Lemon Ice Cream Recipe

Below is a list of the best Lemon ice cream recipes voted by readers and compiled and edited by our team, let’s find out

Video Lemon ice cream recipes

Homemade Lemon Ice Cream is super creamy, yet light and refreshing. Enjoy it on its own, or top your favorite dessert with a scoop or two.

This old-fashioned French-style churned ice cream recipe is gluten-free and nut-free. It’s simple to make and it uses minimal ingredients.

Two sugar cones topped with light yellow lemon ice cream, being held up in glass drinking glasses. A bowl of lemons is in the background.

Just six ingredients are needed to make the creamiest, tastiest lemon ice cream that you’ve ever had.

Lemon ice cream isn’t the most popular ice cream flavor, and you may not even see it in stores, but I promise that it’s amazing.

A bit of vanilla extract blends expertly with fresh lemon zest to give this homemade ice cream a bright, fresh, balanced flavor, and the custard base makes our lemon ice cream recipe super rich and creamy.

Lemon ice cream is the best summer ice cream treat. Try it with Mango Ice Cream or Coconut Sorbet for the perfect double scoop cone.

Why You’re Going to Love this Lemon Ice Cream Recipe

Unique Ice Cream Flavor: Lemon ice cream isn’t found usually on grocery store shelves, but it should be! If you’ve never tried ice cream made with lemons, you are in for a real treat.

The Perfect Amount of Lemon: Making the perfect lemon ice cream recipe was an exercise in balance. We’ve worked to make sure that it wasn’t too tart or too sweet. It’s just right.

Easy Scratch Ice Cream Recipe: This recipe uses just 6 simple, fresh ingredients. Lemon ice cream comes together without any sweetened condensed milk, artificial flavors, or difficult-to-find ingredients.

Extra Creamy: We’re making this lemon ice cream recipe using a custard base that’s made from egg yolks. This makes the ice cream amazingly rich with a delightfully creamy texture.

the 8 ingredients needed to make lemon ice cream from scratch, all measured into small bowls on a marble countertop.

Ingredients in Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

Egg Yolks – These create the base for our ice cream custard. We’ll gently heat the egg yolks to pasteurize them, but you can also purchase pasteurized eggs if you prefer.

Sugar – For sweetness and amazing ice cream texture, plain, white, granulated sugar is the perfect choice.

Whole Milk – Milk is cooked with the egg yolks and sugar to create our custard base.

Lemon Zest and Juice – You’ll need a few fresh lemons (I used 4) to get the amount of zest and juice you need to make lemon ice cream. Be sure to use fresh juice and not bottled lemon.

Salt – Just a bit of salt balances the sweetness and makes everything taste a bit brighter.

Heavy Cream – Making lemon ice cream with both heavy cream and whole milk is what gives us the best creamy texture.

Vanilla Extract– Vanilla is a must for almost all of our ice cream recipes. It elevates the simple flavors of milk, sugar, and cream. Vanilla also rounds out the lemon flavor nicely.

If you have any questions about Lemon Ice Cream, leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

a collage of 8 images showing how to make lemon ice cream with an ice cream maker.

How to Make Lemon Ice Cream from Scratch

Start the day before by making sure that the bowl for your ice cream maker has at least 24 hours to freeze solid.

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color.
  2. In a saucepan, add the milk, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and remove from the heat before the mixture boils.
  3. Temper the egg yolks by adding about ½ cup of the hot milk to the egg and sugar mixture. Whisk constantly until combined.
  4. Then, add the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk. Heat the saucepan on low. Stirring constantly, heat until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take a few minutes.
  5. Strain the mixture into a bowl to remove any pieces of egg that may have cooked. Then add the heavy cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap making sure that the plastic is touching the surface of the ice cream base. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  6. Churn the ice cream mixture in the bowl of your ice cream machine according to your manufacturer’s instructions (mine took about 25 minutes), until it is thick and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.
  7. Spoon the ice cream into a shallow container or a loaf pan. Press plastic wrap or wax paper to the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid.
  8. Let homemade lemon ice cream sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving so that it’s easy to scoop.

These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe below.

Homemade lemon ice cream, a pale yellow color, being scooped with a metal ice cream scoop, closeup view.

