Filed Under: Chocolate | Dessert | Ice Cream

Death by Chocolate Ice Cream

Recipe By Tessa Arias
May 27th, 2021
4.91 from 22 votes
4.91 from 22 votes

Death by Chocolate Ice Cream features an ultra rich, thick, and creamy double chocolate custard-based ice cream with chocolate fudge swirled throughout. Every bite is a chocoholic's dream!

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Ridiculously chocolaty without being bitter or overwhelming.
Texture: Perfectly rich, luscious, and creamy. The slightly chewy and thick fudge swirl just takes it to a new level!
Ease: This is a custard-based ice cream recipe, so there are a few extra steps and waiting periods involved. I promise it’s worth it!
Pros: Possibly the best chocolate ice cream ever.
Cons: Requires patience.
Would I make this again? Oh yeah. Without a doubt!

Did you know that I published a cookbook all about homemade ice cream sandwiches a few years ago?

scoops of chocolate ice cream in 3 bowls

I tested *hundreds* of batches of ice cream and got to the point where I was convinced I could have made perfect ice cream in my sleep. Writing a cookbook is a crazy whirlwind undertaking and now I have flashbacks to those messy, stressful, wonderful days any time I make ice cream. I actually made so much ice cream back then I had to buy another freezer.

Oh, and there was that time during the middle of the cookbook photoshoot at my house where my AC went out. In the middle of summer. In Phoenix, Arizona. Shooting ice cream in 100ยฐF weather is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies…

SO, basically what I’m saying is that whenever I share an ice cream recipe, you know that I’ve got you covered. It’s gonna be good and this Death by Chocolate Ice Cream recipe is no joke! For serious chocoholics only.

scoops of homemade chocolate ice cream in an ice cream tin with a blue ice cream scooper

How to Make Chocolate Ice Cream

Why Custard Based Ice Cream?

Generally, there are two types of homemade ice creams.

American/Philadelphia-Style Ice Cream: this has no eggs or cooking and is made from combining milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings then churning in an ice cream maker. This is quicker and easier than custard-based ice cream but less rich and tends to get icy in the freezer.

French/Custard Based Ice Cream: this involves cooking a custard with eggs to a safe temperature slowly on the stove top, letting that cool then chill completely, then churning in an ice cream maker. The result is an ultra rich, creamy, and smooth ice cream.

I have a full step-by-step video tutorial on how to make custard based ice cream here. If you’ve never made custard ice cream before then I highly suggest you watch it before making this recipe! Here are some more tips:

  • Prepare the ice bath before you cook the custard so that you can immediately remove it from the heat and strain it into the ice bath. This stops the cooking process, preventing the custard from becoming overcooked. Overcooked custard will curdle.
  • Be careful when tempering the egg yolks. Whisk constantly as you slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the beaten yolks. This process allows you to gently heat the yolks so you don’t scramble them and end up with chunky ice cream.
  • For best results, use an instant-read thermometer to cook the custard to 175ยฐF, or until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. If the mix is off by a couple of degrees, that’s fine. Whatever you do, do not stop stirring and do not let it boil.

Always Use Full-Fat Dairy for Ice Cream!

Do not substitute low-fat dairy products in this recipe. The fat in the cream and whole milk help give the ice cream its luxurious smooth and soft texture. If you use low-fat dairy products the ice cream will become hard and icy.

Sugar = Key to Creamy Ice Cream!

Like the fat, the sugar also helps to create a smooth, creamy, and scoopable ice cream. If you reduce the sugar you’ll make an ice cream that’s brittle and icy.


How to make ice cream with a machine:

I used my trusty Cuisinart Ice Cream machine to churn this ice cream. I’ve made literally hundreds of batches of ice cream in this machine and it’s never failed me.

If you’re using a machine like this, just make sure the freezer bowl is COMPLETELY frozen otherwise you’ll end up with soup instead of ice cream. I like to freeze mine overnight just to be sure. Also make sure your custard mixture is completely chilled before churning, for the same reason. Everything needs to be cold cold cold.

How to make ice cream WITHOUT a machine:

Although using an ice cream machine is the easiest way to get beautifully rich and creamy ice cream, I got you covered if you don’t have one. I have a full video tutorial showing you three ways to make ice cream without a machine here.

How to store & serve ice cream:

Store the ice cream in an airtight container with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. This will help prevent ice from forming. The longer you freeze the more time the flavors will have to ripen.

If the ice cream is in the freezer for an extended period of time, let it sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before scooping so it can soften evenly. Remember, this is homemade stuff so there’s no stabilizers or softening agents in it! This ice cream scoop makes even the hardest ice cream scoop like butter. Store for up to 2 weeks in the freezer, though I doubt it’ll last that long!

empty bowls of chocolate ice cream

More Frosty Recipes to Try:

4.91 from 22 votes

How to make
Death by Chocolate Ice Cream

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Death by Chocolate Ice Cream features an ultra rich, thick, and creamy double chocolate custard-based ice cream with chocolate fudge swirled throughout. Every bite is a chocoholic's dream!


