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This is the BEST Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream recipe made with real chocolate AND cocoa powder for the most INTENSE chocolate flavor. Serve it plain or load it with chunks of soft brownie and a ripple of homemade fudge sauce for a decadent treat!
Who doesn’t love chocolate?! Some of our other favorite chocolate desserts are Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake, Chocolate Walnut Fudge, Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake, and Chocolate Macarons! It’s pretty hard to go wrong when there is chocolate involved!
The BEST Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
We are definitely an ice cream loving family, and even though it’s convenient to pick up a pint or two from the store every now and then, I actually prefer homemade ice cream, even over the premium store bought brands. That’s particularly true when it comes to good old-fashioned chocolate ice cream.
Not only is homemade ice cream insanely delicious and easy to customize exactly to your tastes, but it’s also really fun to make! There is something just incredibly satisfying about taking a few simple ingredients like sugar, cream, and eggs, then turning it into something that brings such delight and joy to people like ice cream.
Long-time fans of House of Nash Eats might recognize this ice cream base as the same one I use for this burnt almond fudge ice cream, which is one of my all-time favorites.
This is a custard-based ice cream, which means that yes, you will be cooking it on the stovetop for a bit because it involves eggs. Don’t let that scare you away! Custard-based ice creams are my FAVORITE because they have the best texture and flavor. They are supremely scoopable and creamy in a way that other ice cream recipes just are not. I promise it’s worth it!
Even though I’ve shared this ice cream base before in other recipes, it is such a great recipe that I decided it needed a post all it’s own with ideas for how you might use it to create any number of other flavors.
I brainstormed and have a list of ideas you might want to considering trying next time you are making ice cream and want to get a little creative in the kitchen! Here it is all dressed up with brownie chunks and a fudge swirl just to give you one idea of how we like to enjoy it. I think next time I’m going to add toasted walnuts with the brownies since I love a nutty crunch in my ice cream!
Ingredients in chocolate ice cream
- Heavy cream
- Cocoa powder
- Unsweetened chocolate
- Vanilla extract
How to make chocolate ice cream
Start by combining the cream, milk, 3/4 of the sugar, chopped unsweetened or dark chocolate, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, while the chocolate melts and the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a separate bowl with the remaining sugar.
Temper the eggs
Once the chocolate milk mixture is hot you will start to notice small bubbles forming around the edges of the pan. At this point, slowly whisk about 1 cup of the hot liquid into the bowl of egg yolks to help temper the eggs and warm them without scrambling them by adding all at once.
Pour the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk mixture and cook just until the custard base reaches 170-175 degrees or is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour into a medium bowl that can be nestled inside a large bowl filled with an ice bath to help chill the mixture quickly. You can also do this with a heavy duty zip tight container so it can be submerged in the ice water bath.
Alternatively, place the custard base in the fridge to chill overnight. It needs to be completely cold before churning for the best results.
Churn the ice cream
Once the chocolate mixture is well-chilled, pour it into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn for 20 to 30 minutes until thick and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Add in any mix-ins during the last minute of churning, then pour into a freezer-safe container.
I like to use bread pans because they are the perfect size for a batch of ice cream, but you can even buy special containers that are supposed to protect the ice cream and make it last longer. Freeze the ice cream for at least 4 hours so it can harden and “cure”.
Variations to make your own ice cream creations
It’s so easy to throw in your favorite nuts, pieces of dark or white chocolate, broken up cookies, brownies, or pieces of cake, pie filling, or sauces to make totally new ice cream variations! Here are just a few suggestions to get you started!
- Chocolate oreo: Mix in crushed Oreos (or even better, mint Oreos!) for an easy chocolate version of cookies & cream ice cream. Really, any cookies will work!
- Chocolate raspberry: Use the raspberry swirl from our white chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream. Because what’s better than fruit and chocolate?
- Rocky road: This one’s a classic. Add some chopped toasted almonds or walnuts and mini marshmallows to the chocolate ice cream base just when it’s almost done churning for one of America’s favorite ice cream flavors.
- Cherry chocolate: I explain why cherries need to be cooked first before adding them to ice cream in my cherry vanilla ice cream post. Use the cherries from that recipe with this chocolate ice cream for a wonderful, classic pairing. Maybe throw in some white chocolate bits for fun!
- Chocolate marshmallow ripple: My homemade marshmallow sauce is just as amazing IN ice cream as it is on top of ice cream. Pour half of the churned chocolate ice cream into the container you plan to freeze it is, then drizzle thick ribbons of marshmallow sauce before covering it with the rest of the ice cream. When you scoop the ice cream out you will have a marshmallow swirl! Or do a peanut butter swirl or caramel swirl instead!
- Half-baked: This one is definitely more labor intensive, but Ben & Jerry’s makes a flavor that’s half vanilla ice cream, half chocolate ice cream, with fudge brownie pieces and chunks of edible chocolate chip cookie dough and it’s to die for.
- German chocolate: Swirl in dollops of coconut pecan frosting for an easy german chocolate ice cream that’s perfect for coconut lovers!
More ice cream recipes
- Graham Canyon Ice Cream
- Coconut Macadamia Nut Ice Cream
- Old-Fashioned Fresh Peach Ice Cream
- Nutella Swirl Ice Cream
- Toasted Almond Ice Cream
- White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Ice Cream
- Caramel Oreo Fudge Ripple Ice Cream
- Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make and churn. Add brownies right at the end, then layer with hot fudge sauce swirled between layers.
- In a medium pan, combine the milk, cream, 3/4 cup of sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted and small bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs until they turn light in color. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to the eggs while beating on low speed or whisking by hand.
- When the chocolate mixture is hot, gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot liquid into the eggs to temper them.
- Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the hot liquid and continue to cook and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture reaches 175° F or is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, then transfer to a bowl or heavy duty zip tight bag and place in an ice water bath until completely cold. Alternatively, chill the ice cream base in the fridge overnight.
- Once thoroughly chilled, pour the chocolate base in an ice cream maker. Insert the paddle attachment and churn until frozen and about the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Fold in brownie pieces or other solid mix-ins right at the end, if using.
- Transfer half of the ice cream to a container, then top with half of the fudge sauce. Repeat with the remaining ice cream and fudge sauce. Freeze for at least 4 hours to cure for hard ice cream.