Fried Ice Cream (Cheater Method Without Deep Frying!)

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Video Mexican deep fried ice cream

The perfect Fried Ice Cream without the deep frying mess! Creamy vanilla ice cream is formed into rounds, then rolled through a sauteed buttery cinnamon cornflake topping and finished with chocolate or caramel sauce — talk about decadence!

Fried ice cream cut into to show ice cream center. It is drizzled with chocolate sauce, topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

Easy Fried Ice Cream without the Deep Fry!

Several months ago, I went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and finished with one of my favorite desserts, fried ice cream. As I sat there slowly savoring each bite and all of the delicious flavors it had to offer, I really thought about fried ice cream and asked myself, what is the purpose of frying it if you really are only frying the coating?

And yes, I’m sure some of you are sitting there saying, wait, fried ice cream is really fried in hot oil (no worries, that amazing reality hit me once upon a time too). Well, I thought, I’m going to try a cheater’s fried ice cream.

This homemade fried ice cream has everything the normal version has to offer, but it lacks all the tedious steps, lengthy prep times and oily mess that comes along with the real deal. I decided to try simply frying (more of sauteing really) the corn flake coating and then rolling the ice cream in the coating.

Plus, butter vs. oil, that’s a no brainer! Butter tastes way better so I went with butter instead for the sauteing.

I hope you have a chance to try this soon, especially if you’ve been scared away from preparing fried ice cream at home due to its frying method. You’ll love this deliciously indulgent, easy to make dessert!

Photography credit: Jenn Davis from Two Cups Flour.

Rolling vanilla ice cream into a ball on a plate.

Fried Ice Cream Ingredients

  • Corn flakes cereal – these give it that traditional crispy crunch. Don’t substitute another type of cereal.
  • Butter – I like the balanced flavor of salted butter here but unsalted butter would work too.
  • Ground cinnamon – no skimping on the cinnamon here, it’s what gives it that classic crave-worthy flavor.
  • Vanilla ice cream – you’ll need nearly a half gallon. Tillamook’s vanilla is a good option.
  • Optional toppings (chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, cherries) – I mean I say these are optional, but really are they? They complete the fried ice cream in my opinion.

Showing how to make fried ice cream, rolling a ball of ice cream in a cinnamon butter cornflake mixture.

How to Make Fried Ice Cream the Easy Way

  • Crush cornflakes.
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Stir in crushed corn flakes and cinnamon and increase heat slightly.
  • Cook mixture, stirring constantly until golden brown and fragrant (color will deepen and begin to smell lightly toasty and corn flakes should be crisp), about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, pour mixture in a shallow dish and allow to cool.
  • Remove ice cream from freezer, scoop out ice cream and shape into a ball with clean hands.
  • Immediately drop shaped ice cream ball into corn flake mixture and roll to evenly coat.
  • Let set in freezer 10 – 15 minutes then serve with desired toppings.

Three fried ice cream balls on a white dessert plates.

Can I Use a Different Flavor of Ice Cream?

Yes! The beauty of making homemade fried ice cream is that you can use whatever ice cream flavor you want. Just make sure the ice cream flavor complements the cinnamon in the fried corn flake coating.

If you can find huckleberry I love it here (no toppings needed either), it’s not a Mexican flavor but it tastes like a blueberry crumble!

Three individual servings of fried ice cream coated in cinnamon cornflake topping, drizzled with chocolate sauce and garnished with a cherry.

Can I Make it in Advance?

Yes, you can form the ice cream balls and roll them in the corn flake coating a few days ahead, just keep frozen and wait to top the fried ice cream until just before you serve it though.

Tips for Fried Ice Cream

  • If you wanted to really cheat you could simply sprinkle the warm, buttery corn flake mixture over the top of the ice cream and serve it up like an ice cream sundae.
  • You can substitute some of the corn flakes for sweetened shredded coconut or chopped pecans for a slightly different flavor.
  • You don’t have to shape the ice cream with your hands — only if you want your fried ice cream to look perfectly uniform!

Close up image of fried ice cream on a dessert plate with fork on the left side.

More Mexican Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:

  • Churros
  • Tres Leches Cake
  • Mexican Wedding Cookies
  • Alfajores
  • Horchata

Recipe originally shared Jan. 2013. Photos updated and recipe updated slightly to include an additional 1 cup cornflakes to stretch the recipe.

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