Home » Ice Cream » The Best Homemade Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

The Best Homemade Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

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This Easy Coffee Ice Cream Recipe is made with instant coffee and uses simple, basic ingredients. But this ice cream is anything but basic. It’s the perfect dessert treat brimming with rich coffee flavor and a dreamy, creamy texture. 

Ice cream cone in a dish, with coffee beans surrounding the dishes.

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New Englanders are coffee lovers and ice cream enthusiasts. So it only makes sense that we combined the bold coffee flavor of our favorite brew, with the sweet and creamy custard style ice cream we know and love.

And once I learned how to use my Cuisinart to make my own homemade vanilla ice cream this year, I knew a coffee ice cream recipe wouldn’t be far behind.

If this is your first time making coffee ice cream with an ice cream maker, you won’t believe how easy it is! And honestly, making your own ice cream is better than any you can get at the grocery store. 

It can be served as anything from a casual treat to an upscale dessert. Serve this simple ice cream in ice cream cones or on waffles, on top of mini chocolate bundt cakes, or put a scoop in a glass and pour some hot espresso over it for a decadent coffee creamer.

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

  • Simple, quick to prepare, delicious, and absolutely full of flavor.
  • Make it with regular coffee or decaf if you’re giving it to kids.
  • The perfect recipe if you’re making your own ice cream for the first time.
  • Can be treated as a casual or upscale dessert and be dressed up or down depending on the occasion!
  • Homemade ice cream is so much better than store-bought ice cream.
Scoop of Coffee ice cream in a dish

Ingredients

This homemade coffee ice cream is made with instant ground coffee and other simple ingredients probably in your kitchen already. 

Ingredients for coffee ice cream
  • Heavy Cream – Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream for the perfect creamy texture.
  • Whole milk
  • Light Corn Syrup and Granulated Sugar – This combination not only adds necessary sweetness, but also helps prevent ice crystals from forming in the ice cream.
  • Egg Yolks – to help create that creamy, custardy texture.
  • Instant Coffee – I used instant Starbucks medium roast for this recipe.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Coarse Kosher Salt – Not regular table salt.

How to Make Homemade Coffee Ice Cream with Instant Coffee

For the best results every time, follow these simple step-by-step instructions.

Before doing anything else, first thing is you’ll start by placing a 2 quart metal bowl in the freezer to chill and filling a larger bowl with ice. 

Step 1

In a 2 quart sauce pan, combine the cream, milk, salt, corn syrup, and ¼ cup of sugar. Heat over medium high heat stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 175°F on an instant read thermometer.

A hand with a thermometer taking the temperature of cream.

Step 2

Meanwhile, combine the 4 egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar in a small bowl and whisk until light yellow and combined (about 30 seconds or so). 

Add the instant coffee granules to the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until smooth.

A hand whisking eggs in a dish.
Whisking coffee into egg yolks.

Step 3

Once the cream mixture is consistently steaming and reaches 175°F, remove the pan from the heat. Ladle out ½ a cup of the cream mixture and slowly whisk it into the egg yolks.

Tip: This is called “tempering” and will warm the eggs without cooking them to a scramble.

Add the warmed egg yolks back to the pot with the heated cream.

A hand pouring egg yolks and coffee into a pot.

Continue to heat over medium heat until the custard is slightly thickened and the temperature reaches between 185-190°F on your thermometer. This should only take 2-5 minutes and the cooked custard mixture will start to bubble slightly.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.

A small spatula stirring a pot of coffee ice cream.

Step 5

Remove the bowl from the freezer and set it into the large bowl with ice. Place a fine mesh strainer over the small bowl and pour the coffee ice cream mixture through the strainer. This will remove any bits of cooked egg and coffee grounds.

Image of ice cream base pouring through a strainer.

Step 6

Allow the ice cream base to cool completely before transferring to the fridge. Chill the base in the fridge until very cold, about 4-6 hours or overnight.

Step 7

Once chilled, pour the ice cream mixture into the chilled canister of your ice cream maker and churn per the ice cream maker’s instructions.

A hand pouring ice cream base into the ice cream machine.
Ice cream churned in a machine

Serve immediately for soft-serve consistency or freeze for scooping later.

Overhead of churned coffee ice cream in machine.

Tip: Depending on the style of ice cream maker you have (I have a Cuisinart Ice Cream Machine and a Kitchenaid Mixer Attachment), if the manufacturer’s instructions say your churning canister requires freezing, make sure it has been frozen for 24-48 hours before churning.

Does Coffee Ice Cream Have Caffeine? 

