Turkish Coffee Ice Cream

This Turkish Coffee ice cream, deeply flavored with espresso and cardamom, is a cinch to make. You don’t even need an ice cream maker. Ten minutes of easy effort and you’re done. (But, yes, you do have to wait for it to freeze. Call us sadists.)

Two blue glass plates with scoops of Turkish coffee ice cream, and a spoon

This caffeinated ice cream is reminiscent of the intense cardamom-laced coffee served in Istanbul. While we’re smitten with the taste, we’re also quite fond of the fact that it requires just 10 minutes of effort and no ice cream maker. And yet the results would have you think someone slaved over it for hours.–Angie Zoobkoff

Turkish Coffee Ice Cream

Two blue glass plates with scoops of Turkish coffee ice cream, and a spoon
This is not a Turkish recipe, but an ice cream inspired by the flavors of the thick coffee you’re served in Istanbul. It’s the simplest ice cream I make: mix and freeze.
Diana Henry

Prep 10 mins
Chill 3 hrs
Total 3 hrs 30 mins
6 servings
310 kcal
No ratings yet
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  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 10 cardamom pods* shells discarded and seeds ground
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup canned sweetened condensed milk


  • In a small bowl, combine the espresso powder, boiling water, and ground cardamom. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Using a stand mixer, an immersion blender, or a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream and condensed milk until the mixture is thick and airy, sorta like loosely whipped cream minus the soft peaks, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cardamom coffee mixture.
  • If using an ice cream maker, dump the mixture into the maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions, about 20 minutes. Serve the ice cream immediately if you like a soft-serve consistency or transfer the ice cream to a container, cover, and freeze for at least a few hours if a harder consistency is desired.If not using an ice cream maker, scrape the ice cream into a container of some sort, cover with plastic wrap or a lid, and freeze until softly firm, sorta like soft-serve consistency, 3 to 5 hours, or very firm, up to 24 hours. It’s that simple. The ice cream really doesn’t need to be churned or even stirred.
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*What if I don't have green cardamom pods?

If you don't have cardamom pods, skip that step and just add the espresso. Some of our testers replaced it with jarred ground cardamom and found that the taste was more subtle, so it's up to you if you want to use it instead. The freshly ground seeds have much more aromatics and a truer flavor. The crushed black seeds also give you a speckled look and a bit of texture. You can strain them out of the coffee before adding the condensed milk mixture.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1(1/2 cup)Calories: 310kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 26g (9%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 22g (34%)Saturated Fat: 14g (88%)Cholesterol: 81mg (27%)Sodium: 69mg (3%)Potassium: 275mg (8%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 21g (23%)Vitamin A: 831IU (17%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 156mg (16%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Absolutely thumbs up winner. This is perhaps the simplest ice cream recipe I’ve ever made yet one of the most satisfying.

I'd like to say I have a bit of experience making coffee ice creams, if only because they outnumber all my other flavors. The cardamom comes through as a wonderfully integrated part of the taste—not screaming a single spice as much as making it so much more well-rounded than just coffee. Although the sweetness is something you can’t really adjust since it comes from the sweetened condensed milk, it works perfectly, especially when completely frozen (don't judge it by tasting before freezing as it will probably come across as oversweet, but the cooler temperature will change that).

I actually did use an ice cream maker (not a fancy one—just an ordinary Cusinart model where you freeze the bowl beforehand). After 20 minutes of churning, it was at a nice, firm soft-serve consistency but after 2 to 3 hours in the freezer, it was perfect. I didn’t think it needed to sit out 20 minutes and would suggest 5 to 10 minutes before scooping. This is going to make a killer affogato that you can scoop ahead and pop back in the freezer while you pull your espresso shots.

Makes a perfect small batch. This recipe is one of the simplest, yet most rewarding, ice creams I have made. Honestly, this is an 11!

This Turkish coffee ice cream is fantastic, easy to put together, and the consistency is creamy and wonderfully rich. The dessert has a deep coffee flavor and the cardamom is simply divine and was greatly appreciated by our passionate coffee-ice-cream-loving testers.

Removing the cardamom seeds from the pods and smashing them in a mortar takes less than 5 minutes. Letting the spice steep in the coffee takes another 10 minutes. Whipping the cream and condensed milk took less than 2 minutes with an immersion blender. So you’ll have the ice cream in the freezer in less than 20 minutes, although hands-on time is even less than that.

The big “wait” is letting the mixture freeze, which took about 5 hours to achieve a proper firm consistency.

What to do with the extra sweetened condensed milk from the can? We added the remaining heavy cream from the pint and made another infusion of instant coffee, this time with cinnamon instead of cardamom, and froze that, too.

Originally published September 12, 2018


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    1. Jale, we haven’t tried it this way, so we can’t guarantee that it works, but you should be able to substitute a combination of evaporated milk and granulated sugar for the sweetened condensed milk. To get 3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk, you’d likely need about 1/2 cup of evaporated milk, and about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Warm them together to dissolve the sugar, then cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. Before chilling your ice cream mixture, taste and add additional sugar if necessary, remembering that cold mutes flavor so it will likely taste a bit less sweet after being frozen. Let us know how it turns out!

  1. Hi! I was curious as to why this and most of the Turkish coffee ice cream recipes I come across use espresso instead of Turkish coffee.


    1. The key difference is not that you are using espresso coffee instead of Turkish coffee. The key difference is that you are called on to use INSTANT powder. As a result, the coffee will dissolve completely in the hot water and you will get none of the sludge in the ice cream that regular espresso or Turkish coffee would generate. If you can find instant turkish coffee, go ahead and use it. In the alternative, you could try making a Turkish coffee and cool it before including it, but you should strain out the sludge VERY carefully.

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