For the ice cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 4 large egg yolks

For the fudge swirl:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the ice cream:

  1. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and 1 to 2 cups of water. Place a medium bowl fitted with a fine strainer inside the ice bath.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla. Set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and begins to steam, about 5 minutes. Stir in the melted chocolate.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Carefully whisk half of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, one ladleful at a time, until the egg mixture is warmed. Whisk the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers around 175ยฐF on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
  4. Immediately strain the mixture through the fine strainer into the prepared ice bath. Cool the custard in the ice bath until it reaches room temperature, stirring often. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the custard and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours or up to 1 day.

Make the fudge swirl:

  1. Heat the cream, butter, and sugars in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Let stand for 3 minutes before stirring completely smooth. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before using. Fudge swirl can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Finish the ice cream:

  1. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturerโ€™s directions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container in batches, spooning the fudge swirl in between layers of ice cream in a swirled pattern. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the ice cream and freeze until it is firm, about 3 hours, before serving.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate ice cream
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Erin@WellPlated — May 11, 2016 at 4:40 am

    I will never forget when you shared the story of your AC going out on a podcast I heard you on (I think Food Blogger Pro? Maybe Season w/ Sass?). Regardless, you CLEARLY know your ice cream, and I think you for sharing your expertise with all of us, just in time for summer ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. #
    Jessica @ Citrus Blossom Bliss — May 11, 2016 at 5:29 am

    OH MYYYY this ice cream looks like something out of a dream! Once I get a bigger kitchen I’m definitely going to be buying an ice cream maker. Death by chocolate is so decadent and delicious, I cannot wait to make this one day. Pinned!

  3. #
    susan blanchard — December 31, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Oh.. My. Wow! I just used your amazing recipe and it is to die for! I will call it my once a year ice cream, as I don’t think I should eat it more than once a year, but oh, what a way to die! LOL

  4. #
    Becky — April 29, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    When do you swirl the swirl? I didnโ€™t see where you add that to the ice cream machine?

  5. #
    anya — May 21, 2019 at 7:13 am

    this is the best ice cream ever i reccomend for chocolate lovers

  6. #
    Scott Robbins — July 26, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Oh. My. God! Why do they only have 5 stars available? I would give it, like 20! This was my second attempt at making ice cream, and fear that everything else I make will be downhill from here. Incredible. Yum. I like several scoops of ice cream, but I have finally met my match. This stuff beat me up and knocked me out after one scoop!

  7. #
    Rebecca — August 8, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Made this twice and Iโ€™ve been making ice cream for decades. It definitely needs a few more steps but the rich creamy perfection is well worth the effort. This year Iโ€™m making as base layer for my daughters birthday ice cream cake. Can hardly wait!!

  8. #
    Anik — August 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Made this a bunch of times and it’s never failed. To be honest, I never added the fudge because I do have my limit of how much chocolate I can handle. I have made it on the side and poured it over a cone for the kids.

    I still try other recipes but I always go back to this one. I do find it to be a bit low on the yield. Next time I’ll try a 1-1/2 batch

  9. #
    Catha — December 25, 2019 at 3:46 am

    I made this ice cream and we fell in love . Itโ€™s so easy to make and delicious too .it is a favorite go to meal. I will definitely be making it my go to recipe for ice cream. 5+ stars.

  10. #
    Kathryn — April 27, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Why do you chill the custard? When I put it into my ice cream maker it didn’t really churn, it was basically just a chilled lump in the middle. It tastes amazing – but I’m not sure what this step is doing.

  11. #
    Amy — May 6, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Absolutely delicious! I had never used a heated method and it made such a difference. The tutorial video was helpful as well. My chocolate ice cream was rich and decadent and the fudge swirls creamy and decadent. I will be using the basic recipe to experiment with lots of flavours.

  12. #
    Ssrz — June 12, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    What if we don’t have an ice cream maker?what dhould we do to replace it.Thank you

  13. #
    Sheila — June 18, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Oh my!!!! The best chocolate ice cream we have ever had! I made it according to your directions using and ice cream maker machine, and I have no issues. This Father’s Day weekend will be done again, and will have to double the recipe! Thanks Tessa much.

  14. #
    Sheila — June 18, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Oh my! Delicious ice cream. We have rated as the best ice cream we have ever had! Thanks for your directions and tips! This will be done again to celebrate Father’s Day this coming weekend! Tessa, thanks much!

