This homemade blackberry ice cream is such a lovely incarnation of summer it’s making everyone who’s experienced it swear they’ll never opt for store-bought or plain Jane vanilla ice cream again. Often, you’ll find the crème frâiche ice cream with fruit mixed in, whether bits of fresh fruit, a jamlike concoction, or fruit paste. The combination is delicious and reminds me of a sort of cheesecake (in fact, feel free to add some crushed Maria cookies to turn it into a cheesecake ice cream). –Fany Gerson

A person holding an ice cream cone with 2 scoops of blackberry ice cream.

Blackberry Ice Cream

5 / 8 votes
The inclusion of creme or crème fraîche offers a lovely tang and the lack of an overbearing vanilla presence means there's nothing to distract you or compete with the dairy or the blackberries for your attention.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories289 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Churn25 minutes
Total Time10 hours


For the blackberry swirl

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • Salt

For the blackberry ice cream

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup Mexican crema* or crème fraîche
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt
  • Store-bought or homemade waffle cones (optional)


Make the blackberry swirl

  • Combine the blackberries, confectioners’ sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and stir to mix. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and slowly simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries have a thick, jam-like consistency, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Strain the mixture, pressing the solids with the back of a spoon. Discard the seeds. Cover and refrigerate the blackberry swirl until chilled through.

Make the blackberry ice cream

  • Whisk the granulated sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth. Bring the heavy cream to a gentle simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Slowly whisk about half the hot cream into the yolks until smooth, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and stir continuously, being careful not to let the mixture come to a simmer, just until the custard mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the custard is done when it reaches 175 to 180°F (79 to 82°C). Remove from the heat.
  • Strain the custard into a bowl, preferably stainless steel, and whisk in the crema, vanilla, lime juice, and salt to taste. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly against the surface of the custard so a skin doesn’t form as it cools. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill completely, about 5 hours.
  • Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it's churned and thickened, about 25 minutes. Pour the soft ice cream to a bowl and swirl in the blackberry mixture with a spoon or spatula. Pack the ice cream into an airtight container. You should have about 1 quart. Cover and freeze until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the blackberry ice cream from the freezer about 10 minutes prior to serving. Scoop it onto ice cream cones or into bowls and, if desired, top with lightly crushed fresh blackberries. (Ice cream does not last forever: Fresher is better. If by some happy circumstance you have leftover ice cream, return it to the freezer in its container with plastic wrap or parchment paper pressed directly against the surface of the ice cream. Consume within a few days.)


*What is crema?

The Mexican crema called for in this homemade blackberry ice cream recipe is essentially the same thing as French crème fraîche—which you can definitely substitute here. Less tart and tangy than standard American sour cream, they both have a thinner texture. And, unlike sour cream,  they won’t break down when heated, which is essential when making the ice cream custard. Take a look at the ingredients in your crema though, sometimes it has salt added. In that case, you won’t need to add any to your ice cream.
City Harvest Cookbook

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Serving: 1 portion, without a waffle coneCalories: 289 kcalCarbohydrates: 32 gProtein: 3 gFat: 17 gSaturated Fat: 7 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gCholesterol: 126 mgSodium: 138 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 28 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Fany Gerson. Photo © 2015 Noah Fecks. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

The looks on my family’s faces said it all. The translation goes something like, “Oh my god, what is this?!” My advice to you is that if you don’t have an ice cream maker you should go buy one and never stop making this blackberry ice cream. It’s that good. I will never make plain old vanilla ice cream again, it will be crème frâiche ice cream from here on out.

The custard base can stand alone if you just want plain. But you could also play with whatever jam swirl you want to add. I’m seeing possibilities for raspberry, blueberry, really any type of jam that you like stirred in at the end.

Two things brought me to this recipe. Store-bought crème fraîche ice cream has been my new favorite ice cream for the last year. And blackberries. They grow wild all over the Pacific Northwest—along trails, by the side of the road, heck, they even sell blackberry vine killer at Home Depot because blackberries grow wild in backyards. Just get a hold of some blackberries any which way you can and make this treat. And throw some blackberries in your freezer so you can enjoy this long past blackberry season.

I pulled the custard from the stove when it reached 180°F. I also cooled the pan in a cold-water bath just to make sure it wouldn’t keep cooking. The texture was very creamy, with a very rich mouthfeel. The homemade blackberry ice cream itself is rich and a small portion is perfect.

Really delicious and such a very creamy summer treat. The tart-sweet blackberries work so well with the rich creamy custard and that small barely noticeable hint of salinity in there is so welcome along with everything else. So, yes, I loved this blackberry ice cream.

As far as cooking the custard, I stirred until the mixture reached about 175°F. That’s it. I really loved the texture of this ice cream made with my homemade crème fraîche and heavy cream instead of the typical mix of milk and cream in most ice creams. It’s rich and creamy but works great with the sharp fruit flavors.

The ice cream keeps well and is very easy to scoop from the freezer (due to all the cream, I’m sure). No worries about consuming it within a few days. It’s been a week and it still tastes superb. Just always press a piece of parchment or wax paper directly on the surface before sealing with the lid after every time you scoop from it. You might want to omit the salt in the fruit if you do use Mexican crema that has salt added.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This homemade blackberry ice cream recipe is a 10. The instructions say to consume within a few days. No worries there. All gone the next day. The blackberries at the farmer’s market were gorgeous and I had heavy cream and buttermilk that I used to make homemade Mexican crema. Rather than bringing the heavy cream to a simmer in saucepan over heat, I microwaved it for 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. After tempering the eggs and sugar with 1/2 the warmed heavy cream, the custard mixture was fairly thick already. Back in the microwave at 10% power, it took only another 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 15 seconds, to get a thick custard mixture thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. I strained the custard mixture twice, whisked in the crema, vanilla, lime juice, and salt, and strained it again. I debated its expense for two years but the Whynter ice cream machine has been my favorite kitchen investment because it processes warm custard! (I use it more than my VitaMix!) I let the ice cream maker do most of the work by putting the blackberries on top of the “almost there” ice cream, processing it for another 5 minutes, and finishing the swirl when putting it in the freezer container. In 3 hours, the ice cream was perfect with a just-north-of-soft-serve and gloriously smooth texture.

  2. 5 stars
    I loved this ice cream. I had to make my own crème fraiche, but it was so worth it! Fresh blackberries picked on my little farm and this recipe, heaven on earth.

  3. I bet this works well with black raspberries too. I am wondering though about the lime.
    Personal preference is to keep the seeds, I love the texture!

    1. Penny, just when I thought I couldn’t love you any more, you go and mention black raspberries. I think they would be brilliant here. Many, many thanks for the lovely suggestion!