This no-churn chocolate ice cream comes with all the chocolate flavor, creaminess, and light texture you would expect from regular chocolate ice cream. Yet, this ice cream is not churned and doesn’t rely on any dairy. The recipe is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.
Homemade ice cream can feel like a lot of work.
You need to plan a day ahead and pre-freeze your ice cream maker bowl. Then, you must block off some time to make the ice cream base and let it cool before churning it. Churning itself doesn’t take much time – about 30 minutes – but if you’d like a firm, scoopable ice cream, you still need to freeze the churned mixture for at least a couple of hours.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, the situation might be even more time-constraining as you’re likely removing a pan of semi-frozen ice cream base from the freezer and whisking it every 30 minutes to break up ice crystals.
Fortunately, no-churn ice cream is a thing! This means no ice cream machine, no pre-freezing, and no finicky ice cream custards.
The science behind no-churn ice cream is simple:
- Whip cream into soft peaks to incorporate air the same way churning does, creating a light and airy base.
- Add sugar to separate ice crystals that would typically join into a solid mass, giving the ice cream a softer, creamier texture.
- Consider mixing in an alcohol-based ingredient, such as chocolate or coffee liqueur, to lower the freezing point of the ice cream and create a softer, more scoopable ice cream.*
*I don’t ever have any alcohol on hand, so I don’t use it, but if you decide to add liqueur to this ice cream, add a maximum of 2 Tbsp./30 ml as the recipe is written.
Tips for Making No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream
This no-churn chocolate ice cream recipe calls for just three ingredients:
- Coconut cream: the base of this recipe consists of coconut cream, a non-dairy equivalent of heavy whipping cream. The high fat content makes the ice cream texture super creamy and velvety. If you’d like to keep this ice cream raw, you can make your own coconut cream.
- Date paste: Medjool dates are the one and only sweetener in this ice cream. They’re also the main ingredient that ensures the ice cream doesn’t freeze rock solid. Dates are very high in sugar, with very little water content, which means fewer ice crystals. As ice cream freezes, sugar molecules dissolved in the coconut cream stand in the way of the ice crystals joining together. This increases the time it takes to freeze ice cream because it takes longer for the ice to solidify around the sugar. I make my own date paste – with Medjool dates being the only ingredient – but you can use store-bought date paste if you’d like.
- Cocoa Powder: cocoa is the chocolate aspect of the recipe! You can use unsweetened cocoa powder, cacao powder, or a mix of the two for a deeper flavor. Feel free to adjust the amount of cocoa powder up or down depending on how richly chocolatey you like your ice cream.
How to Make No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream
Assuming you’re starting with already made date paste, all you need to make this no-churn ice cream is an electric mixer and mixing bowl.
- Whip the coconut cream. I have a tutorial for perfectly whipped coconut cream on my blog already. So, if this is your first time whipping coconut cream, head over to that page and watch the video first. To summarize the process, scoop out chilled coconut cream into a pre-chilled bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the cream until light and fluffy, for 1-2 minutes. The faster the cream whips, the better. At first, the peaks will be soft but will firm up after a few minutes. Beating the cream for longer than 5 minutes won’t make it firmer. It actually seems to deflate it a bit.
- Add in the date paste and the cocoa powder. Add the date paste and the cocoa powder to the coconut whipped cream and whip until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Freeze. The ice cream will have a mousse-like texture after whipping. To achieve a scoopable consistency, transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for 6-8 hours, depending on how firm you like your ice cream and how deep/shallow your ice cream container is. I used a stainless steel 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.0-inch loaf pan. If you like, press a piece of plastic wrap or foil into the top of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming.
How to Serve No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream
It’s safe to say that chocolate flavor is everyone’s favorite. So, you could keep it simple and have just a scoop of chocolate ice cream with a cherry on top.
Or, you could get more creative and make a chocolate sundae with different toppings like chocolate fudge sauce, coconut whipped cream, chopped nuts, and wafers. Another option is to drizzle peanut butter, almond butter, or salted caramel sauce over the ice cream.
Some fruits, particularly strawberries and raspberries, also go well with chocolate. The sweetness and slight acidity of the berries pair perfectly with the rich chocolate flavor of the ice cream.
How to Store Homemade No-Churn Ice Cream
- Freezing: keep the ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. If the ice cream is too firm to scoop straight from the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften. As ice cream sits in the freezer, the ice crystals grow by re-crystalization. This increase in crystal size eventually reaches a point where the ice cream develops a coarse texture, at which point it has surpassed its shelf life.
More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes
If you’re looking for more dairy-free ice cream recipes, try these next:
- Vanilla ice cream: this vanilla ice cream is possibly my favorite on the blog yet. It’s perfectly sweet, vanilla-infused, with just a hint of coconut flavor you’d only pick out if you knew you were looking for it. Because this vegan vanilla ice cream is churned, it’s super creamy with a fluffy, airy texture.
- Berry ice cream: this churned berry ice cream has everything you want in ice cream – sweetness, a vibrant strawberry-raspberry flavor, creaminess… It’s also scoopable and so easy to make!
If you try any of these recipes, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.
No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream
- Chill the mixing bowl. Place a glass or metal bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before whipping the coconut cream (or for 10 minutes in the freezer).
- Whip the coconut cream. Scoop out the chilled coconut cream into the pre-chilled mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the cream until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. The faster it whips, the better. If the coconut whipped cream is too stiff when whipping, add some of the reserved liquid from the can to help it blend smoother.
- Add in the date paste and the cocoa powder. Add the date paste and the cocoa powder to the coconut whipped cream, and whip until fully incorporated.
- Freeze. The ice cream will have a mousse-like texture after whipping. To achieve a scoopable consistency, transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze it until scoopable, for 6-8 hours, depending on how firm you like your ice cream and how deep/shallow your ice cream container is. I used an 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.0-inch stainless loaf pan.
- Store. Leftover ice cream keeps well in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. If the ice cream is too firm to scoop straight from the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften.