“I’m making magic shell for Allison’s birthday present!” I excitedly whispered to my coworkers all last week. Allison’s recent stories of indulging in this childhood treat as her comfort food had put this easily dismissed ice cream treat front and center in my mind.

“Oh wow- I haven’t had that since I was a kid!” was the most common reply I received. However, it was the question from my Chinese coworker that really made my brow furrow in an attempt at a reply: “What is Magic Shell?”

Beyond the mystery industry ingredients used by Smucker- what is Magic Shell’s functionality?

make your own magic shell topping Why not just melt up chocolate and pour that over ice cream? It will harden into a shell with snap, just like Magic Shell. One can do that, I definitely have. However, melting chocolate for ice cream tends to yield a topping that would be more accurately described as Magic Glop. The thick layer that melted chocolate over ice cream yields is a formidable force to your spoon- one that will squish the ice cream underneath- not exactly a thin shell.

Additionally, chocolate’s temperature range in which it remains a fast running syrup like liquid is a small window. One that a teenager at a microwave will likely have little patience to experiment with on a weekly (or daily) basis. A free flowing liquid like syrup is easier to pour on ice cream to achieve a thin shell easily snapped with a spoon. Hence, why there is such a thing as Magic Shell in the world.

All this translates into a good science lab example on melting points of mixtures. The melting point of a mixture will be lower than the melting point of mixtures components individually, a property exploited by this topping. Homemade magic shell will melt easier than chocolate, and stay liquid longer too.

How to Make Magic Shell at Home

Food blogger Naomi Poe has a recipe on her blog the Accidental Vegetarian that sounds like the best way to make magic shell. It doesn’t use butter, as a lot of other recipes online do, but instead uses coconut oil, our favorite multitasker! Theoretically, with the correct chocolate, you can even make Magic Shell vegan (the mind boggles at the discongruities in that statement).

Poe’s basic recipe is to simply melt together coconut oil (1 cup) and eating chocolate (1 – 2 cups), adding more chocolate than coconut oil.
At home, I found the following weights to work well for measuring out the ingredients for the Magic Shell recipe:

* I feel that using a touch of unrefined virgin coconut oil helps aid in the elusive “fake” flavor that store bought Magic Shell imparts. If you really want to go the nostalgia route, try out 80 g refined coconut oil + 20 g unrefined virgin coconut oil.

Combine the ingredients in a pyrex or glass bowl and melt in the microwave till almost, but not completely liquid. Stir to finish the melting outside of the microwave.

Pour melted mixture into a squeeze bottle or recycled pancake or maple syrup container. The mixture does not need to be refrigerated for storage. It will be liquid at room temperature in the warm summer months, and will be hard during the winter.

To reheat the Magic Shell to drizzle on your favorite frozen dessert, heat in the microwave (~ 40 seconds twice at 80% power), or sit the closed container in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes.

Making different flavors and varieties of Magic Shell

Starting from the basic recipe format, several varieties of Magic Shell can be made in your kitchen.

Altering the fat affects flavor
Coconut oil comes in two basic varieties, refined and virgin. Refined coconut oil acts as a neutral fat with minimal flavor. Using virgin unrefined coconut oil imparts a light coconut flavor.

Altering the chocolate changes flavor
Any chocolate can be used in this recipe: bittersweet, semisweet, milk, or even white. Heck, you could melt your favorite dagoba bar or other high end gourmet flavored chocolate bar and use that in your magic shell. Xocolatl Magic Shell with chilies and nibs? Yes please!

Adding fat soluble flavors
Oil based flavors will blend easily with your Magic Shell since it is a mixture of mostly fat. Food grade essential oils are great for this project for that very reason, just use them sparingly as they are very potent. Some flavoring extracts found in grocery stores are oil based vs alcohol based. Just check their labels. I didn’t test alcohol based flavorings. They will probably work, though may run the risk of not staying in solution when the mixture hardens.

