Fresh mint ice cream is a classic dessert that is perfect for the summer when mint leaves are in season! It’s a refreshing treat that is easy to make and there are tons of variations of the recipe that you can try.
What makes my recipe different from others is that I use fresh mint leaves to infuse the ice cream with flavor and color, while others might rely on peppermint extract. Some recipes call for green food coloring to give the ice cream its signature color, but if you are using fresh mint than the green color comes through.
I learned this technique from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and now use it for any mint ice cream. It beats using peppermint extract every time!
Using real mint leaves instead of artificial flavorings means that you can enjoy a more natural and authentic taste that is free from any artificial additives!
Making fresh mint ice cream requires a few basic ingredients that can be found in most kitchens or the grocery store. Here are the main ingredients needed to make a delicious batch:
Mint leaves: Fresh mint leaves are the star ingredient in this recipe. They give the ice cream its distinct flavor and aroma. Most recipes call for 2 cups of fresh mint leaves, which are fine to leave whole.
Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is the essential ingredient that gives the ice cream its smooth and silky texture because of its fat content.
Whole Milk: Another main ingredient for making ice cream is whole dairy milk. It has the right amount of fat that gives you creamy ice cream.
Sugar: I use granulated sugar, but you can use any sugar.
Vanilla Extract: For a bit of umami flavor, vanilla extract is a great ingredient to add in.
Salt: Salt not just acts as a flavor enhancer but also helps the ice cream to freeze.
Egg yolks: Egg yolks are used to thicken the ice cream mixture and give it a richer, creamier texture.
How to Make Fresh Mint Ice Cream
Making fresh mint ice cream requires several steps, but the end result is worth the effort. Here are the steps to follow:
Infuse milk and cream with mint
To give the ice cream its fresh mint flavor, the milk and cream must first be infused with mint leaves. Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt with the mint leaves in a medium saucepan. When it’s hot and steaming, take it off the heat, cover and let sit for at least an hour.
Make the custard base
After the mint has infused the milk and cream, pour in all into strainer over a large bowl. Make sure to mash down the leaves to get all the milk. In another bowl, pour in the rest of the cream and put the strainer on top of that.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Rewarm the mint mixture and then slowly pour a little of the mint-infused into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to combine. Then pour the eggs and mix back into the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Cooking and cooling
Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Be careful not to let the mixture boil, as this can cause the eggs to curdle. Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat, pout i through the stainer, mix it into the cream and then let it cool to room temperature or over an ice bath
Once the ice cream base has cooled, it is ready to be churned in an ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for churning and add in chopped chocolate during the last 5 minutes of churning
Freeze (skip this step if you’re using an ice cream maker)
Transfer the ice cream mixture into a freezer-safe container or a shallow loaf pan (and cover tightly with plastic wrap) and place it in the freezer for about 4 hours.
After it’s completely frozen, keep the sorbet at room temperature to partially thaw it. Transfer it to the food processor for a minute or two (for a light, fluffy texture). Transfer the ice cream back into its container and refreeze for at least 3 hours.
Chill and transfer to the ice cream machine (skip this step if you’re not using an ice cream maker)
Place the ice cream mixture into a large bowl in the refrigerator until it is chilled. Transfer the mixture to the chilled container of your ice-cream maker and churn ice cream as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
You can start eating your homemade ice cream immediately or keep it in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm it up.
When making fresh French-style ice cream with eggs, there are a few essential pieces of equipment that are necessary to ensure the best results. Here are some of the key items needed:
- Ice Cream Maker: A good quality ice cream maker is a must-have for making ice cream at home. There are many different types of ice cream makers available, including electric and manual models. Choose one that suits your needs and budget.
- Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups: You will need measuring cups and spoons to measure the ingredients accurately.
- Mixing Bowls: You will need several mixing bowls of various sizes to mix and store the ingredients.
- Whisk: A whisk is necessary to combine the ingredients for the ice cream base. It is recommended to use a wire whisk, as it is easier to incorporate air into the mixture. A whisk with a comfortable grip is also recommended, as the mixture will need to be whisked continuously for several minutes.
- Saucepan: A saucepan is required to heat the ingredients for the ice cream base. It is recommended to use a medium-sized, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven to ensure even heating. The saucepan should be able to hold at least 2 cups of liquid.
- Spatula: You’ll need to stir as well as whisk and then test the egg mixture is done by having it coat the back of the spatula!
- Fine mesh sieve: A fine mesh sieve is required to strain the blended mint and milk mixture and strain the egg mixture in case any bits of scrambled egg are at the bottom of the pan!
The Ice Cream maker to use!
You have to have an ice cream maker if you want to make ice cream or sorbet! I started making it using the Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato.
There is no faffing around with bowls in the freezer. When you are ready for ice cream, it’s ready. Just turn on the Cuisinart ice cream maker and go. In about 40 minutes, you have ice cream that you can eat right then, or you can put it in the freezer to harden up a bit more. Once done in, you’ll have about 1 litre of ice cream ready to devour!
