Recipe for Caramel Ice Cream

May 23, 2024  |  By Peg Kern
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Ice cream is one of our favorite foods, and when you pair it with caramel – perfection! Whether you call it gelato as in Italy, glace as in France, or Graeter’s as in Ohio (inside joke for any fellow Midwesterners!), ice cream is perhaps the perfect food.

Types of Frozen Desserts

There are all kinds of frozen desserts, of course, all of them now readily accessible, but once upon a time – before easy refrigeration – a sign of opulence during warmer months, and let’s face it, not as desirable during the winter.

Frozen desserts are usually based on one of the following:

  • cream or milk
  • custard
  • yogurt
  • fruit
  • water

Cream-based can be a simple gelato or ice cream (such as the vanilla ice cream recipe you’ll find here). Custard-based adds eggs and can be used for frozen custards, but also for many types of ice cream and even some types of gelato. Yogurt-based is the source of every frozen yogurt, while water-based gives birth to everything from the simple snow cone to granitas or Italian ice. Fruit-based frozen desserts are sorbet, but you can also combine these main ingredients: such as cream and fruit being combined to make sherbet.

Is It Caramel or Carmel?

Caramel is a the result of heating sugar to the point that it….caramelizes! Even though it can range in color from pale to dark brown, and in consistencies from a thin sauce to a hard candy, caramel is easily identifiable: you know it when you see it, smell it, or taste it

So what is Carmel? It’s a city in California! And also a misspelling of “caramel.”

And what about dulce de leche? That sure smells and tastes like caramel too – but it’s a bit different. Caramel is made from sugar and water. Dulce de leche is made from cooking milk and sugar – or from cooking sweetened condensed milk – until the caramelization process happens.

The following recipe combines the delectable creaminess of ice cream with the earthly sweetness of caramel. It’s a big hit at our house!

See all our cooking vacations in France.

Recipe for Caramel Ice CreamDelicious caramel ice cream.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 3 c. milk
  • 8 1/2 oz sugar
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 10 egg yolks


1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar, then add in the milk, whisking thoroughly. Set to the side.

2 .Make a brown caramel by cooking 5 oz of sugar over medium-high heat in a dry pan until brown but not burnt.

3. Deglaze the caramel with the cream, and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously, to incorporate. We like to leave some solid bits, it just adds texture to the ice cream, but you can also whisk until it is thoroughly incorporated for a smoother texture.

4. Whisk the caramel into the egg mixture a little at a time.

5. Cook the egg mixture slowly over a double boiler/bain-marie to 183 degrees F.  Pour the mixture into a bowl, and place it over a larger bowl filled with ice, stirring occasionally, until it cools. Place in the refrigerator until fully chilled, preferably overnight.

6. Process in your ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes (or according to your ice cream maker’s instructions).

Serve it plain, with pastries, on cookies, with chocolate sauce, or even a caramel sauce—there’s pretty much no way to go wrong on this one!

Try a recipe for lemon sorbet.

By Peg Kern

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