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.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling and Churning time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • 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 cocoa powder in 1 cup cream, stir in chocolate: 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 it is completely incorporated.

2 Place into bowl, add remaining cream, chill over ice water: 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 Heat milk, sugar, spices until steamy: 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.

4 Temper eggs with hot mixture, return to pan: 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.

5 Stir until custard base thickens: 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.

6 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.

making Mexican Ice cream making custard for Mexican chocolate ice cream
If the custard base doesn't coat the back of the spoon, it's not ready.

How to tell custard is ready for Mexican ice cream How to tell if custard is done for Mexican ice cream
The custard base coats the back of the spoon.

7 Add vanilla and chill: 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.

8 Add brandy (optional): 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.

9 Process in ice cream maker: Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

10 Freeze: 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.

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  • Jenna Mays

    Quite good! Very decadent with great cinnamon spice.


  • Matt

    This is the BEST ice cream I have ever tasted! I always make the recipe as-is, and everyone loves it.


  • Thomas

    Instead of adding the cayenne powder, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon, steep the heavy cream with a cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, small amount of cayenne, and few long strips of orange peel. Let it sit for an hour, covered, after you heat it in the small sauce pan and then strain it. The flavor is so much more pronounced and complex.

  • 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…

    • Elise Bauer

      You could use rum.

      • Danielle

        Thank you! Do you have a cookie/cake/brownie recommendation to go with this? My man loves my brownies + cookies and cream ice cream combo, trying for repeat success. :)

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Diana

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