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Stracciatella Gelato

Homemade Stracciatella Gelato from @loveandoliveoil

There’s chocolate chip ice cream. And then there is stracciatella gelato. Don’t you dare think one is a direct translation of the other because that is grossly untrue. And if you’ve ever had true stracciatella gelato, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Stracciatella is… otherworldly. You’d think plain vanilla ice cream with bits of chocolate would be boring, but you’d be wrong again (sorry, I’m not trying to school you or anything, but some things just need to be clarified).

The chocolate shards are what make stracciatella gelato so much more than chocolate chip. Literally translating into “rags” or “shards,” stracciatella is made by drizzling a fine stream of melted chocolate into the churning ice cream. The chocolate solidifies on contact, freezing into ethereal flakes that fuse with the ice cream and literally melt in your mouth.

Homemade Stracciatella Gelato from @loveandoliveoil

In an effort to highlight the fresh flavor of the dairy, I used fewer egg yolks than usual, and a higher proportion of milk to cream. (Look, ma! It’s healthy…. er!) The result was an ephemeral ice cream with a texture not unlike that of a frozen cloud (if one were able to taste such things). Granted, it was a bit short, meaning it didn’t ball up into gorgeous, rotund scoops like a frozen custard with a higher fat content, but Taylor and I decided we loved the unfettered milk flavor and the light crystalline texture, vanilla snowflakes that dissolve instantly on your tongue.

Homemade Stracciatella Gelato from @loveandoliveoil

Homemade Stracciatella Gelato Recipe

As to how exactly to get those fine chocolate shards, I found a simple ziplock bag worked beautifully. I simply filled the bag with my melted chocolate (bonus – you can keep the bag in a bowl of warm water until you are ready to drizzle). Snip off the tiniest corner of the bag, and drizzle it right into your ice cream maker. Granted, this would probably work better with a standalone machine where you could drizzle right into the center. With my mixer model a lot of the chocolate stuck to the paddles as they passed under the drizzle. The key is you want a fine drizzle here… too thick and you’d end up with hard chunks and chips instead of flakes.

Homemade Stracciatella Gelato from @loveandoliveoil

I’m not going to argue the differences between ice cream and gelato here. If you want to be totally literal, one IS simply a direct translation of the other, gelato meaning ice cream in Italian. However, if you want to get technical, Italian-style ice cream does have some distinct differences that make it unique. Gelato, for starters, is lower in butterfat, is churned quicker while incorporating less air, and is served softer, at a higher temperature than American ice cream. Recipe-wise, this could definitely be considered gelato, but because of the limitations of home ice cream makers, it is very hard to acheive the luscious texture that the Italians have perfected. If anyone has any tips for recreating legit gelato at home, I’m all ears!

Stracciatella Gelato

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeded
  • pinch salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. In a saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring regularly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just starts to steam. Stir in vanilla bean seeds and add the whole bean pods. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks.
  3. Return milk to medium heat until it starts to steam again. Slowly whisk some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, 1/4 cup at a time, until about half of the milk has been incorporated and yolk mixture is warm to the touch. You want to do this gradually; doing so will temper the egg yolks rather than cook them.
  4. Pour yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spatula, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it reaches approximately 165 to 170ºF. Do not allow it to boil. Pour mixture through sieve, discarding any solids and what's left of the vanilla bean. Cool to room temperature in an ice bath, or in a zip-top bag submerged in ice water. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 3 hours or overnight if possible.
  5. Churn ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. While ice cream is churning, melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave in 15 second bursts. When chocolate is melted and smooth, transfer to a zip-top bag and seal well, pressing out as much air as possible. If necessary, place bag in a bowl of warm water to keep warm while the ice cream finishes churning.
  7. When ice cream is the consistency of soft serve, 1-2 minutes before being completely done, cut 1/4 inch off the corner of the bag. Slowly drizzle most of the chocolate into churning ice cream, allowing the chocolate to swirl throughout. Transfer to a freezer safe container, drizzling a bit of remaining chocolate on top, and freeze 2 to 3 hours or overnight until firm.
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42 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Oooooh. That is my absolute favorite.


  2. 2
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I LOVE straciatella gelato. You’re right- it doesn’t sound all that special, but it IS.
    I have that Kitchenaid Ice Cream Attachment, and it is the best – I must try this! Pinned  :)


  3. 3
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 5:54 am

    That sounds awesome! I love gelato, but I’ve never tried making it. Will have to someday! :)


  4. 4
    Marie @ Little Kitchie
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Absolute perfection!


  5. 5
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 6:33 am

    This sounds delicious!


  6. 6
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Mmmm…I love gelato and I can never get enough of it. Gotta try my hand at making it soon because this looks amazing. Totally drooling over here ;)


  7. 7
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I’ve never attempted my own gelato, but make plenty of ice cream, so I need to try this! It’s absolutely gorgeous.


  8. 8
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I had no idea how they made straciatella (although I’ve eaten my fair share…); this is so clever!


