Dark Chocolate Sorbet Recipe

So. Batch #1 in my brand new ice cream machine was dedicated to Maxence, in gratitude for such an exciting, perfectly tailored, and all-around thoughtful gift.

But when the time came to make batch #2 — that is, the next day, as soon as the bowl had had time to refreeze — I decided I had paid my dues, and I could now make my favorite, which, you may be un-surprised to learn, is the dark chocolate sorbet.

Chocolate ice cream is all right, I guess*, but I find that the dairy gets in the way of the chocolate. A good sorbet, on the other hand, made with just chocolate, water, and sugar, delivers the sort of undiluted chocolate punch I hunger for, of which one only needs a small amount — the frozen equivalent of the square of extra-dark, extra-smooth chocolate the doctors prescribe you place on your tongue to melt, each day after lunch.

David’s Perfect Scoop rose to the challenge once again, providing me with an easy six-ingredient recipe (and one of them is water), which I easified even further by not running the mixture through the blender. It seemed blended enough to me. And because I am the only one, in my household of two, to be bound by the spell of ebony chocolate — my other half only eats milk or (gasp!) white chocolate — I divided the recipe by two.

The ice cream churning process seems nothing short of magical, I know, but when it comes to the flavor of your sorbet, it’s just you and the ingredients, pal: this sort of preparation can only be as good as the chocolate you put into it. I, however, would be hard pressed to tell you what went into mine, for I took the opportunity to scrape together and use a variety of odds and ends** from almost-but-not-quite-entirely eaten tablets in my chocolate stash.

Mini Cookbook of Vegan Staples

Martine Lambert’s chocolate sorbet is the gold standard by which I judge all chocolate sorbets, and although I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to say mine rivalled hers, I don’t think Martine would have scoffed at it, either. (Not to my face anyway.)

My sorbet was splendid as it was, but my next batch will involve, I think, a handful of cacao nibs thrown in as the mixture thickens. An interesting thing to note is that the flavors kept blooming over the next few days — just like those of a dark chocolate cake will — and that the texture remained perfectly smooth. This can be explained, I imagine, by the cocoa butter in the chocolate***.

Needless to say, my dark chocolate sorbet went terrifically well with Maxence’s mango sorbet.


* Oh my god, did she just say, “Chocolate ice cream is all right I guess”? Nurse!

** In my family we call those rataillons, as in: “Il reste du fromage?” “Bof, juste des rataillons.” It is a regional expression, from Provence I am told, so sometimes I use it and people look at me funny.

*** On the subject of texture, I will add that placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream or sorbet efficiently prevents the formation of ice crystals.

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Dark Chocolate Sorbet Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Makes about 1/2 liter (1/2 quart); recipe can be doubled

Dark Chocolate Sorbet Recipe


  • 275 mL (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) water
  • 40g (1/3 cup, packed) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 85g (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped as finely as your patience allows
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Pre-freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker as instructed by your friend the manufacturer.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, cocoa powder, and sugar.
  3. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking continually.
  4. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let rest for 30 seconds as the chocolate begins to melt, add the vanilla and salt, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
  5. Let cool on the counter, then refrigerate until chilled.
  6. Whisk the mixture again just before freezing, and freeze using your ice cream maker.


Adapted from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.

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  • gingerpale

    Ha! I *knew* this (the chocolate version) was coming! I expected it about halfway down the page in the Mango Sorbet post, but you’ve given it a day and place of its own.
    That picture is gonna make people faint!

  • What a rich dessert. It looks quite decadent. I wouldn’t mind having some of that right now, in fact …

  • Rhonda

    I could have died when i saw this!

  • paperbackwriter

    You are always an inspiration Clotilde! I have two ice cream makers now. One was a wedding gift and the other is an attachment for my l’Aide de Cuisine that someone regifted to me. I must get working! I have tried the coffee ice cream recipe from “The Perfect Scoop”- fantastic! The combo of the chocolate and mango sorbets sounds wonderful but I have a recipe that is an imitation of the salted caramel ice cream from Berthillon that has been burning a hole in my pocket so they might have to wait.

  • I don’t even know how to communicate my reaction upon seeing these pictures and reading this post – I sat here in disbelief and kept repeating “whoa” to myself. This is a sorbet after my own heart – dark chocolate is far superior!

  • Ice cream makers are strangely addictive, aren’t they? My nephew and I want to make it every day. Does the sorbet make it lighter than a heavy rich dark chocolate gelatto?