Natural sources of flavor (bacon) outside from extracts can be gently heated in coconut oil (bacon) and left in the cooled fat to imbue their flavor (bacon) This is a method used in perfume making as some scents are more soluble in fat than alcohol. Cinnamon, teas, and other whole spices may yield up different flavor notes under this method of extraction.

Adding color to your Magic Shell
Using your typical food coloring to make pretty magic shell colors with the white chocolate will be a bit frustrating. Average food coloring is water based, and fights combining with all that melted fat. If you can find a paste food coloring that is fat based, use it with the white chocolate magic shell for a special colored treat.

Different flavor ideas for homemade Magic Shell

I’m a sucker for variety, and this is a great recipe to play with. Simply toggling a flavor with different varieties of chocolate will yield nice variety.

See how tantalizing this project gets? One thing is certain, stock up on ice cream now before you resort to eating this off of frozen spoons.

68 Comments

posted March 28th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

defining dissonance: Vegan Magic Shell.

posted March 29th, 2008 at 3:04 am

You’re brilliant, as usual.

Seems like the oil based candy colors meant for coloring candy melts (like these: http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?sku=1913-1299) would be perfect for coloring white chocolate versions.

posted March 29th, 2008 at 11:27 am

Heh… I remember magic shell very well, and the thought of making it at home is very enticing, indeed! I love your not-so-subtle hints at bacon-infused chocolate magic shell… got me to giggling!

posted March 29th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

you are pure delicious fattening evil….I love you!

- lori
posted April 1st, 2008 at 9:41 am

This is awesome and makes me really want some Magic Shell.

posted April 10th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

try it

- bob
posted April 15th, 2008 at 3:44 pm

[...] know, the "chocolate" sauce that hardens up to make a crunchy shell? The mind boggles! DIY Magic Shell, via The Kitchn. [Read this article] [Comment on this [...]

posted April 15th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Wow– extra points for a recipe with the vital “fake” flavor element! We’ll have to try this!

posted April 15th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Oh. Em. Gee. I’m so hitting the natural food store tomorrow to get some coconut oil! I’m a woman, of course I have chocolate in the house…hehe!!

posted April 17th, 2008 at 6:33 pm

[...] Make Your Own Junk Food: Homemade Magic Shell Mmm, homemade magic shell for your ice cream. (tags: Recipe Homemade DIY HowTo Food) [...]

posted April 17th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Why not add some dessicated coconut as well for a real coconut buzz

- bob
posted April 18th, 2008 at 5:09 am

[...] Make Your Own Junk Food: Homemade Magic Shell [...]

posted April 18th, 2008 at 10:16 am

Wow! that looks delicious!

posted April 19th, 2008 at 2:36 am

[...] Brownie Points » Make Your Own Junk Food: Homemade Magic Shell !!!!!!! Coconut oil and chocolate, here I come! (tags: recipes dessert chocolate magic shell) [...]

posted April 19th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

I just got through making some and enjoying my own bowl of ice cream with magic shell. I just used coconut oil and hershey’s milk chocolate chips, and it was awesome. I didn’t add the salt because it tasted fine without it. Better than the real thing. thanks so much!!!!

- Leigh Ann
posted April 19th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Now I’ve just got to figure out how to make the toasted coconut shell they have at our local Tastee Freeze that I’m completely addicted to.

With soft serve chocolate ice cream it’s like German chocolate cake in a cone.

posted April 20th, 2008 at 4:43 am

[...] Yummy Update Jump to Comments A few days ago I shared the delightful discovery of a recipe for homemade Magic Shell®. I have good news to [...]

posted April 20th, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Ha! I just bought some this afternoon….

Though personally, the end all and be all is the chocolate dip one gets at the Dairy Queen…MS pales in comparioson to sheen, crunch, and flavor

- Pam
posted April 21st, 2008 at 5:46 am

[...] Make your own Magic Shell. [...]

posted April 27th, 2008 at 8:05 am

I followed your suggestion and flavored the coconut oil with bacon before making the Magic Shell with it and oh, my head. Yum.

