Homemade Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream made with fresh cherries, heavy cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla is one of the best indulgences of the summer!

We love homemade ice cream at our house, and are always experimenting with flavors! Be sure to check out our Rainbow Sherbet, Strawberry, Blackberry Swirl and Old-Fashioned Peach Ice Cream flavors!

An image of a container of homemade cherry vanilla ice cream with a bowl of cherries and an ice cream scoop nearby.

When it comes to ice cream flavors, we are a house divided. Half of us (ahem, Paul & Rose) are all about the chocolate flavors. If there isn't any chocolate in it, they will eat it but it's just not their thing. The other half of us (myself & Clara) are all about the fruit flavors.

So while I think the caramel oreo fudge ripple ice cream I shared the other day is good (I mean, c'mon, I'm no fool who is going to say no to that kind of decadence!), my tastebuds really gravitate toward this cherry vanilla ice cream flavor more instead.

cherry vanilla ice cream with fresh cherries to the sides

Now, the biggest hesitation I have when working with fresh cherries in a recipe is how I'm going to get those dang pits out since I don't have a cherry pitter. I probably should get one, I just never have.

But it's really not necessary here because the cherries are going to be poached before adding them to the vanilla ice cream base anyway. Poaching the cherries softens them so that the pits slip right out, no cherry pitter needed.

An image of a container of cherry vanilla ice cream with fresh sweet cherries next to it.

It also makes it so that when the poached cherries freeze in the ice cream, you still get a nice mouthfeel rather than icy chunks of rock hard frozen cherries, which is what happens when you just toss fresh cherries straight into ice cream without poaching them first.

An image of a hand holding a sugar cone with a scoop of cherry vanilla ice cream.

How to poach cherries for cherry vanilla ice cream

Poaching cherries is super simple. It's just a matter of combining sugar, water, and cherries in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bringing to a boil, creating a simple syrup that the cherries cook in. Then lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the cherries are soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the cherries cool completely in the syrup, then drain, remove the pits by squeezing them out of the cherries, and chop the fruit into small pieces. Chill until ready to add to the churned vanilla ice cream.

An image of a saucepan with cherries, sugar, and water for poaching and putting into cherry vanilla ice cream.

After the vanilla ice cream base is churned, add the cold, chopped cherry pieces and continue to churn or fold in with a spatula until evenly dispersed through the ice cream before transferring the ice cream to a container and freezing for 4 hours until hardened.

An image of freshly churned soft serve cherry vanilla ice cream.

Other Ice Cream Flavors for Fruit Lovers to Try

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Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

4.66 from 23 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Homemade Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream made with fresh cherries, heavy cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla is one of the best indulgences of the summer!


For the cherries

  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups cherries

For the base

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Poach the cherries

  • In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water and cherries to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Cook until the cherries are soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let the cherries cool completely in the syrup.  
  • When cool, drain the cherries and squeeze out the pits, then chop the cherries into small ¼-inch pieces and refrigerate until ready to add to the churned ice cream.  The syrup can be saved to drizzle over ice cream, swirl into club soda, or add to lemonade where it calls for a simple syrup.

For the Vanilla Base

  • Heat half of the sugar with the cream, milk, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture approaches a bare simmer, then reduce the heat to medium.  
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until light.  When the cream mixture is hot, temper the eggs by whisking 1 cup of the hot liquid into the egg yolks, then add this to the rest of the hot cream mixture in the saucepan.  
  • Cook, continuing to stir, just until the mixture reaches 175 degrees F on a candy thermometer (affiliate link) and is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula or wooden spoon and holds a clear line when you run a finger along the back of the utensil.
  • Chill completely before adding the vanilla, then churning the ice cream according to your ice cream maker's instructions.  Add the chopped cherries in the last minute of churning or fold in using a spatula once the ice cream has churned.  
  • Transfer to a container and freeze for 4 hours until frozen hard.


Adapted from the Bi-Rite Creamery cookbook Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones.


Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 724IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I love homemade ice cream! This cherry vanilla sounds like a great one to try. Love the tip about poaching the cherries first!

  2. I only have a 1.5 qt ice cream maker. You list the yield as 10 servings, but how much does this recipe make? Looks like a great recipe and thanks for explaining why to pouch cherries.

    1. Yes, either would work and you wouldn't need to cook them as long since they both have already been softened through either heat or freezing. Just thaw frozen cherries first and drain the juices. Also, drain the juices from the canned cherries. I would still cook them for a couple of minutes with sugar though to help sweeten them.

  3. Please don’t post my comment of a few minutes ago. I stupidly missed the note as to how to use the leftover syrup. 

  4. Hi. I did see your explanation about frozen cherries but please just clarify, should  ( can )I pouch the frozen cherries. Bag said sweet I say not   I  put frozen cherries in and they were sour.  Kind of ruined the ice cream in my opinion. Thought if cherries were sweeter it would have been great. Thank you 

  5. I love this recipe and have made it 3 times. I like to add chopped dark chocolate pieces at the end of churning, when I put in the chopped cherries. Soooo good!

    1. I'm sorry for the confusion in the instructions - you all add of the cream and milk with half of the sugar. I've fixed the wording to hopefully clear that up a bit.

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve made this ice cream several times exactly as written. Excellent recipe that consistently makes my family and friends smile! Oops, correction: I did replace the vanilla extract with paste because I like to see the specks. Thanks!