  • Mar

    My next salary is still one week away, and I spent so much money during the holidays… But hey, after reading this, who’s looking into buying an ice cream maker????!!!!!

  • Charlotte

    I am thrilled that you got your ice cream maker within a week of when I got mine as a wedding gift (same book too!). My first batch was the blackcurrant tea ice cream, then the coffee frozen yoghurt, then your mango sorbet. I’d resolved that the next would be caramel au beurre salé, but I don’t have a good recipe and this chocolat looks divine. I have almost everything needed, including a pre-frozen bowl, waiting for me at home. While my new husband rides Paris-Brest-Paris I will whip up treats to reward him when he gets home! Hurray!

  • a woman after my own heart! the darker and richer the chocolate the better. I think I NEED that sorbet

  • My next recipe from Perfect Scoop was going to be the chocolate ice cream, but I think I may head off in the direction of chocolate sorbet . . .

  • Elodie

    Where I come from (Avignon) we call them odds and ends “rogatons”… I too get funny looks from my Parisian friends ;-)

  • I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow. I just put the ice cream maker bowl in the freezer. Honestly with all the flavanoids from the dark chocolate I think it’s vaguely healthy.

  • The pic is so great ! I really need an ice cream maker :-)

  • Rachel

    What restraint it must have taken to make this your second, rather than first batch of sorbet!! I absolutely agree with you about the superiority of chocolate sorbet to chocolate ice cream… but not having a sorbetiere I shall have to wait til my next visit to Berthillon. *sigh* (speaking of Berthillon, my favourite flavour combination there is bitter chocolate and blood orange sorbet – maybe you’ll want to give that a whirl when blood oranges are in season…)

  • Neuralgia

    your other half likes milk chocolate? and that pure fat they call white chocolate? yuck. more for you i suppose!

  • B

    It is true that a true chocoholic takes their chocolate in dark form, unabashed, naked from the distractions of extra sugar, milk or cocoa butter. That sorbet looks sooo good.


  • I love the idea of deep chocolate sorbet combined with mango. I had some fantastic melon sorbet at a restaurant on Sunday; when fruit is truly ripe it makes such fabulous sorbets and ices.

  • Did you get to taste Il Laboratorio’s chocolate sorbet while in New York?
    Pretty damn good!
    I do not dare allow myself to get an ice cream maker…I do not dare…
    I do wonder about the Dutched cocoa in preference to unDutched..?
    I will try Martines..at least it won’t be sitting in the freezer available..

  • I recently made these chocolate sable cookies that I learned about from foodbeam.com, and I think they would work well baked as one big sheet of brownie and then crumbled up and mixed in your sorbet. Someone please restrain me!

  • Joan

    a thousand times YES!!!

  • Your sorbet looks amazing and I’m glad you’re getting the most from your gift (and occasionally Maxence, as well.)

    Although I’m no fan of hauling out extra equipment, I blend the mixture to ensure the chocolate and cocoa powder are smooth.

    Congrads on your sweet…and easified…success!

  • Your image is divine! I was ready to get my spoon out and dig into my screen!

  • i’ve yet to purchase the attachment for my KA, but i won’t let that stop me… nothing that some ice cubes, rock salt and a strong arm can’t resolve! i shall have my ice cream!

  • just an additional thought… i’ve always loved hazelnuts with dark chocolate… how about adding some shaved(yes, labor intensive!), roasted hazelnuts(or even macadamia!) in this dark chocolate sorbet? heavenly!

  • I had a dream about this sorbet last night (seriously), but in my dream I added a little bit of orange to it. I’m going to take this as a sign and add some orange zest or orange oil. Yum!

  • rainey

    Is there a French equivalent of Cambro tubs? Seems like there must be something with an airtight, snap-on lid. I have great luck storing my ice cream in .5 and 2.0 liter Cambros.

  • ninabruha

    lord lord lord…my heart stopped when i saw the picture

  • The sorbet looks dreamy! And creamy even tough it doesn’t have any milk/cream. Just wonderful.

  • Kristin

    I made this sorbet last night – I deperately want to buy David Lebovitz’s book but am trying to hold off as long as possible, so I was tickled pink to be able to work off of your recipe.

    I, too, made a small recipe, assuming that my husband wouldn’t like it. Unfortunately, he loves it, which means it will be gone in half the time!

