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Jul 15, 2017

Recipe: The Secret to The Black Ice Cream Craze (and how to make it)

If you use the internet you have probably seen plenty of these black ice cream pics popping up all over Instagram. We reveal the secret ingredient found in the latest food fad (and where you can get it)…

This surprising ice cream has become an internet sensation after pictures started popping up all over Instagram. While it certainly looks intriguing, the ingredient is even more surprising. I assumed that is was black sesame or liquorice-flavoured, but could not understand how the maker achieved such a striking black colour without the use of food colouring. The answer is activated charcoal.

Charcoal has been used in pharmaceuticals and for over-the-counter medicines for a really long time. It is not glamorous at all- simple carbon processed with oxygen and is predominantly used to absorb toxic chemicals and minerals. It’s highly absorbent and is clinically used to counteract poison (in a few cases, but not all).

Daring mavericks at Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, New York were the first to give us this radical trend, with other ice cream parlors jumping on the bandwagon over the last year. Flavoured with ‘burnt’ coconut ash, the flavour is described as being ‘subtle’ but deliciously creamy.

Which ever way you prefer your ice cream, it’s possible to make this at home and wow your guests with something a little dark and a little daring:

Charcoal-Lemon Ice Cream 


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup activated charcoal (get it here)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 400 g sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Gold dust (optional)
  • Waffle cone optional


  1. Add heavy cream to a large bowl. Using a chilled metal bowl will work best, but glass will also do.
  2. Add 1/3 of the activated charcoal to the large bowl.
  3. Beat mixture until stiff peaks form. Set mixture aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, add sour cream and sweetened condensed milk.
  5. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. For more lemon flavor, increase amounts or add lemon curd.
  6. Add vanilla and remaining charcoal to mixture.
  7. Whisk mixture together until well-combined.
  8. Fold whipped mixture into whisked mixture until mixed. Do not handle too much or else ice cream will lose creamy consistency.
  9. Transfer to a loaf pan and freeze overnight.

Ready to serve! Recipe courtesy of Spoon University 

Have you tried black ice cream? Let us know your thoughts below…

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