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The Perfect Summer Treat: Homemade Apple Ice Cream

There’s really only one thing that could make ice cream even better than it already is. Little bursts of fresh apple flavor!

No other topping or infusion brings the same level of light and refreshing sensations to your favorite frozen dessert that apple does.

After trying this homemade apple ice cream recipe, you’ll never be able to live without it!

A dish of homemade apple ice cream with a sauce topping.

About Apple Ice Cream

If you’re food curious, you may have wondered, “How come there’s no apple ice cream sold in grocery stores?” The answer has to do with how extremely cold temperature reduces the flavor of fruits like apples, grapes, pears, or watermelon (no ice creams in those flavors, either). These fruits are generally too mild-flavored to stand up to freezing temperatures.

But seeing as how this is a recipe, it’s obviously possible to make apple ice cream if you use the right preparation techniques and select an apple variety with a strong flavor. We’ll walk you through the process now!

A basket of assorted apples.

Ice Cream Maker Apple Ice Cream

Always start your ice cream-making process by placing the bowl from your ice cream maker into the freezer. 

An ice cream maker bowl in the freezer.

It will take around 16 to 24 hours to freeze. So keep that in mind as you plan when to start making your base.

Prepare the Base

To make your apple ice cream base, start by peeling and grating two Golden Delicious apples.

Gratting fresh apple.

Add one and a half of those apples to a bowl with half a cup of sugar and stir the mixture until the apple is evenly distributed. 

Ready a large saucepan on your stove, then pour in two cups of whole milk, two cups of heavy cream, a pinch of salt, and your apple-sugar mixture. 

Turn the stove on to medium heat and let that cook, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the eggs.

Separate five egg yolks from the whites. You won’t need the whites for this recipe so you can put them in the fridge for now. 

Add your egg yolks, a half cup of sugar, and the grated half of your remaining apple to a bowl.

A bowl of egg yolks, sugar, and grated apple.

Whisk these together vigorously until the mixture thickens and becomes a light creamy texture.

Egg yolks, sugar, and apple whisked together.

Now check back in on your stove. Once the contents start to lightly boil it’s time to temper your eggs. 

Tempering ensures that the eggs don’t cook when you add them to the hot liquid. That’s why you want to ladle in about a third of the milk mixture very slowly, stirring the eggs constantly. 

Tempering ice cream base into egg mixture.

Then you can turn the heat down to low and pour the egg mixture back into the pan, still whisking constantly. The eggs should blend nicely without curdling or scrambling

Whisking tempered egg mixture into the rest of the base.

Stir your apple ice cream base with a wooden spoon until it thickens slightly. This should only take a few minutes and it won’t thicken very much. Just enough to coat the back of the spoon in a thin white film.

Stirring ice cream base with a wooden spoon.

You don’t want to overcook this. Even with the tempering, if the mixture starts to boil the eggs will separate and start to cook. That’s why it’s important to take it off the heat the minute it thickens and pour it into an air-tight container.

The pulp from the apples you grated will be floating in the base. If you want a smoother ice cream consistency, you can use a siv while pouring it into the container. If you don’t mind the pulp, it will enhance the apple flavor a lot if you keep it in.

Straining ice cream base into a container.

Chill the Base

Store your apple ice cream base in the fridge for at least two hours and, at most, three days. The longer you let it set, the thicker it will get and the creamier your final product will be. The setting process will also make the flavors stronger.

Ice cream base firming in the freezer.

Around ten minutes before you’re ready to take your base out of the fridge, start preparing your final apple ingredient. 

Adding Apple to Base

Peel, core and dice your apple. The size of the cubes can vary based on personal preference. The bigger they are the bigger the explosion of flavor in your ice cream. But smaller ones will be distributed more evenly. 

Chopping apple to add it to the ice cream base.

Sprinkle a teaspoon of lemon juice on your apple chunks to keep them from browning and place them by your ice cream maker with the apple ice cream base before grabbing the bowl from the freezer. 

The ice cream maker bowl will start to defrost the minute you take it from the cold. That’s why it’s important to have everything ready for when you take it out. So you can quickly assemble it, turn it on, and pour in your apple ice cream base.

And you always want to make sure the ice cream maker is on and spinning properly before you pour in the liquid. Otherwise, it will immediately clump and freeze to the bottom, creating icy lumps that could damage the blades.

Pouring the base into the ice cream maker.

After the entire apple ice cream base has been poured in, wait 15 to 20 minutes before pouring in your diced apple. The base should be almost completely ready. 

