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This is the homemade strawberry ice cream recipe of our dreams! It's super creamy and bursting with fresh strawberry flavor. It's an iconic summer treat that's easy to make at home, and it only takes about 30 minutes of hands-on prep time.
This is a strawberry ice cream recipe we've been tinkering with for a long time, and we can now confidently say it's the best strawberry ice cream! It's made with fresh, whole ingredients and it's the perfect refreshing treat to enjoy at the end of a long hot day (or anytime, really). Homemade strawberry ice cream can be hard to master as it often ends up bland and icy. We've reworked our recipe into the most creamy and delicious homemade ice cream that's bursting with fresh strawberry flavor.
The key is to make it when strawberries are in season in the spring and summer. So pick up some locally grown strawberries (or pick some from your garden, if you're lucky!) and then whip up the ice cream base in just 30 minutes.
Why you'll love it
- This homemade strawberry ice cream is incredibly simple to make
- It's super creamy and flavorful.
- There are no unwanted ingredients making it healthier than store-bought ice cream.
- It's a fun activity to do with kids. They'll be fascinated by the process of making churned ice cream.
- It's a delicious way to enjoy summer berries!
If you love strawberry ice cream recipes, also check out our vegan strawberry ice cream!
Ingredients in homemade strawberry ice cream
When recipes have just a few ingredients (like this one), the quality of each ingredient becomes extra important. Each one plays an important role in this strawberry ice cream so we recommend using whole milk, good eggs, and if your budget allows, pure vanilla.
Here's everything you'll need to make the most creamy strawberry ice cream at home:
- Strawberries – as red and ripe as you can find! Scour your farmers' markets for the best local selection.
- Granulated sugar – we use regular granulated sugar. It's used mostly as a sweetener but it also plays an important role in the texture. Sugar actually lowers the freezing point to produce softer ice cream.
- Egg yolks – egg yolks are key to the custard base and also work as a stabilizer, prolonging the shelf life in the freezer.
- Whole milk – this high-fat milk will produce a creamy texture when cooled.
- Refined coconut oil – increases the fat content to make the ice cream creamier. To avoid a coconut flavor, make sure to use refined coconut oil.
- Pure vanilla extract – adds a subtle warm flavor that compliments the strawberries
- Sea salt – is used to enhance all the flavors.
- Whipping cream – also increases the fat content to produce a creamy texture.
- Vodka – this ingredient is optional, but the vodka prevents the ice cream from becoming icy.
You'll also need an ice cream maker. If you don't have an ice cream maker, check out the notes section of this ice cream recipe for tips on making no-churn ice cream.
How to make strawberry ice cream
Here's how to make strawberry ice cream at home in a few simple steps:
- Place the strawberries and some of the sugar into a pot and simmer them for 5 minutes. Once the strawberries have cooked into a juicy strawberry sauce, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.
- Purée about half the strawberries in your blender or food processor then combine both the puréed strawberries and strawberry sauce in a bowl and let it chill in your fridge.
- Now, whisk the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar.
- Now it's time to make the creamy ice cream custard! Heat the milk, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt in a pot until it starts to steam. Then, temper the eggs by whisking some of the hot milk into the egg yolks – this is to prevent them from turning into scrambled eggs. Once the egg yolks have been warmed with some of the hot milk, stir them into the pot. Whisk the pot constantly but slowly, bringing the milk almost to a boil. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Strain the custard into a large bowl through a fine-mesh sieve – this is to remove any bits of accidentally scrambled eggs. Add the whipping cream, strawberries, and vodka to the bowl and whisk well then place the bowl into your fridge to let it cool completely.
- Once the strawberry ice cream custard is completely cold, process it in your ice cream maker. Once it's done, it'll have the consistency of soft-serve. You can either eat it as soft serve ice cream or freeze it for hard ice cream. Transfer the soft churned ice cream to a freezer-proof dish, cover the top with parchment paper directly on the surface of the ice cream, and freeze it until it's firm. That's it!
What does homemade strawberry ice taste like?
This strawberry ice cream is full of strawberry flavor and wonderful chunks of strawberries. If you eat the ice cream straight from your ice cream maker, it'll have the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. If you put it into your freezer for a few hours, it turns into delicious hard-scoop ice cream.
How do you make strawberry ice cream nice and pink?
Some recipes use drops of red food coloring to make the ice cream pinker, which we think is a bit strange. Instead, we use lots of bright red, ripe strawberries and blend them into a delicious syrup, which not only gives the ice cream an intense strawberry flavor but also makes it vibrant pink.
