Ice cream is a $39 billion annual industry in the U.S., and it employs over 188,000 people. This delicious frozen treat originated in China as early as 200 B.C., and every culture has a different take on it. So why not make it on your own?
The average person spends about $3000 a year eating out, which represents a 325 percent markup over dining in. Add-ons like drinks and dessert (i.e. ice cream) are pushed by restaurants because they have the highest markups. So learning to make your own ice cream is economical, healthier, and honestly just a fun way to spend a night. Try it with a date, and you’ll win him/her over for sure.
First, let’s cover the basics of ice cream making.
How to Make Ice Cream
At its base, ice cream is a simple recipe to make. You just mix equal parts of heavy mixing cream and milk with sugar to your taste and the flavoring of your choice. In the next few sections, we’ll discuss the ingredients added/removed (by law, believe it or not) to turn ice cream into gelato, frozen yogurt, custard, Italian ice, and more.
In fact, the USDA has strict guidelines on what can be marketed as ice cream, sherbet, custard, etc.
Flavorings can range widely by tastes, although combinations of spices, nuts, fruits, and other dessert staples are often used. Ice cream spices include vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, and mint, and you can create mix-ins, toppings, and more to turn your ice cream into a sundae, banana split, or whatever you want.
Now let’s get to the ice creams. Click a photo to go directly to the full recipe.
Ice Cream Recipes
Ice cream is best stored frozen at 0 degrees and served between 6 and 10 degrees. It can be held at subzero temperatures for even more serving varieties (i.e. Dippin Dots or shaved ice cream).
Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla is a classic ice cream flavor, but don’t you dare call it basic. It’s a complicated spice that’s difficult to grow and has a shady industry behind it you’re not yet aware of because Netflix hasn’t made a documentary yet. Try this recipe with vanilla bean and even throw in some bean paste if you like.
Fried Ice Cream
Take that vanilla ice cream up a notch with this Mexican fried ice cream recipe. It’s easier than Baked Alaska and with the same wow factor for whoever you serve it to. Whoever thought hot and cold would bond so well?
Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream
PB and J is the quintessential sandwich flavor, so why not put it in your ice cream too? This recipe can turn your favorite peanut butter and jelly into a unique dessert flavor.
Cereal Milk Ice Cream
Cereal milk has all the sugars and flavorings of cereal, and using that milk in ice cream brings that familiar breakfast taste to dessert. You can even top it with cereal – just don’t use the cereal you used to make the milk.
Frozen Custard Recipes
The difference between ice cream and custard is the addition of egg yolks. This dramatically changes the frozen texture, making it taste richer and creamier. Frozen custard is typically stored at 0 (never subzero) and is served at 10-20 degrees for a softer texture than ice cream.
Creamy frozen custard made with rich chocolate is a dessert anyone will love. The quality of ingredients used will dramatically alter the flavor, so use chocolate and cocoa that you know taste great.
Lemon custard is tart, tangy, and the most refreshing summer dessert. This recipe is easily customized by thinking of your favorite lemonade mixins (blueberry, strawberry, mint, etc.).
Salted Caramel Custard
Salted caramel is a great way to add dimensions to your frozen custard. The sweetness of the caramel mixed with the saltiness propelled this flavor to the spotlight a few years ago, and it’s still good now.
Mint Chocolate Chip Custard
Mint is a great flavor for custard, and dark chocolate chips balance it for a perfect combination. Once you’ve had mint frozen custard, you’ll never go back.
The difference between gelato and ice cream is a higher proportion of milk to cream and added sugar. Gelato may or may not contain eggs, and it’s served between 10 and 20 degrees, much like custard. It has a silkier texture than ice cream.
Stracciatella is a fancy Italian name for sweet cream gelato with dark chocolate chips. It was inspired by Stracciatella, the Italian egg-based soup, not Stracciatella, the Italian cheese made from buffalo milk. You’re welcome to substitute any other animal milk in any of these recipes if you’re feeling adventurous though.
