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Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

A blue bowl with three scoops of strawberry buttermilk ice cream and a gold spoon on the side.
This strawberry buttermilk ice cream is made with an egg-free buttermilk and cream base with strawberries and lemon mixed in. Sweet, creamy, tangy, and completely irresistible.
Chow and Alex Mezger

Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 8 hrs 15 mins
8 servings
294 kcal


  • Ice cream maker


For the strawberry mixture

  • 10 1/2 ounces strawberries about 2 1/4 cups, hulled and quartered or thinly sliced
  • 1 3/4 ounces superfine sugar or just blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground but not powdery
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the ice cream

  • 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 1/2 ounces superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground but not powdery)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon) or to taste, preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk*


Make the strawberry mixture

  • In a medium bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Cover and let macerate at room temperature for 2 hours.

Make the ice cream

  • In a saucepan over low heat, combine the cream, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely, at least an hour.
  • Pour the cream mixture through a sieve or fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir the buttermilk into the cream mixture.
  • Using a potato masher, the back of a large fork, or in a food processor, gently mash or pulse the strawberries into a rough purée.
  • Stir 3/4 of the strawberry purée into the buttermilk mixture.

    TESTER TIP: There’s no need to chill the ice cream mixture prior to processing it in your ice cream machine.

  • Pour the strawberry-buttermilk mixture into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Process the mixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • About 5 minutes before the ice cream has a soft set, remove the lid of the machine and add the reserved berry purée. Replace the lid and let the purée mix in completely.
  • Spoon the soft ice cream into a container, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
  • To serve, remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping.


*What can I substitute for buttermilk? 

Often, home cooks will sub in milk mixed with lemon juice or vinegar when they run out of buttermilk. However, modern buttermilk is actually made from cultured milk, rather than the leftover liquid from making butter. That means that an even better substitute for the buttermilk you'd most likely have on hand is mixing plain yogurt into milk. For this recipe, we'd suggest 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of yogurt.