Homemade black cherry ice cream is the perfect simple summer treat
Make an easy, but delicious summer dessert with this six ingredient homemade black cherry ice cream recipe. The dark cherries provide a pop of color and natural sweetness in the ice cream. This recipe is made with an ice cream maker and is perfect for the hot summer months.
One of my absolute favorite summer fruit is cherries! Despite all the work they can be, they're SO delicious! As soon as I started writing recipes for our all things ice cream series, I knew I had to include a cherry recipe!
While this recipe uses frozen black sweet cherries (so you can make it any time of the year), it would be just as delicious with fresh cherries in the summer. Trust me, you're going to want to make this to cool off during the summer!
If you're a true ice cream lover like me or have wanted to learn how to make your own ice cream at home, don't forget to check out all the recipes that go along in our ice cream series.
Now, on to the good part! It's time to make the best homemade black cherry ice cream recipe.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
I always love teaching you a few new tips and tricks with each recipe on my website. From making this homemade cherry ice cream you'll learn:
- How to make ice cream without eggs, and the secret ingredient you'll need to use instead
- Why stabilizers are an important part of ice cream
- How to substitute frozen cherries for fresh cherries
Black Cherry Ice Cream Video Tutorial
One of my favorite things about this ice cream is that you only need 6 ingredients. They're all very simple ingredients that can easily be found at any grocery store. Each of these six ingredients serves an important role in the dark cherry ice cream:
Sweet Black Cherries: The cherries are the star of the show! You can use either fresh black cherries or frozen ones. The best part about using fresh fruit is the natural flavor and color it adds to the ice cream.
If you want even more cherry flavor, make a double batch of the black cherry mixture. You can use half as a topping to spoon over the finished ice cream, which tastes amazing with all the cherry juice.
Heavy Cream (also labeled as Heavy Whipping Cream) and Whole Milk: According to the United States guidelines, products labeled as 'ice cream' are required to contain at least 10% milkfat and 20% milk solids. These butterfat products help make up the ice cream we all know and love.
Do not be tempted to replace whole milk with fat free milk. This is not a good alternative and will drastically change the final taste and mouthfeel of the ice cream.
Granulated Sugar: Yes, sugar helps add sweetness to our ice cream. But, did you know that it also helps keep the ice cream soft? Sugar lowers the freezing point of water, which helps prevent the entire ice cream mixture from freezing during the churning process.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used as a stabilizer in this recipe (to replace egg yolks). Stabilizers are very common in ice cream because they help add thickness (viscosity) to the ice cream base, thus leading to less movement of the water molecules. Other common stabilizers can include tapioca flour, guar gum, and xantham gum.
This helps prevent the small ice crystals (created during the freezing process) from fusing together to form large crystals leading to an unpleasant, hard texture. It also slows down the melting process, which is super helpful during a hot summer day!
Additional Toppings or Mix-Ins (Optional): As with any recipe, you can always choose to adapt and add flavors based on your personal preference. Feel free to add in chocolate chips as a mix in or fun toppings like whipped cream or dark chocolate syrup.
Tools & Equpiment
Here are a few tools you'll need to make black cherry ice cream:
Ice Cream Maker: You'll need an ice cream machine to properly churn this ice cream. If you don't already have an ice cream maker, check out the full review of my favorite machines to decide which one is best for you!
Each type of ice cream maker varies a bit, so be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when churning this recipe.
Whisk: You'll need this to make sure the cornstarch is evenly distributed!
Mixing Bowls: You'll want a large bowl on hand to use as an ice bath to cool off the ice cream base.
Plastic Wrap: You'll need a sheet of plastic wrap to cover the ice cream base before it goes into the refrigerator to chill. This will prevent a skin from forming on top of the ice cream.
Storage Container: You'll need some sort of ice cream container to store in the freezer. It's best to have a long, skinny container that allows the ice cream to quickly freeze after the churning process.
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! No problem! Since they're not frozen, fresh cherries will cook down slightly faster. Just keep an eye on them. You'll know they're done once they've cooked down, are slightly softened, and a syrup has formed in the bottom of the saucepan.
Also, make sure to remove the cherry pits.
The short answer is no. Ice cream is made up of butterfat. If you change up the percentage of fat in the recipe, you will not get the correct creamy texture after the ice cream base has churned.
Make sure you're using medium heat or even medium high heat. Cornstarch must reach about 203°F in order to gelatinize. If your heat isn't high enough, it might not be reaching the temperature it needs to thicken the mixture. You can always double check the temperature of the ice cream base with an instant read thermometer.
Also, make sure the cornstarch isn't clumped up. This would impede the mixture from evenly thickening. To avoid this, add the cornstarch in batches while continuously whisking.
Preferably in a shallow/long plastic storage container. Also, make sure to place the storage container in the back of the freezer (not the door). Avoid leaving the ice cream out of the freezer longer than you have to. The goal is to keep the ice cream at a stable (frozen) temperature.
Yes, it's really important that the ice cream base reaches around 40-42°F (4-5°C), so it will properly freeze in your ice cream maker. When the ice cream base is cold, it will encourage the growth of small ice crystals. Ice crystals play a huge role in achieving a smooth, creamy ice cream texture.
Black Cherry Ice Cream (6 Ingredients)
- Add cherries, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup (60 ml) of water to a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cherries are softened and a syrup has formed in the bottom of the pan, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow cherries to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate for later.
- Fill a large bowl with ice to use later as an ice bath. Set aside.
- Add heavy cream and whole milk to a heavy bottom pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it begins to steam around 160°F (71°C).
- Meanwhile mix the remaining 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt with a fork until no lumps remain and everything is well incorporated.
- Once the cream and milk begin to steam, slowly add in sugar mixture in small batches, whisking continuously. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for an additional 2-3 minutes until the mixture has slightly thickened. You can check this by scooping a bit of the liquid up with a spoon and testing the thickness. Make sure the ice cream base does not boil at any point.
- Transfer mixture to a heatproof bowl and cool in an ice bath until mixture has stopped steaming. Press a piece of plastic wrap over the mixture to prevent a skin from forming on top. Chill the ice cream base until it reaches around 40-42°F (4-5°C), or up to overnight.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process for about 20-25 minutes, or according to the manufacturer's directions. About two minutes before the ice cream is done churning, add cooked cherries and syrup a tablespoon at a time until well incorporated.
- The ice cream will be on the soft side but can be eaten right away or put into the freezer to "cure" or harden up for a couple of hours. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two weeks.
Other Recipes To Try
Looking for other homemade ice cream recipes to try? Check these out:
- Peanut Butter Whiskey Milkshake
- Birthday Cake Ice Cream
- Orange Limoncello Sorbet
- Classic Vanilla Custard Base Ice Cream
- Moose Tracks Ice Cream
- Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream
Don't forget to check out my Pinterest board for more delicious ice cream recipe inspiration.