Dark chocolate sorbet: All the flavor, (almost) none of the fat


Oh, my…

Wait a minute – you say I can make this ridiculously decadent looking treat at home?

Sure – I did. Which means you can, too.

All you need is…

Chocolate – as in cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

Plus water, sugar, and vanilla; easy enough, right? A touch of salt and espresso powder add flavor, but both are optional. As is the Kahlua (or alcohol of your choice). While highly recommended to enhance “scoopability,” give it a pass if you don’t do hard liquor.

Wait a minute – where’s the cream? Isn’t ice CREAM made out of heavy cream?

Indeed it is. But this isn’t ice cream – it’s sorbet. I know, usually when you think sorbet, you think strawberry, or mango, or peach – something made with fruit, right?

But chocolate sorbet?

Well, why not?

Sorbet, a fruit ice typically made with water, sugar, and fruit purée, is a delicious vehicle for chocolate, as well. You’d never guess this rich, creamy treat is dairy-free.

There are many chocolate sorbet recipes available online; our thanks to authors Ina Garten and David Lebovitz for the inspiration responsible for this version: a rich (yet low-fat), silky-smooth, intensely chocolate dessert.

PicMonkey Collage2

Combine the following in a medium-sized saucepan:

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa; our All-Purpose Baking Cocoa is a good choice
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups water

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the chips and sugar are dissolved.


Remove from the heat, and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons Kahlua or vodka. The alcohol is optional, but will prevent the sorbet form becoming rock-hard in the freezer. If you prefer not to use it, just make sure to remove the sorbet from the freezer about 20 minutes before you want to serve it, to soften.

Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled; overnight is best.


Start making the sorbet at least 4 hours before you want to serve it. Pour the chocolate into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker, and freeze for 25 minutes or so.

Can you make this without an ice cream maker? Yes, you can; it will taste the same, but will be crunchy/granular rather than smooth. See instructions at the end of this post.


After 20 to 25 minutes, the sorbet will still be quite soft; that’s just fine.


Transfer to a storage container, and freeze for several hours before serving, to firm up.


Isn’t that just the deepest-darkest chocolate ice “cream” you’ve ever seen?

With the only fat coming from the half cup of chocolate chips (plus a tiny bit from the cocoa powder), this is a much lower-fat confection (5g fat per serving) than my other favorite chocolate ice cream: Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food (13g fat per serving).

Less guilt, more pleasure – in every bite!

Read, make and review (please) our recipe for Dark Chocolate Sorbet.

Print just the recipe.

To make sorbet without an ice cream maker: Make the chocolate mixture, but omit the alcohol. Place the mixture in a shallow pan; an 8″ x 8″ square pan or 9″ round cake pan are both good choices. Place the pan in the freezer. There’s no need to cover it.

After 2 hours, use a fork or spoon to stir it around, bringing the frozen edges into the center. Return to the freezer.

Continue to stir every hour or so, until the sorbet is nearly as firm as you like. This may be as little as 4 hours total, start to finish; or it may take longer, depending on the temperature of your freezer.

Once the sorbet is entirely icy (like a slush drink), add the alcohol, if you’re using it. Rather than add the alcohol while the sorbet is still in its shallow pan, transfer the sorbet to a lidded storage bowl. Stir in the alcohol, then cover the bowl and place it in the freezer. Let the sorbet “ripen” (freeze), undisturbed, for several more hours, until it’s as hard as you like.


PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. Rockycat

    I made the David Lebovitz version for Passover this year (substituting vanilla sugar for vanilla extract)
    and no one could believe it was non-dairy. Absolutely breathtakingly delicious. So very rich and creamy. I did, of course, throw in a shot of alcohol – I forget whether I used Sabra or Passover brandy – to smooth out the texture and keep it from icing up in the freezer. Sadly, there were no leftovers. This recipe is worth making again and again.

  2. SallyBR

    This sounds too good…. I made a chocolate sorbet a couple of years ago, but need to compare my recipe with yours, mine was good but not great, it was slightly bitter.

    any chance you could come up with a chocolate frozen yogurt concoction? I just made a strawberry frozen yogurt and it turned out very very good, but I’m not sure chocolate could work without some major tweaking – you guys are the best for coming up with a winner recipe, sooooo… I thought I’d ask ;-0)))))

  3. Emily

    How many servings does this make?

    Emily, depends on how large you make the servings – a typical serving might be 1/3 to 1/2 cup, and it makes 3 cups, so 6 to 9 servings. PJH

  4. julie

    You’ve done it again, PJ! This looks like a great way to get my chocolate fix on a hot day without feeling too awfully guilty.

    Totally with you, Julie – it’s easy and delicious. Enjoy – PJH

  5. Kimberly

    I am looking forward to giving this a try as soon as possible. Being lactose intolerant I don’t get to enjoy the traditional summer time frozen treats, so I am excited about giving this one a try.
    I am also interested in a chocolate frozen yogurt recipe. I remember eating it out in California when I was a kid but I haven’t had it since then. My kids look at me like I’m making it up when I mention it to them. Poor deprived kids. ;)
    I know, remember those days? When I lived in Santa Barbara for one summer (1987), one of my jobs was working in a TCBY. Frozen yogurt was so big then! Elisabeth

    1. Georgia Butler

      They now have ice cream that is Lactose free, in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and butterpecan, and it is really, really good. OH I think cookies and cream also
      try finding it in your grocery stores, I have found it in my HyVee’s

  6. Drew

    I would love to see a non-sugar or otherwise very low carb version for diabetics.

    I will certainly add that to our wishlist!-Jon

    Drew, if you can use Splenda or another artificial sweetener, I believe it should work just fine. If you give it a try, let us know how it comes out, OK? PJH

  7. Jean

    This recipe is incredible and incredibly easy. I had all of the ingredients on hand. The sorbet is dark and decadent and so very rich. A couple of tablespoons is enough. I used my ice cream maker, and it came out so creamy–hard to believe no dairy in it. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

    1. Greg

      Thank you Amy yes nothing in the ingredients to indicate diary. Only processed on machines that may contain.

  8. Kay Milne

    If you replace some of the sugar with corn syrup (say 2-3 Tablespoons), the sorbet will not freeze quite so hard.

  9. Mark

    I make non dairy ice cream with 2 cans coconut cream, 2 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and enough almond milk to bring the mixture up to a quart. Sometimes I use eggs, sometimes not. It all goes into the blender to emulsify before going into the ice cream freezer. Add 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa if you want chocolate.
    Coconut milk works but isn’t as rich as coconut cream.

  10. Teri

    Sounds so yummy!! I don’t like coffee and don’t know much about liquor. Could I use Crème de Menthe as the liqueur? How much would I use?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You could use about 2 tablespoons of Creme de Menthe, though this will change the flavor a little bit. Vodka will work better as it is flavorless. Jon@KAF

  11. Vanessa

    I made this recipe to every exact detail except for one slight adaptation: used coconut palm sugar instead of regular… and for some reason it refuses to freeze! I’ve tried twice now, with freshly frozen ice cream maker tubs, and with no success… on the bright side, I blended up the sauce with ice and made some delicious ‘milkshakes’. Any idea why it refuses to freeze up? :P

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Coconut palm sugar does behave differently than white sugar. You might want to look for a sorbet recipe that calls for the palm sugar.~Jaydl@KAF

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