  15. #
    Baker Nerd A.K.A sloth lady — July 10, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    It says to only whisk in half of the milk mixture. What do you do with the other half

  16. #
    Tyler Suronen — August 7, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Very fudgy, rich ice cream as promised.

  17. #
    Young Ann — September 5, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    When making Death by Chocolate ice-cream, how long do you set the automatic timer for on an ICE100?
    I read so many different suggestions. One source said anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes. The definition of done is explained as when the ice-cream forms a solid mass and is no longer mixed by the paddle. Does this mean I need to sit by the ice-cream maker and watch it for 30 minutes? That’s no fun!

  18. #
    Carrie — May 28, 2021 at 6:14 am

    I’m an ice cream making novice but planning to make this with my son (3) this weekend. It looks delicious! He loves crunchy things in his ice cream. Could you add pecans and mini chocolate chips to this? When would you add them in? Or would that just be too much?

    • #
      Tessa — May 28, 2021 at 10:14 am

      I haven’t tried that, but you’re welcome to give it a go! I’d toast the pecans for added flavor and also chop them up ๐Ÿ™‚ Your mix-ins should be chilled before adding them to the ice cream. Add them once the ice cream is completely frozen. The machine will need just another minute or two to stir them in. Let me know how it goes!

      • #
        Carrie — June 1, 2021 at 4:50 pm

        So delicious!!! Now Iโ€™m going to have to make this all the time!! Loved the mix-ins!

        • #
          Tessa — June 2, 2021 at 1:24 pm

          Awesome! I’m so happy to hear you loved it ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. #
    Sarah — May 31, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Amazing. Decadent! Best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had. Excellent instructions.

    • #
      Tessa — June 1, 2021 at 1:40 pm

      So wonderful to hear!

  20. #
    Nancy — June 13, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    This took a much longer time to heat up to temperature, but the result was exquisite! We had some salted caramel chips in the pantry that I ground up in the food processor. I sprinkled a bit of it over the finished product and it was YUMMY!

    • #
      Tessa — June 14, 2021 at 10:52 am

      Sounds divine!!

  21. #
    m g — July 1, 2021 at 11:07 am

    Can you make this recipe without eggs?

    • #
      Tessa — July 2, 2021 at 8:41 am

      No, this is a custard-based ice cream, so eggs are required. Check out my pink tip box above the recipe to see the difference between the two types of ice cream I primarily make ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. #
    Murl — July 3, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Lucious chocolate texture. A must โ€ฆ. Add Peanut Butter Grenache and hard chocolate pieces for ultimate Reeceโ€™s dessert.

    • #
      Tessa — July 5, 2021 at 10:37 am

      WOW, does that ever sound amazing!!

  23. #
    Pooja — July 5, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Love how easy this recipe is to follow!

    • #
      Tessa — July 6, 2021 at 10:00 am

      Wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed your ice cream!

  24. #
    Mikery2 — July 6, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Lots of ice cream made in my house, and chocolate the fave. This is the creamiest smoothest choc ice cream I have ever made.

    • #
      Tessa — July 6, 2021 at 3:10 pm

      YAY!! I’m so happy to hear that!

  25. #
    Robin Michaels — July 11, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Made this for the July baking challenge! it’s AMAZING! All my coworkers loved it! We also made some affogatos with it! Best Chocolate ice cream! So creamy!

    • #
      Tessa — July 12, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      omg that sounds AMAZING!! I’m happy to hear it was such a hit!

  26. #
    Joan — July 13, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    I’ve been freezing extra heavy cream, and thought making ice cream would be a great way to use it up. My ice cream, although absolutely delicious, is kind of heavy. I was wondering if this is because the heavy cream had been previously frozen. Even so, I don’t need to get my ice cream fix from Coldstone Creamery anymore. I can make it myself! Thank you!

    • #
      Tessa — July 14, 2021 at 10:08 am

      hmmm…freezing heavy cream shouldn’t have an effect on the outcome as long as it’s shaken well to redistribute the butterfat when thawed. How long did you churn the ice cream for?

  27. #
    Janoo — August 5, 2021 at 3:58 am

    ice cream turned out so friking gooddd it is honestly death by chocolate.

    • #
      Emily — August 5, 2021 at 10:01 am

      YAY! So glad to hear that!

  28. #
    Kimberly Rodriguez — August 15, 2021 at 6:13 am

    This ice cream recipe was delicious!!! While the custard base was cooling the richness reminded me of the creamy Max Brenner hot chocolate that I love. I also threw in some chopped chocolate during the last 5 minutes of churning that added something extra to this already delicious recipe!! I typically love all things chocolate besides chocolate ice cream and this changed my mind!!

    • #
      Emily — August 16, 2021 at 10:37 am

      So happy you loved this ice cream, Kimberly! Thanks so much for the comment!

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