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This chocolate ice cream recipe is the very best! Rich and creamy, it’s irresistible from the first spoonful: and simple to make.

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
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Want the very best frosty treat? Try this homemade chocolate ice cream recipe! It’s irresistibly creamy, with a rich chocolate flavor that makes it hard not to take another bite. With just 7 ingredients, it’s simple to whip up at home too! This one goes in our hall of fame of ice cream recipes, along with this mint chip and of course, the classic vanilla. You don’t even need any actual chocolate (though of course you can add mix ins!).

Ingredients in chocolate ice cream

This chocolate ice cream is classic and pure. While some ice cream recipes use melted chocolate, we prefer the flavor with the classic cocoa powder. The base is a spin on this vanilla homemade ice cream, and we use our signature trick of cornstarch to keep the texture creamy over time. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this chocolate ice cream recipe:

  • Whole milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Cornstarch
  • Cocoa powder
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
Chocolate ice cream recipe

Required equipment: ice cream maker

The ingredient list is simple, but this chocolate ice cream recipe does require one piece of special equipment: an ice cream maker. You’ll find it’s a great investment you can use to make sorbetssherbet and ice cream year round! There are two main types of ice cream makers on the market:

  • Freezer bowl ice cream maker (inexpensive). This type of ice cream maker is the most economical choice. Here’s the 2 quart freezer bowl ice cream maker we use; it’s a little pricier than some but it’s held up well over the years. Be sure to freeze the base of the ice cream maker overnight before making this recipe.
  • Automatic ice cream maker (expensive but easy to use!). Do you make ice cream often? Consider this automatic ice cream maker, which is larger and more expensive. It requires no pre-freezing of the base, so you can make ice cream on a moment’s notice.
Chocolate ice cream

How to make chocolate ice cream (basic steps)

This homemade chocolate ice cream recipe uses the classic method for making ice cream: make a custard on the stovetop, chill it, churn it in an ice cream maker, then freeze to “ripen” the texture. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Make the custard (5 minutes): Simmer the cornstarch, whole milk, cocoa powder and sugar for 4 to 5 minutes, taking care that it doesn’t boil. Then add in the heavy cream, more milk, vanilla, and salt.
  • Cool the custard (1 hour or overnight): Cool down the custard before churning it. You can do this in a few ways. The quickest is to transfer the mixture to a large metal or glass bowl and place the bowl in a smaller bowl of ice water for 1 hour.
  • Churn (25 minutes): Churn the ice cream in the ice cream maker.
  • Freeze or “ripen” for hard ice cream texture (at least 2 hours or overnight): Freeze the ice cream for 2 hours or overnight for a scoop-able, hard ice cream texture.

Mix in ideas

This chocolate ice cream recipe is a perfect base for adding the mix-ins of your choice! To me, anything is better with a chocolate ice cream base: including cookie dough, which is never sold that way! So now I can make my perfect ice cream flavor with this base and our cookie dough recipe. We also adore this one with chocolate chips, straciatella style.

Here are our top mix in ideas for chocolate ice cream. Mix them in right in the container before serving, or you can place them in the ice cream maker in the last minute.

  • Double chocolate: Add chocolate chunks using the method from Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • Rocky road: Add toasted almonds and torn marshmallows (or mini marshmallows); go to Rocky Road Ice Cream.
  • Cookie dough: Use the cookie dough from this Cookie Dough Ice Cream recipe
  • Brownie bits: Crumble in bits of brownie before freezing.
  • Crushed cookies or candies: Try crushed Oreos or M&Ms.
Chocolate ice cream

More ice cream flavors

This chocolate ice cream base is one of our favorites that we’ve made at home! Here are a few more homemade ice cream flavors to try:

This chocolate ice cream recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Chocolate ice cream

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x


This chocolate ice cream recipe is the very best! Rich and creamy, it’s irresistible from the first spoonful: and simple to make.


  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, divided
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a small saucepan, slowly whisk the cornstarch and into 1 cup of the whole milk, then whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar. Heat over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, whisking frequently, until it’s almost simmering and the mixture thickens.
  2. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining ½ cup milk, heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl in a smaller bowl of ice water for 1 hour, making sure not to splash any water into the custard. Alternatively, simply place the bowl in the refrigerator and wait for 3 hours or overnight, until the temperature drops to 40°F.
  4. Churn according to your ice cream maker instructions, about 25 minutes for soft serve consistency. For hard ice cream texture, transfer to a loaf pan or sealed container and freeze in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Store in a loaf pan with a parchment sheet over the top or a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: Frozen
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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