Frozen Chocolate Mousse


scoop of frozen chocolate mousse

OK, this started with a recipe I spotted in Cook’s Country magazine for easy chocolate ice cream. You know I’m a sucker for unusual, short-cut recipes that promise delicious results. I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl.

This stuff is delicious, alright, but I wouldn’t call it ice cream. It’s more like frozen chocolate mousse, minus the eggs. Which in my book almost makes it better than ice cream. (Almost.) If you make it, let me know if you agree.

At any rate, whatever you call it, this stuff is to die for.

frozen chocolate mousse on spoon

Because it’s made with whipped cream, it’s light and airy. (And because it’s made with whipped cream, it’s also ridiculously creamy and rich.) Sweetened condensed milk contributes to the velvety texture and adds subtle caramel-y notes that pair really well with the chocolate.

The basic process for Frozen Chocolate Mousse

So here’s what we’re doing for this one: Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Stir in the condensed milk and a little espresso and vanilla. Fold in a bunch of whipped cream. Freeze. Inhale.

chocolate mousse up close

I made a similar strawberry ice cream (no cook, whipped cream folded into berries in sugar syrup then frozen) a while back, but I processed that in my ice cream machine.

This is even easier. Just make the chocolate mousse mixture, then pop it into the freezer. No ice cream maker required. It really does take about 10 minutes.

Let it thaw a little before serving

This is important.

Straight out of the freezer, this stuff hard to scoop and a little bit chalky in texture. Let it sit on the counter for 5 or 10 minutes, however, and it softens up *just* enough to scoop.

Condensed milk versus evaporated milk

I’m sorry if this is obvious, but I’ve made this mistake a million times. It’s really easy to grab the wrong can at the market if you’re in a rush.

What you want for this recipe is sweetened condensed milk—NOT evaporated milk, which is thin and unsweetened. Sweetened condensed milk is used in all sorts of baked goods and candies. I like Eagle Brand, but use your favorite.

sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened condensed milk is whole milk that’s been mixed with a lot of sugar, then heated til it evaporates by a little more than half. The resulting mixture is syrupy, slightly caramel colored…

open can of condensed milk

…and very, very thick. Once it’s opened, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for about 5 days.

measuring condensed milk

Frozen Chocolate Mousse

Adapted from Cook’s Country

1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 Tbls. hot water
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Yields about 1 quart

Rehydrate the espresso

Grab your instant espresso powder. I keep mine in the freezer.

Instant espresso powder jar

Put it in a small bowl.

instant espresso powder

Add the water and stir to dissolve. Set it aside for a sec.


Melt the chocolate with the condensed milk

Chop up the chocolate into smallish pieces. Put them in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk.

pour condensed milk in bowl with chocolate

Toss in the espresso, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.

add the espresso to the bowl

Mix it all up with a spatula or wooden spoon until it’s fairly uniform.

chocolate and condensed milk

Zap it in the microwave on high for a minute or two, stopping it every 10 or 20 seconds to stir. (If you don’t have a microwave, melt these ingredients together in a heatproof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water.)

When the chocolate has completely melted, you’ll wind up with a very thick paste, like this. Set it aside for a minute while you make the whipped cream. (As it sits, it will thicken a little. That’s just fine.)

smooth mixture of chocolate and condensed milk

Make the whipped cream

Put the cream in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you’re using a handheld electric mixer, or are whipping by hand). Beat on high until it thickens and eventually forms soft peaks.

whipped cream

Wait, what’s a soft peak?

Good question. When your whipped cream is starting to get thick, stop your mixer for a sec and pull the beater out of the bowl. Hold it up. If the whipped cream on the beater is kind of thick but still flops over, you’ve got a soft peak. (If you kept beating, you’d reach stiff peaks, which means your whipped cream would stand straight up.)

You want it to look about like this:

soft peaks whipped cream

Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate

When your whipped cream is ready, take about one third of it and put it in the bowl with the chocolate mixture.

whipped cream and chocolate

Gently whisk it into the chocolate mixture until uniform.

chocolate whipped cream mixture

The mixture should have thinned out considerably.

smooth chocolate whipped cream mixture

Put the rest of the whipped cream into the bowl.

fold in the rest of the whipped cream

With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. (You don’t want to squish all the air out of the whipped cream.)

folding whipped cream into melted chocolate

Keep folding…

chocolate swirled with whipped cream

When the whipped cream is totally incorporated, you’ll wind up with a fluffy bowl of chocolate bliss. Of course, at this point, you need to be a responsible cook: Give it a taste to be sure that it’s, um, up to par.

frozen chocolate mousse mixture

Freeze the chocolate mousse

Transfer the chocolate mousse out into a freezer-safe container. I used a one-pound loaf pan.

pour the chocolate mousse into the pan

chocolate mousse mixture in loaf pan

Smooth the top down with a spatula.

smooth chocolate mousse

Freeze the chocolate mousse

Cover it up with plastic wrap. Pop the pan in the freezer for at least six hours, preferably overnight.

chocolate mousse covered with plastic wrap

Thaw, scoop, and serve your frozen mousse

When the chocolate mousse is frozen through, it’s ready to serve. Set it on the counter for 5 – 10 minutes to knock the chill off of it before you try to scoop it.

frozen chocolate mousse in pan


spoonful of frozen chocolate mousse

frozen chocolate mousse

A reader photo!

Update, March 22: Reader Jaclyn Breinlinger just made this recipe the other night and said it was so good! Here’s her mousse (thanks for the pic, Jaclyn!).

Frozen Chocolate Mousse by Jaclyn Breinlinger

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. OH MY GOD I just died because I absolutely love chocolate mousse. I’m excited to see that it is easy to make. This is something I have to make asap 🙂

  2. WOW!!!! This looks SO good!

    I’ve been a phantom with comments on your recipes, but I’ve been following for months.
    Also a fellow Boston resident, I enjoy the local touch of this site!

    Thank you for all the great instructions and pictures.
    Your enthusaism and instructional guides that produce fantastic results has made me fall back in love with cooking and baking. 🙂

    • Awww, shucks, lady–thanks so much! Can’t tell you how much that means to me. 😀

      (And thanks for leaving a comment! Please don’t be a stranger!)


  3. I’m making a home made ice cream cake. I was thinking of making this the top layer. Would I pour it on top of the frozen ice-cream layer and then pop it in the freezer? I’ll be using a spring form pan.

  4. I made this from the Cook’s Country magazine recipe, and I was disappointed. My batch came out with a chalky texture. We used Baker’s brand unsweetened chocolate; is that what you used? I find it interesting that in the story, discussing the various experiments they tried, they said unsweetened chocolate gave it a chalky texture. So why did they wind up using that? BTW, I am considering trying it again, but with a mix of half unsweetened and half semi-sweet chocolate. (You are correct about allowing the ice cream/mousse to thaw before scooping it.)

  5. Joe:

    I haven’t tried this, but I would suggest that if it was chalky go with a quality chocolate next time.

    Ghiradelli, Sharfenbergers or Godiva. Myself since this would definitely be a very special treat, I would go with Godiva.

  6. I’m a bit of a novice. My mousse didn’t seems as fluffy when pouring into the pan to freeze. I didn’t fold the last 2/3 of whipped cream in a little at a time, but added all at once and then folded. Is that the cause, or did I likely not have the cream whipped stiff enough?