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Homemade Coffee Ice Cream

coffee ice cream

Last summer my parents threw a birthday party for a couple of family members and it was a big hit, so they decided to do it again this year.  My parents are, like me (actually, it’s probably the other way around), very much the kind of people who enjoy spending extra time to make special dishes from-scratch, so of course we’re going to team up and use a special occasion as an excuse to do just that.  Last year we had slow-roasted pulled pork and mini cheesecakes and this year we decided to focus all the extra efforts on homemade ice cream.  Yum.  My mom made fresh strawberry gelato, mint chocolate chip and cheesecake ice creams, and I made dark chocolate truffle ice cream and coffee ice cream.  They were all really good, so count on seeing another ice cream recipe or two in the near future.

Before I get to the recipe, here are a couple things about homemade ice cream:

  1. You have to use whole milk and cream to get a good product, you just have to.  Resist the temptation to sub low-fat milk–you’ll end up chiseling milk popsicles out of a container and that’s not fun or delicious.
  2. While you could use a old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream maker, you’re much better off with an electric ice cream maker.  I have a Cuisinart machine and love it and if you need further encouragement, see what my blog friend Javelin Warrior has to say about his ice cream machine here.
  3. There are basically two kinds of ice cream, American and French.  American is just milk, cream, and sugar heated, cooled, and churned.  French is a cooked custard (eggs, milk, and cream) that is cooled and churned.  Try regular Vanilla ice cream and French Vanilla ice cream and you can see the difference–French Vanilla is richer and more complex, while regular Vanilla showcases the flavors of the cream and the vanilla.

If you hate coffee, you won’t like this ice cream.  I bet title “coffee ice cream” probably clued you in.  But if you’re even remotely coffee-friendly, you’ll love it!  I am not a huge coffee drinker and I thought it was pretty good.  In fact, E first complained that I was making “yucky grown-up” ice cream by adding the coffee, but changed his tune once he tried it and said that it “tastes just like those milkshake drinks from Starbucks.”  My five-year-old loves a good frappuccino if he can sneak one.

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
  • Pinch kosher salt


  • 1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring two or three times.
  • 2. Over medium heat, stir mixture to dissolve the sugar and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  • 3. Strain mixture into a wide, shallow heat-proof container set in an ice water bath.
  • 4. Stir frequently the cool the mixture, and then refrigerate the ice cream base once it is around room temperature.
  • 5. The ice cream base needs to chill at least one hour, until quite cold, but chilling for longer is ideal.
  • 6. Add the ice cream base to an ice cream maker and churn according to your machine’s directions.
  • 7. Serve immediately as soft-serve or place in a freezer container and freeze up to three days before serving.


For less coffee flavor, decrease to 1/4 cup coffee beans. When selecting coffee, choose a darker roast like a French or espresso roast.

Adapted from Food & Wine, August 2012, “The Gastronaut Files” (Find it online at http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/american-style-ice-cream)


coffee ice cream


What do you think, is homemade ice cream worth all the calories?  Or would you rather eat the lower-fat kind?

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