Philadelphia-Style Chocolate Ice Cream (no-eggs)

Chocolate ice cream cone | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When I was little, about 2nd grade, I lived in Philadelphia with my dad. As you may have gathered, from my various childhood food memories from Vermont, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, we moved a lot. Our time in Philly was brief, but a memorable stop on our journey. My strongest recollection was the local ice cream parlor, just steps from my house. At the time I didn’t know what Philadelphia-Style ice cream was, nor would I have cared, all I knew was that it was cold, creamy and delicious. Fast forward almost 40 years and I am brought back to this memory by a request from one of you for chocolate ice cream. A couple of weeks ago I got a comment from a dad who wanted to make ice cream for his daughter’s birthday, chocolate with orange to be exact. I went hunting in the archives of Zoe Bakes and was stunned to find out that I have never done a post about this basic and essential dessert.

I’ve done several ice creams over the past years on this site, all of them using my favorite “French” custard base, which results in a rich, creamy, luscious ice cream. It requires making an egg custard and then adding flavors. But, this is by no means the only way to make fantastic ice creams. The eggless version is often referred to as Philadelphia-style, which is just cream, sugar and lots of flavor. The texture is a bit lighter, but no less delicious, and it is so simple to put together. I really wanted to tell you the history of this method, but it is a bit murky and I’d have to make up some mythical story to explain the name.  I’ll do more research and report back about the origins Philadelphia-style ice creams, unless one of you can enlighten me?

I’m a little late for the dad who wanted this recipe for his daughter’s birthday, but hopefully they will now make it together.

Philadelphia-Style Chocolate Ice Cream:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-process or Natural)

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

To make the ice cream:

Whisking together cream, cocoa, sugar, and salt | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a non-reactive sauce pot, whisk together the cream, cocoa, sugar, and salt.

Whisking homemade ice cream base | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Mix until smooth and heat over medium heat until just simmering.

Adding chocolate to ice cream base | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the chopped chocolate and whisk gently until completely smooth. Remove from heat.

Adding milk to ice cream base | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the milk and whisk to combine.

Chilled ice cream base | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl (strain if you added the zest), cover with plastic and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 3 hours or overnight.

Thickened ice cream base | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When the mixture is chilled it will be much thicker.

Chocolate ice cream cones | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Freeze according to your Ice Cream Maker‘s instructions.

Chocolate ice cream cones | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

More Ice Cream Recipes:

Honey-Rhubarb Ice Cream

Roasted-Strawberry Ice Cream

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream 101 – one base several flavors (banana and more)



38 thoughts to “Philadelphia-Style Chocolate Ice Cream (no-eggs)”

  1. Zoe–this looks incredible. It looks creamy and velvety, just what you’d want in any ice cream. Definitely going to give this a try very soon! I also love the added orange element.

  2. This is perfect, Zoe. Thanks for sharing. I’m not a big fan of custard-based ice cream because I find them too eggy. Will definitely try this recipe! Awesome step-by-step pictures, btw 🙂

  3. I’m not an expert, but I thought real ice cream is as your recipe suggests, eggless, and that any recipe that includes eggs results in a custard, not ice cream. Either way, YUM!

  4. … and did you eat your ice cream with pretzels in Philly? I always used pretzels to scoop up ice cream, reverting to a spoon near the end. Friend in Dallas said he never knew you used a spoon to eat ice cream – always used pretzels instead – until he was seven!

  5. I use David Lebovitz’s Philadelphia style chocolate ice cream as my go to chocolate ice cream recipe – this looks very similar so I know just how delicious it is 🙂

  6. This looks like perfectly creamy ice cream! I am collecting all the ice cream recipes I want to make for the summer, and I am adding this to the list!

  7. And it tastes so fantastic! Thanks for creating, sharing and allowing me to be a taste-tester! I’m so fortunate!

  8. Love this post – so much so that I’m featuring it in this week’s Food Fetish Friday series (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I’m always inspired by your creations… Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Zoe, love the story of how you remembered this ice cream from Philly, the eggless base and the fantastic photos drive home how good this must be.

  10. So, I’m curious if I could just put that ice cream in the freezer and freeze it? Do I have to use an ice cream maker?

    1. Hi Alisa,

      The ice cream machine churns the mixture so it won’t freeze in a solid block. If you try to freeze the ice cream without a machine, you will need to stir it every 15 to 20 minutes until it is frozen, which is a long time. The texture will not be as smooth, but it will still be tasty!

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Is one teaspoon pure vanilla equal to one vanilla pod? Your recipe asks for 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, can I replace it by 8 ounce pure 100% cocoa powder on top of the 1/4 cup cocoa powder asked earlier on?

    1. Hi John,

      No, a vanilla bean is more potent than a teaspoon of extract.

      The ice cream will not have the same consistency or flavor is you use only cocoa powder.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Hi Zoe, thanks for the recipe & pictures! How much ice cream will your recipe make? I just want to make sure it doesn’t exceed my ice cream maker’s limit. (first time making ice cream here, so excited with your recipe!)

  13. Hi Zoe,

    I was wondering if it’d be possible to make this without an ice cream machine – just using the freeze & stir method? I recently tried it with a custard-base ice cream and I’m wondering if it would also work for this. Thank you!

    1. Hi Monica,

      If you have had good luck with other ice cream recipes frozen in this way, then this should work just as well. The texture may not be a smooth, but the flavor will still be great.

      Thanks, Zoë

  14. Just made it. Its on the refrigerator chilling overnight!! So excited! I tasted a bit of the chocolate and it tasted sooooo good!
    Thanks so much Zoe for the amazing recipe!

  15. Hello! Recently purchased an icecream maker attachment for my kitchenaid and had an unsuccessful attempt at making custard powder based (eggless) caramel icecream, was wondering if I leave out the cocoa and chocolate, will I be able to make a vanilla icecream from your recipe?
    I am unable to find a philadelphia style vanilla icecream recipe anywhere.

    1. Hi Ambika,

      You can’t leave out the cocoa and chocolate to get vanilla ice cream, it won’t have the right texture. You should check out “perfect scoop” by David Lebovitz.

      Thanks, Zoë

  16. hello,
    I made this ie cream and it so creamy, so tasty, so……delicious.
    you taste the chocolate so good……
    thanks for sharing.
    love your blog.

    1. I added my vanilla with the melted chopped cocoa. At the end of my churn cycle I added chopped pistachio. O M Gooosh, so yummy. This was great. Thanks Zooeeeeee!!!

  17. I would like to try this recipe but it doesn’t say how much it makes? It seems small, like 2 quarts?

  18. Great recipe! This was my first real success with my ice cream maker, so thank you! I love the chocolate taste of it and it’s perfectly creamy but firm after putting it in the freezer for a few hours. I mixed in some chopped roasted almonds …mmmm! I am going to use this recipe as a base to experiment from now.

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