If you’re feeling super fancy, espresso gelato is fun to make, say, and eat. Plus you can show off how extra you are to all your friends.
Pistachio is the redheaded stepchild of ice cream flavors, but it’s sought after in gelato. This sweet treat may look like guacamole, but it tastes like pure nectar of the gods.
Hazelnut is another classic gelato flavor that doesn’t get its full due in American ice cream. It’s a spicy sweet and nutty flavor that’s creamy and classy.
Frozen Yogurt Recipes
The difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream is froyo replaces cream with cultured milk and often adds sugar. This dramatically lowers the fat content and calories, making it a healthier choice. Froyo is served between 10 and 20 degrees, depending on individual flavor viscosity.
Cherry Frozen Yogurt
Cherry froyo is creamy, tart, and sweet all at the same time. It’s a great default for yogurt, whether frozen or not. Mix things up with a variety of cherries, including Bing, Ranier, and Maraschino.
Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yogurt
Pumpkin pie is great during the holidays, but if you want that flavor throughout the year without the guilt, this froyo is the way to do it. Put it in a pie tin with a crust and top it with whipped cream for the perfect touches.
Pina Colada Frozen Yogurt
If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you´re not into yoga, if you have half a brain, if you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape, this is the froyo recipe for you. Make it now and escape.
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
Blueberry froyo is a colorful dessert that tastes as good as it looks. If you’re making a variety of froyo flavors, this is a must-add. You’ll love every berry-filled bite.
Sorbet and Italian Ice Recipes
The difference between sorbet and ice cream is sorbet is dairy-free, instead containing fruit, water, and sugar. They’re blended to look similar to ice cream but have more of an icy texture. Sorbet is typically stored and served at subzero temperatures.
One-Ingredient Banana Sorbet
The hands-down healthiest frozen dessert on this list is this one-ingredient banana sorbet. Bananas have a creamy property that makes them a perfect, ice cream-like texture you can add anything you want to and know you’re basically enjoying fruit. It’s usually listed as “one-ingredient ice cream,” but it’s legally a sorbet.
There are a ton of melons, and each has a different flavor. This melon sorbet recipe is actually two sorbets – honeydew with mint and cantaloupe with lime. Both are amazing complements to each other.
Celery is soooo boring as a vegetable. You can put some peanut butter on it, but it’s just empty calories with little flavor and a nice crunch. Put it in this sorbet, and you’ll have a unique flavor everyone will love and nobody will be able to guess. Bring it to your next summer cookout to see for yourself.
Nothing says summer like strawberry sorbet. It just takes some strawberries, lemon juice (to bring out the berry flavor when frozen), and sugar. Top with some mint leaves for presentation. You can also add a scoop with some blueberries to sprite for a knockout Fourth of July punch.
Sherbet is a middle road between ice cream and sorbet, and for some reason, everyone pronounces it “sherbert.” It’s basically sorbet with cream added, giving it a creamier texture that remains lighter than ice cream. It’s served at a temperature between 10 and 20 degrees.
This orange sherbet is so good, it deserves to be served in the peel of an orange. Mix it with some vanilla ice cream to recreate the legendary dreamsicle.
Lime sherbet is a classic. It’s mixed with orange and raspberry to make rainbow sherbet, used in a ton of punches (especially on Halloween and St’ Patrick’s Day), and it tastes great. Try this surprisingly sweet and creamy citrus treat with only a few ingredients.
If you’re a fan of wine, this sherbet can accommodate it. Pick your favorite grapes and wines and freeze for a great concoction you can serve in wine glasses with brunch to really show your friends a good time and new experience.
Mix a few frozen fruits, and you have yourself the base for an amazing mango sherbet. It can then be seasoned with lime, salt, chili, or whatever your favorite mango additives are. Find out why this tropical fruit is beloved in both Latin America and Southeast Asia.