Skip the deep fryer with this easy Mexican Fried Ice Cream. Creamy vanilla ice cream is coated in a buttery, crunchy cinnamon cornflake shell with a secret ingredient for even more texture and flavor. The chocolate and caramel syrup, whipped cream, and maraschino cherry are the perfect finish to this fun and simple dessert!

If you love Mexican dessert recipes, be sure to also check out our Homemade Churros and Tres Leches Cake!

Cornflake crusted fried ice cream with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry on a plate.

I learned to make deep fried ice cream at my first real job in high school when I was a server at a little Mexican restaurant. I loved that job! Sometimes the cooks would let me help out during afternoon prerp time by coating the hardened balls of cinnamon ice cream with the crunchy cornflake and cinnamon shells then sticking them back in the freezer so they were ready for the dinner rush. When an order for fried ice cream would come in, I would watch in fascination while the ice cream balls were submerged in the deep fryer for 20 seconds to crisp up the outside before being covered with chocolate or caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.

This easy faux fried ice cream is every bit as delicious as the real deal and you don't have to go to the trouble or mess of heating up oil in a deep fryer!

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • Prep ahead. These are great to make in advance for a Mexican-themed dinner party or celebration like Cinco de Mayo.
  • Impressive. Everyone will think you slaved over these, when really the topping only takes minutes to prepare. The hardest part is scooping the ice cream into balls and letting them freeze until hard.
  • Amazing texture. The crunchy, chewy, crispy cornflake and coconut shell is fantastic with the creamy ice cream inside. It's an irresistible combo!
A Mexican fried ice cream ball with chocolate and caramel syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry on a plate.

Ingredient Notes

This is a quick overview of some of the important ingredients you'll need for this recipe. Specific measurements and full recipe instructions are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Ice cream: You can make your own or use your favorite store bought variety. Vanilla ice cream is the most common choice, but really you could use any flavor you like! Our favorite brand is the Kirkland vanilla ice cream available at Costco.
  • Cornflakes: Regular old cornflakes add so much texture and crunch, but any crunchy cereal will work. Honey Bunch of Oats, Frosted Flakes or Special K would both be good choices, and if you want an even bigger cinnamon sugar result, try using Cinnamon Toast Crunch!
  • Cinnamon: We always added a dusting of cinnamon to our fried ice cream balls at the restaurant I worked at and it adds wonderful warmth and flavor that goes well with the corny flavor of the cornflakes.
  • Coconut: I haven't seen another fried ice cream recipe that calls for shredded coconut, but I love the additional chewiness and flavor it adds!
  • Sugar: You can leave this out if using a sweetened cereal like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I have found that plain cornflakes need a little sugar added to make the outer coating on the fried ice cream balls extra sweet and wonderful.
  • Butter: Instead of deep frying whole balls of ice cream in oil, we achieve a similar result for toasting the crushed cornflake coating in salted butter before rolling the ice cream balls. It adds a rich, buttery, nutty flavor without all the hassle.

You will also need a skillet, baking sheet, ice cream scoop, and shallow dish for assembling your fried ice cream balls.

Ingredients for fried ice cream.

How to Make Fried Ice Cream

  1. Soften and scoop. Start by letting your ice cream soften for 5-10 minutes on the counter so it's scoopable unless you already have muscles on your arms the size of the Incredible Hulk. You don't want it so soft that it melts right away, by you want to be able to scoop it into 2 ½-inch balls without frustration or pulling a shoulder or bicep muscle straining too hard.
  2. Freeze. Place the balls of ice cream on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and transfer to the freezer to firm up until really solidly frozen, about 3 hours.
  1. Crush the cornflakes. While the ice cream freezes, crush the cornflakes in a large food processor (affiliate link) or in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin (affiliate link).
  2. Make the cornflake coating. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the crushed cereal, coconut, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until crispy and toasted. Be careful not to burn the cornflakes or coconut. Set aside to cool completely.
Melted butter, crushed cornflakes, sugar, cinnamon, and coconut in a skillet.
  1. Roll in coating. Once the ice cream balls have hardened and the cornflake coating has cooled, roll each ball in the coating. You may need to really press the coating into the balls to cover them well. Serve immediately or stick them back in the freezer to stay frozen until ready to serve. If doubling or tripling the batch, I will still only work with 6 balls at a time just so the rest of the ice cream doesn't soften too much while I'm coating the first batch.
  1. Top and serve. When you are ready to serve, place an ice cream ball on each plate and drizzle with chocolate and caramel sauce. Top with a swirl of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, then enjoy!
Homemade easy fried ice cream on a plate with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry.

Recipe FAQ's

How far can these be made ahead?

