Cinnamon Ice Cream

Is it ice cream season yet? Time to pull out the ice cream maker! Please welcome Simply Recipes contributor Garrett McCord as he shares his recipe for cinnamon ice cream. We made it the other day and it was simply fabulous. ~Elise

When I was a kid I assumed that cinnamon was the opposite of mint. I had reasoned that this was a basic and irrefutable rule of the universe. Cinnamon possessed heat through spice as obviously evidenced via Red Hots candies and the warm sensation and flavor cinnamon imbued when I sprinkled it over applesauce or oatmeal. It made logical sense that the heat of cinnamon was therefore the opposite of the chill inducing mint. Simply put: cinnamon = hot.

Now, as an adult, I find it to be an intriguing trick of the mind to make cinnamon ice cream. A chilly treat with a fragrant, spicy glow that sort of buries itself in your stomach and fans embers through your body. Hot and cold all wrapped up into one frozen scoop. This ice cream is a wonderful alternative to vanilla when served with pie, cake, or stewed or fresh fruit.

Cinnamon Ice Cream Recipe

  • Yield: Makes about 1 quart.


  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks


1 Place the cinnamon in a small, dry skillet, over low heat. Keep the skillet moving just until the cinnamon becomes fragrant. Take off heat (note that too long in the pan will burn the cinnamon).

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2 Warm the milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat whisking to incorporate the cinnamon into the liquid.

3 While the milk mixture warms set a bowl over another bowl filled with ice. Place the remaining cup of cream into the now chilling bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

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4 In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid the eggs scrambling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

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5 Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon or heat proof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir. When the custard becomes thick until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run.

6 Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream. Stir until cool over the ice bath.

8 Chill the mixture thoroughly and then place in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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How to make ice cream without a machine tips from David Lebovitz, king of all things ice cream

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  1. Emily

    Wow this looks fantastic! I’ve been wanting to get an ice cream maker. Any that you recommend?

    The Cuisinart ones are wonderful. ~Garrett

  2. Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams

    I have made cinnamon ice cream several times and it’s one of my favorite flavors. Love the brown color of yours. Mine was beige.

  3. Rachelle

    YESSSSS! My favorite spice! I had cinnamon ice cream years back in a restaurant next to a dessert (quite frankly didn’t care to remember what it was, because the cinnamon ice cream was next to it…and was so fantastic!) and I raved about how I wanted to make or buy cinnamon ice cream for days after. Well here you are, years later, letting me know, hello Rachelle, remember, you can make it and it’s not that hard! Wow, I really need this ice cream, just in time! Thank you! I shall make this, and call my brother (who is obsessed with everything cinnamon) and tell him I have a load of freshly made cinnamon ice cream in my kitchen. haha. I live in Sacramento, he’s in Los Angeles. Too bad. I’m horrible. But, thank you!

  4. Sandy Ewald

    Try sprinkling cinnamon on vanilla ice cream and stirring it in… instant gratification. I saw a friend’s husband do that in 1989 and we have been doing it ever since.

    Then why make homemade ice cream at all? There is so much satisfaction in this recipe and believe me, it has a richer flavor than just a sprinkle. ;) ~Garrett

  5. Super Sue

    I have always enjoyed experimenting with cinnamom. For years now I have added cinnamon to many flavors of store bought ice cream, Try it with any flavors. I do it by the serving. Add to personal taste. I have never gotten too much. I have not heated the cinnamom to bring the flavor forward but will next time. It turnes simple vanilla into an amazing crisp cool party for my tastebuds.

  6. mantha

    That really was cute, the logic of the child — cinnamon is hot, mint is cold. Makes perfect sense to me . . .

    This makes me think of ice cream cookie sandwiches — a good dollop of this ice cream between two home-made oatmeal raisin cookies. (Another really good combo — ginger snaps with a good lemon sorbet that has a little zest in it.)

  7. Ophelia

    YUM, this looks great! I’ve got my ice cream maker bowl in the freezer right now, so I’m ready to go!

    Question though – the instructions say to avoid “scrambling” the egg yolks. Do you mean “cooking”? The yolks are already scrambled, or mixed, right??

    By scrambling I mean than when you temper the eggs if you add too much too quickly the eggs won’t incorporate but will rather cook as you have noted. I say scrambling as it offers a visual of what to look for if you think the tempering has gone awry. =) ~Garrett

  8. James

    To make this recipe really “over the top,” include a small shot of apple schnapps in the mix.

    I like the way you think, James. ~Garrett

  9. Anna

    Mmm, I love homemade ice cream. I love the taste of cinnamon, too, so I just made up a batch, but I tweaked it (a lot) to suit my preferences/health perspective. I actually view well-made ice cream with as a health food, not a sinful indulgence, as long as the sugar content is kept low and the ingredients are high quality and nutrient-dense.

