Coffee Ice Cream

DessertFreezer-friendlyCoffeeIce Cream

Homemade coffee ice cream recipe using milk and cream infused with whole coffee beans.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I love coffee ice cream, but rarely get it because the caffeine does a number on me. If I have coffee or even mocha ice cream after dinner I’m jittery until 3 am.

So, when I opened David Lebovitz‘s new book, The Perfect Scoop and found a recipe for coffee ice cream on page 34, the ice cream maker bowl immediately went into the freezer.

If you make your own coffee ice cream, you can make it with decaffeinated beans! No late night jitters. Safe for kids.

David has provided helpful advice for me on practically every ice cream recipe on this site, which have all turned out great, so it’s no wonder that his new book’s recipes are spot on. I think this is the best coffee ice cream I’ve ever had.

Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 1 quart


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (decaf unless you want the caffeine in your ice cream)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee (press grinds through a fine mesh sieve)


1 Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until it is quite warm and steamy, but not boiling. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

2 Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.

3 Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy (not boiling!). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4 Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, flat-bottomed spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

5 Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.

6 Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream from David Lebovitz

71 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Nicolette

    Absolutely delicious. It’s well worth the extra preparation time! It’s always a hit when I make this.


  • Ruth G.

    This was the best ice cream I’ve ever had. The coffee flavor was superb (I used decaf french roast). It didn’t make a quart, by any means, but this recipe is definitely a keeper.


  • Rose

    For those who thought the coffee flavor was too mild, I had the same problem – at first. But I persevered with it, and after it was completed and frozen, the coffee flavor just popped. I wouldn’t call it a strong flavor, but just right. Very very nice, and it will go in my favorites file. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Jen

    I made a vegan version of this recipe and it came out insanely good. The best ice cream I’ve ever made, hands down. I never would have thought to steep the coffee beans like a tea, but that is the key to getting that intense coffee flavor!

  • prenks

    I’m afraid I found this recipe rather disappointing. As other commenters have mentioned, it produced less ice cream than expected. When I make a recipe with three cups liquid, my ice cream maker can barely handle that amount. Here there was plenty of room to spare. Also, I had to let the beans sit in the cream mixture overnight for any kind of coffee flavour to come out. After an hour of infusing, it mostly just tasted like sugar. I’m a tea drinker and generally say that I like vaguely coffee flavoured milk, so I was rather surprised given other reviews mentioned a strong coffee flavour. And even after 24 hours of infusing, the coffee flavour is very, very mild. I feel that I wasted a significant amount of ingredients for very little result. The texture is wonderful and the base is a good starting point, but for me, the coffee element is a miss. Next time around I’m going to try a recipe that calls for a fraction of the amount of beans, but freshly ground and strained.

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Coffee Ice Cream