For added texture, I tossed in some bits of bacon, too. It was absurdly delicious. Thank you for the inspiration!

posted April 28th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

I can’t eat anything coconut :( …any other suggestions for the oil component please?

Regarding fat replacements- the key is to choose one that is hard at room temperature.
If coconut oil isn’t an option, I suggest using vegetable shortening as a direct substitution.

Hope that works!

–McAuliflower

- sheilaj
posted May 9th, 2008 at 4:34 pm

[...] This is the most brilliant post this week. I am so going to do this. [...]

posted May 10th, 2008 at 10:45 am

This looks great! I used to get a peanut butter version of MS in the stores which I loved. I think actually it was Reeses. Could a peanut butter version of this be made at home? Would you just sub out the chocolate for regular pb? Any thoughts?

Off the top of my head, I think I would swap out a bit of both the coconut oil and the chocolate for the peanut butter- or just add a 2-3 tablespoons to the recipe as written.

Let me know how it works- I’ll try to test a batch too.

Great flavor idea!

–McAuliflower

- Ron
posted May 30th, 2008 at 9:14 am

I’m wondering about the trans fats in that coconut oil. Actually, using the hydrogenated vegetable shortening won’t avoid the t.f. Would peanut oil work? (I know you’ve specified “solid at room temp”, and I’ve never had the Magic Shell sauce: I wonder whether a different proportion of oil to chocolate, or using some cocoa for part of the chocolate component would balance the oil?) I’ll give this a try, and I’ll watch for your response.

There are no transfats in coconut oil. Don’t use peanut oil (yuuuch!) as the only solidifying force will then be the chocolate. This sauce isn’t about fat + chocolate, its about solid at low temperatures plus chocolate.

–McAuliflower

- Alice Sidener
posted May 30th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I made it! I did 1 part coconut oil to 2 parts chocolate. I used a 50/50 dark bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet (morsels) combo to cut some of the sweetness. Came out FABULOUS!!

Thanks McAuliflower!

PS: I also waved the magic wand and took out all the bad fat and calorie!

- Lori
posted June 9th, 2008 at 7:47 pm

I will be making snacks for 200 children for vacation bible school next weekand need magic shell. I was worried about the cost of buying magic shell from the store and was looking up DQs phone # in hopes of getting some donated. This is probally the easier route to just make it from scratch using the vegetable shortening version. Cost is definately an issue with 200 kids.
Thanks for the awesome idea!
Any idea on how much it will take to make 200 servings???

I recommend using coconut oil over vegetable shortening. However if that is all that you can manage – please make a test batch before making 200 servings worth! That would be horrible to be stuck with that much if it doesn’t taste good.

To calculate how much to make for 200 servings- make the above batch and count out how many Tbs are in it. Estimate 3-4 Tbs per serving and then multiply by 200.

–McAuliflower

posted August 13th, 2008 at 5:52 am

[...] good girl at Browine Points has created a homemade version of the thin, hardening chocolate sauce with awesome variations (and [...]

posted October 22nd, 2008 at 3:39 pm

[...] Ice Cream Paradise.  Here is the original version.  Mine is below.  The Magic Shell is from Brownie Points.  I used all virgin coconut oil & this sugar-free chocolate, available at Trader [...]

posted March 30th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Very nice information…the World needs more Bacon info! Thanks for this :)

posted April 11th, 2009 at 6:19 am

i love it please just bring some more

- cece
posted April 11th, 2009 at 6:21 am

by the way why wouldnt a lot of people come on this website and i am going to tell all my friends and family to come on this website thats how much i love it WOW!

- cece
posted July 1st, 2009 at 5:36 pm

[...] the stove, just until melted.  Simple!!!  And it worked like a charm.  Then I found this link for Home Made Magic Shell.  I might try their recipes next time and jazz it up a [...]

posted July 5th, 2009 at 8:00 pm

[...] Alternately, cut into 8 slices, insert lollipop or popsicle sticks into the side crust, and dip in homemade magic shell (a double batch will cover the whole pie nicely and leave you with plenty leftover for other ice [...]

posted July 11th, 2009 at 4:29 am

Bravo- this recipe is awesome! I haven’t eaten MS in years because it has so many artificial ingredients. I have to admit I was skeptical but this recipe delivers. Great with dark chocolate but skip the bacon!

- Karen
posted August 2nd, 2009 at 8:43 am

[...] step: finishing touches to fancy-up your popsicles. Homemade magic shell is divine on strawberry popsicles. White chocolate magic shell on lemon pudding popsicles? You [...]

posted August 12th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I was wondering if anyone knew of a guaranteed place to get refined coconut oil. I’ve only been able to find 1 brand at one of my local grocery stores and it was organic at $9 a jar.

If anyone is looking for a plastic squeeze bottle for storage you can find 12oz bottles at bed bath & beyond for $1.99 a piece. However these do not come with caps. I’m not sure what the shelf life is for homemade Magic Shell (without the preservatives of the real stuff), but it can’t last too long exposed to the open air. As an alternative, you could visit your local craft store. They have squeeze bottles there for various kids’ projects (paints, candies, etc) which come with the caps.

- nick
posted August 22nd, 2009 at 3:07 pm

A great place to order coconut oil if from Tropical Traditions -

- spychick
posted August 26th, 2009 at 11:11 am

[...] been a fan of Brownie Points ever since reading the post on Homemade Magic Shell (check it out!) and bookmarked the Basic Marshmallow recipe probably a year ago.  However, I had [...]

posted August 26th, 2009 at 11:57 am

[...] step: finishing touches to fancy-up your popsicles. Homemade magic shell is divine on strawberry popsicles. White chocolate magic shell on lemon pudding popsicles? You [...]

posted September 22nd, 2009 at 1:07 pm

A good cold processed coconut oil is naturally antibacterial, therefore has no need for preservatives.

It is so yummy and no waxy film on the roof of my mouth.

- Chris
posted December 29th, 2009 at 7:24 pm

What a great recipe! I always thought I could taste coconut oil in the Magic Shell texture..and now I see why! It makes sense to get that runny texture that you need. Perfect.
-Sylvia
Seiko Space Walk Watches

- Sylvia
posted February 9th, 2010 at 4:28 am

[...] Homemade Magic Shell [...]

posted March 2nd, 2010 at 12:37 pm

This is great. I have been trying for the past 15 year to figure out how to make an incredible dessert that I had at a wedding at The St. Regis Hotel in New York. It consisted of a beautiful basket made of marzipan with “golf ball” sized balls of sherbet in it. The balls had obviously been dipped in some kind of “magic shell” to match the flavor of the sherbet. So if the flavor of the sherbet was orange the shell was orange. Classy great tasting dessert. I can’t wait to try out this recipe.

posted April 13th, 2010 at 4:15 am

[...] So, this was in the back of my mind when I was trying to think up a chocolate dessert, and so I decided to see if the Internet knew the answer. And it did. [...]

posted May 8th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I knew this couldn’t be that hard! I just haven’t figured out how to store it.. other than an old Hershey’s squeezie bottle, which I haven’t kept anyway, so I guess I’d have to buy one.. I really like the homemade variety of anything though, so it’s money well spent!
-Sylvia

In the past I’ve stored mine in plastic squeeze bottles. As I’m currently eliminating plastic in my kitchen, I now use a glass bottle to store it in.

–McAuliflower

posted June 17th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I was just wondering if this needs the coldness of the ice cream to harden? Or would it work on a cake?
Thanks!

- Tanya
posted June 19th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Has anyone ever heard of a product called Gold Brick Ice cream topping…long before magic shell….it came in a small jar and you had to heat the jar in hot water on the stove and then pour it over ice cream and became a hard shell…it had small pecan pieces in it and was the best ever but haven’t seen it around in years

Thanks Jim

- Jim
posted June 22nd, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Hi Jim – still available! You can buy from Elmer candy directly:

http://www.elmercandy.com/gold_brick.htm

- Tracy
posted July 5th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Thank you for the magic shell recipe! My boyfriend’s favorite magic shell flavor was Twix and they don’t make it anymore. Have you ever tried to duplicate that flavor? Is it possible to puree Twix and add it to your magic shell recipe and come out with that flavor? Thanks in advance for any advice!

- Julie Sablak
posted August 10th, 2010 at 8:41 am

[...] sold as drumsticks)  for my son’s birthday. I searched on the internet and found this recipe. The ingredients called for 1.5 parts chocolate to 1 part refined coconut oil. I heated everything [...]

posted August 18th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

[...] fat, which makes it solid at room temperature. You can take advantage of this property to make homemade Magic Shell, an ice cream topping that’s liquid and pourable but hardens on contact. Many southeast Asian [...]

posted August 30th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

[...] cream magic shell chocolate sauce (available in most supermarkets or make it from scratch using Brownie Points recipe) sprinkles, crushed nuts, etc. for [...]

posted October 12th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Proving once again how much cooking is a SCIENCE as well as an art. LOL @ Smucker’s “mystery ingredients.”

posted June 18th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Hi, what do you mean with eating chocolate? Drops? Unsweeted, Sweetened, Hearshey’s, Milk chocolate bar? thank you…

- Miguel
posted June 24th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

So thats why it’s so fatty! Ugh

- Dandypie
posted June 30th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

[...] Homemade magic shell for ice cream [...]

posted July 8th, 2011 at 6:42 am

[...] Recipe source: adapted from Brownie Points [...]

posted July 24th, 2011 at 7:45 am

[...] Dog Food  (kimnaclub.wordpress.com) Savings Experiment: Make your own ice cream (walletpop.com) Make your own junk food–homemade magic shell (browniepointsblog.com) Make your own limoncello! (blog.cookingchanneltv.com) Make your own [...]

posted December 11th, 2011 at 9:11 am

Thanks for this fine recipe for magic shell chocolate, but I need to go a step further and kick up this recipe a bit. I need to make a cayenne or jalapeño flavored magic shell for coating roasted almonds. Got any thoughts on that?

- 4 string thumper
posted March 5th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

[...] Points teaches you how to make your own chocolate Magic Shell to top your favorite vegan ice [...]

posted May 8th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

[...] only made sense that when I came across this recipe that I add it to the MUST EAT NOW [...]

posted May 30th, 2012 at 7:37 am

[...] shell mix. With the summery weather we’ve been having lately, I decided to give it a try, using this recipe; I made the plain version, but she also offers directions for flavoured [...]

posted June 16th, 2012 at 2:45 am

[...] Having a Crack at the Magic Image by Jocelyn | McAuliflower Breaking into my homemade magic shell topping. Oh yeah- you know you want some. Recipe here. [...]

posted April 22nd, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Has anyone been able to do it with caramel?

- Heather Ryan
posted May 18th, 2013 at 5:16 pm

[...] chocolate sauce than you will need. Try Adding extra coconut oil to the leftovers to make your own Magic Shell topping for ice [...]

posted August 15th, 2013 at 2:02 am

[...] it). (Side Note: The first time I saw the recipe for Coconut Oil-Chocolate Magic Shell was from Brownie Points via The Kitchn over five years [...]

posted November 18th, 2013 at 4:16 am

How cool is that! I am really craving chocolate now!

posted November 27th, 2013 at 9:34 am

Is there a twix version of this MS? I saw question asked but I can not find the response?

- Tbheimer

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