A sweet vanilla ice cream base and crushed peppermint candy canes are the perfect combination for a Christmastime treat.
Looking for an amazing recipe for the holidays that’s a little bit unexpected? This peppermint ice cream recipe is cool, sweet, and refreshing all at once. We all love peppermint ice cream.
In the world of homemade ice cream, there are a lot of debates. Churn vs no churn? Cooked custard vs raw? Eggs or no eggs? Let me settle it for you. Yes, you must churn, and heat the custard, and use eggs. I know, these were all the hardest choices. But it’s totally worth it to have the absolute best-tasting homemade ice cream. If it’s not going to be the best, why even bother?
So if you have an ice cream maker lurking in your cabinets, pull it out, and let’s get to work on the best peppermint ice cream.
How to make homemade peppermint ice cream
Ingredients and tools for homemade ice cream
- electric or hand-crank ice cream maker (I’ve used this simple machine for years)
- mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- whole milk (2% will work in a pinch!)
- heavy whipping cream
- granulated sugar
- egg yolks
- 3/4 cup crushed candy canes or round peppermint candies (you can crush them yourself or buy crushed candy cane online.)
You do not need peppermint extract: I’ve found that it gives an overly minty taste and sticking to candy canes is best.
Step by step homemade peppermint ice cream
To make ice cream properly, there are a few steps involved, but it’s not hard.
We begin by heating the milk, heavy whipping cream, and ½ cup of the sugar over medium heat until it is warm but DO NOT let it boil. It should be steaming and hot, around 175 degrees.
While it’s on the stove, prep the egg yolks: you’re going to beat them in a small bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat until they lighten a bit in color.
At this point, you’ll have two separate components and now we need to slowly combine them.
The key here is to mix everything slowly so we don’t cook the eggs. Add roughly half of the warm milk mixture to the egg mixture a ½ cup at a time.
Now everything is warm. So add the egg-milk mixture into the large saucepan where the rest of the milk and cream is waiting. Put it all BACK on the stovetop and heat until it is 180-185. As it heats, the mixture thickens.
The custard will coat the back of a wooden spoon when it has reached the right thickness. Again, do not let it boil! Off the heat, add the salt and vanilla, and stir.
Now we have to strain. You can simply set a strainer over a bowl, or use a cheesecloth. Either way, since we used eggs, we have to strain because there will inevitably be some little bits we don’t want.
And now we must chill overnight. Don’t rush this stage, or you will be frustrated when it comes time to freeze. Put the ice cream maker insert in the freezer and the custard in the fridge. Come back tomorrow.
It might not seem like it, but the hard part is over.
Ice cream making day 2
The next day, we churn. How this works will depend on your ice cream maker’s instructions. But an electric one does all the work, churning and freezing our custard into ice cream.
While it’s churning, let’s deal with the candy canes. You can unwrap them and use a food processor to crush them, or you can put them in a plastic bag and smash them by hand.
When it has started to look like soft-serve ice cream, add the crushed peppermint candy or candy cane pieces, whatever you’re using.
Scoop it into a freezer-safe container, airtight container. A loaf pan with plastic wrap on top works very well. Put it back in the freezer and freeze for 2-4 hours until the ice cream has frozen and looks like…ice cream.
And now we scoop! It’s delicious, and an absolute hit with little kids. Sprinkle additional crushed candy canes on top if you’d like.
More holiday desserts:
More homemade ice cream:
- Cookies and cream ice cream is a lovely companion to peppermint
- Vanilla caramel fudge is perfect for fall with a slice of cobbler
Print the recipe here
Creamy Peppermint Ice Cream Recipe
- ice cream maker
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup crushed candy canes about 12 candy canes
- Warm the milk, cream, and some of the sugar. Add the milk, heavy cream, and 1/2 cup of sugar to a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, warm the mixture until it is very warm (175 degrees), about 5 minutes.
- Beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar. While the mixture is heating, combine the egg yolks with the remaining cup of sugar. Beat until it turns lighter yellow in color.
- Temper the eggs with warm milk. Remove the milk mixture from the heat, and half a cup at a time, add roughly half of it to the egg mixture. Mix after each addition. This keeps it from cooking the eggs. Once you have blended half of the milk into the eggs, pour the entire milk-egg mixture back into the saucepan.
- Cook the ice cream custard. Place it all back on the heat and heat over medium and cook. Cook until the mixture is 185 degrees, stirringly constantly, or has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil.
- Strain and chill. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Strain the mixture using a strainer or cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature, then cover and place in the fridge until very cold- at least 6 hours, up to overnight.
- Churn and add candies. Remove custard from fridge and set up ice cream maker, according to manufacturer's instructions. Churn until it is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, then add the crushed candy cane 1/4 cup at a time
- Freeze until firm. Cover and refreeze for 2-4 hours until hardened. Scoop and serve. It will last up to a week in the freezer.
Peppermint stick ice cream is a delicious holiday dessert that you can easily make at home. The steps involved in making this treat are simple and the recipe we’ve provided ensures an easy, no-fuss way to get started with your own homemade batch of peppermint ice cream.