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Caramel Ice Cream

Caramel Ice Cream

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A dark caramel has the necessary bitter edge to balance the sweet richness of the custard. Let it cook until it’s mahogany in color.


  • 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups chilled whole milk

Recipe Preparation

  • Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl set in a large bowl filled a third of the way with ice water; set aside. Sprinkle a thin even layer of sugar into a large heavy saucepan. Cook undisturbed over medium heat until mostly melted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle another layer of sugar over and cook, stirring around edges of saucepan with a heatproof spatula to move melted sugar to center, until mostly melted, another minute or so. Repeat until you’ve used 1¼ cups sugar and it’s mostly melted (there may be some undissolved clumps), 6–8 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling saucepan (do not stir), until caramel is very fluid and has turned dark amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and, adding gradually, stir in heavy cream. Caramel will seize, but don’t worry. Place saucepan over low heat and stir until any hardened caramel is dissolved. Stir in vanilla and salt; set aside.

  • Whisk egg yolks and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in a medium bowl until lightened in color and thick, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add about ½ cup hot caramel mixture to egg yolk mixture. Whisk mixture back into saucepan, then cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick enough to coat a spoon and just holds the marks of the whisk, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour through prepared sieve into bowl. Stir mixture constantly until cold, about 5 minutes, then whisk in milk.

  • Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Scrape into a loaf pan or airtight container and press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

  • Do Ahead: Custard base can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Ice cream can be made 1 week ahead; keep frozen.

Recipe by Kristen Murray, Måurice, Portland, OR,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole Herriott

Nutritional Content

Calculated for 4 servings (1 cup each): Calories (kcal) 830 Fat (g) 55 Saturated Fat (g) 32 Cholesterol (mg) 495 Carbohydrates (g) 77 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 76 Protein (g) 10 Sodium (mg) 330Reviews SectionTastes just like flan or crème brûlée. The deep caramel really gives this ice cream a depth of flavor that you only find in small batch artisanal ice cream shops. Incredible by itself, or affogato.AnonymousPortland, OR05/26/20I followed this recipe carefully. In melting the sugar I must have burned it though it wasn't obvious at the didn't seem to burn, but the custard tasted bitter. I decided to add more cream to offset the strong bitter taste, and in the end I used double the amount of cream. The texture was great, and it set perfectly well despite changing the ratios so dramatically, and there was plenty of caramel flavor...but the bitterness was still there. I will try it again but giving it a generous 4 stars...I'm questioning the ratios as well as the time estimate on setting the custard, and I think there should be a warning about how easily the sugar burns.

Caramel Ice Cream - Recipes

If you can't find whipping cream you can use double cream - but it will be firmer to set and higher in calories! Always leave it out for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Super creamy, no churn ice cream that anyone can make! You could almost make it with your eyes shut! Scoop it into cones or serve by itself its so unbelievably delicious.

Each serving typically contains (based on ice cream alone, without cone):

of an adult's Reference Intake (RI)*

Energy per 100g: 1393kJ/334kcal

Reference Intake of an average adult (8400kJ/2000kcal). Portions should be adjusted for children of different ages.

For allergens, always check the ingredients list of each product used. Recipe contains:

    1. Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.
    2. Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
    3. Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.
    4. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.
    5. Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.

    This Recipe is Featured In:

    Burnt Caramel Ice Cream

    In a large heavy stainless steel frying pan over medium heat, melt the sugar by swirling the pan to melt the sugar uniformly. Cook until the sugar starts to turn golden brown or caramel color. Immediately remove from the heat and let the caramel get a shade darker. Carefully add the heavy cream. The caramel will seize and get hard.

    Place the pan over the heat and stirring constantly, heat the cream to melt the caramel. When the caramel is melted, add the milk, vanilla bean and salt over medium heat, heat the mixture until there are bubbles around the edges and a skin that forms on the top.