This recipe does. However, you can use a decaffeinated coffee instead for no caffeine, if you are sensitive to it, don’t partake, or are serving this to children.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use any style of coffee roast you like. Medium, blonde, or dark roast coffee works great.
  • Instant espresso powder can be used. You may need to cut back the amount to 2-3 teaspoons to control the strength.
  • Add in delicious mix-ins when churning like chocolate sandwich cookies, toffee, chocolate chunks, brownies, or chocolate covered espresso beans.
Scoop of coffee ice cream in white dishes.

Tips & Tricks for the Best Ice Cream

  • Tempering the egg yolks is a must for getting a super creamy ice cream texture. Whisk a little hot cream in slowly to allow the egg yolks to cook and thicken the ice cream base properly. 
  • Get the ice cream base very cold. According to an article from Americastestkitchen.com, the colder the base is when it’s churned, the smoother the ice cream will be.
  • Instant coffee is great for this recipe because it adds a lot of flavor to the base without the gritty coffee grounds. Decaf instant coffee can be used as well.

Additional Details

  • Corn syrup is less sweet than granulated sugar and using a combination of the two helps to prevent ice crystals from forming, giving you a softer, creamy ice cream.
  • Whisking sugar into the egg yolks before tempering will slow down the coagulation of the proteins, meaning the egg yolks won’t curdle as easily when added to hot liquid.

Ways to Serve Coffee Ice Cream

There are so many ways to serve this delicious coffee ice cream. These are just a few of my favorite things to go with it:

Three servings of ice cream in white dishes. Coffee beans are sprinkled around.

Best Topping Options for Coffee Ice Cream

  • Crushed cookies, graham crackers, or Biscoff bits.
  • Fudgy brownie bite pieces or chopped peanut butter cups
  • Crushed peanuts or cashews
  • Chocolate chips, toffee chips…or both
  • Hot fudge, chocolate, or caramel sauce
  • Jimmies or sprinkles

Recommended Ice Cream Maker

  • My recommended ice cream machine is the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. For easy homemade ice cream, the Cuisinart holds a good amount of ingredients and churns the ice cream very evenly. It easily mixes in chunky ingredients while churning and doesn’t overflow easily.
  • I also have the Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Bowl, which is good for simple ice cream recipes that only make one quart. Anything over a quart doesn’t freeze well and gets a little messy.

Storage

Store homemade coffee ice cream in an airtight, freezer-safe container that has a well-sealing lid. Place a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the ice cream before putting on the lid.

Coffee ice cream getting scooped into a container.

FAQs

How long does homemade ice cream last in the freezer? 

When stored properly, homemade ice cream will last a week in the freezer. See storage directions above.

Does coffee ice cream taste like coffee? 

Yes. It tastes like an iced coffee with sweet cream.

Does ice cream need eggs? 

Here in New England we love the custard-based style of ice cream. It’s super creamy and rich and less “icy” compared to ice cream without eggs. 

What ingredient makes homemade ice cream soft? 

The sugar content. The high amount of sugar keeps the water from freezing solid (think like a bottle of alcohol you might keep in the freezer). The combination of the sugar and corn syrup will keep the ice crystals at bay and help the ice cream to stay scoopable.

Refreshing Desserts For Summer

Scoops of coffee ice cream in white dishes.

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Chilling Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 16 minutes

Rich and creamy ice cream boldly flavored with instant coffee. This treat is delightfully easy and super flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon of coarse kosher salt (not table salt)
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant coffee (I used Starbucks medium roast)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place a 2 quart bowl in the freezer to chill and fill a larger bowl with ice. Set aside.
  2. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the cream, milk, salt, corn syrup, and ¼ cup of sugar. Heat over medium high heat stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the 4 egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar and whisk until light yellow and combined (30 seconds). 
  4. Add the instant coffee to the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  5. Once the cream mixture is consistently steaming and reaches 175 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, remove it from the heat.
  6. Scoop out ½ a cup of the cream mixture and slowly whisk it into the egg yolks, this is called tempering.
  7. Add the tempered yolks back to the pot with the cream and milk, and heat over medium heat until slightly thickened and the temp reaches between 185-190 degrees F on a thermometer. It will start to bubble and should only take 2-5 minutes.
  8. Remove the base from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  9. Remove the bowl from the freezer and set it into the large bowl with ice. Place a strainer over the small bowl and pour the ice cream base through the strainer. This will remove any bits of cooked egg and coffee granules.
  10. Allow the coffee ice cream base to cool completely before storing it in the fridge. Chill until very cold about 4-6 hours or overnight.
  11. Once chilled, pour the base into your prepared ice cream maker and churn per the maker’s instructions. Serve immediately for soft serve or freeze for scooping later.

Notes

  • I use Starbucks medium roast instant coffee, but you can use decaf if you're sensitive to caffeine or serving this ice cream to kids.
  • If you only have table salt on hand, reduce the amount in the recipe by half.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 114mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 0gSugar: 27gProtein: 6g

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