You don’t need an ice cream maker to make this Cherry Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream! This is an easy, no-churn recipe for vanilla ice cream streaked with a fresh cherry syrup and rich chocolate swirl.
No-Churn Ice Cream
Yes, it’s true, you can make rich and creamy ice cream without an ice cream maker. Trust me, I have tried what seems like a thousand different recipes until I got it right. So, what is the secret you ask? Dairy. In the form of sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream.
Thanks to the lifestyle brand goddess, Martha Stewart, it appears she may have discovered this perfect concoction. And all of us food bloggers are the lucky recipients of this genius!
I have attempted to make no-churn ice cream with coconut milk – essentially dairy alternatives. And I still need to do more testing. The problem you may run into if you try to swap the dairy for non-dairy is the water content in the non-dairy products.
Water will freeze (obvs), thus creating icey ice cream. I have seen recipes where you stir the ice cream periodically while it is freezing, but let’s face it, I’m not that patient. So I’ll keep testing.
In the meantime, this fully loaded dairy ice cream is an awesome, easy way to make homemade ice cream. The result is smooth and creamy ice cream – just like you get at an ice cream shop, or out of your ice cream maker.
Making The No-Churn Ice Cream Base
To start, this is a smaller batch of ice cream. I only use half of the can of sweetened condensed milk, but by all means, you can double the ingredients to make more ice cream!
The base of this ice cream starts out as good old vanilla. You could stop there if you wanted to. The sweetened condensed milk and vanilla give the ice cream a sweet and rich flavor. But if you want to add flavors – like the cherry and chocolate swirls – the base can take on any flavor combo you like.
Making the vanilla ice cream couldn’t be easier:
- Make whipped cream with the heavy cream.
- Whisk the vanilla and salt in the sweetened condensed milk.
- Fold the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream.
- Cover and freeze the ice cream. If keeping the flavor as vanilla, freeze for at least 6 hours. If adding flavors, freeze until the ice cream is the consistency of soft-serve – at least 2 hours.
- Fold in your flavors at soft-serve consistency, and freeze for at least 4 more hours.
Adding Fruit Flavor To The Ice Cream
Remember how I mentioned that the non-dairy alternatives have a lot of water which equals icey ice cream. Well, the same is true for fruit. For the cherry swirl in this recipe, I cooked down the cherries to make a syrup. Cooking the fruit will help to evaporate most of the water in the fruit. Plus it gives it a thick syrupy consistency.
When To Add The Flavors To The Ice Cream
I prefer to freeze the vanilla ice cream base for at least 2 hours before adding any flavors. This way the add-ins won’t sink to the bottom and the ice cream has a good solid base to add flavors.
When you add your flavors, you can thoroughly mix them in. Or dollop them on top and swirl them in. It really depends on if you want little flavor surprises in your ice cream, or if you want to transform the vanilla to a different flavor.
How To Freeze Homemade Ice Cream
Ideally, freezing the ice cream in a container made for homemade ice cream is the best. These containers are insulated, which will help prevent ice crystals from forming on the top of the ice cream. I like this ice cream container for its insulation and shape – the long shape makes it easy to scoop!
If you do not have an ice cream container, you can cover the ice cream with plastic wrap. I have made and stored ice cream in a cake pan, covered with plastic wrap, and sealed tightly with a rubber band. That is the key – make sure the ice cream container is covered tightly!
That’s it! It’s summer and you need to celebrate with a little homemade, no-churn ice cream!
Cherry Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream
- 6-Inch Cake Pan, 9×5 Loaf Pan, or Ice Cream Container
ICE CREAM BASE
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (this is about 1/2 of a 14-ounce can)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 ounces whole milk
ICE CREAM BASE
- In a medium mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form – about 3-5 minutes.
- Measure out the sweetened condensed milk in a liquid measuring cup. Transfer the extra condensed milk to a Tupperware or jar to use in a different recipe – like this Lime Cracker Icebox Pie! Add the vanilla extract and salt and whisk to blend.
- Using a rubber spatula, add the sweetened condensed milk mix to the whipped cream and slowly fold the mix together until thoroughly incorporated.
- Transfer the ice cream base to the loaf pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap. I use a rubber band to secure the wrap tightly, then cover again with aluminum foil. Place the ice cream in the freezer to freeze for at least 30 minutes before adding the cherry and chocolate swirl.
- While the ice cream is freezing, make the cherry and chocolate swirl.
- In a small saucepan, add the pitted and chopped cherries, maple syrup and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, periodically mashing the cherries with a wooden spoon. Cook until the juices have been released from the cherries and the mix becomes slightly thick – about 10 minutes.
- Press the cherry puree through a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl. Press the mix firmly through the strainer using the wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the underside of the strainer to collect all the cherry juice!
- Place the cherry puree in the fridge to cool until ready to swirl into the ice cream.
- In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and milk and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the milk is heated. Remove from the microwave and stir the chocolate mix until the chocolate chips have completely melted. Set aside at room temperature to cool until ready to swirl into the ice cream. Do not place in the fridge, or it will set up too firm to swirl.
- Remove the ice cream from the freezer after at least 30 minutes. The ice cream should be the consistency of soft serve.
- Using a rubber spatula, drop dollops of the cherry puree and chocolate sauce on top of the ice cream. Swirl into the ice cream. Mix the swirls as much or as little as you like. The less you swirl, the more pure cherry and chocolate you will have. The more you swirl, the more the cherry and chocolate will mix in with the vanilla ice cream.
- Cover the ice cream with the plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze for at least 6 – 8 more hours, until the ice cream has set.
- When ready to serve, the ice cream can be scooped straight from the freezer! No need to thaw. Top with any extra cherry and chocolate swirl you have left over and enjoy!
about the author ...
I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!
I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!