    Anyway, I made it using plain old Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa (bought it at Safeway and am pleased to finally justify the purchase!). I am not sure if that is Dutch processed or not. I used a 70% cocoa chocolate bar by Green & Black’s Organic.

    I think it is true that the real crux of this sorbet (and all chocolate featured items) is the quality of the main chocolate. I thought of the Hershey’s cocoa and it’s mixture as a base for the delicious dark chocolate.

    As always with my ice cream maker, the sorbet I scrape off the blade is much softer and meltier than that which is in the bowl, so when I combine them into my tupperware it needs a bit of stirring and refreezing to all come together.

    But who cares when it is that delicious? Such a fantastic way to highlight the chocolate! I am really going to need to make more this weekend.


  • The mango sorbet was delicious so I couldn’t resist making this one too. Despite being a plain chocolate fan I’ve never even heard of chocolate sorbet before.

    I’ll have to look up what Dutch-process cocoa powder is all about too, I used plain old Cadbury’s out of the cupboard.

    Based on licking the bowl out this is yummy, can’t wait to have some “properly” tomorrow.


  • Anne

    argh… my mother throws away my sister’s old ice cream maker few days ago.

    thanks for all the recipes Clothilde, I’m now spreading my addiction to your blog around me :-)

  • Emily

    I’m making my first recipe from Perfect Scoop tonight! I went with the roasted banana flavor. It’s all mixed and chilling now. I also made the cajeta sauce to layer in … whoa, that is caramel heaven in a spoon.

  • I made this with Ghiradelli un-dutched cocoa and it turned out fantastic. I’m not certain that it matters all that much. Perhaps in baking, but for sorbet?

  • The Sorbet Chocolat Noir was wonderful. My wife made it and it was a hit. Can’t wait totry more of your recipes. Love your site.

  • sara

    paperbackwriter writes “I have a recipe that is an imitation of the salted caramel ice cream from Berthillon” …

  • Abigail Menard

    Yes, paperbackwriter, please share!
    I tried the chocolate sorbet from the Perfect Scoop and it was good, smooth and creamy-more like an ice cream as opposed to a sorbet. My favorite chocolate sorbet is from epicurious.com and is more like a fudgesicle. The ingredients are:
    2 cups water
    3/4 cups sugar
    1/2 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
    1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Just so you can compare-after all there can’t be too much chocolate sorbet can there?

  • Thank you Clotilde; we made the sorbet and after just one scoop decided we had finally reached nirvana (it was good!). You remain a constant inspiration.

  • paperbackwriter

    Re: the salted butter caramel ice cream. I am not sure about posting recipes and copyright and such… the recipe is easy to find though! David Lebovitz’s blog is worth reading anyway (he is the author of “The Perfect Scoop”). Just search the ice cream section and you’ll see the recipe! Bonne chance!

  • when I saw that picture I just knew that I MUST try this recipe and truth be told its absolutely wonderful! deep and dark just the way I like my chocolates! Chack out my blog so see how I did with this chocolate sorbet :)

  • heather vigliotti

    i can’t wait to try this sorbet, especially with all organic products, what a treat! BTW, I made the beef bourguignon from the book. What a wonderful and rich recipe!

  • molly

    chocolate AND zucchini sorbet next ? (!)

  • Deirdre

    I’ve been at our summer cabin catching the call of each fruit as it ripens and whirling it into a sorbet. My freezer always has at least two or three sorbets icing at a time. I still use Lenotre’s recipe for sorbet and have for years but I’m going to check out Leibovitz to see what’s cooking. My chocolate sorbet recipe adds another dimension to the one above. Try adding the zest of a tree ripened orange and replace 1/4 cup of the water with orange juice. Double word score!

  • So very annoyed. I made up the mixture, chilled it ovenight like a good little girl, then when I went to churn it the next day, I found that my icecream maker was broken! And it was a public holiday here so there was no-one around to fix it!
    I’m so disappointed! The mixture tasted absolutely fantastic. I have tried to freeze it using the old manual method (over 7 hours of freezing, then blending) so we will see if that has worked….

  • Wow, thanks for posting this. This is a mostly vegan’s dream come true. I made some today. No ice cream maker, so I froze it in a shallow plastic container for a few hours, then mixed it in a food processor, put it back in the container, where it was supposed to freeze overnight, but I couldn’t wait that long to try it. SO GOOD. Thank you!

