Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

This strawberry ice cream recipe churns out an easy, homemade summer dessert that’s gonna challenge all other strawberry ice creams you’ve ever had.

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

This strawberry ice cream defers to in-season strawberries, rather than lots of sugar, for its balance of fruit and sweet and cream. Sorta goes without saying but we’ll say it anyways—the quality of the strawberries that you put into this ice cream will determine, in large part and no uncertain terms, the pleasure that you derive from it. It’s that simple. Inspired by a recipe in Alice Waters’ classic The Art of Simple Food. This recipe has been updated. Originally published May 24, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Special Equipment: Ice cream maker

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes about 1 quart


  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, patted dry, and hulled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons kirsch liqueur (optional)


  • 1. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl.
  • 2. Place the half-and-half and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil.
  • 3. Whisk a little of the hot half-and-half mixture into the egg yolks to warm them. Then slowly whisk the egg yolk mixture into the half-and-half mixture, which is still over medium heat, and continue to let it warm, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and leaves a coating on the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • 4. Place a strainer over a large heatproof bowl and pour the mixture through the strainer. Discard the solids. Stir the heavy cream into the strained mixture. Cover the custard mixture, pressing the plastic wrap directly against the surface of the custard, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • 5. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and mash them slightly with a potato masher or the back of a fork to form a coarse purée. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, toss gently, and let the strawberries sit, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries release their juices, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 6. Stir the strawberries and their luscious juices into the custard mixture along with the vanilla, salt, and kirsch, if using. Cover and refrigerate until chilled through or for up to 2 days.
  • 7. Process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Consume immediately or, if you can withstand temptation, transfer it to a resealable container and freeze it a little longer to give it that sturdy, old-fashioned ice cream stiffness. You may wish to let it soften a few minutes at room temperature prior to scooping to allow the chunks of berries to thaw slightly. (Impatience will be rewarded with brain freeze upon biting into an icy chunk of strawberry.)
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Vicki Lionberger

Jun 25, 2016

I love ice cream. I really love homemade ice cream without all the chemicals and artificial this and that. This is a rich, very berry-tasting strawberry ice cream that we’ll be making over and over again this summer. It’s so simple to make and so much better than the store-bought stuff. I found really wonderful strawberries at the market—not those huge tasteless things but nice, plump, juicy ones. I followed the recipe except for one ingredient. I didn’t have kirsch and couldn’t justify buying it for 2 teaspoons, so I substituted cassis. This probably made the color a little more purple and less red but who cares? It was amazing! I chilled my ice cream base overnight and froze it in an ice cream machine the following day. I had to redistribute the berries partway through churning, as they collected around the blade in the machine.

Testers Choice
Bev B.

Jun 25, 2016

This is 100% better than store-bought strawberry ice cream! It’s a really delicious ice cream. A refreshing strawberry flavor, rich but not heavy, and not too sweet. The recipe was easy to follow and the results were fantastic. This ice cream needs to be eaten fairly soon after freezing or it’ll be very hard. I didn’t add kirsch, but perhaps if I did the alcohol would make it easier to scoop after a few days in the freezer?

Testers Choice
Lori Widmeyer

Jun 25, 2016

This strawberry ice cream was wonderful! Very full of strawberries and so creamy. I love ice cream and this was perfect to me—not too sweet or too rich. This ice cream was so good that if my electric ice cream machine ever broke, I’d crank a manual ice cream machine to make it again. I loved several things about this recipe other than the taste. First, I loved that I could do it in steps. I have 30 minutes here and there to do parts of recipes, but sometimes have trouble fitting in recipes that have very time-specific requirements. This recipe allowed me to spend a few minutes one night making the half-and-half mixture before I put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day when I had a little time I prepared my strawberries and added them to the half-and-half mixture. Several hours later I put the ice cream into the maker. And 30 minutes later, all I had to do was stick it in the freezer—so easy! I’d recommend letting it soften just a bit before serving to avoid the chunks of strawberries being a little too frozen.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Jun 25, 2016

This strawberry ice cream is very easy to put together. The result is an ice cream that’s not too sweet, filled with ripe berry flavor, creamy but not heavy. My family described it as having a genuine strawberry flavor. The color was an amazing pink. This is a fabulous treat for warm spring and summer days.

Testers Choice
Jo Ann Brown

Jun 25, 2016

I’ll make this strawberry ice cream recipe again and again this summer. It’s a great balance of sweet and tart. There’s also a very interesting technical aspect about this recipe. The custard is made with only the half-and-half and eggs, not the heavy cream. The cream is added to the end mixture but it isn’t part of the thickening process. Hmmm…what happens to the heavy cream? It gets whipped, ice cold by the machine paddles, adding lots of air to the finished product. In commercial ice cream applications this is called air “overrun.” This textural difference really defines how dense, cold, and sweet the ice cream is later perceived to be. It’s a super smart recipe to use this approach and the whipped “iced cream” is AWESOME. I didn’t test this recipe with the kirsch; without it you’ll find this recipe completely kid-addictive.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Jun 25, 2016

This recipe made a delicious, creamy, custard-based ice cream. The recipe works perfectly as written. I was a bit concerned about using all of the liquid that was produced from macerating the strawberries, but I went with it and everything blended together perfectly. I didn’t try it with the kirsch, but I believe it’d be even better with this optional ingredient.

Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Jun 25, 2016

I’m always on the lookout for new ice cream recipes. My family often gets together on Sundays at my mom and dad’s home to cook and visit. We frequently make ice cream for dessert in the spring and summer. This strawberry ice cream was a hit with my family. I did use the optional kirsch, but it was such a small amount I’m not sure I could really tell it was in there. Nevertheless, the ice cream was delicious and is one we’ll make again, I’m sure.

Testers Choice
Robert McCune

Jun 25, 2016

Usually I try to make a lighter, lower-fat version of ice cream. However, with the wonderful berries that we had, I just couldn’t compromise and had to go with the real deal. This is true ice CREAM! The bright, fresh taste of the strawberries seems to balance the recipe and keep it from being too rich given the cream, eggs, and half-and-half. I always like to add a couple of teaspoons of some sort of alcohol to ice cream anyway to prevent it from freezing into a solid brick, and I think the kirsch brightens the flavor of the berries but doesn’t really overpower them with its own taste. This recipe would be great with other fresh seasonal berries. I think this’ll be a summer staple at our house.

  1. rainey says:

    What a gorgeous and appealing photo!

    So glad to see your recipe include macerating the berries so they don’t turn into cheerfully colored ice cubes within the ice cream.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Nods. Exactly, rainey. We test all our recipes before deciding if they’re spectacular enough to share with readers. And every time we’ve not taken some measure against the brain freeze-inducing iced berries, we’ve regretted it. This recipe works really incredibly well.

  2. Chris says:

    This ice cream looks and sounds sooo delicious… Could I possibly use frozen strawberries, thawed first, or do you recommend just using fresh?
    Thank you!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Chris, I think you should be fine using frozen strawberries. The only thing to beware is they may exude a little more liquid than fresh strawberries, so you may want to taste the mashed strawberries and sugar after its rested to make certain it’s sweet and strawberry-ish enough as the extra liquid will dilute the flavors. You may also want to pour off some of the juices before stirring it into the ice cream to keep it from getting too runny. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  3. Chris says:

    I will do that and thanks for the nice, informative reply and oh, one more question…will omitting the kirsch be much of a flavor changer? I don’t have any but can get some if you think it makes the ice cream taste even better…
    Thanks again!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Chris, you’re very welcome. To be honest, I’d omit the kirsch, too, if I was making this strawberry ice cream. The fruit flavor will be slightly subdued in comparison but I suspect it will still be quite lovely.

  4. Chris says:

    Hi again! I made the strawberry ice cream and we loved it! :) I did omit the kirsch, simply because I didn’t have any and I hate to run out and buy a unusual ingredient that I probably wouldn’t use much of…Anyway, could I use this recipe with fresh peaches…or any other fruit for that matter?
    Thanks again!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Wonderful Chris! Love to hear it. As for peaches, I like the way you’re thinking although we haven’t tried that so I can’t guarantee your results. The sugar and water content of peaches are different from that of strawberries which could end in disaster. You may want to consider a recipe made especially for peaches such as this simple peach frozen yogurt that has drawn many, many raves…

  5. Chris says:

    Ok, peaches and cream ice cream recipe, it is! :) Again, I don’t have any of the liquors called for but will gladly get one of the three for this recipe. Which one, in your opinion would be the best choice for this peachy recipe?

    Thanks so much!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Oh drat, Chris, I completely forgot that the peaches and cream ice cream recipe calls for booze, too. Sorry! It’s such a small amount, you could probably get by without it and just add an extra couple tablespoons heavy cream if the mixture looks a little too thick. If you do splurge on the booze, I will say that a lovely peach brandy (sometimes known as eau de vie and often found in long slender bottles at the liquor store) would emphasize the peach flavor here. But I have a mom who loves peach brandy so I just send the rest of the bottle home with her and consider it money well spent since she takes a nip at night. Or if you make margaritas regularly or use any sort of orange liqueur in other cocktails or baking, then just get that since you’ll have a destination for the rest of the bottle. But again, seriously, you should be fine without it. Thanks and let us know how it goes!

      • Chris says:

        Renee, yes, I do have Cointreau for Margaritas but would the orange flavor alter the peachiness of this ice cream? I want it to have as authentic a flavor true to the recipe as possible so I really don’t mind getting the peach brandy but if you think the Cointreau would be a fine stand in then I’ll use it! :)
        Peach brandy Margaritas anyone? :)
        Thanks again for answering all of my annoying questions!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Not annoying at all, Chris! And if you read the comments beneath the peach ice cream recipe, you’ll see that several testers used some sort of orange liqueur and felt that in each instance it nicely enhanced the peach flavor. That said, if it was me, I’d bust out the peach brandy. Let me know when to show up for those margs! Best, Renee

  6. Chris says:

    Well, if I had read the ingredients list better I would of seen that the orange flavored liqueur was already mentioned and would not have had to bother you all day! I’m so sorry! For that I owe you a couple margueritas whenever you’re in the neighborhood! I live in Gig Harbor, Washington state btw…are you anywhere near me? If not…hop on a plane! :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I shall look you up when I visit the Pacific Northwest, Chris! We recently moved from Manhattan to the urban desert of Phoenix. My husband makes a mean jalapeño marg if ever you’re in the ‘hood!

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