Chocolate Frozen Custard Recipe

scooping chocolate frozen custard with a spoon

My Chocolate Frozen Custard Recipe is an old fashioned, silky, decadent homemade chocolate ice cream. Because the unofficial start to summer just screams for a celebratory ice cream cone, don’t you think?

chocolate frozen custard in an ice cream cone

Chocolate frozen custard ice cream is one of those recipes where I shouldn’t need to rely on heavy sales tactics…

There’s a temperature spike in Los Angeles this weekend and I’m pulling out my trusty ice cream maker for the first time this year. You might have frozen custard memories from Coney Island or Atlantic City, but the frozen custard capital of the world is the Midwest. If you’re a fan of Kopp’s, Leon’s, Gilles, Oscar’s, Culver’s, Carvel, or Shake Shack, etc, you’ll love this homemade summer treat.

scooping old fashioned chocolate frozen custard

Homemade ice cream brings pure joy into the kitchen…

How many machines can claim that? (I’m looking at you Spiralizer.) If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you need to get one.  My base model Cuisinart has lasted me years, probably because there aren’t any electronic parts to malfunction. (It’s got a simple motor that rotates the chilled bucket.) If you break it down to cost per use it’s the deal of a lifetime. And if you’ve got kids or grandkids around this summer, it’s a complete must have. In fact whenever I go to a baby shower, this is what I bring because I can’t think of anything else that will bring such magic and joy to a young family. If it sounds like I’m waxing poetic about a kitchen tool, I am. I heart my ice cream machine.


pouring frozen custard mixture into an ice cream machine

Frozen custard starts with an egg yolk enriched custard

Don’t be afraid of the custard, it’s easy to make, and you can prep it the day before if you like. It should be nice and cold before you add it to your ice cream machine.

chocolate frozen custard churning in an ice cream machine

My favorite part? The mid-churn taste test!

As your frozen custard (or any ice cream, for that matter) churns away in the machine, it might look slightly grainy…that’s the tiny ice crystals forming. It’s my favorite time to sneak a taste or two.

dipping a spoon into a churning ice cream machine

By the time it’s done, in about 20 minutes, the texture is light and unbelievably silky, almost like frozen mousse.

You can eat your custard straightaway, or you can freeze it for a few hours to firm up a bit. Frozen custard is best when you don’t allow it to get super hard in the freezer, so plan to enjoy it within a few hours, if possible.

scooping chocolate frozen custard

The difference between ice cream and frozen custard

  • Both ice cream and frozen custard are made with milk and cream, but frozen custard contains more egg yolks.
  • To geek out on it: according to FDA standards, ice cream must contain less than 1.4% egg yolk, while frozen custard must contain more than 1.4%.
  • Frozen custard has a silkier texture, and is typically served softer than ice cream.
  • For the best frozen custard experience, eat it within 4 hours of churning. This is when it’s at its silkiest. After that it will harden, like all ice creams, in your home freezer, which is set at a colder temperature than ideal for ice cream.
  • If your custard hardens too much, let it sit out for a few minutes before serving.

scooping chocolate frozen custard with an ice cream scoop

Tips and tricks for making homemade ice cream and frozen custard

  • If your machine has a freezer bowl, store it in the freezer during ice cream season so you can make ice cream on a whim.
  • I like to invest in an extra bowl so I can make multiple batches for parties, etc.
  • Your ice cream mixture should always be fully chilled before adding it to your machine. I love to make it the day before.
  • Put your storage container in the freezer while your ice cream churns so you can transfer it with minimal melting.
  • When your ice cream is ready, transfer it from the freezer bowl to your storage container immediately. The ice cream will start to freeze to the sides of the bowl soon after the machine stops turning.
  • Homemade ice cream is generally at its best texture 2-5 hours after you make it. Home freezers are set colder than ideal for storing ice cream, and so it tends to get very hard over time.
  • Cover your ice cream with plastic wrap so it doesn’t pick up freezer odors.