  • BEST FROZEN CHOCOLATE DESSERT EVER. Thank you for the recipe. Scoops like, and has the mouth feel, of ice cream.
    This will be a “staple” dessert in my repertoire.

  • Leticia

    Oh. My. God. This sent me and my flatmates to chocolate heaven! Truly one of the most delicious, decadent things I have ever tasted. It’s only fault is how fast it melts, but it’s gone so quickly it doesn’t really matter. Thank you!

  • This is sooo what I am looking for in a dark chocolate sorbet… dark, rich and yet completely void of the obstruction of dairy! Made it today and it is really good. Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

  • Belinda

    Yum, yum, yum – this tastes as good as it looks! Although I will have to double the recipe next time because I ate half straight out of the icecream maker!

  • Ena

    I made it yesterday, I doubled it though. It is decadent, intensely chocolatey and oh so amazing!

  • evolvearoundme

    I made this today. I now wish for two things: that I could speak French so as to properly tell you how lovely and perfect this sorbet is and that I had a picture of my smile when I tasted it. Thank you!

    • Thanks so much for reporting back, I’m so glad you liked it!

  • My sister sent me an ice cream maker for Christmas this year. Yes, I didn’t wait until Christmas. I have been wanting one for years so when I saw the mailman holding it I freaked! I didn’t have any cream in the house so I made your sorbet and I love how it came out! Thank you for the recipe and tips!

    • I’m delighted, Melissa. Enjoy your early Christmas present!

  • This recipe makes an excellent fudge pop! I’ve made it as ice cream too, no room in the freezer currently for the ice cream bowl. It’s so delicious. Never thought chocolate could dissolve into water and come out so creamy but it really does.

    • That’s a great idea, Stephie, thanks for sharing!

  • Hi Clotilde,

    I made this a few weeks back and it was to die for! I must say, I had my eye on this one for quite sometime, and I’m more than glad I did. I’m nominating this sorbet as President.

    P.S.: “sometime” means four whole years, ever since I spotted it on your blog. I know. This sort of procrastination when it comes to chocolate should be punishable by crime.

    • Thank you for reporting back, Amrita, I’m glad you had good success with the recipe!

  • Sara

    Love this recipe! Today I made it and zoomed in two avocados before freezing … now I might have to marry it.

    • I’ve yet to use avocado in ice cream, but it sounds like something I should definitely try !

  • Kristina

    Hi Clotilde,

    being addicted to dark chocolate I made a double batch of this sorbet. before freezing the mix it tasted quite smooth but after freezing in the ice cream maker and then in the freezer the texture changed. The taste was the same (amazing) but it went a but grainy and flour-y. Like the cocoa powder had nt mixed properly. Any ideas of why? I froze the mix portioned in silicone moulds. It made it easier to handle and it also looks like little cup cakes.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    • Happy to hear it, Kristina, thanks for reporting back!

  • Hi, Clotilde

    I have made this sorbet before with excellent results, but yesterday I was treating family and friends to ice-cream in a shop and my friend said that in her opinion, one scoop of lemon sorbet and one scoop of dark chocolate ice-cream was the perfect match. So today I have been experimenting with making a lemon-chocolate ice-cream, based on your recipe. Thus far it tastes delicious, but it’s still cooling down…. I will post the recipe I used on my own food blog if it is a success, as I think it will be!

    • That sounds wonderful, Annabel. Do come back and share the link when you post the recipe!

  • It was absolutely lovely, but just a tad watery – not that this detracted from the flavour. We have sadly agreed it would be greedy to have a second helping. I have posted the recipe here.

    • It looks so good, Annabel, thanks for sharing!

  • Pollyanna

    I am always interested in replacing normal sugar with something else, do you have any suggestions for sweetening without normal processed sugar.

  • This is definitely the best recipe of chocolate sorbet I have ever tried! The best thing that I like about this sorbet is its deep chocolate taste and smell! Thanks to my friend from http://davidwadsworth.co.uk for suggesting me this great blog! Have a great day!

  • Alison

    I just made this a couple nights ago. It was smooth and creamy and delicious right out of the ice cream maker. It was hard not to eat it all actually. I just took it out of the freezer, expecting to have to thaw it for a bit, but didn’t have to. No icy-ness, and super smooth. I can’t believe this recipe has existed since 2007 and I’m just discovering it. Thank you!

  • Its probably good to only add the chocolate when the water mix is 125F or you could burn the chocolate, if you are using a real chocolate.

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