Rocky Road Ice Cream

homemade rocky road ice cream in chilled cup

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Chill: 10 hrs
Total: 11 hrs
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 1 gallon

In the United States, a flavor described as "rocky road" traditionally combines chocolate, nuts, and marshmallows. The exact origin of this flavor combination is debated, but some claim it actually hails from Australia back in the 1800s. It is said that rocky road was created as a way to sell confections that had spoiled after the long trip from Europe. They were mixed with nuts and chocolate to disguise the flavor. The new treat then got its name from the rocky road travelers would take to reach the Australian gold mines.

When making rocky road ice cream, start with a chocolate base, then feel free to add your favorite mix-ins to create the signature texture and flavor combination. Here, miniature marshmallows, dark chocolate chunks, and chopped almonds were used for a classic flavor combo. However, a swirl of marshmallow fluff, semisweet chocolate chips, and any variety of your favorite nuts are also delicious alternatives.


  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups cold milk, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 package chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (or semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup toasted chopped almonds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gather the ingredients for Rocky Road Ice Cream
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. In a small bowl, soften the gelatin in 1/2 cup of the cold milk.

    Softened the gelatin in milk
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. In a large saucepan, gently warm up 1 1/2 cups of the milk. 

    Warm up the milk
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. Add gelatin mixture to the warmed milk, stirring well. 

    Mix in the gelatin
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. Whisk in the sugar and salt.

    Whisk in the sugar and salt
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Whisk in the eggs.

    Whisk in the eggs
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. Add the cream, chocolate pudding mix, vanilla, and remaining 1 cup milk. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Do not boil.  

    Add the cream, pudding mix, and vanilla
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. Allow the ice cream base to cool. Pour into an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours before churning.

    Chill the ice cream mixture
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  9. Before churning, in a medium bowl combine, miniature marshmallows, dark chocolate chunks, and chopped almonds. 

    Prepare the mix-ins
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  10. When ready to prepare the ice cream, churn according to the manufacturer’s directions.

    Churn the Rocky Road Ice Cream
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  11. About 15 minutes into the churning process, add the marshmallow combination to the mixture.  

    Add the mix-ins for Rocky Road Ice Cream
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  12. Spoon the churned ice cream into a freezer safe container. Freeze until set, at least 2 to 4 hours. Scoop and enjoy!

    Freeze Rocky Road Ice Cream until set
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni


  • Most ice cream makers for home use come with bowls that need to be set in the freezer overnight before churning ice cream. These bowls have double-insulated walls with coolants in between. When you are ready to churn the ice cream, the bowl is taken from the freezer and immediately set up with the dasher, locked into place, and the prepared ice cream mixture is added. The motor is then turned on and the churning begins.
  • Freezing homemade ice cream is a two-step process: churning and ripening. After the chilled custard base has been churned, it will have a looser, soft-serve texture. To achieve a scoopable consistency, the ice cream now needs to go through a process called ripening. The flavor improves and the product melts more slowly when it has ripened. Spoon the churned ice cream into an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 2 to 4 hours or up to overnight. It's worth the wait!