    Place the egg yolks in a bowl. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding the warm caramel cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. When all of the warm caramel cream mixture has been added, pout the contents into a heavy saucepan. Using a rubber spatula or a flat bottom wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon or spatula, about 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Immediately whisk the caramel mixture to cool it slightly.

    Cover the bowl with plastic and place in the refrigerator until cold. Freeze the ice cream according to the directions with your particular ice cream machine.

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    Caramel Ribbon Ice Cream

    In a small, heavy duty saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, stirring very often. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches a deep caramel color, about 10 minutes. As soon as this deep color is achieved, use a wire whisk and quickly stir in the warm cream. Return the caramel to a medium heat, and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

    Remove and cool the caramel completely. Set aside. The caramel should be thick but not completely stiff when cooled.

    Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, and combine it with half of the sugar, heavy cream, and milk in a small saucepot. Heat just until it begins to boil.

    In bowl whisk egg yolks with the remaining sugar. Beat until the egg yolks are light yellow in color.. While whisking stream in about 1/3 of the boiled cream mixture. Add the yolk mixture to the remaining warm cream and cook for 5 more minutes over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl set over ice.

    Cool mixture completely. Following the manufactures directions, freeze the mixture in an electric ice cream maker.

    Take the finished ice cream and place it in a chilled stainless steel bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold the caramel into the ice cream. Try not to blend the caramel into the ice cream, but rather, create ribbons throughout.

    Place in a freezer safe sealable container and freeze until ready to use.

    Salted Caramel Ice Cream

    There's nothing like the combination of sweet and salty when it comes to desserts. Our salted caramel ice cream checks all the boxes: sweet caramel, crisp sea salt flakes, and a cool and silky ice cream. For this recipe, you'll need an ice cream maker, as the ideal amount of creaminess is achieved by the constant churning of the machine. But making it without the machine is possible, although it might entail a tremendous amount of work. If you're going the manual route, the flavor of this decadent dessert might be worth the wait—and the whisking.

    This is an incredible dessert on its own but can be served alongside some of your favorite holiday desserts like apple or pumpkin pie. A great alternative to vanilla ice cream, this is a treat to have at hand for a last-minute dessert. Make ice cream sandwiches, top with crunchy nuts, or make beautiful sundaes with crushed caramels and whipped cream. Our recipe doesn't contain eggs, and it is also gluten-free.

    Simple and elegant, our salted caramel ice cream might just be your new favorite flavor. The ice cream will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.

    Related Video

    This ice cream is the BEST!! It has a rich smooth texture that is similar to a thick whipped cream. I’ve made this ice cream for guest and, as a result, at least two different couples went out and bought a home ice cream machine. THAT’S how good it is. This recipe is easy enough for everyday but decadent enough to impress guests without being pretentious. Once you taste it, you’ll never want any other ice cream again.

    I agree with those who love this ice cream just as the recipe is written. It will become a staple at my house!

    I forgot to say in my review below that this is the perfect recipe to make use of the leftover yolks from Marcella Hazan's almond cake recipe, which requires 8 egg whites, in her book "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". The ice cream and the cake are also wonderful together.

    Beautiful! I followed the recipe exactly, although I didn't have full-fat cream, so I used "demi-crème" with 25% fat. It was just right for me. I'm definitely repeating the recipe as often as I can.

    This was very simple to make, even though the caramel (although even adding warm milk as suggested by a previous reviewer) did bubble up more than I expected! I will use a larger saucepan next time! I used six egg yolks as suggested too, this was plenty to thicken the custard. The flavour of this ice cream is exceptional and I will definitely be making this again.

    not sure why 1.) people think 8 yolks is too much, i think its beautiful and adds a gelato quality. maybe they're just used to supermarket ice cream and why 2.) others would just follow their lead without trying the recipe as written at least once. its a stunning and sophisticated perfect recepie as written. try it! you'll like it!

