Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Freezing Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 40 minutes

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream is a rich, creamy frozen treat made with simple ingredients and full of delicious coffee flavor!

Just like our creamy homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, this coffee-flavored ice cream is easy to make and perfect with warm and gooey Cakes like the incredible Chocolate Peppermint Lava Cake, and Brownies like the indulgent Caramel Stuffed Brownies.

Coffee Ice Cream scoop in serving dish

This easy sweet Coffee Ice Cream is packed with rich coffee flavor and is sure to be a hit with coffee lovers! You start with an easy egg custard base that makes this ice cream super rich and creamy. You’ll be surprised how simple ingredients can make the most indulgent, flavorful ice cream. Quality, full-fat ingredients make all the difference and are definitely worth it for ice cream that’s better than any store brand.

You can make this delicious Coffee Ice Cream with or without an ice cream maker. While the ice cream maker does eliminate some of the hands-on time, making it with our alternate methods is just as easy. Later in this post, we have an electric mixer method to make ice cream and the “shaken ice cream method” you might remember from science class. The shaken method is a great activity for kids to do, plus you can let them make kid-friendly flavors at the same time as your adult coffee-flavored ice cream.

With 5 tablespoons of ground coffee, you are sure to get a caffeinated kick with this Coffee Ice Cream. For less of an energy buzz, you can use decaffeinated coffee granules. For an even more eye-opening coffee flavor, use dark espresso grounds. Just like cooking recipes that use liqueur or beer, you want to use coffee that you enjoy drinking because the full flavor is going to shine through. A safe bet that everyone will love is a breakfast blend or medium roast.

Coffee Ice Cream collage

How to Make Coffee Ice Cream

Making Coffee Ice Cream base extra smooth and creamy takes a little patience, so make sure you have dedicated you give it your full attention. Watch the temperature and remember to keep whisking the whole time. Enjoy crafting a creamy ice cream dessert from scratch. Check it out!

  • Step One: Whisk egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Temper your eggs with the coffee mixture before you start adding them to bring them up to a warm temperature. Start with room-temperature egg yolks and whisk them well so they pour into a thin stream.
  • Step Two: In a saucepan, mix sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, salt, and coffee grounds. Use medium heat.
  • Step Three: Once simmering, reduce heat and slowly mix half a cup of this mixture into the yolks. 
  • Step Four: Merge the egg-coffee blend back into the saucepan, whisking consistently. When making the custard, the most important thing to do is keep whisking constantly so the milk doesn’t scald and the eggs don’t curdle.
  • Step Five: Cook until it thickens (about 8-10 mins). Avoid boiling.
  • Step Six: Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and let it cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Step Seven: Churn in an ice cream maker, then freeze for 3 hours before serving. Enjoy the creamy texture of your homemade ice cream!

More Coffee Desserts

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use instant coffee instead of ground coffee?

Yes, you can use instant coffee or instant espresso powder. However, the flavor might be less intense compared to using freshly ground coffee beans. We’re using ground coffee ourselves. 

How long will this ice cream last in the freezer?

Properly stored in an airtight container, it can last up to 2 months, but it’s best consumed within a month for optimal flavor and texture.

Can I make this recipe dairy-free?  

Yes, you can substitute the heavy cream and whole milk with coconut milk or almond milk, though the texture and taste will vary.

What if I don’t have an ice cream maker?

You can still make this recipe! After the custard cools, place it in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, stir it vigorously with a fork to break any ice crystals until the ice cream is creamy and set.

Is the caffeine content high in this ice cream?

The caffeine content is relatively low, but it might vary depending on the type and amount of coffee used. We don’t recommend eating it before trying to sleep! 

Coffee Ice Cream in ice cream maker

Key Ingredients in Coffee Ice Cream

This coffee ice cream recipe is straightforward and uses common ingredients that are often available in most kitchens. The creaminess is achieved with a combination of whole milk and heavy cream, while the natural flavors come from quality ground coffee and pure vanilla extract. Check it out! 

  • Egg Yolks: These add richness and a velvety texture to the ice cream. They also act as a stabilizer. It’s crucial to temper them correctly to avoid getting scrambled eggs in your custard.
  • Heavy Cream & Whole Milk: These ingredients make the ice cream luxuriously creamy. You could use substitutes like half-and-half, but this would alter the ice cream’s rich texture.
  • Ground Coffee: This provides the main flavor. For the best taste, use freshly ground beans. If using instant coffee, the flavor might be milder. Adjust to your liking.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla takes this recipe to new heights. You don’t want to skip it. Real vanilla extract does cost more than imitation flavoring, but the quality is a world apart! Go for the real ingredients. 

