Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream is made with juicy ripe fruit and fresh cream for real strawberry flavor. It's perfectly creamy and scoopable thanks to the custard base. Enjoy this bright and sweet classic flavor on its own in cones, sundaes, milkshakes or ice cream sandwiches!
Summer is the time to bust our your ice cream maker and churn up something delicious! If you love to make homemade ice cream, be sure to try some of our other favorite flavors like Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream, Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Graham Canyon Ice Cream, or Old-Fashioned Fresh Peach Ice Cream.
Table of Contents
- Best Strawberry Ice Cream
- Why Strawberry Ice Cream is the Best?
- Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream ingredients
- How to make Strawberry ice Cream
- Ice Cream (Strawberry) Recipe Tips
- How to store Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
- Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe FAQs
- More Strawberry Recipes You'll Love
- More Ice Cream Recipes
- Best Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe
Best Strawberry Ice Cream
This strawberry ice cream recipe makes me think of my Grandpa. The classic flavor with its sweet, summery strawberries and creamy texture was his favorite. Homemade strawberry ice cream is pretty divine stuff although I feel like it gets overlooked for flashier alternatives with chocolate, cookies, or cookie dough in them.
My grandpa and I shared a love to two very important things: dancing and ice cream.
In college I did ballroom dancing and learned to do the Lindy Hop and the Charleston. When I started dancing, my grandpa told me about his WWII days when he was in the navy and used to spend his spare time swing dancing in ports like Australia. When he got home from the war, he would go listen to all the big bands like Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. I would have loved to have been at some of those performances!
But my grandpa was also the person who first taught me how to make ice cream. We used an old-fashioned ice cream maker where we packed rock salt and ice around a metal drum filled with our ice cream base. Then we hand-cranked that thing on the back porch until we had homemade ice cream.
Why Strawberry Ice Cream is the Best?
This strawberry ice cream is the best because it's made with REAL strawberries for real strawberry flavor. It tastes like sunshine and summer and is perfectly sweet and delicious. I'm not trying to put down any other ice cream flavors, but for those of us who love fruit flavors, strawberry ice cream pretty much reigns supreme.
The best strawberry ice cream uses a fresh strawberry puree to flavor the custard base, with a little added vanilla to bring out the all the flavors of the cream, fruit and sugar to really make them sing.
I love that there are little bits of fresh of strawberry all throughout this lovely, naturally pink ice cream. It's custard based, which means it is made with eggs. But for those of you who prefer an eggless ice cream, I have an alternative approach that is almost just as good! See the recipe notes for an egg-free version of this strawberry ice cream recipe.
I love this ice cream just as it is - scooped into a bowl or cone and eaten plain - but it is also perfect for a milkshake or as a filling in ice cream sandwiches, especially between soft molasses or chocolate cookies. Or use it along with chocolate and vanilla ice cream and make banana splits!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream ingredients
Just six simple ingredients stand between you and the strawberry ice cream of your dreams! Really, this strawberry ice cream recipe could be used as a base for any fruit recipe you can think of like blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, mango, and more. You just might need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit or strain the fruit after blending to get rid of seeds, if they bother you.
- Strawberries: I recommend using fresh, ripe strawberries in this recipe. Those farmer's market strawberries are so juicy and sweet and give the absolute BEST strawberry flavor, which makes for the best strawberry ice cream.
- Heavy cream: For the creamiest ice cream, you really want to use heavy cream, not just half-and-half like you might see in other recipes.
- Milk: Whole milk is best for ice cream, although you can compensate for lower fat percentages by decreasing the milk a bit and adding some extra cream to make up for it.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar gives just the right amount of sweetness. If your strawberries are a little on the tart side, go ahead and add a little more sugar as needed.
- Egg yolks: This is a custard based ice cream, which means we cook the ice cream base and add egg yolks. This makes it supremely scoopable and keeps it from getting icy in the freezer.
- Vanilla extract: I love using my homemade vanilla extract which adds wonderful depth of flavor to our strawberry ice cream.
How to make Strawberry ice Cream
Modern ice cream makers have made it super easy to churn your own small-batch ice cream. I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker, which I love. It comes with a spare bowl so I can always double the batch if needed.
- Heat the liquid ingredients: Combine the milk, cream and about half the sugar and in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture is hot, but not bubbling, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk egg yolks: While the cream and milk are heating, whisk the egg yolks with most of the remaining sugar until they lighten in color (see images below for how the color lightens after about 2 minutes of whisking). I like to hold 2 tablespoons of the sugar in reserve to blend with the strawberries, but it's all ultimately going into the same ice cream base so there is no need to be super exact with the measurement at this point.
- Temper eggs: Once the cream mixture is hot, whisk about ½ cup of it into the whisked egg yolks to temper the eggs. The point is to gently raise the temperature of the eggs without shocking and scrambling them by adding them directly to the hot milk and cream. Whisk in another ½ cup of the hot liquid, then pour all of this mixture back into the pot with the remaining cream mixture.
- Heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon: Continue to stir the custard base for 2-4 minutes or until the temperature is between 170-175 degrees and the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. If you are worried that you accidentally scrambled the eggs, you can strain the custard base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl, but usually I find this is unnecessary. Chill thoroughly either by placing in the fridge for 4 hours or by setting the pot over an ice bath and stirring frequently until completely cold.