    Delicious, but needs a tweak. Thanks to the other reviewers, I used only 6 egg yolks, but still found the result too eggy and rich for my taste. Also, I let the caramel get really dark amber, like the colour of dark maple syrup. Whilst this was a yummy adult "burnt caramel" taste for me and my partner, it was hardly sweet at all and certainly would not be "kid-friendly" as suggested on the overall notes to the recipe. Next time will not let the caramel get so dark, and will try using only 2 egg yolks.

    I bought an ice cream maker 3 years ago. Without exception, homemade is best -- like a whole different thing. That said, THIS recipe is a whole 'nother thing in itself. Wow! Very rich. I have trouble with caramel-based things, always takes two tries. Best to have all ingredients (eggs, cream, milk) at room temp. I used reg. vanilla instead of bean, with good results. Serving with Apple Crumble Pie from this site. Yum!

    The best ice cream I've ever made. The best ice cream I've ever eaten outside of Italy. YUM!

    I made this ice cream with 6 yolks as suggested. I had some trouble after adding the cream, not with bubbling, but the carmel hardening. It all turned out OK in the end, but I had a few moments of panic until it started softening into the cream. The ice cream set up nicely and I liked the flecks of vanilla bean. The flavor is sophisticated and luxurious.

    I made this, as suggested, with 6 egg yolks. There can't be too many ice cream recipes that taste better than this. It's wonderful. Adding the cream straight from the fridge was not a problem just use a big pot--like 4 qt.

    Yum! My husband's fav, especially when paired with a good vanilla ice cream. Been making it since 2004!

    Very VERY rich, despite the fact that I used a pint of heavy cream and a pint of 2% milk without adjusting the measurements of the other ingredients. I suspect the original recipe would be too rich for my personal taste. Adding the extra milk and cream filled my 1 ½ quart ice cream maker to capacity. The ice cream was very soft after 30 minutes of turning, but firmed up in the freezer. Nice texture.

    This is a stunningly good recipie. Used only six eggs and it turned out perfect.

    This is a very good ice cream, however the instructions do leave off a few important points! Most important of all, when adding the cream, make sure you first bring the cream to at least a simmer. Pouring cold cream onto the caramel mixture (which is at about 360F) will literally cause an explosion of sugar and cream all over your kitchen. Also, a pure copper pot works best for this recipe as they are the most effective at evenly distributing the heat -- thus ensuring a wonderful caramel. For those reviewers who said that it's too sweet, I think they didn't cook the sugar long enough. It really needs to be a very deep amber -- practically brown. If you don't cook it long enough, the sugars won't have completely caramelized and you'll end up with an ice cream that is significantly sweeter. Also, you must freeze this for at least 3 hours after making it to get a true ice cream consistency.

    This is ridiculously good. Used 3 beans (I found them on the cheap) added a good measure of extract, too. And I used only 6 yolks. I can't imagine ever buying ice cream again when you can make this!

    Simply put--amazing. Not too thick, not too heavy. I followed another reviewer's suggestion of 6 eggs instead of 8, definitely the thing to do.

    Make you "wanna slap ya mamma for not making this sooner" kind of good!

    I agree with previous reviewers that this is gelato, not ice cream even with plenty of freezing, it's quite soft. I used six yolks rather than eight. It is extremely rich -- one small scoop is plenty. But my kids thought this was fabulous and I'll make another batch to go with the flourless chocolate cake with caramel sauce (easy and delicious!) for a Halloween party.

    I have to agree with an earlier review- this is more like gelato than ice cream. Holy moses is it rich. Tasty, but definitely not a refreshing cool treat. It is a bit on the egg-y side, so I think that the next time I make it I'll cut the yolks down a tad.

    Nothing compares to home-made caramel ice cream! This recipe is deceptively easy, and unforgetably delicious.

