Black Ice Cream is a delicious, trendy and fun recipe that you can make at home!
This dark, goth-inspired ice cream recipe is a little bit spooky and perfect for Halloween. And it’s made using a traditional French ice cream method so that it’s wonderfully rich and creamy too.
Ice cream comes in all sorts of amazing colors, but mostly, those colors are light and pastel. Today we’re going in a new direction though.
We’re making homemade black ice cream with activated charcoal! It’s a super fun recipe, and the resulting creamy black vanilla ice cream has a dark, moody, inky color that is unusual and a treat to eat.
You can also try our recipe for Black Licorice Ice Cream, if you’re a fan of that old-fashioned flavor.
Why You’re Going to Love This Black Ice Cream Recipe
Naturally Colored – The first iterations of black ice cream that have been so trendy were made with squid ink. That’s not an ingredient that’s easy to find, so we’re using activated charcoal instead. This lets us get the super dark color without any artificial food dyes or seafood additives.
Easy French-Style Ice Cream Recipe – Like so many of our easy ice cream recipes, this one is made using the classic French custard method. It’s rich and creamy, made with egg yolks and cream. Instructions for making a no-churn black ice cream are also down below.
Activated Charcoal – This flavorless powder adds a dark black color to the ice cream. You can often find this at your local drugstore, or it can be ordered online.
Egg Yolks – Egg yolks are the base of our ice cream– they add richness and help create a thick custard base.
Granulated Sugar – Granulated sugar sweetens the ice cream.
Milk and Cream – We’re using milk to make the custard and cream to thin the custard into a pourable ice cream base. For the best texture, don’t substitute lower-fat milks.
Salt – Salt helps balance out the sweetness of the ice cream.
Vanilla – This black ice cream is vanilla-flavored, but you can add other flavor extracts if you like.
How To Make Ice Cream Black
We’ve chosen to add an inky black color to this ice cream recipe using a natural ingredient: activated charcoal powder. Charcoal is an ingredient in whitening toothpastes, face masks, and in medicine, so for most people, it’s safe to eat.
Please note that activated charcoal can interact with the absorption of some medications– contact your physician if you have questions about consuming activated charcoal.
You can also color ice cream black with black gel food coloring, extra dark cocoa powder, squid ink, or a combination of these blackening ingredients!
How to Make Black Ice Cream from Scratch
Start the day before by making sure that the bowl for your ice cream maker has at least 24 hours to freeze solid.
- Whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together in a large bowl.
- In a saucepan, heat the milk and salt until steaming.
- Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then add the mixture back to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Pour the custard through a sieve to remove any bits of egg. Then add heavy cream, vanilla, and activated charcoal. Cover and chill for 4 hours, or overnight.
- Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Transfer the soft black ice cream to a loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until solid, at least six hours.
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe below.
Ice Cream Storage Tips
Store this homemade Black in the freezer in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper pressed on top for up to one month.
Tips for Making This Black Ice Cream Recipe
Use quality ingredients – You’ll enjoy the best ice cream when you make it with high-quality ingredients.
Chill out – If possible, always start with chilled ingredients.
Don’t skimp on the fat – High-fat milk and cream are essential when making homemade ice cream. Opting for a low-fat option often leads to icy ice creams and inconsistency in the texture.
Don’t skimp on the sugar – Sugar not only adds sweetness to homemade ice creams, it also helps with the texture.
No Churn Black Ice Cream Directions
Chill a shallow container or a loaf pan in the freezer while you mix the ice cream ingredients.
Pour the ice cream mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 3-4 hours. Stir the ice cream every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours to help add air. This will help create a creamy, smooth texture.
Black Ice Cream Add-Ins
You can add anything to this ice cream that you enjoy! The base flavor of the ice cream is vanilla, so it’s ready for your creativity!
Halloween sprinkles are perfect with this spooky black ice cream! You can also serve scoops of black ice cream with scoops of Orange Ice Cream to make a Halloween-themed sundae.
More Fun Homemade Ice Cream Recipes
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- 4 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons activated charcoal
- Freeze your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until well combined.
- Add the milk and salt to a small saucepan set over medium heat and warm it just until steaming.
- Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, and then transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and return it to medium heat.
- Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes or until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve and whisk in the heavy cream, vanilla, and activated charcoal.
- Cover the ice cream base with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the ice cream so it doesn't form a skin) and place it in the fridge until chilled– at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- When the ice cream base is well chilled, churn it until it has a soft serve consistency. In my Kitchenaid Ice Cream attachment, this took about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the soft serve ice cream to a loaf pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze until solid– at least 6 hours– and then scoop and enjoy.
- Activated charcoal is flavorless but adds the dark black color to the ice cream. You can often find this at your local drug store, or it can be ordered online.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 118mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g