How to Store Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

Store this homemade lemon ice cream in the freezer in an airtight container (we really like these reusable ice cream containers) with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper pressed on top for up to one month.

Tips for Making This Lemon Ice Cream Recipe

Use quality ingredients – When making homemade ice cream, you’ll want to make sure you are using high-quality ingredients for the best outcome. For lemon ice cream, fresh lemon juice and zest are key to getting amazing lemon flavor.

Chill out – If possible, always start with chilled ingredients. This is important for homemade no-churn ice cream recipes and ice cream maker recipes. It’s also important to chill the ice cream base well before adding it to the ice cream maker.

Don’t skimp on the fat – High-fat milk and cream are essential when making homemade ice cream. Opting for a low-fat option often leads to icy ice creams and inconsistency in the texture.

Don’t go crazy with the add-ins – If you’re adding in additional ingredients, pick one or two and make sure they are chopped into pieces no larger than a blueberry or pea.

Don’t skimp on the sugar – Sugar not only adds sweetness to homemade ice creams, it also helps with the texture. Sugar is essential for the creamy texture of ice cream.

How to Zest and Juice Lemons

The best tool for zesting lemons, limes, or any other citrus fruit is a Microplane grater. This rasp has small, sharp holes that will remove just the very outer layer of the lemon, leaving the bitter white pith behind.

Zest the lemons before you juice them. You’ll have a hard time removing the zest from a halved, squeezed lemon.

I use a hand juicer to get as much juice as possible out of my lemons. You can also do it by hand. Either way, be sure to get any seeds out before using the juice!

a white fluted plate holding two sugar cones of homemade lemon ice cream, garnished with lemon wedges. Viewed from above.

No Churn Lemon Ice Cream Directions

Chill a shallow container or a loaf pan in the freezer while you mix the ice cream ingredients.

Pour the ice cream mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 3-4 hours. Stir the ice cream every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours to help add air. This will help create a creamy, smooth texture.

Lemon Ice Cream Add-Ins

We love this bright and creamy lemon ice cream recipe just like this, but you can absolutely add your own spin to this recipe with some additions!

Try shaved white chocolate, crushed shortbread cookies, rainbow sprinkles, or a swirl of raspberry jam.

For even more lemony flavor, try adding a swirl of prepared lemon curd, lemon marmalade, or lemon preserves.

Yellow food coloring is certainly not required, but a few drops can be added if you want to add a pastel yellow color to your ice cream.

a white fluted plate holding two sugar cones of homemade lemon ice cream, garnished with lemon wedges. Viewed from above.

Where Can I Buy Lemon Ice Cream?

I’m sorry to tell you this, but very few big ice cream companies make and sell lemon ice cream. We’ve created this homemade lemon ice cream recipe so that you can make it yourself

How to Serve Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon ice cream is good for more than just eating straight out of the container! It can be the beginning of so many easy desserts too.

Try a scoop of lemon ice cream served with sliced pound cake and fresh strawberries to make a delicious and easy dessert.

Make ice cream sundaes with homemade lemon ice cream, topped with raspberry sauce and crumbled gingersnap cookies. Don’t forget the whipped cream and cherry.

Use lemon ice cream instead of the traditional vanilla ice cream to top peach cobbler, blueberry pie, or orange cake.

More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

If you like this lemon ice cream recipe, you’ll love these homemade ice cream flavors too!

  • Peach Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Ice Cream
  • Black Raspberry Ice Cream
  • Matcha Ice Cream
  • Blueberry Ice Cream

Looking for a dairy-free lemon treat? Make a simple Lemon Sorbet instead.

Our Favorite Ice Cream Making Tools:

  • Cuisinart 2QT Ice Cream Maker – Works with ice cream, sorbets, and frozen yogurt.
  • Loaf Pan – You can use any 9 x 13 loaf pan or a shallow pan, but we like this one.
  • Ice Cream Scoop – Make sure you have a good ice cream scoop. This is one of our favorites.
  • Ice Cream Bowls – You can use any bowl, but we think these are fun.
  • Ice Cream Containers – We love keeping a couple of ice cream containers on hand for when we make homemade ice cream.

Note: Each of these links will take you to the exact product on Amazon. As an Amazon associate, I earn a little from each qualifying purchase.

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