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Homemade Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream


Homemade Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream



For the Ice Cream Base:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks

For the Cherry Swirl:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preparing the Cherry Swirl:

  1. Cook the Cherries:
    • Place the pitted and halved cherries in a medium saucepan.
    • Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the lemon juice to the pan.
    • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries start to release their juices and the mixture begins to thicken. This will take about 10-15 minutes. The cherries should become soft and syrupy.
  2. Blend the Mixture (Optional):
    • If you prefer a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender to blend the cherry mixture directly in the saucepan until you reach your desired texture. Alternatively, you can transfer the mixture to a regular blender, blend until smooth, and then return it to the saucepan.
  3. Add Vanilla and Cool:
    • Once the cherry mixture has thickened to your liking, remove it from the heat.
    • Stir in the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
    • Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a container and refrigerate until completely chilled. This can take a few hours, so it’s best to do this step ahead of time.

Making the Ice Cream Base:

  1. Heat the Cream and Milk:
    • In a medium saucepan, combine the 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 cup of whole milk, and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar.
    • Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to steam. Do not let it come to a boil. You just want the mixture to be hot enough to dissolve the sugar and combine the flavors.
  2. Temper the Egg Yolks:
    • While the cream mixture is heating, separate the egg yolks and place them in a medium bowl. Whisk the yolks until they are smooth and slightly pale in color.
    • Slowly pour about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. This step is called tempering and it gradually raises the temperature of the egg yolks.
  3. Combine and Cook the Custard:
    • Pour the tempered egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture.
    • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Be sure not to let the mixture boil, as this can cause the eggs to curdle.
  4. Strain and Chill the Custard:
    • Once the custard has thickened, remove it from the heat and pour it through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. This step will remove any bits of cooked egg and ensure a smooth texture.
    • Stir in the 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.
    • Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, then cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible. The custard needs to be very cold before you churn it.

Churning the Ice Cream:

  1. Churn the Ice Cream Base:
    • Once the custard is thoroughly chilled, pour it into your ice cream maker.
    • Churn the mixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes about 20-25 minutes, depending on your machine, until the ice cream reaches a soft-serve consistency.
  2. Incorporate the Cherry Swirl:
    • Spoon a layer of the churned ice cream into a freezer-safe container.
    • Add several dollops of the chilled cherry mixture on top of this layer.
    • Continue layering the ice cream and cherry mixture until both are used up.
    • Use a knife or a skewer to gently swirl the cherry mixture through the ice cream. Be careful not to overmix; you want to see distinct swirls of cherry throughout the ice cream.
  3. Freeze the Ice Cream:
    • Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap.
    • Place the container in the freezer and let the ice cream freeze for at least 4 hours, or until it is firm enough to scoop.


  • When you’re ready to serve, take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly.
  • Scoop the ice cream into bowls or cones and enjoy the delicious combination of creamy vanilla and sweet-tart cherry swirls.


  • Cherries: If using frozen cherries, there is no need to thaw them before cooking. They will break down as they cook.
  • Storage: Homemade ice cream is best enjoyed within a week for optimal texture and flavor. Store it in an airtight container to prevent ice crystals from forming.
  • Variations: For an adult twist, add a tablespoon of cherry liqueur to the cherry mixture. This will not only enhance the cherry flavor but also help keep the swirl a bit softer.

Enjoy your homemade cherry vanilla ice cream!


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