David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet

June 12, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Despite having no dairy or eggs, this sorbet is impossibly creamy. It also remains perfectly scoopable without going hard or icy in the slightest, even after several days in the freezer. Lebovitz credits this remarkable consistency to the high proportion of bittersweet chocolate. Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2007)Genius Recipes

Makes: about 1 quart (1 liter)
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 8 hrs


  • 2 1/4 cups (555 ml) water
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In This Recipe


  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk for 45 seconds.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it's melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.

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Reviews (85) Questions (2)

85 Reviews

andi July 9, 2018
Made it without an ice cream maker (used a Pyrex bowl and stuck in the deep freezer using his method (every 30 min churning it with a hand mixer) was finished in about two hours). My favorite new type and way to make DF ice cream! Delicious!
Lorraine July 1, 2018
This is such an awesome recipe. I have made this chocolate sorbet a view times and it was just delicious. Thank you so much David for sharing with us. Lorraine from South Africa.
JOYCE July 23, 2017
JOYCE<br />I recently became extremely lactose & fructose intolerant, so no more ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbert or fruit sorbet. My son made this chocolate sorbet for me when he got back from Paris. It was PERFECT in every way! Dark chocolate flavor, smooth & creamy...ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!
tota October 3, 2016
I am wondering why Saba, you would use corn syrup? This is not something I would've thought to add or substitute...this has never been icy when we've made so you might want to just go with the recipe as is....corn syrup is kinda on my no-no list.
Saba October 4, 2016
Hi Tota, I usually make ice cream in the Jeni Britton Bauer style (eggless, with cream cheese, corn syrup, and cornstarch) for texture and scoopability issues. I read about how to replace sugar with corn syrup and that's how I came up with the amounts. In retrospect, 3/4c of corn syrup is probably too much. I am looking at revisiting the amounts. Karo Light Corn Syrup is the standard in candy making, and as I understand, is not the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup. Here's an article that discusses Jeni's ice cream method and the use of corn syrup: https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/08/recipe-for-homemade-ice-cream/<br />I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. And thanks for letting me know your sorbet was creamy. I will also try it with all sugar.
Saba September 29, 2016
I have been making ice cream for a while, but am new to sorbets and they are sometimes icy and not very scoopable. So I tried tweaking the ingredients: 2.125 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3/4 cup corn syrup (everything else the same). I used high quality cocoa powder and dark chocolate, and added 1/4 tsp espresso powder. Amazing results: smooth, scoopable, rich, and creamy. By the way, I only have an immersion blender and it worked great!
Shahreen R. March 11, 2017
Corn syrup is disgusting and incredibly unhealthy- Americans are obsessed with sugary chemical substitutes. Saba - David has been living in Paris for years and I promise you that Europeans would never touch corn syrup with a ten foot rod. Try Grand Marnier if you want to play around with consistency but stay away from the horror that is fed to the American masses aka high fructose corn syrup *shudder-*
JOYCE July 23, 2017
There is a difference between 'corn syrup' & 'high fructose corn syrup'.
Virginia September 10, 2016
Yes! Absolutely delicious. Made one batch inspired by the instructions (only cocoa powder - no other chocolate, all the water in the pot at the same time, and 2T of bourbon) and one as written. I have also tried Ina Garten's recipe. Ina's is tasty but David's real recipe and inspired are both winners. The one with just cocoa is light and refreshing. The one as written is dense and fudgey - more like an amazing fudgecicle. For my first "inspired" batch, I used Trader Joes Dutch processed cocoa powder. For the "real" batch, I splurged for some Valhrona Dutch processed cocoa powder and 87% dark chocolate. Either way, this recipe is going into permanent rotation at our house.
Zahara B. June 3, 2016
I did beat it to thin it once it cooled thoroughly. It still gummed up my ice cream maker in 5 minutes. It was half frozen, half not, but too thick for the paddle to go through.
Zahara B. June 3, 2016
I did beat it to thin it once it cooled thoroughly. It still gummed up my ice cream maker in 5 minutes. It was half frozen, half not, but too thick for the paddle to go through.
ellencooks December 26, 2015
Nance - try beating the mixture better to dissolve the sugar once it is heated through.
Nance December 26, 2015
It was not the sugar but the chocolate that would not break down. It was like little fat globules. I melted it, put it in a blender and refroze it yesterday. I'll see what it's like today. Thank you!
Nance December 25, 2015
Mine came out grainy. Has anyone had this issue? If so, how do you correct it?
Emily L. October 14, 2015
Absolutely delicious, brought this to a party and it was a big hit with everyone.
LLStone August 26, 2014
I'm late to the party, but this is really great! I just made a batch for an ice cream social at work, and it's fantastic.
Betsy T. July 7, 2014
I accidentally mixed all of the water to cook ingredients instead of some of the water and it still turned out beautifully. Super creamy and very rich. A little dollop of fresh whipped cream would be a great addition!
ellencooks June 21, 2014
Diana - see Robert Cardinalli's comment below how he made it without an ice cream machine.<br />
Diana June 21, 2014
how do i make this without an ice-cream machine?
Barney W. May 26, 2014
Why add the water in 2 parts? I'm going to try adding all the water in stage 1 and see what happens...either way, with both cocoa AND dark chocolate, this proves to be an intense sorbet. (love the espresso & amaretti addition, ellencooks)
ellencooks May 27, 2014
Barney - hope I caught you before you made the sorbet. Yes, you are right, it is a very intense chocolate dessert and very tasty. Do not make the same mistake I did. Forgetting the recipe called for adding the water in stages, I just did it in one. The result was a very hard sorbet, so hard as a matter of fact, it had to come out of the freezer 30-40 minutes before serving. Do the two stage water...you will be happier!
Sharon April 10, 2014
I am thinking of trying this onto try this on the frozen dessert setting in my Vitamix. Any thoughts?<br />Sharon
Vitaj February 21, 2014
Try a tablespoon or so of vodka or some other alcohol in the recipe - it seems to keep a coconut-milk ice cream that I make pretty scoopable.
Perrin H. February 21, 2014
I enjoy the flavor of this, but I'm amazed at the description that it doesn't get hard in the freezer. In my freezer (set to the recommended 0 F and checked with a thermometer) it gets so hard that it has to sit out for 20 minutes before it can be scooped. My guess is that the Lindt 70% chocolate that I used has less sugar and more cocoa solids and cocoa butter. That would cause the mixture to freeze more completely. I'm experimenting with invert sugar to try make a softer version that can be scooped directly from the freezer, but that may not be possible without a lot more sugar.
LilyB612 January 27, 2014
If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can always just use your food processor by putting the bowl in your freezer (with the makings of cold deliciousness inside) and taking it out to process your sorbet every hour or so until it's done. Works great!!