Dark chocolate sorbet: All the flavor, (almost) none of the fat

Oh, my…

Wait a minute – you say I can make this ridiculously decadent looking treat at home?

Sure – I did. Which means you can, too.

All you need is…

Chocolate – as in cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

Plus water, sugar, and vanilla; easy enough, right? A touch of salt and espresso powder add flavor, but both are optional. As is the Kahlua (or alcohol of your choice). While highly recommended to enhance “scoopability,” give it a pass if you don’t do hard liquor.

Wait a minute – where’s the cream? Isn’t ice CREAM made out of heavy cream?

Indeed it is. But this isn’t ice cream – it’s sorbet. I know, usually when you think sorbet, you think strawberry, or mango, or peach – something made with fruit, right?

But chocolate sorbet?

Well, why not?

Sorbet, a fruit ice typically made with water, sugar, and fruit purée, is a delicious vehicle for chocolate, as well. You’d never guess this rich, creamy treat is dairy-free.

There are many chocolate sorbet recipes available online; our thanks to authors Ina Garten and David Lebovitz for the inspiration responsible for this version: a rich (yet low-fat), silky-smooth, intensely chocolate dessert.

PicMonkey Collage2

Combine the following in a medium-sized saucepan:

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa; our All-Purpose Baking Cocoa is a good choice
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups water

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the chips and sugar are dissolved.


Remove from the heat, and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons Kahlua or vodka. The alcohol is optional, but will prevent the sorbet form becoming rock-hard in the freezer. If you prefer not to use it, just make sure to remove the sorbet from the freezer about 20 minutes before you want to serve it, to soften.

Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled; overnight is best.


Start making the sorbet at least 4 hours before you want to serve it. Pour the chocolate into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker, and freeze for 25 minutes or so.

Can you make this without an ice cream maker? Yes, you can; it will taste the same, but will be crunchy/granular rather than smooth. See instructions at the end of this post.


After 20 to 25 minutes, the sorbet will still be quite soft; that’s just fine.


Transfer to a storage container, and freeze for several hours before serving, to firm up.


Isn’t that just the deepest-darkest chocolate ice “cream” you’ve ever seen?

With the only fat coming from the half cup of chocolate chips (plus a tiny bit from the cocoa powder), this is a much lower-fat confection (5g fat per serving) than my other favorite chocolate ice cream: Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food (13g fat per serving).

Less guilt, more pleasure – in every bite!

Read, make and review (please) our recipe for Dark Chocolate Sorbet.

Print just the recipe.

To make sorbet without an ice cream maker: Make the chocolate mixture, but omit the alcohol. Place the mixture in a shallow pan; an 8″ x 8″ square pan or 9″ round cake pan are both good choices. Place the pan in the freezer. There’s no need to cover it.

After 2 hours, use a fork or spoon to stir it around, bringing the frozen edges into the center. Return to the freezer.

Continue to stir every hour or so, until the sorbet is nearly as firm as you like. This may be as little as 4 hours total, start to finish; or it may take longer, depending on the temperature of your freezer.

Once the sorbet is entirely icy (like a slush drink), add the alcohol, if you’re using it. Rather than add the alcohol while the sorbet is still in its shallow pan, transfer the sorbet to a lidded storage bowl. Stir in the alcohol, then cover the bowl and place it in the freezer. Let the sorbet “ripen” (freeze), undisturbed, for several more hours, until it’s as hard as you like.


PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Melissa

    I made this yesterday and it is wonderful. I halved the recipe and it worked just fine. The taste is really rich. I used espresso powder and I couldn’t really taste it-only the chocolate. A keeper.

  2. Andrea

    Made this and I love this sorbet. My ice cream maker failed so I had to do the pour it in a pan, freeze, stir, and it worked perfectly even after I had already added the Kahlua.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Perfect! As long as the final results are tasty, creamy, and delicious, we’d say you had a sorbet success! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  3. Simone Dorcas

    We just had dark chocolate sorbet on a cruise ship recently and I was in heaven. So , of course when I got home , I had to find a recipe and this was it. Just took it our of the ice cream maker and my husband has judged it as excellent – rich and wonderful. And so did I. My new go-to rich and decadent dessert and it only takes minutes to make. You have a winner here!

  4. Michael

    So I’m thinking about making this. I’m waiting until I have enough things I want to buy before getting some espresso powder from you guys, and so am looking to improvise as far as that ingredient goes. How much of the water would you recommend replacing with coffee? Would you say maybe just use the same amount of water, but in the form of resteeped grounds from a French press? Or just substitute a cup of coffee for some of the water?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The answer to your question depends on how strong you want the coffee flavor to be compared to the chocolate, vanilla, and Kahlua. If you want just a slight back note of coffee, 1 cup of coffee that has been brewed normally and then allowed to cool would be just fine. If you want this to be a COFFEE-chocolate ice cream, go for a full 2 cups. It will be a fun experiment to find the recipe adjustments that are right for you. Happy ice cream making! Kye@KAF

  5. Dayna

    This sounds terrific, but I wish you’d refrain from commentary about how this is admirably low-fat or a guilty pleasure. Food moralizing helps no one, particularily folks who are looking for dairy-free ways to feed their children who have allergies to dairy but who enjoy frozen desserts just like others.

    1. Janet

      Dayna, I don’t see a problem with using terms like low fat or guilty pleasure. There are some of us who are trying to lose weight and this would be good for us to not feel guilty and think we are cheating since it is low fat and if it is as good as it looks then it would be a guilty pleasure. This is something that is good for both dieters and those with lactose intolerance. It dies not have to be one or the other.

  6. Hillary

    My favorite flavor at Berthillon, the fabulous Parisien ice cream purveyor, is coco-whiskey sorbet. I cannot wait to try this recipe as it sounds remarkably like it. Was that Lebovitz’s inspiration? Thank you!

  7. Maureen

    Is there somewhere that we Bariatric patients can get some carb and protein counts? If I could include this in my lifestyle, I would be so over the moon.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Maureen,
      There is an excellent free nutritional calculator over at sparkpeople.com. Fast, accurate and totally free! ~ MJ

  8. Vanessa

    I made this recipe to every exact detail except for one slight adaptation: used coconut palm sugar instead of regular… and for some reason it refuses to freeze! I’ve tried twice now, with freshly frozen ice cream maker tubs, and with no success… on the bright side, I blended up the sauce with ice and made some delicious ‘milkshakes’. Any idea why it refuses to freeze up? 😛

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Coconut palm sugar does behave differently than white sugar. You might want to look for a sorbet recipe that calls for the palm sugar.~Jaydl@KAF

  9. Teri

    Sounds so yummy!! I don’t like coffee and don’t know much about liquor. Could I use Crème de Menthe as the liqueur? How much would I use?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You could use about 2 tablespoons of Creme de Menthe, though this will change the flavor a little bit. Vodka will work better as it is flavorless. Jon@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *