Lavender ice cream is wonderfully floral, subtly purple, absolutely refreshing. It’s a summer treat you’d want to have all year long. And you don’t even have to have an ice cream machine to make this recipe at home.
(Love homemade ice cream as much as I do? Check out this easy tutorial on how to make no-churn ice cream to learn how to make the ice cream base and how to make different variations for the best ice cream flavour every time.)
I know a lot of people are wary of eating lavender-flavored food.
I know because I used to be one of those people. I mean, who wants to eat soap or potpourri?
That changed when I tasted lavender ice cream from a lavender farm we visited a few summers ago. It was so unique and amazing that it’s become one of our family’s favorite ice cream flavours.
Let’s get to it.
What does lavender ice cream taste like?
Lavender, as food, is surprisingly not soap-like at all.
It smells great and it tastes even better. I’ve mostly had it in sweets (surprise, surprise) but I know others use them in savory food as well.
With a vanilla ice cream base, lavender ice cream has just the right amount of sweet, hints of floral flavor, delightful. You really have to taste it and see for yourself.
The key is to use it sparingly as it can easily overpower any dish. A little goes a long way.
Why you’ll love making this recipe
- The flavor is so unique. Lavender is not an ice cream flavor you can easily find in your local supermarket so being able to make it yourself is awesome.
- You can make it without an ice cream machine. What’s more, you don’t need an ice cream machine to make it. I’ve been making homemade ice cream with just my mixer and the result is always smooth, creamy and delicious.
- Contains no eggs. And because it’s no-churn, you can make this recipe without eggs.
- Easy to customize. Plus, you can customize it however you like. Drizzle honey, sprinkle dried coconut, add your favorite berries.
How to make
Lavender ice cream is made of:
- Culinary-grade dried lavender buds — ensure you’re getting culinary grade lavender. You don’t want to end up with lavender that’s not meant to be eaten! More info on this below.
- Sweetened condensed milk — condensed milk is the secret to velvety and creamy no-churn ice cream. Condensed milk goes through a process where about 60% of its water content is removed. And less water means less chance of ice crystals forming in your ice cream.
- Heavy cream — you want heavy cream, which has 36 to 40 percent milk fat, because it results to firmer, more stable whipped cream with stiff peaks that hold their shape longer. This adds to that smooth texture and creamy taste.
- Vanilla extract
- Fresh blackberries — I use blackberries to give a hint of color to my ice cream but this is optional. See below for more info. (Got extra blackberries? Always a great idea to make a blackberry vodka cocktail!)
Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need an ice cream machine to make this recipe.
I usually use my stand mixer when making homemade ice cream but a handheld electric mixer would work just fine.
Other than that, all you need are some bowls, a spatula and a freezer-safe container.
Instructions with step-by-step photos
Prep the lavender cream. Microwave heavy cream on high for about 30 seconds or until it’s warm (not hot) to the touch.
Add lavender buds / dried lavender and allow it to steep. The longer you steep, the stronger the lavender flavour. I usually steep mine in the fridge for about 3 hours.
When that’s ready, strain and remove the lavender buds and add the lavender cream to the rest of your heavy cream and whip until stiff.
To make your ice cream base, combine condensed milk, blackberry juice (optional, see below), vanilla extract and salt.
Add a dollop of whipped cream to your condensed milk mixture to lighten it.
Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream, careful not to deflate it. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container, smoothen the top and cover with cling wrap to prevent ice from forming. Freeze overnight.
Unlike the very purple lavender flower, culinary lavender when cooked is actually more greyish-white than purple. So to add a little color, I add crushed blackberries (strain to get the seeds out).
The blackberries won’t take away from the lavender flavor but lends a nice purple hue.
You can also use blueberries; just be careful because blueberries have a more distinct flavor that might outshine the lavender.
Purple food color is also an option. I would recommend the gel kind.
Homemade ice cream tips for success
As you can see, this lavender ice cream recipe is a breeze. To make it even easier, here are some tips for you:
Make sure to use culinary-grade lavender
When buying lavender, make sure to ask if they are culinary-grade. Remember, lavender is used for things other than food.
