Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

If you have access to Ibarra Mexican chocolate you can use this instead of the semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon called for in the recipe. Use about 1 disk and 4 triangles of the chocolate. After heating with the cream, blend in a blender. Do not add any additional cinnamon as there is enough in the Ibarra.

  • Yield: Makes 1 quart.


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch espresso powder (or instant coffee)
  • 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp brandy (optional)


1 Heat one cup of cream in a small saucepan (1 qt). Whisk in cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer. Whisk until cocoa powder is well incorporated. Remove pot from heat. Stir in chocolate until completely incorporate.

2 Put mixture into a metal bowl and add the remaining cup of cream. Set that bowl over a larger bowl half-filled with ice water to help cool it down. Place a mesh sieve over the bowl with the chocolate mixture.

3 Put one cup of milk, the sugar, cinnamon, salt, cayenne, espresso powder (or instant coffee) into a saucepan and heat until steamy (not boiling), stirring to incorporate the spices and dissolve the sugar. Place egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk and mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the heated milk, but not cooked by it. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4 Stir the milk egg mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your burner is.

chai-ice-cream-4.jpg chai-ice-cream-5.jpg
If the custard base doesn't coat the back of the spoon, it's not ready.

chai-ice-cream-6.jpg chai-ice-cream-7.jpg
The custard base coats the back of the spoon.

5 As soon as the mixture coats the spoon, remove it from the heat and immediately pour it over the mesh sieve into the bowl of the chocolate cream mixture. (The sieve is there to catch any curdled bits.) Stir into the cream mixture.

6 Add a teaspoon of vanilla. Let the mixture cool a bit in the ice bath and then chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled, a couple hours or overnight. Right before churning, add 2 Tbsp of brandy to the mix. This is an optional step, but it will help keep the ice cream from getting too icy if it is stored beyond a day. If you are planning on eating the ice cream the same day you make it, you can skip this step.

7 Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Store ice cream in an airtight container in your freezer for several hours before eating. The ice cream will be quite soft coming out of the ice cream maker, but will continue harden in your freezer. If you store it for more than a day, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes to soften before attempting to scoop it.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Danielle

    This looks amazing – I can’t wait to impress people with it! Is there a substitute for the brandy? It’s basically the only booze I don’t have…

  • Yoko

    Just made this – wow it’s even more luxurious & delicious than I imagined. I actually made a mexican chocolate version of your chocolate mousse a while back. Funny thing is this ice cream tastes exactly like that but frozen. I wonder if I can freeze leftover mousse to get instant ice cream next time.. :)

    Thanks again for the great recipes!

  • rose

    The day I got my ice cream maker (with a compressor unit – no more freezing bowls!) i made this ice cream. Delish. I used less cinnamon (somehow I always taste that flavor over all others), did half cream, half milk and one less egg yolk.. glad I changed up some ratios because my finished product was REALLY rich!
    Definitely recommend people try this…such a treat. Thanks Elise! Next up, mint choc chip!

  • Nate

    I’ve made this recipe twice so far with a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and it’s come out delicious each time. Instead of using cayenne pepper, I use Lindt Chili Chocolate. Lindt’s rich, dark chocolate takes this recipe up a notch, in my opinion. Their Chili chocolate is just spicy enough to make it interesting. Great Recipe!

  • Memoria

    I made this a couple of days ago and blogged about it today (I linked to the post). This is now my favorite ice cream flavor; it is just that good! Thanks so much for posting this yummy recipe.

  • Kathy

    I tried out this recipe last night, and it was perfect! Thank you so much.

  • Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food.

    This photo looks so perfect and real. It’s real ice cream, right?!
    Unlike the mashed potatoes “ice cream” in commercial ads. What’s wrong with shooting real ice cream when it can be so perfect as is with no styling games?

