The Best Homemade Lemon Ice Cream!

This recipe (adapted from Gourmet) forms part of another – Frozen Lemon Gingersnap Pie – which I will share with you in another post.  There’s something so quintessentially summer whenever lemons are mentioned in a recipe, making any day of the year sunny.  Flavored shaved ice (precursor to ice cream) has been used for thousands of years.  In China, a frozen mixture of milk and rice was used as far back as 200 BC (ref: BBC, October 26, 2009).  Roman Emperor Nero had ice brought down from the mountains and combined it with fruit.  Arabs used milk rather than fruit juices in their ice cream.  In the 10th century ice cream was being made throughout the Arab cities.  They used milk or cream and sometimes yogurt flavored with rose water, dried fruits and nuts.

I love trying different flavors but this lemon ice cream has to be the best one I have savored in a very long time.

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice 
Bring cream, milk, sugar, zest, and salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Whisk yolks in a bowl until blended, then add hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Transfer custard back to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 175 to 180°F on thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes (do not let boil).
Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve into cleaned bowl, then stir in lemon juice. Cool custard to room temperature, stirring occasionally, then chill, its surface covered with a round of wax paper, until cold, about 3 hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  This was so delicious and I didn’t bother straining the custard…too good to lose the lemon zest.  Summer pleasures.  Enjoy!


  1. Alysia on September 12, 2012 at 00:54

    Was looking for a lemon ice cream recipe and this sounds great. I’ve never made ice cream with eggs – I am wondering, do you know if recipes with eggs call for heating to kill any bacteria in the eggs or is it for texture? I use safe pastured eggs and would prefer to include them raw, but don’t want to harm the texture…. thanks!

  2. The Culinary Chase on September 12, 2012 at 01:01

    Hi Alysia, this is a custard-style base and the eggs are added to create the custard. Hope this helps. Cheers!

  3. Syed on August 8, 2013 at 14:49

    I haven’t even gotten to pour it into the ice cream maker yet, but the flavor of the custard is incredible. I had a batch of Meyer lemons to use, so I’m in lemon custard heaven. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Keeper for sure.

    • the culinary chase on August 8, 2013 at 15:01

      Thanks Syed. It’s so good you’ll find yourself making more. Cheers!

  4. Cammie on January 25, 2014 at 21:52

    This has turned into my family’s favorite ice cream and my favorite base, it’s perfectly sweet, creamy and so yummy! Way better than anything you can buy in the store. I’ve been subbing 1/4c – 1/2c diced fruit for the zest and Kerns nectar for the lemon juice (with some flavors I keep 1tbsp) and every flavor I’ve tried has come out excellent. Thank you for sharing this, it’s going into my multi-generational family recipe book as one of my contributions to pass onto my daughters.

  5. Cammie on January 25, 2014 at 21:59

    I forgot I also sometimes add 1tbsp vanilla (and no lemon juice), again, depending on the fruit/flavor I’m making.

  6. Creamy Lemon Ice Cream on May 21, 2014 at 08:00

    […] I saw The Best Homemade Lemon Ice Cream at The Culinary Chase, I didn’t think twice and decided to give it a try. Maybe I would find the […]