easy homemade ice cream recipes

Homemade Ice Cream: 2 Chef-Created, Deliciously Different Recipes

Homemade ice cream lets you use fresh organic ingredients, avoid unhealthy chemicals…and try these recipes using buttery avocado or delightfully herby lemon verbena.

By Amy Ahlberg

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Notice some odd new offerings at your favorite ice cream eateries this summer? We have, from the spicy Creole Cream Cheese flavor at Baskin-Robbins, to the Maple Bacon Sundae (yes, bacon) served up at Denny’s. Newsweek even found places selling ice cream made with lobster, garlic, pepper, and other wild flavors.

Intrigued? You don’t have to rely on restaurants for ice cream concoctions that go beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. You can make your own; start with our chef-supplied easy homemade ice cream recipes, then experiment. As a bonus, whipping up your own homemade ice cream lets you choose what goes into it. Look for organic milk, cream, eggs, and other ingredients, and incorporate locally grown components from farmers you trust, so you and your family can enjoy a sweet treat that's not overloaded with unneeded additives or questionable chemicals.

Before you try these easy homemade ice cream recipes, check out our guide to ice cream maker options. It’s got some amazing ice cream recipes, as well.

Once you have your equipment sorted out, read on for pastry chef Pichet Ong’s Avocado Ice Cream recipe. At NYC’s Coppelia, Ong serves this uniquely flavored ice cream in an ice cream sundae with Maldon sea salt, panela (unrefined whole cane sugar), and lime. You won't believe how well creamy avocado works in an ice cream dish.

Cold Stone Creamery’s added an herb to ice cream (they now have a Strawberry Basil flavor), so why can’t you? Make pastry chef Karen Hatfield’s Lemon Verbena Ice Cream, which she serves at her Los Angeles eatery Hatfield’s.

Avocado Ice Cream
From pastry chef Pichet Ong of Coppelia, New York City

Makes 4 servings


1 whole avocado, ripe
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1¼ cups milk
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Cut avocado, remove pit, scoop flesh into a bowl, and quickly toss with lemon juice. Bring milk, condensed milk, sugar, and salt to a scald: Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and quickly turn off the heat once it comes to a complete boil. Pour warm milk mixture into bowl of yolks, whisking to incorporate.

Return mixture to pot and cook over low heat, scraping bottom of pot constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add avocado and vanilla, and use a hand blender to puree till smooth. Strain and chill ice cream base in a bowl over an ice bath until cold.

Churn in ice cream maker and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
From pastry chef/owner Karen Hatfield of Hatfield’s, L.A.

Makes 6 servings


½ quart cream
½ quart milk
7 ounces sugar
12 egg yolks
1¼ ounces lemon verbena leaves


Place yolks in a large stainless steel bowl. Set an empty bowl into larger bowl of ice to cool. Place cream, milk, and half of the sugar in a large pot on the stove. Heat up the large pot until boiling. Once the milk and cream mixture is simmering, add the remaining sugar directly to the yolks and whisk thoroughly.

Turn the pot down to simmer and add one ladle of the milk mixture at a time into a bowl of the yolks, whisking vigorously. Once all of the milk has been added, add the yolk-milk mixture back into the pot, whisking even more vigorously. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Strain liquid through a chinois or a fine mesh sieve into the bowl sitting in an ice bath. Pass the liquid into the bowl until smooth. Add lemon verbena leaves. Let the lemon verbena steep in the mixture until cool.

Place in an ice cream machine, and churn and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.