You don’t need any special equipment to make homemade fudge swirl ice cream! This recipe is easy to whip up with just 4 ingredients in minutes and tastes like it comes from your favorite ice cream parlor.
Why you’ll love it: This no-churn fudge-swirled ice cream is super smooth and creamy, streaked with ribbons of decadent chocolate fudge. The best part is, it’s so easy to make!
How long it takes: 15 minutes, plus 7 hours to freeze
Equipment you’ll need: electric hand mixer, a couple of large bowls, loaf pan.
Homemade Chocolate Fudge Swirl Ice Cream
As kids, we used to ride our bikes to a neighborhood creamery. With a jukebox in the corner, a long counter, and cool stools that twirled, it was always the place to be, watching the employees prepare delightful frozen treats.
We usually had just enough money to buy a cone. My favorite flavors always include a swirl of fudge, whether it was Moose Tracks or a regular ol’ fudge swirl ice cream. To me, ice cream and chocolate are pretty much synonymous; you can’t have one without the other.
The beauty of homemade ice cream is that I can recreate my favorite flavors right in my own kitchen! One spoonful of this creamy no-churn vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge swirled throughout, and you’ll be spoiled for life.
Why You’ll Love This Ice Cream Recipe
- No ice cream maker. This homemade ice cream is ready for the freezer in minutes. There’s no need for an ice cream freezer or churn.
- Swirled with fudge. There are decadent ribbons of rich chocolate fudged swirled through every inch of the creamy vanilla ice cream base.
- 4 ingredients. With only four wholesome ingredients, you don’t have to worry about all the preservatives and additives commonly found in commercial ice cream. You’ll never want to buy ice cream again!
What You’ll Need
Let’s have a look at the short list of ingredients you’ll need to make your own chocolate fudge ice cream. Remember to scroll to the recipe card below the post for the full ingredient amounts and recipe instructions.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: This heavily sweetened milk comes in cans. You can usually find it in the baking aisle, with brand names like Carnation or Eagle Brand. Don’t substitute evaporated milk. It won’t work in this recipe.
- Vanilla Extract: The base flavor of this ice cream is vanilla. Use a pure vanilla extract for the best taste.
- Heavy Cream: Look for heavy cream with a milk fat of 36-40%. Whipping cream can be somewhat lighter in fat, more along the lines of 30%. It will work but the final result won’t be as creamy.
- Hot Fudge Topping: Make your own hot fudge (it’s really easy) or buy a jar of your favorite pre-made hot fudge topping. It’s up to you. Keep reading for more “swirl” ideas.
How To Make Fudge Swirl Ice Cream
Drum roll, please: here’s how to make this delicious vanilla fudge ice cream right in your own kitchen.
- Chill your tools. You’ll need an electric mixer to whip the heavy cream. Make sure the cream is well-chilled before you get started. Place the bowl and beaters into the freezer for 15 minutes or so, too.
- Prepare the ice cream base. In a large bowl, whip two cups of heavy cream until it’s fluffy and firm (stiff peaks). Gradually fold the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream. Put this mixture into a freezer-safe container: a loaf pan, a plastic container, or whatever you like. Easy so far, right? Cover with foil.
- Chill. Pop the ice cream into the freezer for an hour or so. I bet you’re thinking I forgot the fudge! Nope, I find that you have to freeze the ice cream partially before you add the fudge to make nice fudge swirls. Otherwise, it just mixes in and turns into chocolate ice cream (which isn’t a bad thing, by the way).
- Swirl in the fudge. Once the ice cream is partially frozen, add dollops of fudge and, using a table knife or small spatula, artistically (or not) swirl the fudge into the ice cream. Return to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 6 hours.
I know it’s hard to wait but good things take awhile, you know? And I promise this fudge swirl ice cream is totally worth the wait! I like to top mine with this crunchy oat topping.
Tips for Success
Here are some final tips for nailing this no-churn chocolate swirl ice cream the first time:
- Don’t over-stir the mixture. You don’t want the whipped cream to deflate. “Gently” is key when folding the ingredients together for the ice cream base.
- Let the fudge cool. If you’re making your own hot fudge, make sure to let it cool off before you swirl it into the ice cream. This way, the base won’t melt.
- Give the ice cream enough time in the freezer. No-churn ice cream is softer than traditional churned ice cream, with a texture that’s more like soft-serve. For best results, make sure to freeze it for at least 6 hours.
The answer is yes, with an asterisk. You can use half-and-half, however, the ice cream won’t be as good or as creamy. Because there’s more water in half-and-half, the ice “cream” will form ice crystals, giving it a grainier texture.
If you take away all the added sugar, sweetened condensed milk is just like evaporated milk. It has vitamins and minerals, along with protein and calcium. However, sweetened condensed milk also has 5 times the amount of sugar as evaporated milk (Healthline).
Using lower-fat cream can cause the formation of larger ice crystals (see the previous question). Improper freezing may also cause iciness. Make sure you cover the pan tightly or use an airtight freezer container.
If the bowl you used to whip your cream wasn’t chilled beforehand, your finished ice cream will have trouble freezing. Make sure that the bowl, the heavy cream, and even the beaters for your mixer are all cold from the freezer before you start.
Make This Ice Cream Your Own
Fudge swirl ice cream begins with plain vanilla ice cream. You can add whatever embellishments you like! The “swirls” can also be your choice.
- Like cookies and cream ice cream? Crush a handful of Oreo cookies and swirl them into the partially frozen ice cream.
- Swirl in caramel topping and maybe even a handful of peanuts.
- Try strawberry, blueberry, or cherry jam swirls.
- Really, the choices are limited only to your imagination. Create your own signature ice cream!
Storing No-Churn Ice Cream
Fudge swirl ice cream should be stored in the freezer (right, Captain Obvious!), and covered well to prevent freezer burn. Don’t let the ice cream spend too much time in the freezer. After a while, ice crystals naturally form on top. It will keep for a couple of weeks, though it rarely lasts that long in our house!
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled (at least 36% milk fat)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup hot fudge sauce (at room temperature — see note)
- Pour the heavy cream and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. On medium-high speed, whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks, about 3 minutes (less if you’re using a stand mixer).
- Add sweetened condensed milk to whipped cream. Fold together until just combined and silky and smooth. A few small lumps may remain, it’s important not to over mix as that will deflate the mixture.
- Spread into a 8 or 9-inch loaf pan. Cover with foil and freeze for one hour.
- Take pan out of the freezer and stir to mix in frozen portions. Put spoonfuls of room temperature hot fudge on top, and then gently swirl in hot fudge, using a table knife.. Don’t over mix, you want to see swirls of hot fudge.
- Cover pan tightly with foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm.
- The hot fudge sauce should be at room temperature. Make homemade hot fudge or use store bought hot fudge topping.
- Create your own signature ice cream. Here’s some ideas: Crush a handful of Oreo cookies and swirl them into the partially frozen ice cream. Swirl in caramel topping and a handful of peanuts. Try strawberry, blueberry, or cherry jam swirls.
- For longer storage: Line the loaf pan with parchment paper before freezing the ice cream. When it’s frozen, lift the ice cream out of the pan with the parchment paper and transfer it to a resealable container. Put a layer of plastic wrap or parchment directly on top of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.