Why you’ll love it

Even with the homemade cherry sauce, this black forest ice cream recipe is so easy to make. It has the creamiest vanilla ice cream base, flavoured and swirled with that cherry sauce and chocolate in two forms. It’s decadent and totally irresistible.

  • The vanilla ice cream base: This no churn base is a favourite of mine. It’s creamy, rich, eggless and very easy to make.
  • The cherry sauce: Also very easy, the cherry sauce is made with fresh cherries, though you can use frozen.
  • Chocolate in two forms: This ice cream has both shaved chocolate and chocolate cake pieces.
3 scoops of ice cream stacked in an ice cream container.


I dabbled with just adding chopped cherries, chocolate and chocolate cake to the ice cream base and, while lovely, it didn’t give a true cherry flavour and hence wasn’t black foresty enough for my liking. By turning cherries into a cherry sauce, the flavour is distributed through the whole ice cream and gives it a gorgeous colour at the same time.

This black forest ice cream contains all the essential components of the perfect black forest gateau: chocolate cake, creamy filling, chocolate shavings and syrupy cherries.

Ingredients for black forest ice cream.

Full ingredients and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Cherries: I use fresh cherries here, simply because they were in season and beautiful when I made it. Frozen cherries work just as well and I often use them whenever I make my simple cherry sauce.

Sugar: There is a little sugar added to the cherry sauce to sweeten but also to enhance the natural flavour of the cherries. Don’t skip it.

Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds just a little zing to the cherries.

Cornflour / cornstarch: This ingredient can be confusing as the term cornflour can be different things in different countries. Cornflour (in Australia) is the same as cornstarch in the US. It’s that very fine flour often used to thicken sauces.

Sweetened condensed milk: This makes up part of the ice cream base. Don’t worry – the ice cream does not taste like condensed milk (due to the ratios of this and cream) but it does add just the right amount of sweetness without making the ice cream too sweet.

Cream: Your after thickened cream, whipping cream or heavy cream here, depending on what it’s called in your country. You want a cream of at least 35% milk fat so that it will whip.

Vanilla extract: A little vanilla extract actually works to enhance the flavours in the ice cream. Stick to extract, not essence. The latter is a synthetic product.

Chocolate: You can use dark chocolate or milk chocolate here. I use dark chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate), just a 50% cocoa. Just grab a block of chocolate at room temperature and run a vegetable peeler down the edge to get big shavings. If you want to use chocolate chips, stick to mini chocolate chips as large chunks of chocolate are too hard and crunchy in the ice cream.

Chocolate cake: You can use just a shop-bought or homemade chocolate cake or even brownies. Make sure to chop it quite finely so that the ice cream is still easy to scoop.

How to make black forest ice cream

Turning the classic black forest cake into a black forest ice cream is fairly easy, though you will obviously need some patience while it sets. The cherry sauce takes 10-15 minutes then you’ll need to cool that which you can do quickly in the fridge. Making the ice cream itself and folding all the add-ins in only takes about 10 minutes so you can have this in the freezer and chilling in under 45 minutes (including the cooling time).

1. The cherry sauce

Pit and chop the cherries into small pieces then add them to a pan with sugar and lemon juice (photo 1). Cook them down, simmering for about 10 minutes (photo 2) and give it a mash with a potato masher (photo 3) before adding a cornflour slurry to thicken it up (photo 4).

Now let it cool – you can speed this up in the fridge or freezer and it just needs to get to room temperature before adding to your ice cream base.

Showing how to make the cherry sauce.

2. The vanilla ice cream base

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream until it reaches soft peak stage.
  • Gradually fold in the sweetened condensed milk (photo 5) and vanilla. Done! (photo 6).
  • Now fold in the chocolate and chocolate cake (photo 7). Then fold in most of the cherry sauce (photo 8).
Showing how to mix the ice cream together.

3. Assembling the black forest ice cream

  • Pour half of the mixture into a freezer-safe container then swirl over half of the remaining cherry sauce (photo 9). Repeat that step then scatter over some chocolate shavings to finish (photo 10).
  • Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight is best.
Showing how to swirl the cherry sauce into the ice cream.

