Homemade matcha ice cream is easy to make and tastes so much better than the ones you order at Japanese restaurants or buy at the store. Packed with your favourite green tea flavour with delicious hints of vanilla, this ice cream is a matcha-lover’s dream.
But ice cream is one of the first cross-overs from teas.
We’ve been ordering green tea ice cream as dessert in Japanese restaurants for years. It’s a wonderful end to a savoury meal with its fresh, palate-cleansing taste.
It’s difficult to find matcha ice cream in the stores though and if you do find one, it’s either expensive or lacking in matcha flavour.
This matcha ice cream recipe is anything but. It’s full of that rich matcha flavour you love and so easy to make (you don’t need an ice cream machine). Let’s get to it!
Why this recipe works
You’ll love making matcha ice cream at home because:
- You can control the matcha flavour. While it’s is becoming more and more popular, I find that the ones available in the supermarkets are severely lacking in green tea flavour. Making it at home gives you control over how strong you want the matcha flavour to be.
- It’s very easy to make. This recipe comes together in no time. You don’t even need an ice cream machine to make it.
- And the recipe is easy to customize. You can add your favourite mix-ins like white chocolate, or toppings like chopped nuts.
- It’s a delicious addition to matcha desserts. You can add a scoop to your matcha smoothies. Or make it a base for your ice cream cakes or ice cream sandwiches.
What is matcha ice cream made of
You’ll be surprised that homemade green tea ice cream just consists of 5 ingredients:
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Heavy cream (at least 36% milk fat)
- Vanilla extract
- Matcha powder
It goes without saying that the matcha green tea powder makes or breaks this recipe (see below for more information). And if you’re wondering, this is the matcha powder brand we use.
How to make
Now that we have all the ingredients, all we need are bowls and an electric mixer.
1. WHIP. First you’ll want to whip your heavy cream to stiff peaks. Set it aside.
2. DISSOLVE. Then in a large bowl, combine condensed milk, matcha powder, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Stir until smooth and the matcha powder is fully dissolved. You shouldn’t see specks of matcha powder in the mixture.
2. LIGHTEN. Add a dollop of whipped cream to your matcha mixture to lighten it.
3. COMBINE. Fold the lightened matcha mixture into the whipped cream until incorporated.
4. CHILL. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, smoothen the top with a spatula, cover with plastic wrap and freeze 6-8 hours, preferably overnight.
Super easy, isn’t it? Here are a few tips to make this green tea ice cream recipe even easier.
Use matcha powder that you like
There are two kinds of matcha powder — culinary grade and ceremonial grade.
Ceremonial grade matcha is more expensive, very fine and silky, and has a vibrant green colour. It’s designed to be naturally sweet and strong and is usually the kind used in Japanese tea ceremonies.
Not very many people appreciate the strong matcha flavour though. It’s definitely an acquired taste.
Culinary grade matcha is a more versatile powder that’s more commonly used to make lattes and baked goods. This is the matcha flavour we’re probably more used to.
I used to think that I needed to splurge for the ceremonial matcha powder but after many recipes and years of baking, I realized that for the goodies that I make, culinary grade works just as well.
So don’t worry about it. Just make sure the matcha powder you’re using to make this ice cream is the matcha powder you enjoy drinking.
I would recommend buying pure matcha powder though, and not those already sweetened with sugar.
Use full-fat heavy cream
Heavy cream is the base of most no-churn homemade ice cream recipes and you want one that’s full fat (36 to 40%) because it will whip better. It also results to a smoother, creamier texture.
And before whipping your cream, chill the bowl and the whisk you plan to use for about 15 minutes. This will make it quicker and easier for you to get to stiff peaks.
Taste your ice cream mixture
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.
It’s especially important to adjust the amount of matcha powder you add in.
It would depend on the brand of matcha powder you’re using and how strong you want the flavour to be.
I usually go with almost 2 tablespoons. Just keep in mind that condensed milk is plenty sweet and you want that matcha flavour to shine through.
Use a 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
Placing plastic wrap on top of your ice cream prevents ice crystals from forming.
And even if they do form, they do so on the plastic and away from your ice cream. You can throw the plastic away once your ice cream is done with its initial chill time.
Good matcha ice cream achieves that perfect balance of sweet, creamy, earthy and slightly bitter taste that matcha is known for.
It’s not overly sweet or vanilla-y, and has a unique refreshing aftertaste which makes it a great palette cleanser after a meal.
Yes it does because matcha powder has caffeine. One cup of matcha tea has around 70 mg of caffeine, which is about 50% less than the caffeine in a cup of coffee (source).
Matcha, on its own, has lots of benefits like boosting brain function and promoting heart health (source). However, remember that this is still ice cream with sugar, dairy and calories.
In simplest terms, green tea is brewed using tea leaves while matcha is the ground, more concentrated version of green tea leaves (source).
In terms of ice cream, we often use these names interchangeably here in North America, also often combining them (matcha green tea ice cream).
But they do refer to the same flavour ice cream, which is matcha.
Other homemade ice cream recipes you can make without a machine
Love making ice cream at home? Check out these no-churn (no ice cream machine) ice cream recipes that are way better than their store-bought counterparts.
- Pistachio chocolate chip ice cream is the ultimate sweet and salty, creamy and chocolatey summer treat.
- Blackberry lavender ice cream — wonderfully floral, subtly purple, absolutely refreshing. It’s a summer treat you’d want to have all year long.
- Few things are more refreshing than a scoop (or two) of homemade lemon ice cream in the summer. Sweet, tangy, smooth, creamy, perfect for the season’s warm sunny days.
- Full of cherries and chocolate chips, you will definitely scream for this delicious roasted cherry choco chip ice cream!
Whatever ice cream you decide to make, be sure to make it your own! That’s the beauty of homemade ice cream, you can add your favourite mix-ins to make it the best ice cream ever.
Enjoy it throughout the summer and all year-round.
Matcha Ice Cream
- Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 1 cup heavy cream until stiff. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine 5 oz condensed milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, matcha powder and a pinch of salt. Stir until smooth and the matcha powder is fully dissolved. You shouldn’t see specks of matcha powder in the mixture.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream to your matcha mixture to lighten it.
- Fold the lightened matcha mixture into the whipped cream until incorporated.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, smoothen the top with a spatula, cover with plastic wrap and freeze 6-8 hours, preferably overnight.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Happy ice cream making!
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.