    In addition to reducing the sugar content to a scant half cup, I didn’t cook the ice cream base; not only is it faster to assemble (fewer steps, less to wash, & no cool-down time), I prefer to keep the yolks raw (I get great “backyard eggs” from a neighbor’s coworker and trust their safety). I also used fresh raw whole milk and cream instead of processed commercial dairy (sometimes I use live culture whole milk yogurt instead, esp with fruit flavored ice cream). The probiotics in raw dairy and live culture yogurt assure there is plenty of the enzyme lactase that lactose-intolerance folks lack (lactase breaks down the lactose milk sugar).

    I also like to whip the heavy cream slightly before folding it into the other ingredients; the incorporated air increases the volume slightly, and the hardened ice cream is much easier to scoop a day after it has been in the freezer (my deep freeze is set very cold at around 0°F due to the meat I also store there.

    I use a Kitchenaid Ice Cream freezer accessory. While I still have keep a space avail to store the freezer bowl in the freezer, I don’t have to store another machine base in a cabinet.

  10. yasaman

    I have not an ice cream maker, what can I do?

    See the link at the bottom of the post on how to make ice cream without a machine. ~Garrett

  11. Kevin Masse

    Cinnamon Ice Cream was the first ice cream I ever made in my counter top machine. I fell in love with the flavor while working at a French restaurant in Buffalo NY, The Rue Franklin. They made all their ice creams fresh, and in small batches. Needless to say, I was always first to volunteer to help seal them up at the end of the night. The restaurant served the Cinnamon ice cream along side a Plum Compote Napoleon.

  12. Yvette

    I find it interesting that you equate cinnamon with heat. Due to a serious illness, I have been seeing a GP/doctor who practises Traditional Chinese Medicine, in addition to western medicine. The Chinese way of looking at my illness was that my body was too damp, and too cold. He mixed me a concoction of Chinese herbs (which has worked because I am completely better now) a major ingredient of which was cinnamon. Part of the purpose of the herbs was to warm me up.

    Interesting therefore that you equate cinnamon with warmth, as this was its purpose for me, also.

    Don’t know that I’ll get to try the icecream though (as fabbo as it looks!) as dairy was removed from my diet as part of my treatment. :-(

  13. Andrea

    I just served up the first bowl of this ice cream. My husband loves it because it tastes like Hot Tamales candies. I’m not a fan of those, so it turns out that I also didn’t like the cinnamon ice cream. Different strokes for different folks!

  14. Matt L.

    I love cinnamon ice cream! This post has me wanting to make it again very soon. When I do make mine, I add a little freshly-grated nutmeg to the cinnamon and it makes it taste even better.

  15. Leigh Ann

    You say to put the mixture in the ice cream maker according to instructions. When I’ve made homemade ice cream before, I’ve made a base mixture, put it in the freezer, then filled it to the line with milk. Should milk be added to this in the freezer or is it complete as it is?

    Just make the recipe as you see it, then put it into your machine. ~Garrett

  16. Hana

    I made this yesterday! It was delicious and very creamy. I don’t have a machine, but I just waited for the custard to freeze, and then I used a hand beater to break it, put it in the freezer again for a couple of hours and voila :). Thank you! I’m gonna use this as a base for other ice cream flavors.

  17. Kocinera


    I just tried this out and was blown away! This stuff is beyond delicious! Thanks for such a great recipe!

  18. Nicole

    How can I make this with cinnamon sticks?

    Do a long steeping with the liquids. I would suggest, however, using ground cinnamon as stated in the recipe. ~Garrett

  19. Rebekah

    Hi there! thanks for the recipe. I loved the amount of salt to it, the contrast is perfect. Both me and my husband felt as though the ice cream pretty much coats your mouth & throat, I assume that is because of the amount of cream? Could I reduce the amount of cream and up the amount of milk?

    Yes, but it will be a bit more icy with the reduction of fat. ~Garrett

  20. Simone

    I just made a batch. So good!

    I did reduce the sugar by about 1/4 and it’s still plenty sweet for myself so next batch I will reduce it even more. Upped the cinnamon though as there’s no such thing as too much cinnamon in my book.

    The first spoonful really does mess with your brain a little bit… I definitely get the hot/cold trick you mentioned.

  21. Noelle

    I just made your mint chocolate chip ice cream and my brother mentioned how he would love to try cinnamon ice cream. I can always count on you for great recipes! Looking foward to making this one soon.

  22. Gokul

    I tried this many times with different flavors. It’s hard to find good quality Cinnamon here in USA. The taste of ICE cream changes with the taste of Cinnamon.The best I found so far is on eBay.

    Also add some ginger powder (very little). That gives a nice aroma.

  23. Breanna

    I got a Cuisanart ice cream maker for Christmas and just made this yesterday. WOW! Very rich and creamy. I’ll definitely be making this again.

  24. guest

    I made the ice cream today. I didn’t eat it yet, but it’s probably gonna taste amazing!

  25. Kathy

    This was my first attempt at making homemade ice cream. I was fearful of “tempering” the eggs. However, the directions were so well written that I need not be frightened. The recipe was the reason I bought an Ice Cream maker. I chilled the ingredients for 6 hours after cooking. I also chilled the ice cream container along with the bowl in the freezer overnight. I added mini chocolate chips. This ice cream is absolutely delicious.

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