Homemade Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

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Rich, ultra-creamy, with a bold coffee flavor — this is the best homemade coffee ice cream recipe! It’s easy to make with only 7 ingredients and is better than store-bought or ice cream parlor varieties.

overhead view of scoops of coffee ice cream in white container with an ice cream cone


We love using our ice cream maker to create the best versions of our favorite flavors in the comfort of our own home.

I created this coffee ice cream for my son! He has always been my coffee kid, the first time I gave him a sip of my black coffee he loved it. Well, on vacation a few years ago he tried coffee ice cream and declared it was his all-time favorite flavor. So naturally, we had to create the best coffee ice cream recipe so we could make it and enjoy it whenever the craving strikes.

This recipe is rich, ultra-creamy, and has a bold coffee flavor. It’s easy to make with only 7 ingredients and is better than any store-bought variety! Plus, you can use decaf instant coffee to make it caffeine-free if you’re making it for coffee-loving kids like my son!

4 scoops of Coffee Ice Cream in a dish with an ice cream scoop

Coffee Ice Cream: Ingredients

Here are a few notes about the ingredients and possible substitutions in this coffee ice cream recipe. 

overhead photo of the 7 ingredients in this Coffee Ice Cream recipe
  • Half and half/heavy cream. This recipe calls for 3 cups of liquid dairy. You can change the ratios of half and half : cream if desired, as long as the total amount equals 3 cups. You could also substitute some of the liquid with whole milk. 
  • Granulated sugar. Organic cane sugar works well in place of white granulated sugar.
  • Fine sea salt. if using iodized salt, reduce the amount by half. 
  • Pure vanilla extract. I don’t recommend using imitation vanilla. However vanilla bean paste is a good substitute. 
  • Instant Coffee. High quality instant coffee is worth purchasing to make this recipe. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated work well.
two scoops of Coffee Ice Cream on an ice cream cone

How to Make Coffee Ice Cream

This coffee ice cream involves making a custard, straining it and then chilling the mixture for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). So make sure to begin the process the day before you want to enjoy it!

Make the Custard

To begin, warm the half and half, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar.

Then, in a separate bowl beat the egg yolks. Add ½ cup of the warm mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

two photos showing How to Make Coffee Ice Cream - making the custard by warming milk and egg miture

Next, add the warm egg mixture to the half and half on the stovetop and whisk in the coffee granulates until dissolved.

two photos showing How to Make Coffee Ice Cream adding instant coffee

Cook the custard over medium-low heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly – just barely sticking to the back of a spatula or until it reaches 170 degrees F.

Once thickened, put the heavy cream into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer on top of the bowl. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and discard what is left on the strainer. Add vanilla extract, stir to combine.

two photos showing How to Make Coffee Ice Cream - straining the custard

Chill

Transfer the coffee ice cream mixture into an airtight container and cool completely in the fridge (preferably overnight).

Churn

Pour the coffee ice cream mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until frozen (about 30-40 minutes).

If desired, add mix-ins like chocolate chunks, a chocolates swirl, or even crumbled coffee cookies (YUM)!

two photos showing How to Make Coffee Ice Cream - chilling and churning the ice cream

Freeze

Transfer the homemade coffee ice cream to an airtight container and freeze completely, about 4 hours.

two photos showing How to Make Coffee Ice Cream - after churning and in a freezer container

Serve

Enjoy this coffee ice cream with a dollop of homemade whipped cream for an extra special treat! Or, serve on top of coffee brownies.  

I have also made ice cream cookie sandwiches using coffee cookies and coffee ice cream – to die for!

Store

This homemade coffee ice cream can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months. 

overhead photo of 4 scoops of Coffee Ice Cream in a dish with an ice cream scoop

Ice Cream Making Tools

five scoops of Coffee Ice Cream with an ice cream come in a white dish

Coffee Ice Cream Recipe FAQs

How do you make coffee ice cream from scratch?

Follow this recipe! It’s so easy!

Can you put coffee grounds in ice cream?

I do not recommend doing this. Use brewed coffee or instant coffee granules (as called for in this recipe) to make the best coffee ice cream.

What can I substitute for instant coffee in a recipe?

You can use espresso powder in place of instant coffee.

Does coffee ice cream keep you awake?

If you use caffeinated coffee you definitely run the risk of it effecting your ability to fall asleep. To avoid this, use decaffeinated instant coffee.

up close photo of two scoops of Coffee Ice Cream in a waffle cone

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Best Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

Laura
Rich, ultra-creamy, with a bold coffee flavor — this is the best homemade coffee ice cream recipe! It’s easy to make with only 7 ingredients and is better than store-bought or ice cream parlor varieties.
5 from 49 votes
Course Dessert, ice cream
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 208
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Churning & freezing6 hours
Total Time6 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Warm half and half, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar.
  • Beat egg yolks in a small mixing bowl, add ½ cup of the warm mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Then add that mixture to the half and half on the stovetop.
  • Whisk in coffee granulates until dissolved.
  • Cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly – just barely sticking to the back of a spatula or until it reaches 170 degrees F.
  • Place the heavy cream into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
  • Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Discard what is left on the strainer.
  • Add vanilla extract, stir to combine.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and cool completely in the fridge (preferably overnight).
  • Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until frozen (about 30-40 minutes).
  • Transfer to an airtight container and freeze completely, about 4 hours.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Half and half/heavy cream. This recipe calls for 3 cups of liquid dairy. You can change the ratios of half and half : cream if desired, as long as the total amount equals 3 cups. You could also substitute some of the liquid with whole milk. 
  • Granulated sugar. Organic cane sugar works well in place of white granulated sugar.
  • Fine sea salt. if using iodized salt, reduce the amount by half. 
  • Pure vanilla extract. I don’t recommend using imitation vanilla. However vanilla bean paste is a good substitute. 
  • Instant Coffee. High quality instant coffee is worth purchasing to make this recipe. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated work well.
Store
Store this coffee ice cream in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Here are some of our favorites:

    Nutrition

    Serving: 0.25cups | Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 97mg | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 521IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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    55 Comments

    1. Can you put cinnamon in this coffee icecream and if so when should it be added and how much

      1. Yes you can, I would add it with the instant coffee and whisk to combine. I would start small (¼ teaspoon) and experiment until you get it to your liking!

    2. 5 stars
      I’m honestly not really a huge ice cream fan like many people I know, but I do love coffee ice cream so gave this a shot. I cannot even begin to say how AMAZING this recipe is….love the texture and the taste and am a little obsessed. Followed to a tee but did add some finely grated dark chocolate at the end of the churn. Ten stars out of five!!

    3. 5 stars
      Absolutely the BEST ICE CREAM EVER! Thank you for this easy to follow recipe that delivers an amazing ice cream. So happy 😀