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you create the perfect batch of fresh mint ice cream:
- Use high-quality ingredients: The flavor of your ice cream will depend on the quality of the ingredients you use. Choose fresh mint leaves, and fresh cream and milk.
- Steep the mint leaves: Steeping the mint leaves in the cream and milk mixture will infuse the ice cream with a fresh, minty flavor. Be sure to strain the mixture before adding it to the eggs.
- Cool the mixture before churning: Cooling the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator for several hours before churning will help it thicken and develop a creamy texture.
- Don’t over-churn the ice cream: Over-churning the ice cream can cause it to become grainy and icy. Stop churning when the mixture has thickened and become smooth.
By following these tips and tricks, you can create a batch of green ice cream, without coloring (!!!) that is sure to impress your friends and family. Enjoy!
There are many ways to put your own spin on homemade mint ice cream. Here are a few variations to try:
- Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream: For a classic twist on fresh mint ice cream, head to my mint chocolate chip recipe!
- Strawberry Mint Ice Cream: For a fruity twist, add chopped fresh strawberries to the mix. Simply mix in 1 cup of chopped strawberries to the ice cream mixture before freezing. The sweetness of the strawberries pairs perfectly with the refreshing mint flavor.
- Mint Oreo: For a cookies and cream twist, add crushed Oreo cookies to the mix. Simply fold in 1 cup of crushed Oreo cookies to the ice cream mixture before freezing. The combination of crunchy cookies and creamy mint ice cream is a match made in heaven.
- Mint Brownie: Bake a batch of brownies and cut them into small pieces. Mix the brownie pieces into the mint ice cream.
- Thin Mint: Crush Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies and mix them into the mint ice cream.
- Mint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream: For a decadent twist, swirl melted dark chocolate into the ice cream mixture before freezing. Simply melt 1 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler, and drizzle it into the ice cream mixture as it churns in the ice cream maker. The result is a rich and creamy mint chocolate swirl ice cream.
- Adult Mint Chocolate Chip: Adding Creme de Menthe, for an extra kick of mint flavor!
Frequently asked questions
Can you make lactose-free ice cream?
Absolutely! If you don’t have lactose tolerance and want to enjoy homemade ice cream, you can replace whole milk with lactose-free milk. moreover, you can also use coconut cream or lactose-free heavy cream.
Is ice cream gluten-free?
Ice cream is typically gluten-free, but it’s important to check the ingredients list to make sure there are no gluten-containing additives.
How long does ice cream last in the freezer?
A: Homemade ice cream can last up to two weeks in the freezer, while store-bought varieties may last longer due to the addition of stabilizers. It’s important to store ice cream in an airtight container to prevent ice crystals from forming.
Can you use dried mint leaves instead of fresh mint leaves?
While fresh mint leaves are preferred for their flavor and aroma, you can use dried mint leaves as a substitute. However, keep in mind that dried mint leaves are more potent than fresh mint leaves, so you will need to use less of them. A general rule of thumb is to use one-third the amount of dried mint leaves as fresh mint leaves.
Can I use food coloring to make it green?
Of course, you can!
The cherry on top!
One of the best things about this fresh mint ice cream is not only the flavor, but the aroma. The mint knocks you out of the room! Additionally, the fresh mint leaves give the ice cream a beautiful green color!
Try a few of these other ice creams:
You can also try different ice cream recipes using other ingredients instead. Vanilla, coffee, and of course, mint chocolate chip are classics with or without an ice cream maker.
Here’s the Fresh Mint Ice Cream recipe!
Fresh Mint Ice Cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
- 5 large egg yolks
- Pinch Salt
- Combine the milk, sugar, 1 cup cream, salt and mint leaves
- When it's hot, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the milk.
- After the hour, strain the milk. Make sure you press all the mint down with a spatula to extract as much mint as you can. Throw away the mint leaves.
- Then add the remaining cream in to a large bowl
Making the custard
- Reheat the minty milk. While reheating, whisk the egg yolks together in a separate bowl. While whisking constantly, pour a little of the hot ice cream mix to the yolks, then add the milky yolks to the saucepan.
- Stirring constantly, cook until the mixture get thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Temp no more than 170ºF (77ºC).
- Strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.
- Cover and put in the fridge for at least two hours, but I would do overnight
- Take out of the fridge and make it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (I always use my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker)*
- While the mixture is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in a microwave oven on low power, stirring until smooth.
- When you are just about done making the ice cream, drizzle the chocolate into the ice cream. Stir it well and then, do it again with more chocolate.
- Wow everyone by serving it immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
- Pour in the ice cream mixture, add the ice cream paddle and then turn it on
- I set the timer for 35 minutes
- You can always churn it longer if you want it harder
- Put it in the freezer to harden up some more