Rocky Road Ice Cream: Easy Recipe

Rocky Road Ice Cream

Rocky Road revolutionized the ice cream industry. There wasn’t much excitement on the menu before creative mix-ins were commonplace at ice cream shops. Ice cream lovers were motivated by Rocky Road to add flavors and textures to traditional ice cream flavors.

What Is Ice Cream Rocky Road?

The ice cream flavor “Rocky Road” has chocolate as its base and is topped with marshmallows and almond chunks. While most Americans are familiar with Rocky Road ice cream, many are unaware that the original Rocky Road dessert, which is more like a brownie, served as its inspiration.

Australia is where the cake-like milk chocolate treat originated. Confectioners got inventive when faced with stale sweets that had been shipped from Britain. Chocolate and locally sourced nuts were combined with the soft candy treats. Nutty ingredients added a deliciously crunchy texture while masking the candy’s spoiled flavor. The well-liked dessert eventually made its way to the United States and back to Britain.

The first known American recipe for Rocky Road can be found in a 1920 Kansas candy cookbook, according to a Mental Floss article that explores the history of the treat. In that variation, honey crème whip is a rather unusual addition.

The most well-known version of Rocky Road is undoubtedly ice cream, but it also served as the inspiration for a wide range of other desserts, including brownies, cakes, bars, and desserts.

Can You Taste Rocky Road?

The base of the ice cream flavor is a silky, chocolate ice cream. A complex texture is produced by contrasting the crunchy, nutty almonds with the soft, chewy texture of the sweet marshmallows.

Rocky Road ice cream is available in different flavors. Traditionalists typically prefer the traditional marshmallow pieces and almonds, though some recipes call for marshmallow swirls or other nuts in their places, such as pecans or peanuts.

Who Created Rocky Road Ice Cream?

The most financially difficult period in American history is connected to rocky road ice cream. It is believed that William Dreyer, owner of Dreyer’s Ice Cream, invented Rocky Road. Dreyer, who started making ice cream in the midst of the Great Depression, believed that people could use some encouragement at this trying time. In 1929, in Oakland, California, he introduced the original version of the now-famous flavor in collaboration with candy maker Joseph Edy.

Dreyer cut the marshmallows into small pieces using his wife’s sewing shears because he lacked access to cutting-edge equipment. Additionally, he originally substituted walnuts for the almonds that are now more frequently used in recipes for Rocky Road.

The claim that creamery owner George Fenton is the source of the recipe is in dispute. According to Fenton’s Creamery, Dreyer and Edy used Fenton’s inspiration to create Rocky Road and served it in their own shop. Discussions rage on about the mystery.

When Did Rocky Road Ice Cream Become Popular?

Rocky Road ice cream was one of the first ice cream flavors to be offered in addition to the three Neapolitan classics, which made it revolutionary: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.  The flavor quickly spread to additional ice cream shops and dairies across the country after making its debut.

Future ice cream flavors have a vast array of options thanks to this flavor, which was the first to combine various textures and tastes. With his parody song “I Love Rocky Road” from 1983, singer Weird Al Yankovich made his love of Rocky Road well-known.

This beloved classic is still served today at many ice cream shops and is still a favorite among ice cream lovers.

Rocky Road Ice Cream

Why You’ll Love This Recipe?

There are countless reasons to adore this dish. Here are just a few:

  • It goes without saying that the flavors—rich chocolate, cream, sweetened condensed milk, toasted nuts, and chewy marshmallows—are incredibly mouthwatering.
  • Making homemade ice cream is enjoyable and a great way to impress loved ones with little work. You don’t even need an ice cream maker for this recipe.
  • This dish is very simple to make. There is no custard base, so there is no cooking required. Simply combine the ingredients and proceed!
  • Even an ice cream maker is not necessary! Since it doesn’t require churning, you can simply put it in a pan and freeze it.
  • If you want to put it in an ice cream maker, you can definitely do that, too! The recipe includes directions for doing that.

Ingredients For Rocky Road Ice Cream

This no-churn rocky road ice cream can be made with just a few basic ingredients. You will require the following:

  • Heavy whipping cream—To make fantastic ice cream, start with real cream of high quality. Use good cream because it serves as the foundation for the ice cream.
  • Sweetened condensed milk—My favorite condensed milk is sweetened. It’s extremely creamy, thick, and addicting. In this instance, it thickens the base while also adding sweetness.
  • Pure vanilla extract—The best flavor in the world is vanilla. Always use real vanilla extract (or vanilla beans).
  • Salt—A tiny bit of salt harmonizes the flavors and highlights the sweetness.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder—Your chocolate ice cream base should ideally be flavored with Dutch-processed cocoa powder, but any unsweetened cocoa powder will do.
  • Pecans—Almonds were substituted for walnuts in the original Rocky Road Ice Cream at some point. Walnuts appear to be the most popular snack these days. You may, however, use any nuts you like! Due to a walnut allergy, I substitute pecans or almonds.
  • Semisweet mini chocolate chips—Although they are optional, I adore the extra crunch and chocolate flavor they add.
  • Mini marshmallows—Rocky Road Ice Cream’s signature toppings include nuts and marshmallows. Both flavor and nice textural variety are added by them.

How To Make Homemade Rocky Road Ice Cream?

This no-churn Rocky Road ice cream is incredibly simple to make, both with and without an ice cream maker. Here’s how:

  • Heavy cream should be whisked until soft peaks form in a mixing bowl.
  • Condensed milk, vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder should all be combined in a sizable bowl.
  • Heavy cream and condensed milk mixture should be incorporated. 
  • Add the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and pecans by stirring.
  • Place the mixture in a loaf pan and place in the freezer for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Make sure to freeze the container for 24 hours in advance if you plan to churn it in an ice cream maker. Fill the ice cream maker with the mixture, and churn it for about 30 minutes as directed by the manufacturer. When completely frozen, transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan and freeze for at least 3 hours. 
Rocky Road Ice Cream

When Does Homemade Ice Cream Go Bad?

Sealed in an airtight container, this rocky road recipe will last in the freezer for about 2 weeks. After that, the ice cream may start to become gritty and develop ice crystals. I suppose you could continue to store and eat it if you don’t mind those two things. However, this recipe is eaten pretty quickly, so you might even finish it before the two weeks are up (especially in the summer)!


There’s a reason why rocky road ice cream is a classic. On a hot summer day, this creamy, egg-free chocolate ice cream with peanuts, chocolate chips, and miniature marshmallows is a delightful treat. If you use the recipe above, you can create a flawless one. Just enjoy!

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