Easy Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 10 min. Process: 20 min. + freezing
Chocolate ice cream is one of the easiest ice creams to make. Dust off your ice cream maker for this creamy, decadent dessert.

Updated: Jun. 07, 2024

I have many fond childhood memories of making homemade ice cream during the height of summer—particularly chocolate ice cream. When I was little, it was typically my job to sit on the bucket of the old-fashioned ice cream maker to keep it stable while someone else turned the hand crank or added more rock salt.

Needless to say, these days, making ice cream is a lot easier, especially when you have a countertop ice cream maker on hand. When I need a cool treat and some nostalgia, I love to whip up a batch of this decadent homemade chocolate ice cream.

Ingredients for Chocolate Ice Cream

  • Dairy: This chocolate ice cream recipe uses an equal combination of half-and-half and heavy whipping cream. You can substitute whole milk for the half-and-half if needed. Using full-fat dairy products makes this ice cream rich and creamy.
  • Sugar: Use white granulated sugar in this recipe. Don’t skimp on the sugar; it helps to ensure a smooth texture.
  • Cocoa powder: You can use your favorite unsweetened baking cocoa, whether it’s regular cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa. However, this homemade chocolate ice cream recipe is all about the indulgent chocolate flavor, so don’t be afraid to splurge on the best cocoa powder.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances the flavor of the ice cream. We recommend using the best vanilla for the best flavor. You can also make vanilla extract from scratch.

Directions

Step 1: Make the ice cream base

Combine the half-and-half, sugar, cocoa and vanilla in a blender. Process the ingredients on low until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream.

Step 2: Freeze the ice cream

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Editor’s Tip: The ice cream will likely be a bit soft when freshly churned. Transfer the churned ice cream to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until the ice cream reaches your desired hardness.

Recipe Variations

  • Make it Rocky Road: Before freezing, make Rocky Road ice cream by adding mini marshmallows and chopped nuts.
  • Add mint-flavored ingredients: Chop and freeze some peppermint patties, then gently fold them into the chocolate ice cream with some crushed chocolate mint cookies.
  • Swirl in some fudge ribbons: Layer in ribbons of hot fudge ice cream topping or chocolate syrup as you pack the ice cream into a freezer-safe container.
  • Add brownie bits and cookie dough: For an extra-decadent treat with tons of texture, stir in chopped brownie bits and edible cookie dough.

How to Store Chocolate Ice Cream

You can store the ice cream in an airtight freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to three months. To prevent ice crystals from forming, smooth out the top of the ice cream with a spatula after scooping, and return the ice cream promptly to the freezer.

Chocolate Ice Cream Tips

Can you make chocolate ice cream without an ice cream maker?

Absolutely, you can make ice cream without an ice cream maker. No need to buy fancy or bulky equipment!

How do you avoid rock-hard chocolate ice cream?

To avoid rock-hard ice cream, make sure you’re using enough sweeteners. Sugar and other sweeteners help prevent ice crystals from forming, so don’t try to cut any from your recipe. If you do, you’ll likely end up with ice cream that is hard and icy. Check out even more tips for how to make professional-quality ice cream at home.

What do you serve with chocolate ice cream?

Serve chocolate ice cream with chocolate or salted caramel sauce, or top it with a pizzelle or cookie stick. For a fun treat, serve it between two chocolate chip cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. Or go all in and make our ice cream sandwich recipe with a chocolate ice cream center. Only have a little bit of ice cream left over? For more ideas, try one of these ways to use a pint of chocolate ice cream.

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 1-1/2 quarts.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Combine half-and-half, sugar, cocoa and vanilla in a blender; process on low until smooth. Stir in heavy cream. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup: 288 calories, 18g fat (12g saturated fat), 65mg cholesterol, 31mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.

This super simple chocolate ice cream recipe is the perfect treat at a moments notice. It's also a bonus that most of the ingredients are kitchen staples. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen