A Delightful Honey Ice Cream That You’ll Love

Sweetened with real honey, this recipe is a twist on a classic that you’ll love. People who like “regular” ice cream will still love this, because it has a ton of vanilla flavor with a little something different.

close up view of off white ice cream

Honey Ice Cream

Sweetened with pure honey, this ice cream has plenty of creamy vanilla flavor.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
cooling 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 45 minutes
Serving Size 8 servings

Equipment

  • ice cream maker
  • strainer
  • Medium saucepan

Ingredients 

  • cups whole milk
  • cups heavy cream divided
  • ½ cup honey clover or wildflower
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • Heat the milk and cream. Heat the milk, 1¼ cup of the cream, and all the honey in a saucepan over medium heat, until warm and steaming, or about 170 degrees. You'll have just a small amount of cream left to beat with the eggs.
    pan of warm milk and cream
  • Beat the eggs and remaining heavy cream. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and remaining cream until light yellow in color and well combined. They will noticeably change color when mixed enough. (A hand mixer on low will work well.)
    eggs and cream beaten until frothy
  • Temper the eggs by adding half of the warm milk mixture, a half cup at a time. Then add the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and cream.
    adding eggs in to temper
  • Heat the custard. Heat the saucepan, which now contains all of the milk, cream, honey, and eggs, over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 185 degrees. The custard is ready when it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Take off the heat when it reaches temperature.
  • Strain the custard and add the vanilla and salt. Hold cheesecloth or a strainer over a bowl to strain the custard. Add the vanilla bean and vanilla extract along with the salt and stir to combine. Immediately place the custard into in the refrigerator to chill. Chill for 4-24 hours, until very cold.
    stainer set over bowl with vanilla beans inside
  • Freeze ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. When it has reached the consistency of soft serve ice cream, place into a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
    ice cream machine churning liquid

Notes

If you are using a stronger flavored honey, I’d recommend using 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup granulated sugar unless you love an intense honey flavor.  Add the sugar (rather than cream) to the eggs in step 2 but otherwise make the ice cream exactly the same.
Your ice cream will freeze solid but not super hard.  It’s scoopable but melts quickly. 
If you don’t have a vanilla bean, add an additional 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

More Tips:

You can make ice cream by hand, but it will be a little more work. Just pop the liquid custard in a medium bowl in the freezer and stir it well every 30 minutes or so. This might sound easy, but it’s actually a huge pain! I find that any ice cream maker is well worth it.

Don’t add additional honey, it will make the ice cream too soft.

Don’t skip the straining step. You’ll often have small bits of egg in the custard and you definitely want those out!

For a softer ice cream, serve it right out of the churn. For a firmer consistency, let it freeze for a few hours.

girl in green dress holding cone of honey ice cream

Serving Suggestions

Serve this with grilled peaches and lemon pound cake.

Any substitutions can alter the flavor and texture of the final product, but they are worth a try if you have dietary restrictions. The outcome of the recipe may vary.

ingredients on white counter
  • Whole Milk: Use almond, coconut, or oat milk for dairy-free alternatives.
  • Heavy Cream: Substitute with full-fat coconut cream or high-fat oat cream.
  • Honey: Maple syrup or agave syrup are good alternatives, if you need one. Farmers’ markets, health food stores, or specialty food shops are great places to find high-quality, flavorful honey. The flavor of the honey can significantly influence the ice cream’s taste, so choose one you like.
  • Egg Yolks: Use a cornstarch or arrowroot powder slurry (2 tablespoons mixed with a little of the recipe’s milk) to thicken.
  • Vanilla Beans: Replace with additional vanilla extract (4 to 6 teaspoons total) or use 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste per bean.

Storage Instructions

Place the ice cream in an airtight container or in a loaf pan with plastic wrap presed right up against it to prevent freezer burn. It will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 1 months, but it’s best in the first two weeks.

Let it sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften before serving.

ice cream scoop in finished container of ice cream

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