David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on Food52 (2024)

5 Ingredients or Fewer

by: Genius Recipes



9 Ratings

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 8 hours
  • Makes about 1 quart (1 liter)

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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

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 2 1/4 cups(555 ml) water
  • 1 cup(200 g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup(75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 pinchsalt
  • 6 ounces(170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoonvanilla extract
  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.


  • Sorbet
  • Frozen Dessert
  • Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts
  • American
  • Chocolate
  • Make Ahead
  • 5 Ingredients or Fewer
  • Memorial Day
  • Father's Day
  • Fall
  • Summer
  • Mother's Day

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lauren m.w.

  • Brandy Shin

  • tota

  • ellencooks

  • Emily Loh

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Popular on Food52

95 Reviews

lauren M. February 20, 2024

one of the absolute greatest recipes of all time--I've made it probably fifty or more times now. It is perfection, exactly as written.

Brandy S. June 26, 2022

So luscious! There used to be a gourmet ice cream shop in LA called Carmela. They had the best chocolate sorbet. This may be even better! Be sure to use high quality cocoa powder like Valrhona. Easy peasy and short active time.

Jill June 3, 2020

This recipe is the most sublime offering for a vegan and/ or chocolate snob. It's perfect everything's and adaptable to added flavors. I personally prefer a heavy shake of high quality cinnamon and some fresh ground cardamom for complex layering.
It's also divine chilled but unfrozen, as an intense vegan pot de creme. Sublime.

Mary April 23, 2020

Made it for the umpteenth time today. Might be the best batch yet.
Added 1 Tbs kahlua, 1/2 cup chopped salted (lightly) almonds and 1/2 unsweetened cacao nibs.
Vegan daughter in chocolate heaven.
Bless you David L.

maiolicagirl August 29, 2019

This recipe is incredible. I make ice cream and sorbet all the time. I was a pastry chef for a few years. It is without doubt the very best chocolate sorbet, gelato ice cream recipe of all time. I made it again this week. My friends were fawning over it, where did you get this it’s is so amazing. The base is like a chocolate pudding that you could eat. but, persevere and make the gelato. You won’t be disappointed. A master piece. Thank you
David you are amazing.

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

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/
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.

Smaug August 22, 2019

Karo light contains no fructose- it is simply glucose syrup with (for reasons mysterious to me) tiny amounts of vanilla and salt added. Glucose is considerably less sweet than sucrose and binds water just as effectively, thus helping prevent large crystals from forming. It's a great shame that this product has been tarred by the controversy surrounding high fructose corn syrup; it's simply not the same thing.

Smaug January 3, 2021

Actually, it binds water twice as effectively as sucrose; sucrose is a disaccharide and uses up one of its bonds bonding sucrose to fructose.

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'.

Hannah S. January 3, 2021

Actually David Lebowitz seems pretty okay with corn syrup in moderation. You do you!


Smaug January 3, 2021

Not only that, the objections to high fructose corn syrup are somewhat dubious. It is basically the same as invert sugar (sucrose), which separates the fructose and glucose that make up table sugar; bonds that are broken down in the digestive process at any rate. Thus it's the same as far as sugars as Golden syrup or refiners' syrup, and- if your objection is to high levels of fructose- would be preferable to honey. Remaining objections have to do with the fear that harmful chemicals will somehow be included from GMO corn, for which there is absolutely no available evidence.

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!

Smaug January 3, 2021

This recipe includes no stabilizers or emulsifiers except for whatever lecithin is in the chocolate, and no fat except for the cocoa butter, so the type of chocolate could make a difference. Also, overworking fats can cause fat molecules to bond together into globules (that's how butter is made), so the blender step should be done with caution.

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.

Diana June 21, 2014

how do i make this without an ice-cream machine?

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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