Chocolate Espresso Granita with Lightly Whipped Cream

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Is chocolate granita better than ice cream? 
chocolate granita
If you’ve ever made homemade ice cream, you know it’s a hassle. It’s delicious, yes. Better than store bought, yes. A fun project? The first time, sure. But you need an ice cream maker. You need to prepare in advance, and then you need room in your freezer. Which I never have. And even then, unless you buy the worst store bought ice cream, you probably won’t think it’s worth the trouble.
chocolate granita
But still. The weather is getting warmer, and I always want to make dessert that doesn’t heat up my house. So chocolate granita is my answer.
You’d think that granita couldn’t possibly be indulgent in the same way that ice cream could be. But you would be wrong — it can be, and it is.
But. Yes, there’s a but. You need to use good cocoa. This chocolate granita recipe has few ingredients besides water — sugar, espresso powder, and cocoa. The cocoa is the dominant flavor, so you want to make sure it is good. I’m not stuck on one particular brand — I used this one here —  but don’t make this with Hershey’s and expect it to knock your socks off. It just won’t.
chocolate granita
My favorite thing about this recipe is how easy it is. You’ll just heat some water, add sugar and cocoa and freeze in a cake pan. Every 40 minutes or so, scrape it with a fork until it’s frozen, and that’s it. Once it’s frozen, it’s ready to go, and unlike ice cream, you can refreeze and refreeze again because it’s supposed to be icy.
The whipped cream is optional, but highly recommended. I just lightly whipped mine and added a pinch of powdered sugar. I didn’t want to have to get out the mixer, but the texture is spot on.
chocolate granita

Chocolate Espresso Granita with Lightly Whipped Cream

Rich and chocolatey with a hint of coffee flavor, this chocolate granita recipe is full in flavor and ultra satisfying on a warm day when you want a cold treat.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Freezing time 3 hours
Servings 6
Calories 179 kcal


  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar


  • Bring the water to a low simmer on the stovetop.
  • Add the cocoa, sugar, espresso, and salt.
  • Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour the mixture into a square or round cake pan. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Freeze for about an hour. Remove, and run a fork through the mixture. Put back in the freezer. After about 30 minutes, repeat. Repeat this step 2-3 more times until mixture is frozen.
  • Before serving, put the cream in a bowl with the powdered sugar (use more or less depending on personal preference). Whisk until lightly thickened and almost stiff.
  • Drizzle the cream over the chocolate granita before serving.


Storing leftovers: Stored in the freezer, should be good for up to a week.
Sourcing: I used this cocoa and a packet of Starbucks Via instant coffee
Pairs well with: Gluten-Free Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies, Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Blondies


Calories: 179kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 111mgPotassium: 179mgFiber: 4gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 292IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition information is only an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. View full nutrition disclousre.
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