Crowd-Pleasing Nutella Gelato

What’s your signature recipe? You know – that crowd-pleaser that your friends and family (not-so-secretly) hope you’re bringing to the next potluck or party? For my sister, it’s her amazing chili. For my mom, it’s her lemon meringue pie. Just last night, my dear friends Anna and Meg came over for dinner. And you better believe I was thinking of Anna’s Special K bars when I put her in charge of dessert. Despite her grueling schedule as a first-year resident, Anna somehow found time to whip up a batch of her signature baked goods. She even left the extra ones with me. These bars are like crack. Seriously. I may or may not have downed one before 8:00 AM this morning…

Speaking of crack, let’s discuss Nutella. Specifically, Nutella gelato.

I was late to the Nutella craze. Growing up, we had peanut butter, Fluff, and Vegemite in the pantry – but no Nutella. I don’t think I’d ever tasted it until my senior year of high school, on a week-long trip to Spain with my AP Spanish class. My usual peanut butter was absent from the hotel’s breakfast buffet, so I had to “settle” and spread Nutella on my toast. It was love at first bite, and the rest is history.

Today, Nutella gelato is my signature recipe. It was the first thing I created in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. I consulted a variety of Nutella ice cream and gelato recipes but ultimately decided to create my own version. After reading an article about how dark coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, I decided to incorporate the Starbucks VIA we always have on hand into the recipe. It was a risky move, but I’ve come back to this recipe time and time again. It’s the quintessential crowd-pleaser. It keeps my family and friends (even the normal chocolate-haters) licking their bowls and asking for more. When my college roommate invited me to a dinner party this weekend, she “jokingly” hinted that I was required to bring Nutella gelato. She laughed, but I could almost hear a threat being implied. The claws come out around this stuff, my friends.

Bring this gelato to a dinner party, and it will become your signature dish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉

Nutella Gelato 
{Makes 1.5 quarts}


  • 2 cups milk (2% or whole)
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup white cane sugar
  • 1 packet Starbucks VIA (Italian Roast/Colombia) OR 3 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1 jar of Nutella (13oz.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  • Combine the milk, cream, sugar and VIA in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking from time to time, until it almost reaches a simmer.
  • Turn off heat, remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the salt, vanilla extract and Nutella. Continue to whisk until Nutella is completely melted.
  • Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  • Pour chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze per the manufacturer’s directions. If you’re using a Cuisinart, this means 1) turn on your machine, 2) slowly pour mixture in, and 3) leave the thing alone for 15 minutes or so. The consistency should be firm but not icy.
  • Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm (about 2 hours in my case, but a taxi drive and too much time on the counter left our gelato a bit too soft).

Didn’t let it freeze long enough, but this was delicious gelato soup 😉

The verdict?  Nutella gelato never disappoints. Even when someone waits until 4PM to start making it for a 7:30PM dinner (who could that be?), this gelato is heavenly. The recipe uses a full jar of Nutella, and the flavor is wonderfully intense. But it’s not as sugary-sweet as one may expect; the bold Starbucks VIA brew adds depth to the Nutella flavor without adding an overt coffee taste. The gelato never gets quite firm enough in the Cuisinart for me, so I normally pop it into freezer for a couple hours before serving. But this gelato is ah-mazing in any form – even melted from the cab drive over to a friend’s house. The only problem is that there’s never any leftovers…