Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (Video) 抹茶アイスクリーム

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Video How to make matcha ice cream

Earthy, sweet Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream is the perfect treat on a hot day, and all you need are 4 simple ingredients! This homemade recipe will bring authentic flavors of Japan right to your kitchen.

A Japanese kutaniware bowl containing matcha green tea ice cream served with wooden spoon.

Green tea is one of the most popular flavors for sweets in Japan, especially in the form of ice cream. I’ve been living in the U.S. for over 15 years now, and I admit that it’s been hard to find green tea ice cream that tastes authentic to what I enjoyed growing up. The majority of what I’ve tried is either way too sweet or overly creamy, masking the delicate flavor of the tea itself. Also, with matcha ice cream, there should never be a need for any artificial coloring or flavors.

If you want to know what true Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (抹茶アイスクリーム) tastes like, I have just the recipe for you. The flavors instantly bring me back to Japan whenever I have this ice cream.

A glass container with matcha green tea ice cream in it.

What Does Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream Taste Like?

The ideal flavor of this refreshing treat should be a perfect balance of earthy, sweet, and slightly bitter. Because matcha is much more concentrated than regular green tea, you often don’t need much to experience its robust profile.

This homemade ice cream recipe accentuates the deep intensity of matcha flavor and is rich in texture. That’s how matcha ice cream tastes like in Japan! It should not be overly creamy or milky like what you’d expect from some commercial ice cream brands which downplays the distinct matcha character. In short, expect intense matcha in authentic Japanese ice cream. No weak matcha flavor here.

Since matcha ice cream contains caffeine, consider it the perfect hot weather pick-me-up!

A Japanese kutaniware bowl containing matcha green tea ice cream served with wooden spoon.

Matcha vs. Green Tea

Yes, both types of traditional Japanese teas come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis). But what sets them apart?

Matcha level

You will find that matcha (抹茶) is more expensive and sold in small canisters as a finely ground powder. This is because matcha is made using only shade-grown tea leaves, meaning the leaves never encounter direct sunlight (resulting in a darker shade of green due to increased chlorophyll production). Only the finest buds are hand-picked, de-stemmed, and stone-ground to become the vibrant green powder that we find in stores.

green tea leaves on 2 white plates

Green tea (緑茶), on the other hand, is cultivated from leaves that have been left in the sun. This type of tea is often found in tea bags or sold as loose leaf. The flavor is lighter than matcha. It’s still earthy, but it is much less intense because it’s not as concentrated.

To learn more about matcha and how best to store it, please read this post.

A glass container with matcha green tea ice cream in it.

Ingredients for Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

The simplicity of this Homemade Matcha Ice Cream recipe can’t be beat. It only takes 4 simple ingredients to make— and no eggs necessary!

  1. Matcha (Green tea powder)
  2. Half-and-Half or Milk & Cream (more on this below)
  3. Sugar
  4. Salt
A glass container with matcha green tea ice cream in it.

5 Tips for Making Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Tip #1: Buy the right matcha

When purchasing matcha, you’ll notice there are often three types: ceremonial, premium, and culinary grade.

High-grade matcha (ceremonial and premium) is used for drinking and tends to have a bright, vibrant green hue. The “lower grades” are used mostly for culinary purposes, such as this recipe.

Premium quality matcha rarely goes on sale. Even if it does, do not buy in big volume because you need to use it in 2-3 weeks once you open the package. Matcha oxidizes and turns to yellow-green color as time passes. Unless you’re running a commercial bakery, I wouldn’t buy a big bag of matcha for home use.

Even in Japan, matcha is considered an expensive ingredient because of the care required for cultivation.

Tip #2: Half-and-Half vs. Milk & Cream

When I shared this original recipe in 2011, I used Half-and-Half in the recipe. Half-and-Half is an American dairy product that is an equal blend of whole milk and light cream.

Since I learned that many of you live outside of the U.S. and don’t have access to this product, I’ve included the substitutions for you in this recipe. There are 4 options:

  • Option 1: 3 cups (720 ml) Half-and-Half
  • Option 2: 2 ¼ cup (540 ml) whole milk + ¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream – I used this for my video/recipe below
  • Option 3: 2 cup (480 ml) low-fat milk + 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • Option 4: 1 ½ cup (360 ml) whole milk + 1 ½ cup (360 ml) light cream

Reference: The Kitchn

Tip #3: Freeze your ice cream bowl

Before diving into making the ice cream, be sure to freeze your ice cream bowl for 24 hours beforehand. If it’s not cold enough, you may end up with liquid even after 30 minutes of churning. If you are not using an ice cream maker, please read this post for helpful tips.

After having this ice cream maker for several years, we invested on this ice cream maker and really love it. We don’t have to worry about reserving a space in the freezer to store the ice cream bowl before making ice cream any more. It’s much more convenient now to make homemade ice cream.

Tip #4: Make Matcha Paste

Matcha is a fine powder and you can’t add it to the large volume of liquid because the powder becomes lumps as soon as it absorbs moisture. Therefore, when you mix matcha with liquid (milk mixture in this recipe), you have to make matcha into the paste form before adding to the large volume of liquid.

Tip #5: Refrigerate the Matcha Milk Mixture

To fasciliate the churring properly, you have to chill the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I consider this is the hardest part of ice cream making!

A Japanese kutaniware bowl containing matcha green tea ice cream served with wooden spoon.

Other Ice Cream Recipes:

  • Black Sesame Ice Cream
  • Azuki Red Bean Ice Cream
  • Mochi Ice Cream
  • Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

Ceramics from Musubi Kiln

I’m partnering with a great online ceramic shop from Japan called Musubi Kiln. They kindly offer JOC readers 10% off with a coupon code JUSTONECOOKBOOK for your purchase. In this post, I’ve used:

  • Ichikawa Wood Craft Cloud Shaped Wooden Tray
  • Rinkuro Kiln Old Imari Story Chrysanthemum Imari Bowl Set
A Japanese kutaniware bowl containing matcha green tea ice cream served with wooden spoon.

Wish to learn more about Japanese cooking? Sign up for our free newsletter to receive cooking tips & recipe updates! And stay in touch with me on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on August 15, 2011. The blog content and images have been updated and a new video has been added to the post in August 2021.

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