The presence of mobile ions complicates the implementation of voltage-modulated scanning probe microscopy techniques such as Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM). Overcoming this technical hurdle, however, provides a unique opportunity to probe ion dynamics and electrochemical processes in liquid environments and the possibility to unravel the underlying mechanisms behind important processes at the solid–liquid interface, including adsorption, electron transfer and electrocatalysis. Here we describe the development and implementation of electrochemical force microscopy (EcFM) to probe local bias- and time-resolved ion dynamics and electrochemical processes at the solid–liquid interface. Using EcFM, we demonstrate contact potential difference measurements, consistent with the principles of open-loop KPFM operation. We also demonstrate that EcFM can be used to investigate charge screening mechanisms and electrochemical reactions in the probe–sample junction. We further establish EcFM as a force-based imaging mode, allowing visualization of the spatial variability of sample-dependent local electrochemical properties.