Dessert Recipes

DIY Choco Tacos

In the early ‘80s, Mexican fast-casual dining was booming — Americans were eating tacos like there was no tomorrow. (You know, kind of like we do today.) So in 1983, a guy in Philadelphia, Alan Drazen, decided to lean into the trend and invented the Choco Taco on behalf of his employer, the Jack & Jill Ice Cream Company. (It eventually sold to Good Humor-Breyers, home of Klondike.)

Long story short, the Choco Taco basically became the ice cream novelty to end all ice cream novelties. As LA Times columnist and Taco USA author Gustavo Arellano said to Eater, “Here is proof Americans loved tacos so much — they were willing to eat it in frozen dessert form.”

Naturally, we just had to DIY our own Choco Tacos.

It all starts with homemade waffle cone shells: Full of sugar, vanilla, and almond, they come off the waffle iron with a sweet, nutty caramel flavor — plus a thin, lacy, Florentine-like texture. They’re scrumptious all on their own.

But of course, Choco Tacos are nothing without the vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, and chocolate sauce layered inside the shell. Nor would they be complete without the chocolate coating! Here, we use real bittersweet chocolate, so it’s a little more luxe than the original — and then sprinkle on toasted pecan bits.

DIY Choco Tacos are over-the-top in the very best way — rich, indulgent, and super fun to eat. They also cut in half really easily, so they’re great for sharing: bring them to a barbecue, and everyone’s faces will look like the exploding-head emoji.

Our tip: Need help tempering your chocolate for the coating? Check out our step-by-step how-to.

DIY Choco Tacos



DIY Choco Tacos

Serves: 10


For the waffle cones:

2 large egg whites
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
Cooking spray

For the choco tacos:

1 qt vanilla ice cream
6 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Ghirardelli caramel sauce, divided
6 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Ghirardelli chocolate sauce, divided
10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips, tempered
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Special tools: waffle cone iron


  1. To make the waffle cones: Preheat a waffle cone iron to medium heat.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the egg whites and cream.

  3. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract, and whisk until well combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in the melted butter.

  4. Add the flour, whisking just until the lumps have disappeared and the batter is smooth.

  5. Spray the waffle cone iron with cooking spray. Using a ½-oz scoop or leveled tablespoon, portion a scoop of the batter, and place it in the center of the waffle iron. Close the lid, latch the waffle iron, and cook for 1 minute.

  6. Check the waffle cone: if it is not yet golden brown, continue cooking for 20 to 40 seconds. Once golden brown, use a flat spatula to carefully remove the waffle and drape it over a narrow rolling pin or a folded piece of aluminum foil to shape it into a taco shell. Let cool for 3 minutes or until completely cool to the touch and then transfer to a plate and set aside.

  7. Repeat with the remaining batter to make the rest of the shells.

  8. To make the choco tacos: Pull the vanilla ice cream from the freezer, and let it temper on the counter for 5 minutes.

  9. Using a ½-oz scoop, carefully fill the bottom of one shell with a 1” layer of ice cream. Use an offset spatula to smooth the ice cream. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the caramel sauce on the ice cream. Add another 1” layer of ice cream, and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the chocolate sauce on it.

  10. Repeat step 9, creating 4 layers of ice cream total. Fill the top and sides of the shell with ice cream, and using an offset spatula, smooth all of the edges. Place the choco taco on a sheet pan in the freezer.

  11. Repeat until all the shells are filled, transferring them to the freezer as you go to keep them from melting. Freeze the choco tacos for 30 minutes or until firm.

  12. While the choco tacos are chilling, temper your chocolate chips. Need help? Check out our step-by-step how-to. When you’re done, transfer the tempered chocolate to a bowl.

  13. Gently dip the edge of the taco into the tempered chocolate, completely covering the ice cream and gently shaking off excess chocolate. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of chocolate. Freeze for at least 1 hour to set. Enjoy!

Waffle cone recipe adapted from: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

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