    Yes, real ice cream. But I understand why in the movies they use mashed potatoes. Ice cream melts fast! Especially under bright hot lights they use in those shoots. When I shoot ice cream I have to work very fast to get a good shot before the ice cream melts. ~Elise

  • amour de cuisine

    It’s really lovely thank you for the recipe

  • Michelle

    This looks sooooo yummy. I love chocolate and heart ice cream – and cinnamon too? Heaven. I haven’t acquired an ice cream maker and fear the reprecutions to my waste line should I ever have one at my disposal in my kitchen – but to cheat, does anyone know if it’s possible to make ice cream without one to have a taste of this decadence? I promise to post a report of the results if anyone can provide directions.

    Try David Lebovitz’s advice on howto make ice cream without a machine. ~Elise

  • emma

    Great recipe! I used a whole vanilla bean instead of the extract and it turned out great! has a great Madagascar vanilla beans. PS, great pictures!

  • Sweet Loreto

    Hi, first of all thanks for writing such a great blog! I always look forward to your posts. I do have a question about this recipe though. I grew up in Mexico and my mom always made the Mexican hot chocolate with Chocolate Abuelita which is also Mexican chocolate. Here in Loreto Mexico (Baja) Ibarra chocolate is hard to find. I usually buy Chocolate Abuelita. My question is: Does Ibarra Chocolate have sugar? Chocolate Abuelita has a lot of sugar and I’m not sure if I should follow the recipe as is or add less sugar. Also could I use Black and Green Mayan Chocolate?
    Thanks once again for ALL your wonderful post,
    Sweet Loreto

    Yes, Ibarra chocolate has sugar. If you are using prepared Mexican chocolate, you can add less added sugar if you want, but not much less or it will taste more like chocolate whipped cream than ice cream (we made this mistake on one of our trial runs). ~Elise

  • Julie

    The ice cream sounds delish! I just made the spiced brownie in last months O magazine with ancho chili powder, cinnamon and fresh ginger, heaven on a plate! Do you have a good recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate? I had it years ago and loved it!

  • AngelaAtHP

    OK: This is so not fair. It’s so tempting, I almost ate my LCD screen.

    BTW: Do you take in strays (and feed them)?

    Hi Angela! Would feed strays, but the food usually gets completely devoured by those already at the table. In this case, I made the ice cream for my nephews who were in town, who as usual, gorged themselves silly all weekend. Growing boys, wish I had their metabolism. ;-) ~Elise

  • PaniniKathy

    I’m definitely looking forward to trying this one soon – just enjoyed a mug of Mexican hot chocolate earlier this week (there’s a local company, Chuao, that’s known for it) and I sense I will be on this kick for a while :-)

    Hi Kathy, Love, love, love Chuao chocolate! I met the founder at the Fancy Food Show a couple of times, a real cutie patootie. Try their latest, the “Firecracker” chocolate bar (blue wrapper), made with those pop things that crackle in your mouth as you eat them. Their Mayan chocolate bar is great too. Love the chili in it. ~Elise

  • Diana

    Mexican chocolate is also great in chai…great twist on a classic.

  • KissTheChef

    Yum. An ice cream version of the cookies that I usually make. I make a great gooey brownie like cookie with these flavors. I’ll have to try this one.
    I have usually made a basic vanilla custard ice cream with lots of cinnamon mixed in and then served it on the side of a chocolate molten lava cake or the cookies. This would combine both steps..

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    What a beautiful photograph! I often find Mexican chocolate too sweet for my palate, so I use it more in savory dishes when just a small bit of chocolate is called for. But I surely wouldn’t turn down a bowl of this ice cream. (You probably remember, from your Boston days, that New Englanders are famous for eating ice cream all winter long.)

  • Laura [What I Like]

    We must have been raised by kindred spirits! We had that same yellow box in our house growing up, and the same (or I assume similar at least) Mexican stirrer! By the way, where on earth did you get that beautiful bowl? I adore it (the tiny bit that I can see at least).

    Oh, I love that bow. It’s talavera pottery from Puebla, Mexico, though I think I picked it up at an antique shop in Fair Oaks, CA. ~Elise

  • Bob

    I love cinnamon and chocolate together. I make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and always put cinnamon in them, it’s such a good combo.