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This rich and creamy matcha ice cream (green tea ice cream) is one of our favorite ways to enjoy matcha. It's a slightly bitter, yet perfectly sweet Japanese-inspired treat for any occasion. It's easy to make at home, and you only need 5 ingredients!
It's no secret that we love our ice cream recipes. It's always the perfect sweet treat on a warm day or to end a meal. We love making it ourselves because we know exactly what goes into it and there are no hidden ingredients like gums or stabilizers. Often, we opt for more traditional flavors, like strawberry ice cream. But we also love switching it up for more unique flavors like matcha.
This time, we've made a popular Japanese treat, matcha ice cream. It's rich and earthy, distinctly bitter, yet perfectly sweet. We use simple ingredients and simple methods and the result is a creamy, dreamy green tea ice cream that you can make, too!
What is matcha?
Matcha is a green tea powder that comes from the young leaves of green tea plants. The plants are grown in the shade making the leaves high in chlorophyll and giving them a distinct bright green color.
Matcha tastes earthy, bitter, vegetal, and slightly sweet. It's a well-loved flavor in Japan and is widely consumed in the form of tea, sweets, and even savory dishes.
There are two main types of matcha, ceremonial grade and culinary grade. While both yield a tasty matcha ice cream, here are the differences:
- Ceremonial grade matcha is a higher quality matcha and you can recognize it by its vibrant green color. It tends to be higher in price and is meant to be mixed with water for tea ceremonies.
- Culinary grade matcha tends to be a more muted green color, of slightly lower quality, and best for cooking.
How to make matcha ice cream
Homemade ice cream is so darn delicious and worth the extra bit of effort. Here's how to make it in a few simple steps:
- Start by whisking the milk, sugar, and egg yolks in a pot over medium heat. Whisk occasionally until the milk is steaming, then remove the pot from the heat.
- Now, mix the matcha powder with a few tablespoons of the hot milk until it forms a paste. This makes it easier to mix into the hot milk.
- Whisk the paste into the hot milk and then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. This step removes any bits of cooked egg – if there are any.
- To finish making the ice cream base, whisk in the whipping cream. Now you'll want to chill it in your fridge until it's completely cold.
- Once it's cold, pour it into your ice cream maker and churn it.
- After sneaking a few soft-serve style bites, transfer the rest of your matcha ice cream to a freezer-proof container and pop it into your freezer. That's it! Your homemade ice cream will keep well for about 2 weeks.
Matcha ice cream ingredients
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this matcha green tea ice cream at home. Here's what you'll need:
- Milk – we use whole milk for that extra rich and creamy taste.
- Granulated sugar – to sweeten it all up!
- Egg yolks – egg yolk helps with the stability of the ice cream and works as an emulsifier.
- Matcha powder – we use ceremonial grade matcha because we love its bright green color.
- Heavy cream – heavy cream (such as whipping cream) gives your ice cream a smooth texture and creamy taste.
You'll also need an ice cream maker. If you don't have one, head to our no churn ice cream recipe for tips on making ice cream with an electric hand mixer.
Tips for making the best matcha ice cream
While it's simple to make, here are a few tips we've learned for making the most creamy, tasty matcha ice cream:
- Purchase the right matcha – whether you opt for ceremonial grade or culinary grade matcha is up to you. It will depend on what's available to you, how important the bright green color is, and your budget. Both will yield delicious creamy ice cream with slight differences in taste and color.
- Make a paste with the matcha powder – because matcha is a fine powder, you can't add it to a high volume of liquid or it will clump. So, when it's time, mix your matcha with a few tablespoons of hot milk to make a paste before adding it to the larger volume of liquid.
- Cool the cream mixture in the fridge – in order for ice cream to churn properly, the cream mixture needs to cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Wait to dig in – give the ice cream at least 2 hours in the freezer before digging in. We know this will be hard (but it will be worth it)!
Does matcha have caffeine?
Yes it does, but it's also high in L-Theanine, an amino acid that allows our bodies to more slowly absorb the caffeine. This means you'll get sustained energy without the crash or jitters.
Is matcha healthy?
Matcha is high in antioxidants, chlorophyll, and amino acids making it a healthier alternative to coffee.
How do I store homemade ice cream?
We recommend using a freezer-proof container with a tight-fitting lid, or a loaf pan covered with parchment paper. Ice cream stored this way will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Ideas for serving matcha ice cream
Matcha ice cream is the perfect dessert or treat on a warm day. It's delicious on its own, in a waffle cone or bowl, or with one of our favorite toppings:
- White chocolate chips
- Dark chocolate shavings
- Cacao nibs
- Oreo cookie crumbles
- Sliced strawberries
- Black pepper
- 1 ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 5 teaspoons matcha powder
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- Whisk the milk, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Continue whisking occasionally until the milk is steaming and has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the pot from the heat.1 ½ cup milk, ¾ cup granulated sugar, 3 large egg yolks
- Put the matcha powder into a small bowl and add a few tablespoons of the hot milk. Whisk well then add milk until it becomes a thin paste.5 teaspoons matcha powder
- Whisk the matcha paste into the hot milk then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
- Whisk in the whipping cream then chill the ice cream base in your fridge until completely cold.1 ½ cups heavy cream
- Once the ice cream is cold, churn it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container and freeze it for at least 2 hours. Homemade ice cream will keep well for about 2 weeks in the freezer.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.