    This ice cream has a wonderful caramel flavor, but I would definitely reduce the sugar next time I make it. That's what I think is the beauty of homemade ice cream -- you can reduce the sweetness and taste the flavor. Also, I replaced the milk with half and half, because I was making this for a special celebration and wanted something very decadent. But we all deserve that once in a while, right?

    I made this ice cream as a birthday treat for a friend who loves caramel -- and it was the hit of the party. Now it's become my favourite ice cream ever, a great blend of sweetness and a little bitterness from the burnt sugar flavour. I've made it several times, and it has a consistently smooth, rich texture, though once I overcooked (scrambled) the egg yolk and had to start again.


    &uarr click on the photo to enlarge

    Kitchen equipment

    • ice cream maker
    • small saucepan
    • medium-sized pan
    • whisk
    • standmixer with the whisk attachment
    • spatula

    View the original recipe via:

    Preparation caramel ice cream -- 10 minutes

    Combine milk and cream in a medium-sized pan and heat slowly. Meanwhile, add sugar and a tablespoon of water to a saucepan. Don't stir, just let it simmer on medium-low heat until it starts to caramelize. Be careful, caramel is very very hot!

    When the sugar has its brown colour, the caramel is ready. Stir the caramel into the milk and cream mixture using a whisk.

    Caramel ice cream

    Finishing the caramel ice cream -- 15 minutes + waiting time

    Place the yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the stand mixer bowl and whisk it until the yolks become white. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes on high-speed. Carefully pour a little bit of the milk mixture into the yolks.

    Keep on whisking, this way you'll prevent the yolks to create lumps. Pour the mixture back into the medium-sized pan en let it slowly simmer on low heat. Keep on stirring it slowly with a spatula.

    After a few minutes, the mixture will be fully cooked and the yolks will do their thickening job. Draw a line on the spatula with your finger, when the line stays visible your mixture is ready. Cool the mixture completely and then pour it into the ice cream maker.

    After about 40 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker, the ice cream is ready. Scoop into an airtight container and keep it in the freezer.

    Caramel ice cream goes great with a lot of desserts or even coffee, but have you ever tried eating it with a banana lumpia?

    Coconut Caramel Ice Cream

    Combine 1 can of coconut milk, the brown sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so that the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook until the mixture has darkened and reduced, about 20-30 minutes. It should be very thick&ndashresembling caramel. Add the second can of coconut milk to the warm coconut caramel and stir to combine. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks in a large, heatproof bowl. Slowly whisk 1 cup of the hot caramel mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks.

    Turn the heat to low and pour the tempered yolks back into the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, just until the mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover tightly and refrigerate until completely cool.

    Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer&rsquos instructions. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

    Bi-Rite Creamery's Salted Caramel Ice Cream

    The salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery is one of the best I've ever tasted. It's wildly complex, a tad smoky, and just salty enough. Just as important, it's ridiculously creamy thanks to an especially high proportion of cream that takes all the rough edges off the caramel.

    What Worked: All of Bi-Rite's ice creams are, first and foremost, incredibly creamy. Look at the recipe for their standard base and it's easy to see why: they use a higher ratio of cream to other ingredients than most other recipes out there, 1 3/4 cups cream to 3/4 cups of milk for not-quite-a-quart. It's best not to think about the caloric impact of it, and focus on the flavor instead, which rings clear and true in a superbly creamy, almost fluffy ice cream.

    What Didn't: This recipe calls for making a dry caramel, in which you caramelize a small amount of sugar in a pan with no water to kickstart the process, then slowly add more sugar as you go until everything is evenly cooked. Honestly, I don't care for this method, and my tests here confirmed why: it works, but it means you're constantly worried about over-burning your sugar before integrating the full amount.

    Suggested Tweaks: I prefer a wet caramel method: add the sugar for the caramel all at once, then slurp in just enough water to moisten it. Cook the the whole syrup at once until the water evaporates and a caramel forms, no stirring required.

    You can win a copy of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by entering here this week.