  9. 9
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream” the first time I was met with Straciatella gelato. Then I tasted it and totally 100% understood. Delicious! 


  10. 10
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Is it bad that I want this for breakfast? :)


  11. 11
    Rachel B.
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Sounds delicious, I can’t wait to make it! What brand is that ice cream tub in the pictures?


  12. 12
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 10:50 am

    WOW, this is so beautiful! I’ve never been a fan of chocolate chip ice cream because the chocolate pieces are always too big and frozen and crunchy when what I really want is just smooth creamy ice cream. But THIS! This I could be on board with. I can’t wait to try it!!


  13. 13
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I always wondered how they made the chocolate shards! Now I know and it’s so brilliant! Looks delicious!
    Also, LOVING the spoons!! 


  14. 14
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 11:25 am

    How nice!
    p.s: it’s Stracciatella with 2 c’s ;)


    • Posted On June 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Whoops. That’s what I get for trying to spell in Italian…

  15. 15
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Looks AMAZING!
    Friendly proofreader’s tip – it’s actually spelled “Stracciatella” (with two C’s).  :)


    • Posted On June 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Of course the word I use a dozen times in a single post (and on a photo) is the one I misspell. :) Thanks for the correction!

    • Amber
      Posted On June 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Hehe – no worries; it happens to the best of us!

  16. 16
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Yessssss! Even being one of -those- people that doesn’t like chocolate, I love this stuff!

    I’ll have to try this out this weekend. Looks delicious!


  17. 17
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I ate sooooo much of this stuff when I was in Italy – it was like water!! Love that I can make it at home now :)


  18. 18
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Oh I want to make this soon. Gelato is much better than ice cream in my book.


  19. 19
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Oh gelato is not ice cream in any form! Whenever we want an indulgent treat we go for gelato…not ice cream. Pinned!


  20. 20
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    My husband and I gave up ice cream (and all things like it) for 2014. We are realizing now how awful of an idea that was…


  21. 21
    Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts
    Posted On June 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    your photography is stunning & the gelato looks wonderful. yum!!


  22. 22
    Posted On June 19, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Lovely! Perfect for when you need just a touch of chocolate.


  23. 23
    Posted On June 19, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I love gelato and this will be perfect to make once I get my ice cream freezer unpacked in the new house,


  24. 24
    Posted On June 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    That looks absolutely delicious!


  25. 25
    Posted On June 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Obsessed with that container!!!


  26. 26
    Posted On June 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Even though I can’t spell it to save my life, stracciatella gelato is the best! Gorgeous photos as always!


  27. 27
    Posted On June 22, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    This recipe is dangerous. I can easily picture myself eating this on the daily. 


  28. 28
    Posted On June 23, 2014 at 12:02 am I can hardly handle it, this looks so good!! 


  29. 29
    Posted On June 23, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I’ve always described stracciatella to my friends who’ve never experienced it as “chocolate chip ice cream + magic.” Glad you share the same sentiments! 


  30. 30
    Posted On June 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Hi – what % Cacao in the dark chocolate do you recommend?


    • Posted On June 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      I used a 75% I believe, but any % would do… I say use whatever you like best!

  31. 31
    Posted On August 18, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Thanks for this!  Stracciatella is one of my daughters absolute favorite ice creams, but I had yet to find what looked like a good recipe.  We tried yours this weekend, and it was spot on and very popular with everyone.  

    Will definitely be making this again; I predict it will become a house standard ;-)


  32. 32
    Posted On October 4, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    i would like to make this low carb.  can u tell me what is good low carb substitute for corn syrup. thank u 


  33. 33
    Posted On May 10, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    do I have to use corn syrup? Can I substitute?


    • Posted On May 11, 2015 at 7:21 am

      The corn syrup adds to the texture of the ice cream, making it less icy than if it was made without. However, any invert sugar should work similarly, so feel free to substitute with honey, agave, or golden syrup.

  34. 34
    Posted On October 20, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    What a disaster!!!

    We don’t have a Kitchen-aid attachment like it looks like you do, so tried to make this in a traditional ice cream maker.

    The lid is what spins the ice cream maker, so I couldn’t run the machine and access the ice cream to drizzle the chocolate in, so I had my husband manually turn the beater while I poured the chocolate in. We ended up with giant chocolate worms that clung to the beater…. horrible…. After we realized this was not working, we tried taking the beater out and having my husband stir really fast with a spoon. This worked better, but still not at all what is pictured above. If I ever get brave and try this again, I think I will use hand-held beaters while I pour the chocolate in and hope for better results… 


  35. 35
    Posted On December 3, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Oh wow, you are SO right. It’s been years since I went to Italy and the only flavour I ate everywhere I went was Stracciatella. You have nailed it! Thank you so much for the recipe which is a very exciting find! Grazie mille!!


  36. 36
    Posted On October 13, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful info particularly the last part :) I care for such info much.
    I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.


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