Bittersweet Chocolate and Buttermilk Ice Cream

This bitter chocolate and buttermilk ice cream is smooth and creamy with a pronounced yet not too bitter chocolate intensity.

Two types of dark chocolates lend this bittersweet chocolate and buttermilk ice cream its smooth, creamy, chocolatey lavishness. Not too bitter. Not too sweet. Just perfectly in between. Whoever said moderation is boring was wrong in this instance.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Bittersweet Chocolate and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Two bitter chocolate and buttermilk ice cream cones in glasses.
This bitter chocolate and buttermilk ice cream is smooth and creamy with a pronounced yet not too bitter chocolate intensity.
Micah Carr-Hill

Prep 30 mins
Total 30 mins
5 / 6 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Green & Black's Organic Ultimate Chocolate Recipes cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • Ice cream maker


  • 3 large or extra large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces 70% dark chocolate grated
  • 3 1/2 ounces 85% dark chocolate grated
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
  • Store-bought or homemade waffle cones (optional)


  • Place a bowl in the freezer. Place the egg yolks and half the sugar in another bowl and whisk until light, fluffy, and pale in color.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, cream, and the remaining sugar until just below the boiling point. Slowly pour a little of the cream mixture into the yolks and whisk until blended.
  • Slowly, slowly pour in the rest of the cream mixture, whisking constantly, until combined. Immediately return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat, whisking fairly frequently, until it begins to thicken. Do not let the mixture boil.
  • Add both the chocolates to the pan and stir until they're melted and smooth.
  • Stir in the buttermilk until blended. Strain the mixture into the chilled bowl from the freezer and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the ice cream mixture anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
  • Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Transfer the mixture to a container and stash it in the freezer to firm the consistency slightly or until you can't stand the wait anymore. (This is best served within a day of churning but will keep well for at least 1 week in the freezer.)
Print RecipeBuy the Green & Black's Organic Ultimate Chocolate Recipes cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Chocolate lovers will flip over this ice cream. It’s very rich with a deep, dark chocolate flavor. Clearly it was designed for the Green & Black’s chocolate cookbook, because it’s the only manufacturer I can find in the grocery store that makes 85 percent cocoa solids chocolate!

Some tips: After turning the mixture into the chilled bowl, put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least two hours. It took about 30 minutes in the ice cream maker to reach the correct texture, but you could eat it sooner if you like it soft.

My tasters loved this ice cream. It’s about as perfect as chocolate ice cream can be with a rich, chocolate flavor and a moderate level of sweetness. It’s as easy to prepare as any custard-based ice cream. The mixture took about two hours to cool in the refrigerator. A bit longer or overnight would’ve been better, but we just couldn’t wait to taste it.

The next time I make this, I’ll put the mixture in the freezer to cool so we won’t have to wait quite so long!

The deep, dark chocolate flavor in this ice cream is wonderfully pronounced but thankfully not bitter, and the accompanying tang of buttermilk is subtle and very welcome as it cuts the richness of this luscious ice cream. One small scoop of the creamy, rich goodness was plenty for the adult tasters (the kid tasters weren’t around, but I suspect that some would have preferred a milk chocolate ice cream).

So far, my favorite way to serve this ice cream is with something fresh and tart like raspberries or blackberries. For this batch, I used Valhrona chocolate, but I wonder how different the taste would be with a different brand. I rarely make ice cream so I wasn’t certain how light and fluffy the egg yolks and sugar should be—the mixture turned a pale yellow color quickly, but seemed far off from light and fluffy. I kept whisking for a few more minutes but did wonder if it was enough since it never reached the fluffy stage. I might try a handheld mixer for this step the next time to speed this step up. It took about 4 hours to cool in the fridge. If I make this again, I’d probably leave it overnight.

This is a super-rich, dense, chocolate ice cream. The texture is superb. There’s just the slightest tang from the buttermilk, which combines well with the bitter but somewhat fruity taste of the chocolate. This is not a very sweet ice cream, which is just fine if, like me, you don’t have a big sweet tooth. You could have a little fun with this recipe by adding some chile pepper and/or cinnamon. But as-is, this is a winner if you like an intense chocolate ice cream, with a dense, smooth texture.

This recipe is quite easy to make. For fans of Ben & Jerry’s NY Super Fudge Chunk, this is a good recipe to use as a base when making your own version.

Although it calls for grating the chocolate, the heat from the cream mixture is sufficient to melt the two types of chocolate if you simply break it into small squares. I always add a pinch of sea salt to my ice cream to pull out the flavors, and I recommend doing so with this recipe.

I let the cooked mixture cool for 45 minutes to reach room temperature before adding it to my Cuisinart ice cream machine. You can speed up the process by chilling it in your refrigerator. A warning: This is a very rich recipe. I suggest cutting back on the cream by half, and increasing the milk to make this less rich. It still will be scrumptious.

My next batch will include add-ons of chopped toasted walnuts or dry roasted almonds, and perhaps white and dark chocolate, if I really want to be bad!

This is a fantastic chocolate ice cream recipe. It was quick and easy to prepare, and although I was skeptical about pouring it into the ice cream maker within a half hour of cooking the custard, it worked perfectly! When I tasted it directly from the ice cream maker, it had the texture of a creamy mousse, almost like gelato. It was full of chocolate flavor but wasn’t too sweet. I served it a couple of hours after it was churned. The light, creamy, mousse-like texture held, and the flavor was truly decadent. It was both rich and refreshing at the same time. The only thing I’d add would be a dollop of whipped cream.

Originally published August 26, 2020


#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.


  1. Wonder if you could replace the buttermilk with plain whole milk yogurt? The fat content of the yogurt is higher, so perhaps reduce the heavy cream at the same time?

    Purely a situational request — I always have yogurt on-hand, but rarely have buttermilk (I use thinned yogurt in almost all recipes calling for it).

    1. Not sure about the yogurt, but a common way to substitute for buttermilk if you don’t have any store-bought on hand is to put about a Tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup and add milk (to bring total liquid to 1 cup). Mix and let stand about 5 mins or so.

      I think I’d try this before adjusting the fat content via yogurt or the reduction of cream. But I’m also curious to know whether you try the yogurt, if it works. I usually have yogurt (and lemons and milk) on hand, but not as often buttermilk.

      Of course, I also like cornbread and when I make that I have leftover buttermilk. Now, with this ice cream, I know what to do with the leftovers!

    2. I’m going to ask some of our more experienced ice cream makers to weigh in, Katy. Without trying it, I can’t say for certain. You’ll lose a little of the tang, and I wonder if perhaps the texture may be not quite as smooth, depending on that fat content. I wouldn’t tinker with the amount of heavy cream…but stand by, we’ll get some more opinions for you…

      1. Low fat plain yoghurt should work just fine as an alternative to buttermilk. Similar pH, similar fat, and slightly higher protein and natural sugars, but nothing to worry about. BTW, thanks for all the kind comments about the recipe. Glad to hear it’s being made and enjoyed.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish