Homemade Magic Shell (sugar free & keto)

If you grew up loving the mystery of Magic Chocolate Shell as a kid, I have something even better: homemade healthy chocolate hard shell. Five simple ingredients are all you need to add a little magic to your dessert and to your life.

Bowl of vanilla ice cream with homemade magic shell and nuts

I loved Magic Shell as a child. It was so much fun and mysterious, right? I mean, you pour chocolate sauce on your ice cream and within seconds it turns from liquid to a crunchy shell! (Hence why it's called "chocolate hardening sauce" by some.)

And the crunch--yum!

Crunch and ice cream go so well together--am I right? Nothing better.

Unfortunately, Magic Shell toppings (either at an ice cream shop or from the grocery store) are loaded with sugar (there are literally 16 grams in a 2 tablespoons serving! [source]) and typically also contain milk (which our oldest child can't have).

So what's a mom to do?

Well, I wanted to share my childhood magic shell fun with my kids, so it was time to make our own version that's not only a sugar-free magic shell, but also a vegan magic shell. 

And--we have a real winner. Once I discovered how to make chocolate shell (a healthier, no "Mom-guilt" version of it, of course) at home that tastes simply delish, well, I just had to share it with all of you.

homemade magic shell in a glass jar with a spoon

What Makes Magic Shell Harden?

If you’re wondering how the chocolate shell works, you’re not alone! I wondered that for such a long time. Then I realized the secret: it’s all about the coconut oil.

When warmed, coconut oil is liquid and pourable, like any oil. However, when it gets cold, it solidifies. Combine coconut oil and chocolate...well, that’s when magic happens.

Bowl of ice cream with magic shell and a scoop of ice cream in the foreground

How to Use Magic Shell

So, since this magic shell doesn't have sing it couldn’t be easier. All you do is pour the desired amount onto your cold dessert. It pours as a liquid and then quickly becomes a crispy crunchy shell.

The key is that you need to put it on food that’s cold for it to do its thing. Some delicious examples include the following:

  • Ice cream Topping
  • Popsicle Drizzle or Shell (just dip your popsicle in and voila! I think these Sugar-free Fudgesicles would be incredible dipped!)
  • Spoon over Cold or Frozen Fruit to make a shell or drizzle topping
  • Milkshake Topper

And since there's no sugar in this homemade shell, you can go above and beyond the 2 Tablespoon serving size with no worries. Mmmmmm......

Top view of bowl of ice cream topped with magic shell and nuts

Can You Refrigerate It? 

You can, but know that if you refrigerate it, the cold temps of the fridge will make it harden, and it won't be usable without reheating. The only reason to keep this chocolate shell in the fridge would be to make it last longer.

Even at room temperature, the coconut oil can solidify, depending on the temperature of your home (coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees, Fahrenheit). If that happens, simply warm your homemade shell by placing the container in warm water over a double boiler until it’s liquified.

How Do You Store It?

If you don’t use all of your magic chocolate shell immediately (probably won't happen!) after you make it, store it in an airtight container (like a mason jar) at room temperature. It should keep for up to quite awhile--possibly for up to a year!

Top view of bowl of ice cream topped with magic shell and nuts

Ways to Adapt This Chocolate Hard Shell Recipe

To make this recipe healthier, I personally use a low-carb sweetener, but you can use any sweetener you like.

As is, this recipe is fantastic, but, why not try some of these fun adaptations!

  • Chocolate Mint Shell: add 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract
  • Chocolate Orange Shell: 1/4 teaspoon orange extract for a fun chocolate orange shell.
  • Chocolate Cherry Shell: 1/4 teaspoon cherry extract for a chocolate cherry shell.
  • Chocolate Almond Shell: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract for a chocolate almond shell!
  • Salted Chocolate Shell: doubles the salt

Really almost anything goes!

Recipe Notes

The ratio of powdered sugar to regular is about 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar to 1 cup granulated sugar. If you want to use a different sweetener, you'll need to take this and sweetness into consideration.

If you'd like to grind your own sweetener for this recipe, use about 1/4 cup granulated sweetener (I prefer low carb sweeteners or coconut sugar). If you want to use honey or maple syrup, about 1/2 the amount should work so 1/8 cup to 3 tablespoons.

Special Diet Notes

This recipe, as written, works for keto and vegan diets, and of course it works for gluten-free as well.

For AIP: Use carob instead of cocoa, and choose an AIP sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Coconut sugar would work the best in this application, but all should work.

THM: This recipe, as written, is THM:S for the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.

Vanilla ice cream topped with homemade magic shell and nuts in a bowl
Pinterest collage for How to Make Magic Shell post
Vanilla ice cream topped with homemade magic shell and nuts in a bowl

Homemade Magic Shell

You only need 5 ingredients and a few minutes to make this super fun and delicious Homemade Magic Shell that's sugar-free, vegan, and keto!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Dressings, Seasonings, etc.
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, Sugar-Free, THM:S, Vegan
Keyword: homemade magic shell recipe
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 28
Calories: 39kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Shake or stir gently before using.

Notes

The ratio of powdered sugar to regular is about 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar to 1 cup granulated sugar. If you want to use a different sweetener, you'll need to take this and sweetness into consideration. 
The recipe is pretty forgiving, so if the sweetness factor isn't that big of a deal for you, then don't worry too much about it.
If you'd like to grind your own sweetener for this recipe, use about 1/4 cup granulated sweetener (I prefer low carb sweeteners or coconut sugar). If you want to use honey or maple syrup, about 1/2 the amount should work so 1/8 cup to 3 tablespoons.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Final Thoughts 

It’s just super fun and a great crowd pleaser to pour chocolate sauce onto your ice cream...only to have it harden to a luscious, crunchy shell right before your eyes. And then, of course to eat it!

I hope you love this chocolate shell recipe as much as we do and would love to hear what what you think!

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