Then you’ll have to wait another five to ten minutes for the apple to incorporate fully and start to freeze. This will make sure it doesn’t all sink to the bottom when you put it in the freezer.

The entire process shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes. And the base won’t be fully frozen at the end. When you add it to the air-tight container it should be a thick creamy texture.

Using a spatula to scrape apple ice cream from the ice cream maker into a container for freezing.

Now, leave it to finish hardening in your freezer for at least two hours. 

Finally, scoop some into your favorite bowl and enjoy your delicious, homemade apple ice cream!

Apple Ice Cream Tips

Choosing the Right Apple

Apples used for cooking should always be one of the yellow, green or bicolor varieties. The crisper they are the better they withstand the extreme temperatures of the cooking process.

That’s why a Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or McIntosh are the best options for this apple ice cream recipe. 

Using a paring knife to peel an apple.

How to Store

The cold temperatures in the freezer will eventually cause your homemade apple ice cream to get freezer-burnt. 

Even in an air-tight container, the texture of your ice cream will start to change after just two weeks. But don’t worry! When it starts to get really icy, you can still use it to make delicious milkshakes!

How to Serve

Endless topping possibilities await your bowl of delicious apple ice cream. From crunchy nuts, like almonds and cashews, to gooey chocolate sauces and apple butter, almost everything pairs well with this frozen dessert!

Even high-quality molasses can really increase the depth of your apple ice cream’s flavor. Or if you’re looking to cut the sweetness a bit, the zest from a lemon or a drizzle of peanut butter are your best options.  

A dish of three scoops of apple ice cream topped with a sauce.

Bonus: Making Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

An ice cream maker works by using a spinning platform to slowly rotate a double-walled bowl filled with a frozen saline solution, as blades scrape the sides and bottom. The process ensures your apple ice cream base is constantly moving and gradually freezes without clumping. 

To make smooth ice cream without an ice cream maker you’ll need two people and the process will take practice to get right. 

Start by freezing two durable mixing bowls together. There should be at least an inch-wide space between them filled with a mixture of salt and water. To make it even you might need to tape the smaller bowl in place.

Wearing kitchen gloves, one person will spin the bowls with one hand while the other keeps the ice cream base moving with an electric mixer. The other person will need to use two spatulas to scrape the sides. It should take 20 to 30 minutes for your ice cream to be ready.

Enjoy Your Apple Ice Cream!

With this easy apple ice cream recipe, you’ll always be able to treat yourself to the amazing tart flavors of creamy apple goodness!

And for more information on different apples you can use in the recipe, check out our Apple Varieties article!

Closeup of homemade apple ice cream.

Homemade Apple Ice Cream

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 2 hours
Mixing Time: 30 minutes
Freezing Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

While not the first fruit you may think of for an ice cream flavor, apple ice cream explodes with flavor. We'll share the secret for apple ice cream that you'll want to make again and again!


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar, separated
  • 3 Golden Delicious apples
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Place your ice cream maker bowl into the freezer 16 to 24 hours before you plan to use it
  2. Peel and core two Golden Delicious apples
  3. Grate one and a half of the apples into a bowl with half the sugar
  4. Cook the milk, cream, and the sugar-apple mixture in a large saucepan on medium heat, stirring occasionally
  5. While that’s cooking, separate your eggs and place the yolks and the rest of the sugar in a bowl
  6. Grate the remaining half of your apple in with the eggs and sugar
  7. Whisk the mixture vigorously until it thickens and turns a light, creamy color
  8. When the contents of your pan start to boil lightly, slowly add a third of the mixture to the egg bowl, whisking constantly
  9. Then slowly re-add the tempered egg mixture back into the pot and turn the heat down to low
  10. Cook this for another couple of minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until it thickens just enough to coat the back of the spoon
  11. Now pour your ice cream base into an airtight container, seal it, and store it in the fridge for at least two hours and at most three days (option to use a siv when pouring)
  12. Peel, core, and dice the last apple into half-inch-sized pieces around 10 minutes before your base is ready
  13. Sprinkle a teaspoon of lemon juice on the apple chunks and leave them in a bowl by your ice cream maker for later
  14. Take the base from the fridge and set it by the ice cream maker
  15. Grab the bowl from the freezer, put the ice cream maker together, turn it on, and pour in your base
  16. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the ice cream starts to thicken, pour in your diced apples
  17. Let that combine for another five to ten minutes, then pour your ice cream back into its airtight container and let it harden in the freezer for at least two hours
  18. Before serving, let it sit on your counter for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
Pinterest image for Homemade Apple Ice Cream Recipe.

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