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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


  • 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.


*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.