You can actually make these a full week in advance! They last very well in the freezer and can be assembled sans toppings and covered with plastic wrap, then frozen for about a week without the outside coating going stale.

Is fried ice cream authentic Mexican?

No, I'm pretty sure that fried ice cream is an American invention. It's association with Mexican restaurants is more a result of the popular Chi-Chi's chain adding it to their menu in the 1980's. It is frequently served in a cinnamon-sugar tortilla shell.

How do you fry ice cream without melting it?

This isn't a worry with this easy fried ice cream recipe, but in the original version, the ice cream is frozen extra hard. Then when it is submerged in hot oil, the deep fryer only crisps up the protective outer coating without melting the inside ball of ice cream.

Can these be deep fried?

Absolutely! If you want to go the full mile, you can heat a few inches of vegetable or peanut oil to 365°F on the stove or in a deep fryer. When the oil is hot, gently lower each fried ice cream ball into the oil for about 20 seconds, then remove with a wire slotted spoon. Top and serve.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use gloves: If you need to squish the ice cream into balls because your scooping doesn't give you good spheres, you might want to don some food-safe disposable plastic gloves first to protect your hands from the cold and keep the ice cream balls from melting too much from the warmth of your hands.
  • Other toppings: We love these best with chocolate and caramel topping, but I have also seen them served with strawberry or pineapple ice cream topping as well. Even cherry or apple pie filling would be good spooned over the top. At the Mexican restaurant I worked out, they were drizzled with honey. You could also sprinkle on some chopped pecans or toasted coconut for even more texture and crunch.
  • Fried ice cream bars: If you want an even easier version, try spreading half of your cornflake coating into a baking dish, then scooping the ice cream on top into a single layer. Top with the remaining cornflake coating and press down to get everything to adhere. Freeze until firm, then slice into bars.
  • Extra cornflake coating: You may have extra coating leftover, but I would rather have too much than run out and you can always save it to sprinkle over ice cream or fruit and yogurt.
A ball of fried ice cream with a bite taken out of it.

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Faux Fried Ice Cream

No ratings yet
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Chilling Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings
Skip the deep fryer with this easy Mexican Fried Ice Cream. Creamy vanilla ice cream is coated in a buttery, crunchy cinnamon cornflake shell with a secret ingredient for even more texture and flavor. The chocolate and caramel syrup, whipped cream, and maraschino cherry are the perfect finish to this fun and simple dessert!

Ingredients
  

Ice Cream Balls

  • ½ gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 5 cups cornflakes
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Toppings

  • Chocolate sauce
  • Caramel sauce
  • Whipped cream
  • Maraschino cherries

Instructions
 

  • Line a baking sheet or muffin pan with plastic wrap. Scoop ice cream into 2 ½-inch balls. You may want to wear kitchen-safe gloves and squeeze them into balls, but try to work quickly so the ice cream doesn't melt too much. They don't need to be perfect because the outside coating will cover up imperfections. Freeze for 3 hours until really firm.
  • Use a food processor or rolling pin and Ziploc bag to crush the cornflakes.
  • Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed cornflakes, coconut, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until toasted. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  • Roll the frozen ice cream balls in the cooled cornflake mixture. Press the mixture firmly onto the ball to create a thick coating. Serve the fried ice cream immediately or return to the freezer.
  • Top each ball of fried ice cream with chocolate and caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Make-ahead: You can assemble and freeze for 1 week covered in plastic wrap to protect against freezer burn.
  • Extra cornflake coating: You may have extra coating leftover, but I would rather have too much than run out and you can always save it to sprinkle over ice cream or fruit and yogurt.
  • Use gloves: If you need to squish the ice cream into balls because your scooping doesn't give you good spheres, you might want to don some food-safe disposable plastic gloves first to protect your hands from the cold and keep the ice cream balls from melting too much from the warmth of your hands.
  • Other toppings: We love these best with chocolate and caramel topping, but I have also seen them served with strawberry or pineapple ice cream topping as well. Even cherry or apple pie filling would be good spooned over the top. You could also sprinkle on some chopped pecans or toasted coconut for even more texture and crunch.
  • Deep Fried version: If you want to go the full mile, you can heat a few inches of vegetable or peanut oil to 365°F on the stove or in a deep fryer. When the oil is hot, gently lower each fried ice cream ball into the oil for about 20 seconds, then remove with a wire slotted spoon. Top and serve.
  • Fried ice cream bars: If you want an even easier version, try spreading half of your cornflake coating into a baking dish, then scooping the ice cream on top into a single layer. Top with the remaining cornflake coating and press down to get everything to adhere. Freeze until firm, then slice into bars.
  •  

Nutrition

Calories: 927kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 564mg | Potassium: 700mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 76g | Vitamin A: 2219IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 417mg | Iron: 7mg
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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