Culinary lavender (as opposed to ornamental lavender) is 100% safe for consumption. And it has the sweetest fragrance among all kinds of lavenders making it the best for cooking and baking.
The best way to bake with lavender
Speaking of which, what’s the best way to bake with lavender? I can’t speak for others but personally, I hate getting big chunks of lavender buds in my mouth.
So I usually use a lavender infusion, like in this recipe. I also chop it as finely as I can if I’m adding it to lavender cookies or cake. Grinding works too.
Of course, to make things pretty you can sprinkle buds on top for garnish, just remove them later.
And remember, lavender has a pretty strong flavor so a little goes a long way.
Go for full-fat heavy cream
When making homemade ice cream, it’s best to use full fat heavy cream (and forget about calories for a while lol!). This means fat content is between 36 and 40%.
It whips better and sets better.
Taste, taste, taste
And since no-churn ice cream has no eggs in it, it’s safe to taste as you’re making it. So go ahead and taste at every step if you like.
You’re making your very own ice cream and you can make it as sweet and as fabulous as you want.
Use freezer-friendly container
Not all containers are created equal. Some would lead to ice forming at the bottom or sides of your ice cream. While others might expand in the freezer.
I’ve amassed this collection of ice cream tubs since I learned how to make ice cream and I exclusively use them. I’ve owned them for years and they still look like new!
Cover your ice cream with cling wrap
To be extra sure that ice doesn’t form on any part of your ice cream, especially the top, place cling wrap on it (place it right on the surface of the ice cream) before covering and putting in the freezer.
Then when you’re ready to eat, remove the cling wrap and reveal the creamy, ice cream underneath!
Half & half cannot be substituted for heavy cream in no-churn ice cream recipes because it just doesn’t have enough fat content for whipping (10 to 18 percent).
In a pinch, you can use whipping cream (30 to 36 percent milk fat) but it will result to a lighter, softer texture.
To prevent your ice cream from getting freezer burn or forming ice crystals:
(1) Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the ice cream’s surface before placing the lid. This also helps prevent freezer smells from seeping into your ice cream.
(2) Make sure you use a freezer-safe container with a proper, tight-fitting lid.
It’s still safe to eat ice cream with a few ice crystals. It’s going to affect the texture and the taste though so you really want to protect it from air (its main enemy) and eat it within 2 weeks of making it.
Homemade lavender ice cream lasts about 2 weeks in the freezer.
Because it doesn’t have the same preservatives as store-bought ice cream, when it comes to homemade ice cream, the fresher the better.
Some tips to keep it fresh for longer:
– Cover the top with plastic wrap (see above)
– Store in a relatively shallow and flat container vs. a deep dish
– Store towards the back of your freezer so that its temperature can remain fairly constant
Other homemade ice cream recipes
Making ice cream at home has really become one of our favourite summer activities. Simple, fun, delicious! Here are some of our favourite flavours.
- Nothing beats homemade ube ice cream. Fellow Filipinos know just how expensive these can get at Filipino or Chinese groceries! So making it at home is awesome. My recipe is richer and creamier too.
- Another summer favourite is no churn peach ice cream. We love peaches and this is a great recipe for all the fresh peaches we get every summer.
- Pistachio chocolate chip ice cream is a classic. Nutty and rich from the pistachio with generous bits of chocolate chips throughout.
- And coffee chocolate chip ice cream is a delicious way to get your caffeine kick this season.
Lavender Ice Cream Recipe
- Using a microwave-safe cup or bowl, microwave ½ cup heavy cream for 30s on high or until the cup is warm (but not hot) to the touch.
- Add 2 tsp of dried lavender and allow to steep. Once cool, cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
- Strain the lavender from the cream. Discard the lavender then add the cream to 1 cup of chilled heavy cream. Whip until stiff.
- In a large bowl, combine 5 oz condensed milk with blackberry juice, 1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
- Stir until fully incorporated.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream to your condensed milk mixture to lighten it.
- Mix until combined.
- Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream, careful not to deflate it.
- Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container, smoothen the top and cover with cling wrap to prevent ice from forming. Freeze overnight.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Happy ice cream making!
Did you make this recipe? What’s your favourite ice cream flavour? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.