Creamy ice cream without an ice cream maker? You bet! This chocolate no-churn ice cream studded with hazelnuts and swirled with homemade salted caramel is super simple to whip together, throw into a container and pop into the freezer for creamy ice cream whenever you want.
I love ice cream (who doesn't, honestly?). During my first pregnancy, besides my tiny baby, I can probably attribute the bulk of my weight gain to purely ice cream. That was my pregnancy craving. ALL THE TIME. Not good for the waist line but oh so delicious.
No-churn ice cream has been all the rage recently. And I didn't get it. I didn't think a shortcut to ice cream making existed and especially without one that didn't use an ice cream maker.
I've been proven wrong. This chocolate no-churn ice cream is so delicious and honestly tastes so similar to regular churned ice cream that you wouldn't know the difference. There are no sacrifices in taste or flavor with this ice cream.
Ingredients in no-churn ice cream
No-churn ice cream has a similar base recipe which can be modified to include all sorts of fun flavors. There are 2 essential ingredients:
- Heavy whipping cream
- sweetened condensed milk
And one non-essential ingredient that can be subbed out or omitted if you choose:
- vanilla extract
These three ingredients magically combine to create that creamy texture that is mandatory in ice cream.
How to make no-churn ice cream
The recipe for this chocolate no-churn ice cream is really simple. You start by whipping up the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
Next, you'll combine the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and a pinch of salt. This mixture gets gently folded into the whipped cream. That's it; the base is done! I told you it was simple!
Now, the salted caramel and hazelnuts get folded into the heavy cream and a little more salted caramel gets drizzled on top. Then into a container it goes and off to the freezer for a few hours. Done and done.
How to make salted caramel
Making caramel can seem like a daunting task and I’ve definitely had my failures in making it in the past. Follow these steps and pictures below for a hopefully foolproof caramel!
Melting the sugar
Place the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar begins to melt after a few minutes, begin stirring it until it dissolves completely. The sugar will clump up as this is happening. Just keep stirring until all the clumps dissolve. It will also start to turn golden brown toward the end of the melting process.
Adding the cream and butter
Once the caramel looks like the picture above, you are ready to add the other ingredients. It is very, very important that the heavy cream and butter be as close to room temperature as possible. If you are anything like me and forget to pull out the ingredients until right before you start the recipe, simply heat the heavy cream in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds to warm it up. Do the same with the butter, microwaving for about 10 seconds on half power.
Now that the butter is incorporated, add the room temperature cream and again stir quickly and continuously. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit which is why we use a large pan for this.
After the cream is fully incorporated and the bubbles recede, if small clumps of sugar remain, place the pan back onto the medium heat and stir for another couple minutes to melt those down.
Finally, add in the salt and stir to combine. Allow the caramel to cool some before adding to the chocolate budino. That’s it! You just made caramel! Yay!
How long will no-churn ice cream last in the freezer?
The ice cream should be stored in an airtight container. If stored properly, it can keep in the freezer for many months. No last minute trips to the store to grab some ice cream to satisfy that craving.
Other flavor variations
You can adapt the chocolate no-churn ice cream for a lot of different flavor combinations. If you don't want salted caramel and hazelnut, check out these add-in ideas:
- Oreos and mint extract
- mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings (large chocolate chips will be super hard when frozen-no one wants a broken tooth with their ice cream!)
- diced up boxed brownies (or homemade!)
- chopped up girl scout cookies (samoas or thin mints would be delicious)
Honestly, the options are endless and only limited by your creativity! Enjoy!
For more frozen treats, check out:
- Nutella Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust
- Key Lime Coconut Popsicles
- Blood Orange Semifreddo with Salted Almond Crumble
Tag me on Instagram @themarblekitchenblog if you make this and leave a star rating and comment below! Thanks and enjoy!
Chocolate No-Churn Ice Cream with Salted Caramel and Hazelnuts
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup salted caramel plus extra for serving if desired
- ¾ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Heavy cream room temperature
- 4 tbsp unsalted Butter room temperature
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer and large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cocoa powder and salt until combined.
- Fold the condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream very gently until completely combined.
- Fold in the chopped hazelnuts and then swirl in the salted caramel, without mixing in all the way. You should see swirls of salted caramel throughout.
- Pour mixture into a loaf pan and drizzle additional salted caramel on top (if desired), swirling with a knife.
- Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving. Serve with additional salted caramel if desired.
- Place sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar starts to dissolve, stir until it dissolves completely, 10-15 minutes.
- Once sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and cook over medium heat until the sugar turns a deep amber color, about 1-3 minutes. Don’t walk away during this step! It can burn very quickly if you aren’t paying attention.
- Immediately add the cubed butter and whisk constantly until the butter is melted. It will bubble up a lot.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream while whisking constantly. Be careful as it will bubble up again. Continue whisking until the caramel is smooth.
- If clumps of sugar remain, place the pan back over medium heat for a couple minutes to melt completely.
- Add the salt and whisk until combined.
- Feel free to use purchased salted or regular caramel if you want to skip making it from scratch.
- If making the salted caramel, store remaining caramel in an airtight container (I use a mason jar) in the refrigerator for up to a month. The caramel will thicken considerably while refrigerated. You can warm it up in the microwave for 20-30 seconds for a pourable consistency.
- The ice cream is best served after taking the pan out of the freezer for 5-10 minutes to soften.