This Black Forest ice cream has cherry sauce, Kirsch, and chocolate chunks swirled into a no-churn vanilla ice cream base. It's a creamy, refreshing dessert with all the flavors of a traditional Black Forest cake. Scoop some into a waffle cone and top with a fresh cherry for the perfect summer dessert!
I love ice cream. It's my favorite dessert and I eat it all year long. While I usually go for a pint of Jeni's or Van Leeuwen, this Black Forest ice cream recipe has been satisfying all my ice cream cravings this summer!
If you've never had it before, Black Forest cake is a traditional German dessert consisting of chocolate cake layers, tangy cherry filling, and whipped cream. Kirsch, a German cherry liqueur, is traditionally added to the cake too. Decorated with maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings, a slice of Black Forest is indulgent and irresistible!
I decided to take these flavors and turn them into an ice cream! I always try to make my recipes as easy as possible to make, so I made this a no-churn ice cream recipe. This means that you don't need to use an ice cream maker! All you have to do is combine whipped cream with sweetened condensed milk. The condensed milk keeps the ice cream from getting icy, maintaining its amazing creamy texture.
Mix in the cherry sauce and chocolate, freeze, and you have an amazing ice cream to serve in a cone, in an ice cream sandwich, with brownies, and more! If you love frozen desserts, make frozen Greek yogurt bars, graham cracker ice cream, or this strawberry cream cheese icebox cake next.
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. See the recipe card below for quantities and full instructions.
- Heavy cream- Whipping heavy cream creates that fluffy texture that the best ice creams have. Make sure to use cold heavy whipping cream, not half and half or anything else!
- Vanilla extract- High quality, real vanilla extract adds the best flavor to your ice cream base.
- Sweetened condensed milk- This is folded into the aerated cream, adding sweetness and keeping the ice cream smooth and creamy with no churning involved! Sweetened condensed milk is milk with 60% of its water content removed. Less water equals less ice crystals, which is why condensed milk is perfect for making soft and scoop-able ice cream.
- Kirsch- For the best black forest flavor, you have to use Kirsch! Kirsch (or kirschwasser) is a German cherry brandy made from distilling tart or sour cherries. It's typically clear and folded into the cream and condensed milk mixture. So yes, this ice cream has a little kick of alcohol!
- Salt- Salt keeps the ice cream from being too sweet and tasting one-dimensional. Make sure to use finely ground salt instead of coarse so it mixes into the whipped cream seamlessly.
- Cherry filling- I love making the cherry sauce from scratch, but you can use a high quality canned cherry pie filling too. If you make it from scratch, you can use fresh or frozen sweet cherries. Keep in mind that you'll need a cherry pitter if you use fresh cherries!
- Chopped chocolate- I used chopped semi-sweet baking bars to mimic the chocolate shavings you'd find on top of a black forest cake. You can opt for semi-sweet, bittersweet, or dark chocolate.
- Kirsch: If you can't find Kirsch, use cherry liqueur instead. It can be clear or red tinted, like mine, to add a pretty pink color. You can also omit it and add a ¼ teaspoon almond extract instead for a similar flavor and alcohol-free option.
- Chopped chocolate: I usually don't recommend substituting chocolate chips for chopped chocolate because they don't melt as well. However, since we're not melting anything, it's totally ok to use chocolate chips in this recipe!
Helpful Equipment and Tools
- A 5-quart stand mixer with the wire whip attachment works great for whipping heavy cream. You can also use an electric hand mixer with a large bowl. The recipe below is written for a stand mixer, but you can follow the same directions with a hand mixer.
- You'll need a container to store the ice cream in. I like using a 9x5" loaf pan covered with plastic wrap, but you can use an 8x8" or 9x9" square pan, glass bowl, or another freeze-safe container.
How to Make Black Forest Ice Cream
Before you start, place your mixing bowl in the refrigerator to chill for a couple minutes. This makes the cream easier to whip up!
STEP 1: First, pour the heavy cream and vanilla into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the cream on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. This will only take about 3 minutes, so don't get too distracted or your heavy cream will get clumpy!