- Puree: Meanwhile, blend the strawberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a high speed blender or food processor until fairly smooth with just small chunks remaining. Any larger pieces of strawberry will freeze hard and can give the ice cream a less creamy, more icy mouth feel, so I tend to stop just short of completely pureed. Pour the strawberry puree into the chilled custard and stir to combine.
- Churn and cure: Pour the strawberry custard base into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker and churn for about 20-25 minutes until the ice cream is about the consistency of soft serve. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container (I like using a 9x5-inch bread pan) and cover with plastic wrap. Place the ice cream in the freezer to cure for at least 4 hours to harden until it is scoopable.
Ice Cream (Strawberry) Recipe Tips
- Soften slightly before serving: Let the ice cream sit out for 5-10 minutes to soften slightly before scooping. Not only will it be easier to scoop this way, but the flavor is actually even better when the ice cream is at a slightly warmer temperature.
- Mash strawberries for chunks of fruit: If you prefer larger chunks of strawberries in your ice cream, I recommend using a potato masher to mash the strawberries with the sugar and letting them sit at least 10 minutes to macerate before adding to the custard base. You will still likely end up with some slightly icy bits of strawberry, but they shouldn't be as bad as if you were to add slices of strawberry to the ice cream.
- Thoroughly freeze your ice cream maker bowl: Make sure to put your freezer bowl in the freezer at least 12 hours prior to churning your ice cream.
How to store Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
This ice cream will keep well in the freezer for about 1 week. Unlike store bought ice creams which often include added ingredients for preserving ice cream longer, fresh homemade strawberry ice cream will crystallize more quickly so it's best enjoyed within about a week of making it. You should keep it covered in an airtight container to protect your homemade ice cream from freezer burn.
Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe FAQs
You can certainly use frozen strawberries (thaw them first and use the juice as well as the fruit), but there is something to be said for enjoying this ice cream made with the freshest ingredients available.
Blending the strawberries with the sugar helps keep the strawberries from freezing into icy chunks when churned into ice cream. The sugar helps draw out juice from the strawberries (a process known as macerating), which helps avoid the problem of biting down on bits of icy fruit.
If you have ever had ice cream that crystallizes and gets icy on top, air exposure is the usual culprit. Be sure to place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream for storage (or you can invest in ice cream containers with lids) to prevent contact with the cold air of the freezer.
This ice cream will still taste fresh and delicious for about 2-3 weeks in the freezer when properly stored with plastic wrap on the surface of the ice cream. It's still good beyond that, but tends to crystallize over time.
Ruby red strawberries will naturally color the ice cream base a light shade of pink. You can choose to enhance this naturally pink color with the addition of a little red food coloring. It won’t change the flavor of the ice cream, so it's up to you.
Using a sharp knife, place it in the top of a strawberry at an angle and work your way around the green leafy part in a circular motion so that part can simply pop out. It’s incredibly easy to do but it can be a little tricky depending on the size and shape of a strawberry.
The best way to make sure your ice cream is soft and fluffy is to let it churn for the full amount of time. As it churns, air is added to the ice cream creating the wonderful mouthfeel and texture we love. Also, let it sit out for 10 minutes before scooping so it can soften a bit before scooping it.
More Strawberry Recipes You'll Love
- Strawberry Pretzel Icebox Pie
- Homemade Strawberry Milk
- Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Summertime Strawberry Shortcake
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
More Ice Cream Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Best Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar divided
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ pound fresh strawberries about 1 ½ cups chopped strawberries, washed and hulled
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the milk, cream and ½ cup of the sugar. Heat over medium-low heat until hot, but not bubbling.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining ½ cup of sugar, minus two tablespoons that will go with the strawberry puree, until light in color, about two minutes.
- While whisking the eggs and sugar, slowly pour in ½ cup of the hot cream mixture to temper the eggs before adding them to the custard base. Add another ½ cup of hot cream to the egg mixture, whisking the entire time.
- Pour the tempered egg yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the custard base and stir gently with a wooden spoon for 2-4 minutes, or until the temperature is between 170-175 and the mixture is just thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours, until thoroughly chilled, or set into an ice water bath, stirring frequently until cold.
- Meanwhile, combine the washed and hulled strawberries in a blender with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Puree until smooth, or stop just short of smooth if you want a little texture in your strawberry ice cream. But you don't want to have chunks of strawberries because they will freeze really hard and lessen your strawberry ice cream experience.
- Pour the pureed strawberries into the chilled custard base and stir to combine.
- Pour the strawberry custard base into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. After churning, transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container and place in a freezer to cure for at least 4 hours.
- Storage: Cover the ice cream with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and freeze. This ice cream is best eaten within 2-3 weeks.
- Egg-free strawberry ice cream: If you want a no-cook, egg-free version, you can skip heating the milk and cream and tempering the egg yolks. Instead, just let the strawberries macerate with half of the sugar for 10-15 minutes before pureeing, then puree or mash and combine with the remaining sugar, cream, milk, and vanilla and churn like normal.
This post was originally published August 6, 2016. It has been updated with new photos and additional information to make it more helpful and reader-friendly.