Today I’m bringing you another ice cream sauce recipe, friends! This homemade chocolate syrup recipe is a great, less intense alternative to hot fudge sauce and is even quicker to make than my quick hot fudge sauce.
Chocolate sauce is also really versatile. Since it’s much thinner than fudge sauce (but not too thin!), you can more easily stir it into milk for hot chocolate or chocolate milk, spoon it over cake, dip fruit into it, or just douse your favorite ice cream with it.
Why This Sauce? What Makes It So Good?
Even though chocolate syrup is really easy to make, the success (or failure) is really about balancing the sweetness with the chocolatey-ness.
Many recipes call for what I think is way too much cocoa, leading to a slightly bitter and too-thick syrup.
Other recipes try to reduce the sugar, but that also yields a bitter sauce that might be okay over ice cream but is too bitter to make a good chocolate milk.
Here’s what’s great about my chocolate sauce recipe:
- Perfect balance of sweetness to chocolate flavor so your chocolate milk will be sweet enough and your ice cream will be super happy.
- Deep-but-not-too-intense chocolate flavor courtesy of Sugar in the Raw and just a touch of instant coffee. Not nearly enough to read as “mocha,” but just to provide deeper chocolate flavor.
- The perfect texture–thin enough to pour straight from the fridge but thick enough to completely drape fruit or ice cream in a sexy chocolate coat.
- Natural ingredients: unlike the storebought kind, this syrup only contains 6 pronounceable ingredients and no gross stuff!
No real surprises here, friends. You most likely already own everything you need to make this easy sauce–and it’s ready in about 6 minutes.
- water: filtered is best, just so there aren’t any off flavors
- sugar: I like to use raw sugar here (Sugar in the Raw, demerara, or turbinado for the extra depth of flavor you get from the bit of molasses left in the sugar. Substitute plain granulated sugar if you prefer. Or use a mixture of half brown sugar/half white sugar
- cocoa powder: this is what will give you your chocolate flavor. Use your favorite kind of cocoa powder. I used Hershey’s from the brown can, and it works just fine
- instant coffee: provides just a bit of backbone to the syrup, deepening the coffee flavor without the flavor of coffee shining through. If you have it, you can also use espresso powder
- salt: I generally use kosher salt. You need enough to counteract any bitterness the cocoa powder has as well as to bring the flavor into focus
- vanilla extract: rounds out the flavor with smooth vanilla notes. Don’t leave it out, but if you want to get extra fancy, you can also use chocolate extract
This is a really straightforward recipe to make.
All you have to do is put everything except the extract into a pan, bring it to a boil, and let it cook for about five minutes.
Once off the heat, stir in the vanilla, and that’s it.
In many recipes, I see the instructions say to make a paste out of the cocoa powder and a little water first before adding the rest of the water.
While it is true that cocoa powder does not like to mix with cold water because of the fat content of the cocoa, it will mix in almost instantly once your water is boiling.
So here’s the tip:
PRO TIP: Streamline your process by adding the cocoa powder to your syrup once the mixture is boiling. It will mix in almost immediately. No more trying to make a paste with cocoa and a portion of the water!
Chocolate Sauce Q & A
A syrup like this is best made with cocoa powder so you get the most chocolaty flavor. If you want to use chocolate, consider making hot fudge sauce or quick hot fudge sauce instead.
Yes, you can. I am not the queen of sugar free baking or cooking, so please check out my friend Carolyn’s recipe for sugar free chocolate syrup. She will make sure your sauce is successful and delicious! Note that your favorite sugar substitute might not work out well as a 1:1 sub in this recipe, so please go see Carolyn for all the details.
In this recipe, I pretty much use both terms interchangeably, and I am not really sure if there is an objective difference between the two. However, subjectively, I usually expect chocolate sauce to contain dairy while chocolate syrup is strictly non-dairy. If you were to substitute whole milk or even half and half for the water, I would call it a sauce rather than a syrup.
As long as you check to make sure you’re using vegan sugar, then yes, this syrup is vegan.
You can substitute honey if you’d like, although then it for sure won’t be vegan. I’d substitute 2/3 cup of honey for the 1 cup of sugar called for.
For a smooth, less acidic flavor, use Dutch process cocoa. However, since you most likely won’t be eating this straight up but rather over ice cream or in milk, any cocoa that you have will work just fine.
I am not a canner, but since the syrup is non-dairy and not too thick, you should be able to can your syrup with no problem. Here is a link to a canning recipe for chocolate syrup so you can check your processing time.
Again, since it’s non-dairy and has plenty of sugar in it, this syrup will be just fine in the fridge for up to four weeks. I can’t imagine it will last that long, though!
I am pretty sure you can come up with all sorts of uses for this sauce, friends!
But since you asked, I am here to tell you that this makes the best glass of chocolate milk you’ll ever drink!
- Make chocolate milk or hot chocolate
- Pour over ice cream
- Add to your coffee to make a mocha or a mocha beaten coffee
- Spoon some over cake or ice cream cake
- Dip fruit or cubes of frozen cheesecake into it
- Make an egg cream with milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer
If you have any questions about this recipe or any other, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can leave a comment here, and I will be back in touch in about 24 hours.
If your question in more urgent, you can email me and I answer within about 4 hours.
Either way, I promise to help!
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend:
I really hope you love this easy chocolate sauce, you guys!
I’d also love to have you join my PCO newsletter, The Inbox Pastry Chef!
Thanks, and enjoy!
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 cup less refined sugar such as Sugar in the Raw (See Notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (See Notes)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (See Notes)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (See Notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Combine the water, sugar, salt, and instant coffee in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Once your liquid is at a boil, whisk in the cocoa powder.
- Keep an eye on the heat to keep the sauce at a rolling boil for five minutes. Stir frequently.
- After 5 minutes, remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
- Strain into jars or containers of your choice. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of chocolate syrup or about 12 2 Tablespoon servings.
- You can use plain white sugar, but I really suggest you use something less refined. It will add to the overall flavor of the sauce.
- You can use up to 1 teaspoon of instant coffee if you'd like. It really depends on how sensitive you are to coffee flavor. Of course, if you love it, feel free to use more to make a true mocha syrup.
- Use at least 1/4 teaspoon of salt. You can use up to 1/2 teaspoon if you like, especially if it seems bitter to you. The salt will counteract any bitterness.
- I have made this syrup with both 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and 3/4 cups. The one with more cocoa powder is of course a bit more chocolatey, but honestly not so much that I would notice. The main difference between the two is that using more cocoa powder yields a thicker sauce once it's chilled. Either way, you really can't go wrong.
Nutritional information is based on the ingredients as listed, not the possible amounts listed here in the notes.
You chocolate syrup will keep in the fridge for a good 4 weeks.
Scaling the Recipe
You can double or even quadruple this recipe if desired. It would make great gifts! You could even give people the mix and all they'd have to do is add water and bring it to a boil for five minutes!
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 81Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 133mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 1gSugar 17gProtein 1g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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Thanks for spending some time with me today, friends! Enjoy the chocolate sauce, take care, and have a lovely day!