Variations on Coffee Ice Cream

  • Cookies: Baked desserts and coffee are a tasty combination, so add your favorite cookie pieces, brownies, or other treats once your ice cream is mixed. Chocolate Brownies or Chocolate Chip Cookies are a great mix-in!
  • Cardamom: Add 1 teaspoon ground cardamom to your ice cream custard mixture with the coffee granules. You can also add whole cardamom pods to the milk mixture as it cooks and then remove them before adding the coffee.
  • Irish Coffee: Make an Irish Coffee Ice Cream with 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey or Bailey’s Irish Cream added to the base after you add the yolk mixture.
  • Chocolate: Coffee and chocolate are a natural pair, each enhancing the flavor of the other. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chipschocolate shavings, or chocolate chunks before adding to the ice cream machine. You can also add a Chocolate Ganache swirl halfway through the freezing time when the ice cream is semi-firm but not solid.

Shaken Coffee Ice Cream

  • You need a large container with a secure lid. The container should be big enough to easily hold a gallon size bag with ice cream in it, plus ice cubes. The ice needs to be able to move around the bag.
  • Prepare the Coffee Ice Cream mixture per the recipe instructions and add to the freezer bag. Allow to cool.
  • Fill the container halfway with ice and ¼ cup rock salt and add the bag of ice cream mix.
  • Secure the lid and shake the container for at least 10 minutes until the ice cream becomes firm.
  • Remove the ice cream bag from the container and freeze for at least 4 hours before transferring to the storage container.
Coffee Ice Cream scoops in cone

Electric Mixer Ice Cream

  • The night before you make your ice cream, place a large mixing bowl in the freezer and freeze for at least 12 hours.
  • Make the Coffee Ice Cream mixture as usual and pour into a frozen bowl.
  • Freeze ice cream for 30 minutes in the back of the freezer where it is coldest.
  • Beat the ice cream mixture with an electric mixer on high speed for 2-3 minutes.
  • Return Coffee Ice Cream to the freezer for another 30 minutes, then repeat mixing and freezing every 30 minutes until firm throughout.
  • Freeze Coffee Ice Cream for at least 4 hours. 

More Easy Ice Cream Recipes

How to Store Coffee Ice Cream

  • Serve: Allow Coffee Ice Cream to harden fully, about 4 hours in the freezer, before serving. If you allow ice cream to get too melted or soft while serving and then re-freeze it will affect the texture.
  • Freeze: Store Coffee Ice Cream in an airtight container with plastic wrap between the ice cream and the lid. The plastic wrap keeps moisture from collecting and ice from forming. Freeze Coffee Ice Cream for up to 6 months in the back of the freezer.
Coffee Ice Cream scoops in serving dish

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Coffee Ice Cream

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream is a rich, creamy frozen treat made with simple ingredients and full of delicious coffee flavor!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 4 large egg yolks , lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons coffee , ground


  • In a medium bowl whisk eggs well.
  • In a medium saucepan add the rest of the sugar, heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla extract, salt and coffee on medium heat.
  • Whisk non-stop and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.
  • Add ½ cup coffee cream mixture in a very slow thin stream to the egg yolks while whisking quickly (do not stop whisking).
  • Pour the egg/coffee mixture back into the pot slowly while whisking constantly.
  • Cook until mixture is thickened, about 8-10 minutes (do not let boil or milk will taste scalded).
  • Turn off heat and pour into a metal bowl or other heat proof bowl.
  • Let cool completely, then refrigerate (covered) for 2 hours.
  • Add custard to your ice cream maker (per machine instructions) then freeze for at least 3 hours to harden before serving.


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 142mg | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1103IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 1mg
Coffee Ice Cream Pin for

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. Is the cooking and cooling and either or choice between that and the ice cream making machine? Do I need a machine?

    1. Hi Martha,
      There are ways to make Ice Cream without a machine. I haven’t created this recipe yet but perhaps I will! I use a machine! Let us know how your ice cream turned out!

  2. do you regular ground coffee or do you use instant ground coffee? thank you very much. I have tried a lot of your recipes and they are very good. thank you again