Now you have the most creamy chocolate and cherry ice cream just waiting for you to devour.

Tips and tricks

  • Use cold cream: The cream must be cold for it to whip properly.
  • Chill the sauce: The cherry sauce must be no warmer than room temperature when you add it to the cream or it will melt the cream.
  • Don’t overwhip the cream: Cream will become grainy if you overbeat it so be careful and check regularly as it thickens.
  • Fold gently: When you fold the different components into the whipped cream, do so very gently so you don’t knock out all the air you beat into it.
Top down view of scoops of ice cream in a glass dish.

Storage and serving

Keep the ice cream stored in the freezer (towards the back is best for ice cream) and use within 3 months. I store mine in these glass loaf pans that come with lids or in these disposable ice cream cups.

Two glass loaf pans with lids with a cake in one.

I store my ice cream most often in these glass loaf pans.

A cardboard ice cream cup with a lid sitting at an angle.

These disposable ice cream cups are great if you want to freeze your ice cream in smaller portions or to give some away.

As for serving, let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly before trying to scoop with a spoon. Warm the spoon slightly in a cup of warm water first.

You can serve this ice cream in bowls with chocolate sauce drizzled all over the top or in waffle cones. It’s even great sandwiched between these chocolate sugar cookies.


The vanilla ice cream portion of this black forest ice cream recipe is the perfect ice cream base to add any of your own flavours so have at it.

Try replacing the cherry compote with any of my compote / fruit sauce recipes for a different flavour.

You can use any chocolate cake you like in this, or leave it out completely. You could use store-bought or homemade or even use brownies and if you want to keep this ice cream gluten-free, just make sure to use a gluten-free cake.

A waffle cone filled with black forest ice cream, upside down on a surface.

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A waffle cone with scoops of black forest ice cream standing in a glass.
5 from 1 rating
This indulgent, no churn black forest ice cream is so easy to make. A creamy ice cream, loaded with cherry sauce and chocolate, it'll be a family favourite.



  • 450 g fresh cherries, pitted & roughly chopped (1lb)
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour (US cornstarch)


  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk (395g / 14oz)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups thickened cream (heavy whipping cream) (600ml)
  • 1 cup shaved dark chocolate or milk chocolate
  • ¾ cup finely chopped chocolate cake

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided



    In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, lemon juice and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down so the mixture is just simmering.
  • Simmer stirring every so often for about 10 minutes until the cherries have softened and the liquid has doubled. Use a spoon to skim off froth as it’s cooking.
  • Make a slurry using the cornflour and 3 teaspoons of water. Slowly dribble the slurry into the cherries while stirring constantly so that it doesn’t turn lumpy. Do this slowly and stop when you’re happy with the thickness. It will thicken a little more on cooling.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
    In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer or with a balloon whisk, whip the cream to soft peaks. Don’t overwhip or it will turn grainy.
  • Pour half of the sweetened condensed milk into the cream and fold gently together. Be careful not to knock all the air out of the cream. Repeat with the remaining condensed milk and the vanilla and fold gently again.
  • Add the chocolate cake pieces and all but a handful of the shaved chocolate. Fold through carefully. Now, add ¾ of the cherry sauce leaving the rest behind for swirling later and gently fold that through too.
  • Pour half the ice cream into a freezer safe container with lid. Add half the remaining cherry sauce and swirl with the spatula then sprinkle over a little of the reserved chocolate. Repeat the layers again (remaining ice cream mixture followed by remaining cherry sauce and swirl, remaining chocolate).
  • Cover with a lid or tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
  2. The amount of sugar you use in your cherry sauce will depend on how tart your cherries are. If it isn’t sweet enough to your liking after 2 Tbsp, add another tablespoon and dissolve it in.
  3. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Black Forest Ice Cream
Amount Per Serving
Calories 333 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 0.003g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 54mg18%
Sodium 53mg2%
Potassium 289mg8%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 678IU14%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 114mg11%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.