How-To & Diy

Two-Ingredient Magic Shell

July  9, 2013

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Marian shows us how to make magic shell at home, with just two pantry ingredients.

Magic Shell from Food52

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There's magic hiding in your cupboard.

It's not Narnia (sorry), not a winter wonderland where A/C is free and centaurs befriend you out of nowhere. But it will make your summer more enjoyable. It will give you another excuse to buy ice cream. It will make these months feel more "yay! summer!" and less "I hate everything, may God smite the sun".

It's homemade magic shell. And it requires just two ingredients: coconut oil and good chocolate.

Coconut Oil ingredients from Food52

You should already have these things in your pantry, because if you don't have a chocolate stash I am worried about you and if you haven't hopped on the coconut oil wagon (hippie alert: sometimes I use it as lotion!) then you need to hurry up because we're all fording the river soon.

Like butter, coconut oil has a high melting point, meaning that it melts easily but hardens up once it feels a chill. So melt it down with chocolate, pour it over your ice cream, and watch it form a smooth shell. Get all giddy as you crack it with your spoon. Feel like a kid again.

And then apologize to summer for all the bad things you said about it.

Homemade Magic Shell

Makes 1 cup

160 grams (2 small bars) good quality chocolate
100 grams coconut oil

Note: You can make as little or as much as you want; just use two parts coconut oil to three parts chocolate. Single servings made late at night are encouraged.

Magic Shell from Food52

Break your chocolate into pieces -- I like to do this with my hands rather than a knife to avoid wasted chocolate shards -- and add them to a microwave-safe container with your coconut oil. If your kitchen is cold and your coconut oil is solid, it will look different than this -- but it will all be the same in the end.

Magic Shell from Food52

Microwave for 30-second intervals until your chocolate and oil have melted together. Stir well to ensure that everything is smooth, and let the mixture cool slightly before using; if it's super-hot, the shell will partially melt your ice cream. But some people are into that sort of thing.

Magic Shell from Food52

Pour magic shell over a generous scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Magic Shell from Food52

Wait. Be patient! Don't touch your spoon until the shell has hardened -- it won't take more than a minute. 

Magic Shell from Food52

Dig in. Crack the shell. Eat every last bite. Preferably near a fan. 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Evie K.
    Evie K.
  • JoyceKooiman
  • Beth Lewis
    Beth Lewis
  • doreen
  • Williams Jackilyn
    Williams Jackilyn
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Evie K. July 14, 2023
Hello frozen beautifully ripe strawberries meet chocolate magic shell. Yummy and refreshing on a warm night.
JoyceKooiman July 12, 2023
…try adding some finely crushed instant coffee to the mix. Trust me on this.
Beth L. July 12, 2023
Looks like fun but I can’t eat chocolate. Can Carmel sauce be used instead?
doreen November 2, 2015
I have a 4.25 oz bar (120 grams) chocolate bar.. How much coconut oil do I use??
Williams J. May 28, 2014
Will it harden if
I store in my pantry, or does it only when it gets cold?
Marian B. May 28, 2014
It will harden if you keep it in the fridge -- or a cold room -- but in a warm pantry, it will melt.
Steph February 26, 2014
This is my first time trying to make this and I'm confused!? I've read a lot of the blogs but I'm getting different measurements. Some says 1 cup chocolate chip to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. and some say 1 cup chocolate chip to 2 cups coconut oil?! There's a huge difference and I don't want to waste as the coconut oil is quite costly and good chocolate too!!!
Can somebody please help me verify this and also vegetable oil is also mentioned to work but which is better?!
dchu January 30, 2014
I'm not fond of the chocolate/coconut combination, and my local co-op carries food grade cocoa butter (thanks Rainbow Grocery!) so I used that instead. Yummy! Disclaimer: I've never had brand name Magic Shell so I can't compare the two.
SaucyCuisine August 3, 2013
I've been making this ever since I first saw the post to raving fans. I use 3 parts chocolate and 2 parts coconut oil. Make the amount you want.
sarah August 3, 2013
How much is 100 grams?
walkie74 August 5, 2013
A little less than half a cup.
lisas156 July 19, 2013
Recently my go-to dessert has been a frozen banana, almond milk and cocoa ice "cream" (made in my Vitamix). Seemed like the perfect base for this recipe. It worked perfectly and was delicious and fun. I agree with others that the hint of coconut is subtle but nice. With the bananas it was a real tropical tasting treat.
Jeanne A. July 14, 2013
We actually ran Irvin's story in Taste of Home magazine. And, yes, we tested in the Test Kitchen first. His recipe worked. It's a fun one.
Andrea E. July 14, 2013
That's UP when I'll see my kids on Tuesday, better then beach!
Kate July 14, 2013
We made this tonight and it's incredible!! The extra hint of coconut flavor paired with the chocolate and vanilla makes it so special. Thank you.
Marian B. July 15, 2013
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
Caterina B. July 14, 2013
Yum! I am going to try this tonight. I like to make as much as possible homemade. I don't usually buy already prepared anything.
I make a chocolate sauce with chocolate chips, a little honey and some cream or half and half. Very easy and almost instant gratification.
Marian B. July 15, 2013
Sounds delicious!
Trudy July 14, 2013
I used this for frozen bananas! #1, cut bananas in 1/2, insert stick and freeze on wax paper. Dip frozen banana in chocolate. Before it sets, rolled them in coconut. THEN, after it was set, I re-dipped them in chocolate and rolled in nuts! I placed them on wax paper and set them in the freezer.
KtMcB July 14, 2013
This is taking the magic to another level with DOUBLE DIPPING!!!!
Now I just need to figure out how I am going to get some ice cream in there..........
Trudy July 14, 2013
LOL! Let me know if you figure it out, KtMcB!
TishAnn July 15, 2013
Hmmm. Cut the bananas into chunks and mix into semi-soft ice cream. Refreeze. Then, once frozen, cut into rectangles and dip into chocolate, etc. ???
Mama J. July 14, 2013
Just like "Magic Shell" when we were kids! Except it's not made with Carnuba wax (aka. what car wax is made of)!!! Now, to just find a home sized soft serve machine.
Marian B. July 15, 2013
You're right -- no creepy ingredients here! Good luck with that soft serve machine; if you find one I'd be more than happy to help you test it out.
KP I. July 14, 2013
Just a note to be sure to use refined, rather than unrefined coconut oil. I didn't realize the difference when I bought my first jar of (unrefined) coconut oil (which was bought specifically to make this magic shell and then immediately devour it). My end result tasted distinctly coconutty - not bad if that's what you're after (certainly didn't stop me from eating it), but I don't think it pairs as well with all ice cream flavors, and it did get in the way of appreciating the chocolate flavor a bit.
Other than that, this stuff is beyond!
Alex P. July 14, 2013
Thank you! That was my question, does the coconut oil have to be refined? Thx, you just saved me a trip to the store :)
Delia S. July 14, 2013
This was a special treat when I visited my grandparents when I was a child. Except it wasn't made by Smucker's and was called "Liquid" something. Fun!
LPW2000 July 14, 2013
This is better than a good, trick recipe. This will make my grandchild smile!
Marian B. July 14, 2013
I'm so glad!
I bet his is wonderful with dark chocolate and ancho/chipotle pepper and or cinnamon. How about Chinese five-spice? The combinations are endless.
Marian B. July 14, 2013
Yum! I like the way you think.