How to make a no churn chocolate frozen custard

  • Make your custard up through step 3 in the recipe.
  • Put your thoroughly chilled mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment (you can do this by hand with electric beaters, but the mixer is best) and whip until the custard becomes lighter and fluffy.
  • Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours until firm enough to scoop.


scooping chocolate frozen custard with a spoon
5 from 25 votes

Chocolate Frozen Custard

My Chocolate Frozen Custard Recipe is an old fashioned, impossibly silky and utterly decadent chocolate ice cream. Grab your (biggest) spoon and get ready to dig in
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 40 minutes
Chilling 4 hours
Yield 6 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • ice cream machine


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp corn syrup (I have made this ice cream successfully without the corn syrup if you want to omit)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • In a heavy bottom medium sized saucepan, add the yolks, sugar, corn syrup, salt, and cocoa powder. Whisk together to combine. Note: I like to sift the cocoa powder, but you don't have to.
  • Set over medium heat and slowly whisk in the cream and milk, whisking constantly to combine everything. Cook, whisking or stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. You do not want it to come to a boil, so watch carefully. I like to switch between my whisk and a silicone 'spoonula' to be able to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan so nothing scorches. You may need to lower your temperature to medium-low, depending on your stove.
  • When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon it's done.(For me this whole process took about 12 minutes.) Immediately pour through a mesh seive into a bowl and stir in the vanilla. Cover and chill until cold.
  • Churn your chilled mixture according to your machine's instructions. Mine takes 20 minutes. You can enjoy the custard right away, or transfer to a container and freeze for up to 4 hours. Frozen custard has a wonderful silky texture that is best enjoyed within 4 hours of making.

Cook's notes

*recipe adapted from Serious Eats
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

If you love homemade ice cream, I’ve got more!

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    July 4, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Sue. So after comparing several “chocolate ice cream recipes on the internet” I decided to go with yours. (SMART CHOICE on my part :)))). I made a batch yesterday.. Like “Liz” who posted below on March 31st, I also added extra dark cocoa powder and an additional 1/4 cup just to push that “mad deep chocolate intense” flavor. I swear I didn’t see her post until after I made my batch… but to make everyone’s taste buds happy… I made a side of fresh batch of red raspberry jammed… (but still chunky and gently thickened with cornstarch on a super low simmer… raspberries are so delicate!). Then I had a separate bowl of finely minced candied orange peels. In a third bowl I had a nice peanut butter… with just a bit more than the usual sea salt… and then a bowl of callebaut chocolate chunks. Best chocolate ice cream base… to riff off of. There’s no going back to store bought chocolate ice cream. Just silky, deep, intense crazy wonderful chocolate ice cream. Thank you for sharing your amazing skills, and recipes. So much respect for your knowledge and intuitions! Keep ’em coming!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 4, 2022 at 7:07 pm

      Whaaaaat? Why wasn’t I invited to this party??

  • Reply
    March 31, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    5 stars
    I don’t post comments often, but this recipe just turned me into a nine year old again for a bit! I made this with 5 farm-fresh pekin duck egg yolks, whuch are somewhat larger than chicken eggs and have a thicker texture. I also used special dark cocoa powder and about 1/4 cup more sugar added after tasting the cooked custard, which I pulled from the heat at 170 degrees farenheit. Ice cream tends to lose sweetness when frozen, and dark cocoa needs a bit more sugar. The end result was the silkiest, creamiest, adult sweetness fudgesicle EVER!!! This one is a keeper! Next time I will try adding brownie chunks, or maybe candied orange peels!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 31, 2022 at 3:25 pm

      Thrilled to hear this Liz 🙂 I’m intrigued by the duck eggs!

  • Reply
    Shameckia Holt
    September 18, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    I have made up the recipe and currently have it cooking along with the canister in the freezer. Haven’t got to make yet, but if it tastes 1/4 as good as the mixture did before the fridge it will be absolutely astounding! This will be me and my little families first time making homemade ice cream we are very excited. Thank you for sharing your recipe and tips!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      Haha, that first taste is so delicious!

      • Reply
        December 30, 2021 at 12:38 am

        When you omit the corn syrup, do you add more sugar or something else? Have you tried using evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk?

  • Reply
    August 6, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe is LIFE in our house! Never looking back! To make vanilla custard, could I just omit the cocoa powder and add vanilla bean? Thanks!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

    5 stars
    YUM! Recently replaced old ice cream makers with Cuisinart Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert machine. Learning all sorts of things other than standard (with or without eggs) ice cream that can be made using this (slushy drinks, sorbet, sherbet, etc.) and without all the hassle of needing rock salt and ice. If want harder than soft serve just package and freeze when done in the freezer. But definitely have to follow the care and use instruction manual and make sure the bucket is fully frozen to get the job done. Loving it!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    5 stars
    We loved this! It’s extremely chocolatey and the information and directions really helped. I found the texture to be similar to Culver’s, for those reading from the upper Midwest, but the chocolate flavor was deeper and more satisfying.

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