Black Coffee Ice Cream

Black Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

I can’t count the number of people who’ve said, “I am not a coffee drinker, but I love the way it smells.” There’s good reason for this. Our noses detect volatile compounds in the oils of fresh-roasted coffee; when you steep coffee in water, it can taste bitter, and you lose some of the aromatic oils. For coffee ice cream that tastes as good as coffee smells, we grind just-roasted coffee and add it to warm cream, not water, to steep. The aroma of just-roasted coffee is sealed into the cream and then released into your nose as the cream melts on your tongue.

If you can, buy coffee beans from a local roaster. The flavor is markedly more pronounced when your coffee is super fresh. We have long purchased our coffee from Stauf’s Coffee Roasters in Columbus.–Jeni Britton Bauer

LC Ice Cream Fix Note

There’s a reason folks in New York state go gaga over Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. They’re good. Damn good. We’re talking stick-a-spoon-in-it-and-swoon good. An exacting attention to technique and innovative tactics makes them so mind-bendingly good, witnessed by this recipe for black coffee ice cream. It’s a caffeine fix, coffee fix, and ice cream fix all in one, whether you take it in a bowl or on a cone.

Special Equipment: Ice cream maker

Black Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 35 M
  • Makes 1 quart


  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark-roast coffee beans, coarsely ground


  • 1. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Forget about it for a little while.
  • 2. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a bowl until smooth. Forget about it, too.
  • 3. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart or larger saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the coffee, and let steep for 5 minutes.
  • 4. Strain the coffee mixture through a sieve lined with a layer of cheesecloth, squeezing the coffee grounds in the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid from them as possible. Discard the grounds and return the coffee mixture to the saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in the reserved slurry as you bring it to a boil. Cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  • 5. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the reserved cream cheese mixture until smooth. Let cool slightly, then pour the mixture into a 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bag. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice to the bowl as necessary, until the ice cream base mixture is uniformly cold, about 30 minutes.
  • 6. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface of the ice cream, and seal with an airtight lid. Tuck it in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours, before serving.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Tracey G.

Mar 16, 2012

While I can’t survive without my morning cup of coffee, I have never liked coffee ice cream. But I’ve heard so much about this book and the amazing ice cream of Jeni’s, so I had to give this a try. The ingredients are different than most other ice cream recipes I’ve seen (cream cheese and cornstarch) and it was interesting to see the texture of the ice cream before it was churned. This coffee ice cream is really amazing compared to store-bought versions. The use of fresh coffee beans makes a huge difference. I would certainly try this again, as well as many other recipes in this book.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Mar 16, 2012

This is one of the best coffee ice creams I have ever tasted. There is a rich, natural flavor of coffee that I have not experienced with most other coffee ice creams. I used espresso coffee beans, so I decided to infuse the cream with the ground beans for four minutes instead of five. The flavor was not as intense as I anticipated, and I actually could have let it go for the full five minutes. All of the timing specified in the recipe worked perfectly. Like all freshly-made ice creams, this ice cream was creamy and soft when it came out of the machine, and then it set up quite firmly after a few hours in the refrigerator. The idea to put the warm mixture into a resealable plastic bag and submerge it in an ice bath is brilliant and a great time saver. Normally, an ice cream recipe will tell you to chill the mixture in the refrigerator for six or more hours before spinning it in the machine.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

Mar 16, 2012

This ice cream is … delicious doesn’t seem to do it justice. It is rich, yet not heavy, creamy, and irresistible. Loved the look of the tiny flecks of coffee that were not caught by the cheesecloth. Beautiful. Maybe not a chicken in every pot, but some Black Coffee Ice Cream in every freezer. Sounds good to me.

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Mar 16, 2012

This Ice Cream is UNBELIEVABLE! Jeni’s ice cream recipes use 3 tablespoons softened, full fat cream cheese. This, I am certain, is THE secret to the CREAMIEST ice cream EVER! This, for me is, hands down, the tastiest coffee concoction that has ever passed my lips.

Testers Choice
Rita Reino-Kinch

Mar 16, 2012

YUMMMM!!!! I loved this ice cream so much! The taste was like a mocha frappuccino but with an ice-cream-like texture. The ice cream was very creamy and smooth. I'm a Starbucks lover, so I consider this the best thing ever! I never really liked the taste of coffee ice cream, so I decided to use 1/8 cup coffee and 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Also, my assignment for school was to bring in a black treat, so I added just a few drops of black food coloring. Hoping I can make it again very soon!

  1. Judy says:

    As I am married to someone who despises egg-based ice cream, Jeni’s techniques are a godsend. Have made the base from the Saveur article (it’s wonderful, too). I’ve heard about her before, and now, reading this will have to order the book. And content myself with this recipe while waiting for it to arrive.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      You won’t be sorry you ordered that book, Judy, although it sounds as if you’re already aware of that…

  2. Greg Bulmash says:

    Ohhhh, this is dangerous.

  3. Stu Borken says:

    How many Lactaid, lactase, tablets needed for one small bowl of this wonderful sounding ice cream? I started bloating just reading the recipe. It sounds wonderful.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Stu, I got halfway to a belly laugh reading your comment but stopped short because I have milk issues as well. Trust us, it’s worth it–and I don’t say that lightly. To be safe, when I make ice cream, I use a lactose-free milk produced by Organic Valley, it’s the only l-f milk that doesn’t do me wrong. Anyways, if you indulge, do let us know what you think. And if you try Organic Valley, I’m also curious to hear your thoughts on that…

  4. Sandie says:

    I bought Jenni’s book in December and it was the smartest thing I have done in a long time. I have made many, many recipes from the book. Last week I did a Crown Royal ice cream with salty pecans. Mmmm…

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Sandie, that sounds so wonderful. It hit 85 degrees today so it is definitely time to whip out the ice cream maker. Have you tried the Black Coffee ice cream?

  5. Diane Perkins says:

    I work as a pastry chef at 7500 ft. Ice cream, sorbet and gelato are reliable staples in my pantry. This book is very good for both the home cook and restaurant pastry chefs who make small batches fresh daily. The Black Coffee is terrific. Try it with a raspberry or passion fruit coulis. Believe it or not it’s also great with a lemon cream.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Thanks, Diane. At the Italian gelato joint around the corner I often hear folks ordering a scoop each of chocolate and lemon, so the pairing clearly resonates!

  6. Xavier says:

    As with most recipes here, I can’t wait to try this one. The problem lies in the fact that some of the ingredients favoured by this website are hard to come by in Europe.

    Any thoughts on a possible susbtitute for corn syrup?

    Thought about using a simple sugar-and-water syrup, as I don’t actually know what corn syrup tastes like, but that may take away some of the fun from this recipe. Help?

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