STEP 2: Next, fold the sweetened condensed milk, Kirsch, and salt into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Fold gently to make sure the cream still stays aerated.
STEP 3: Fold most of the cherry sauce and ¾ of your chopped chocolate into the mixture, using the same gentle technique with the rubber spatula. You'll need to save some for the topping!
STEP 4: Pour the ice cream mixture into a pan (it can be lined with plastic wrap or unlined). Swirl extra cherry sauce in with a skewer or knife and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chunks on top. Freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm.
STEP 5: Let your ice cream sit on the counter to soften for about 5 minutes before serving in a cone, in a dish, or any way you want!
Expert Tips for Success
- Don't overwhip the heavy cream. If you overwhip the cream, it'll get clumpy and won't freeze into a soft, beautiful ice cream. If you do happen to overwhip it, you can try adding a little more heavy cream to the mixture as the mixer runs on low until the correct stiff peak texture forms.
- Fold gently. Folding gently is crucial because it helps preserve the air we've carefully added to the heavy cream. When you fold something in, take your spatula and gently move it along the side of the bowl, then along the bottom and over the top of the mixture. This gentle motion ensures that no air is lost, which is super important!
- Make sure everything is cold. If you make cherry sauce from scratch, make sure it's completely cold before adding it to the ice cream! It'll ruin the texture if it's still warm.
Additions and Variations
- Brownies: Brownies are so tasty in ice cream! They get deliciously chewy when frozen. You can bake up some small batch brownies, chop them up, and fold them into the ice cream before freezing.
- Chocolate cake: Like the brownies, you can whip up some small batch chocolate cupcakes, chop a few up, and sprinkle the pieces into your ice cream.
- Cocoa powder: Sift ¼ cup of cocoa powder into the whipped cream and fold it in with the condensed milk. You can use unsweetened or dutch-processed cocoa powder for even more chocolate flavor.
- Nuts: For some crunch, add toasted and chopped almonds or hazelnuts. The flavor of almonds and hazelnuts go great with chocolate and cherries!
How to Serve
Now that your ice cream is done, you might need some ideas for how to serve it. Here are some of my favorites!
- Served in a dish.
- Scooped in a cake, sugar, or waffle cone.
- As a sundae with whipped cream, hot fudge or chocolate sauce, chopped nuts, and a cherry.
- Between chocolate cookies or brownies for an ice cream sandwich.
- As the base of an ice cream cake.
How to Store
Store leftover ice cream in the same container that you originally froze it in. Make sure it's wrapped tightly in plastic or stored in an airtight container so that ice crystals won't form on top and throughout the ice cream. It will stay fresh for about 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Churning ice cream in an ice cream maker does many things. It speeds up the freezing process (giving ice crystals less time to form), breaks up any ice crystals into small ones for a smooth texture, and incorporates air into the mixture. A good no churn ice cream recipe will have steps to do all the same things, like adding condensed milk to limit ice crystals and whipping cream for aeration, without an ice cream maker.
Yes, you make make half of the recipe for a small batch option. Just use a smaller container to freeze it in.
Unfortunately, this recipe won't work in an ice cream maker because of the condensed milk.
More Summer Desserts
Black Forest Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream cold
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 1 can
- 2 tablespoon Kirsch or cherry liqueur
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cherry sauce homemade or store-bought cherry filling, divided
- 8 ounces chopped chocolate semi-sweet, dark, or bittersweet, divided
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cold heavy cream and vanilla on medium high speed until stiff peaks form.2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Gently fold the sweetened condensed milk, Kirsch, and salt into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula.14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoon Kirsch, ½ teaspoon salt
- Next, fold ¾ cup of cherry sauce and about 6 ounces of the chopped chocolate into the ice cream mixture.1 cup cherry sauce, 8 ounces chopped chocolate
- Pour the ice cream mixture into the loaf pan. Swirl the remaining cherry filling in with a skewer and sprinkle the leftover chocolate chunks on top.
- Cover in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm.
- Let the ice cream soften on the counter for 5 minutes before scooping into cones or bowls. Serve with hot fudge or chocolate sauce and maraschino cherries. Enjoy!