangular plates with scoops of dark chocolate gelato, one on a scoop and one in a cone, surrounded by squares of dark chocolate and a bowl of cocoa.

Adapted from Ann Reardon | How to Cook That: Crazy Sweet Creations | Mango, 2021

This is a deliciously rich chocolate gelato that you can make at home even if you do not have an ice cream machine. Gelato is a bit different from ice cream in that it doesn’t use cream, so it’s a little lower in fat. Although if you make chocolate gelato you’re adding chocolate (and hence fat) so don’t think it’s healthy for you, just enjoy it as a ‘sometimes’ food.–Ann Reardon


Here’s a little advice from the author, Ann Reardon, herself, “The best gelato is made using an ice cream machine. It churns the mixture as it freezes resulting in a smooth, soft gelato without any detectable ice crystals. But what if you don’t have an ice cream machine? Well, you can add xanthan gum, which is added to commercial ice creams, it helps it not to freeze solid and keeps the ice crystal size smaller. It won’t be as smooth or soft as its ice cream machine rival–but it will still taste delicious and have the kids asking for more.”

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☞ Contents

Dark Chocolate Gelato

2 rectangular plates with scoops of dark chocolate gelato, one on a scoop and one in a cone, surrounded by squares of dark chocolate and a bowl of cocoa.
Chocolate gelato is always a crowd-pleaser. It can be dressed up in a sundae or eaten by itself. Try it with fresh strawberries and warm chocolate sauce or drizzled with caramel.

Prep 25 mins
Chill Time 6 hrs
Total 7 hrs
12 servings (1.2 quarts)
202 kcal
5 from 1 vote
Print RecipeBuy the How to Cook That: Crazy Sweet Creations cookbook

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  • Ice cream maker


  • 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground but not powdery)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk


  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and cream, microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, heat 30 seconds more, and stir again. Repeat in 10-second bursts, stirring each time, until there are no lumps of unmelted chocolate remaining, about 70 seconds total. Whisk to combine chocolate and cream.
  • In a separate medium-size microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, skim milk powder, and cocoa powder, mix. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk. You want to add just enough milk to make the mixture wet. If you rub it between your fingers, the mixture will feel gritty because of the sugar.
  • Heat chocolate mixture in microwave for 60 seconds on high, stir, then repeat in 20-second bursts, stirring after each time, until sugar is dissolved. Whisk cream mixture into chocolate.
  • Pour in remaining milk and whisk until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until completely chilled.
  • Pour mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturers’ directions, about 30 minutes.
  • Freeze until firm, about 3 hours.
Print RecipeBuy the How to Cook That: Crazy Sweet Creations cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 202kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 24g (8%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 6g (38%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 25mg (8%)Sodium: 58mg (3%)Potassium: 287mg (8%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 396IU (8%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 144mg (14%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This dark chocolate gelato is all sorts of happiness!

3 bowls of dark chocolate gelato, the one in the forefront is garnished with a tempura fried zucchini blossom.

For one, it takes almost no time to make. I also liked the use of the microwave for melting and melding. It’s a hit with dark chocolate and milk chocolate lovers alike. It tastes rich beyond the ingredient richness as there’s only 2/3 cup of cream in 1.2 quarts of gelato. It’s sweet, but not overly sweet, and it melts on your tongue like warm velvet and cool silk. It can pleasure 12 palates!

I’ve made 2 batches already. The first, we enjoyed with crispy tempura zucchini blossoms. You know, just to keep the Italian theme going. As for the second batch, we just bowled and spooned! The kids left skid marks on the bottom of the ice cream tub.

Chop chop!.. that Lindt chocolate! …and away you go! You’re welcome!

Dark chocolate lovers take note. You might want to get your freezer bowl in the freezer right away. Sure, sometimes you’re in the mood for a fancy-schmancy flavor, but when only fully unadulterated dark chocolate will do, this awesome gelato is the ticket.

A bright cream bowl with 2 scoops of dark chocolate gelato.

The mouthfeel is not super creamy like ice cream, probably due to the lower butterfat level and the addition of nonfat dry milk. It has more of a velvety texture but is still very satisfying with a big punch of chocolatey flavor. And the combination of chocolate and cocoa powder works to create a nice well-rounded taste.

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% worked well here. Since it is such a thick bar, I suggest you chop it into small pieces before melting. I chose Guittard Dutch-process cocoa rouge, but you could also use natural cocoa if that’s your preference. Whatever you choose, be sure that the chocolate and cocoa are the ones you love.

You will need to get a head start with this recipe. Start by making sure your freezer bowl is good and frozen, at least a day before churning. Then you are going to need at least 3 hours for chilling. I left mine in the refrigerator overnight. After 30 minutes of churning, my gelato was really very soft, so a rest in the freezer was necessary. We waited 6 hours before serving. It was still a bit on the soft side but was easily scooped into balls. Even on day 2, this dark chocolate gelato remains softer and melts faster than ice cream, and is best served in a bowl. Serve in a cone at your own risk!

Gelato is probably my favorite frozen dessert and this dark chocolate gelato was exactly what I wanted. Deep chocolate flavor with a hint of cocoa, reminded me of the gelato from my favorite scoop shop. In other words, it’s what I expected and it couldn’t have been easier to prepare.

Even my dinner guests with an aversion to dark chocolate (hard to believe, I know) wanted more. What’s more, it reminded me why breaking out the ice cream maker shouldn’t be the rarity it had recently become. I’d definitely make this again and experiment with add-ins and other flavors.

This was my first time ever making gelato and this recipe for dark chocolate gelato was surprisingly simple. I have eaten a lot of gelato over the years and enjoy it because it uses more whole milk than heavy cream. This results in less fat but still the same satisfying dessert!  The dark chocolate and cocoa powder combination resulted in a silky and luxurious mouthfeel! Although it takes several hours to chill the gelato base, it is well worth the wait.

Originally published September 4, 2021


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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