Stracciatella Gelato

Stracciatella Gelato is kind of like American chocolate chip ice cream, except completely different. Instead of the chips and sometimes chunks you find in American product, Stracciattella has fine bits of chocolate throughout, which results in a smooth texture with just the slightest crunch in every bite. This is achieved by drizzling in a thin stream of melted chocolate during the final stages of churning, which hardens on contact and gets broken up as it churns. My two previous gelato recipes, chocolate and pistachio, were Sicilian style gelato, which has no egg or cream and is thickened with a crema rinforzata made from milk, sugar and cornstarch. Here, for a little variety, I went with a Northern Italian style vanilla gelato, made with an egg based custard.

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Stracciatella Gelato

  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 1 Quart 1x


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped


  1. Stir the milk and sugar together in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the vanilla bean. Heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat and steep for 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly whisk the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks and transfer the mixture back to the sauce pan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, 8 – 10 minutes and remove custard from heat.
  3. Pour the cream into a large bowl and place a mesh strainer on top. Pour the custard through the strainer, discarding the vanilla bean, and stir it into the cream. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Remove custard from refrigerator and process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. While ice cream is churning melt chocolate in a sauté pan over low heat or in the microwave. Drizzle a very thin stream of the chocolate into the gelato during the last few minutes of churning.
  • Prep Time: 45 mins

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49 Responses

  1. If it wasn’t already, now is the time to fire up my ice cream maker. I love the simple, wholesome list of ingredients. Can’t wait to try it; I’m sure my kids will thank you!

    I found you on TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


  2. This looks awesome and I just bought an ice cream maker this last weekend. Can’t wait to try this.

  3. We don’t have an ice cream maker. We make ours and just freeze it. It comes out a treat, those machines are so expensive for the amount of use they get!! Just goes to show that you don’t really need one.

    1. I found my KitchenAid tabletop ice cream maker at a thrift store for five dollars. They aren’t always expensive.

      1. Oh I beat that one Sue – Mine was $3.00 at the thrift store and it was brand new n the box!

  4. I’ve made this a few times and it’s always good. Even my underweight son with no appetite likes it! We don’t have an ice cream maker, I stir the gelato well every half hour or so until it’s ready. Also, I blend the eggs and sugar, then add the warm milk while the blender runs, and put the lot back in the pot on the gas. (Lo.) Then I blend the custard before and after the refrigeration stage. This sounds a lot of work – it isn’t but you need to be at home that day. I do the custard the day before and refrigerate overnight – but if/when Cuisinart start selling their home ice cream maker in Israel we’ll buy one!

    The melted chocolate threads I drizzle on warp&weft-ways, and we have chocolate lace in our icecream! Much finer than the choc looks in this photo.

    A hot day in Connecticut? Try the heat here, we regularly hit 45C.

    1. Stracciatella has had it’s name for at least 30 years, though I’m sure it’s really much older than that. Used to be one of my favorites as a child. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. I am fortunate enough to live in the US but near a genuine gelato shop. The owners are from Naples, Italy. So I get to have my stracciatella fix. I never even considered that I could make my own. I thought it would be a secret! I must give this a try – thanks!

  6. I attempted this a few days ago. First time making ice cream in general so therefore first time making stracciatella. I have visited Italy and fell in love with stracciatella. In my first attempt I over cooked the custard and therefore had a scrambled egg milk concoction. Started over and cooked custard until just before that happened. I continued with no problems. I don’t have an ice cream maker so instead removed from the freezer every 30 mins or so to stir and break up ice crystals. As it was freezing I noticed a different smell. I thought, “well, maybe because its still not frozen.” I tasted it when it was a few hours in and still it was strange. The next day (after completely frozen) it was the same thing. I thought maybe I didn’t have the palate for gelato or something. Husband said it tasted like cheese. I went to go use the remainder of the cream a day later…….turns out we had BAD CREAM!! It was brand new but was HORRIBLE. People, check your ingredients before embarking on this recipe. Don’t do what I did 🙁 I thought this was just a bad recipe but now that I know it was my cream I will give this another try! Can’t wait to post again with a great results!! 🙂

  7. Tried this again, but this time verified I had cream that wasn’t rancid 🙂 Turned out wonderful!!! My only change to the recipe was that I used vanilla extract instead of the actual bean. I used my last bean in the last failed attempt so I did 1 1/2 tsp of extract instead. This is a definite keeper!!

  8. The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another. Phrases such as “frozen custard”, “frozen yogurt”, “sorbet”, “gelato” and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, such as the United States, the phrase “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients.

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    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced blog writers? I’d
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  10. Just tried this with my kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment and OMG it tastes amazing!! Just as I remembered tasting in Germany!! 🙂 Definitely keeping this recipe! 🙂

  11. I just made this & it’s in the freezer but so far this recipe has been fantastic! When I was making the custard, I think I cooked it to long & it turned into a scrambled egg-like mixture. I poured it into seperate bowl & used an immersion blender and it seemed to fix it! Also, make sure your mixture is completely chilled before putting it into the ice cream maker or it will not freeze. Can’t wait to try it! I sampled a bit & it has a great rich flavor and the method of putting the melted chocolate works out great!

  12. I noticed that the Sicilliano Gelato recipes did not get a photograph, but the Napolitano Gelato did. Awesome! Forza Napoli!

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  14. Made this in our new ice cream maker. Used Green&Black 70% chocolate in it. It tasted heavenly!

  15. This recipe is trash. The ratios are bad. The instructions are vague, and I got better luck with doing it myself eyeballing it.

    1. Andrew, sorry you had a bad experience with the recipe. I have made it many times using these exact ratios and it has come out to my liking. I’m always happy to make my recipes easier to follow, so if you can let me know which part of the instructions you found vague it would be helpful. Thanks, Phil.

  16. Made this with a few cheats. I used vanilla extract instead of the bean, and threw in finely chopped chocolate chips instead of melt and drizzle. And then threw some chopped toasted pecans on top for good measure. The gelato base is perfect! Light and super creamy. I intend to use it as a base for future flavors.

  17. Excellent recipe. I followed it exactly with the exception of reducing the sugar by a couple of tablespoons. I used a 75% cacao Verona chocolate.

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