What kind of coconut oil works best?
You'll want to use refined coconut oil in this recipe. Unrefined coconut oil (also called virgin coconut oil) has a stronger coconut taste and can even make it a little gritty. For this recipe, opt for refined coconut oil.
What kind of container should I use to freeze the ice cream?
Whatever you choose, make sure it is a freezer-safe container. We like to use a loaf pan as it's easy to scoop from once it's frozen. Glass pint jars (just like from a fancy ice cream store!) also work well. Most hard plastic becomes brittle when frozen so it's not the best option for the freezer.
How long does it keep in the freezer?
Homemade ice cream will keep for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container in the freezer. While it will be safe to eat after that point, the texture and flavor aren't quite as good.
Do I need an ice cream maker?
No, you don't! While an ice cream maker is the easiest and does make really creamy ice cream, you can still make this recipe without one. Here's what to do: pour the cold custard into a shallow pan and put it into your freezer. After 30 minutes, use a fork to scrape and mix up the ice cream. Put it back into the freezer then half an hour later scrape and mix it again. Keep repeating these steps until you have ice cream. It usually takes between 2-3 hours.
Can I use frozen strawberries to make strawberry ice cream?
Frozen strawberries are a great choice when strawberries are out of season. You'll simply need to let them thaw first so that you can chop them.
How long does it take to make homemade strawberry ice cream?
It only takes about 30 minutes of hands-on time to make strawberry ice cream at home. Once you finish making the custard, you'll need to let it cool, which takes a few hours. And most ice cream makers take about 20 minutes to turn the custard into ice cream. So the whole process does take a little time, but most of the time you're just waiting for things to get cold.
Tips for making the best strawberry ice cream
We're going to share a few secrets we've learned in making strawberry ice cream that turns out creamy and delicious every time:
- Use the ripest strawberries you can find! You'll know they're super ripe when you can smell them from across the room. They'll taste sweet like candy and should be pink in the center when you slice them. Farmers' markets are the best place to look for ripe strawberries.
- If you're making this recipe in the fall or winter when strawberries aren't in season, use frozen strawberries that have been picked in season.
- Ensure high-fat content. To accomplish this, we add refined coconut oil to the recipe. This makes it super creamy. Make sure to use refined coconut oil (not virgin coconut oil) if you want to avoid the flavor of coconut.
- Add some vodka. We know that adding vodka to ice cream might sound a bit strange. But if you've ever stored hard alcohol in the freezer, you'll know that it doesn't freeze, which is exactly why we want it in this recipe. Don't worry, you won't taste it. Adding a small amount of vodka helps keep the ice cream soft and prevents it from becoming icy.
It's always a good time for strawberry ice cream
Homemade strawberry ice cream tastes amazing at the peak of summer at the end of a hot day. Scoop it into a waffle cone, sandwich it between two cookies, or eat it right out of the freezer with a spoon. It's a healthier treat you can feel good about serving and it's one the whole family, kids to grandparents, will love!
- 4 cups chopped strawberries (see notes)
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar (divided)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
- Optional but recommended: 2 tablespoons vodka
- Place the strawberries and ¾ cup sugar in a medium-sized pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, give the pot a stir and reduce the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.4 cups chopped strawberries
- Pour about half the strawberries into a blender and blend on high until smooth. Add the pureed and chopped strawberries into a bowl together and place them in your fridge to cool.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup sugar.4 egg yolks
- Heat the whole milk, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt in a small pot over medium-high heat until steam rises from the pot. Then whisk some of the hot milk into the egg yolks to temper them, then add the egg yolks to the pot of hot milk. Place the pot over medium heat and, whisking constantly but slowly, bring the milk almost to a boil. You want the custard to thicken to the point where it will coat the back of a spoon.1 cup whole milk, ¼ cup refined coconut oil, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla, 1 pinch sea salt
- Pour the custard into a large bowl through a fine-mesh sieve Make sure to use a sieve to filter out any little bits of cooked egg. Add the whipping cream, strawberries, and vodka to the bowl and whisk. Place the bowl into your fridge to let it cool completely, for at least 4 hours.1 cup whipping cream, Optional but recommended: 2 tablespoons vodka
- Once the strawberry ice cream custard is completely cold, process it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. When it's done, it'll have the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Transfer the strawberry ice cream to a freezer-proof dish and cover the top with parchment paper directly on the ice cream. Freeze until firm.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.