This Black Cherry Ice Cream Recipe uses fresh black cherries for natural flavor. No egg yolks, corn syrup, or cooking required! This delicious ice cream recipe is made in an ice cream maker and is perfect on a hot summer day!
Nothing tops homemade ice cream! It’s unbeatable in terms of flavor and health benefits! (No guar gum or corn syrup or other ingredients that are hard to pronounce!)
Sweet, dark cherries are the star of this gorgeous pink ice cream. You can use fresh cherries and pit them yourself with a cherry pitter, or skip all that time and mess and just use frozen cherries! That’s what I did!
I got a bag of dark cherries in the freezer section at Costco, but you can also probably find them in the freezer section of any grocery store.
Ingredients for Black Cherry Ice Cream
- Fresh or frozen pitted black cherries
- Lemon juice (fresh, or from a bottle)
- Whole milk
- Heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla extract
How to make Black Cherry Ice Cream
There are two different ways you can treat the cherries for this ice cream. You can leave them whole (in which case, you’re creating more of a homemade cherry vanilla ice cream), or you can chop them up. I wanted my ice cream to have that beautiful rosy hue, and get more cherry flavor throughout, so I chose to chop my cherries.
You can most easily chop your pitted cherries in a food processor or blender. Just pulse them until they become small chunks. The size of the cherry pieces is up to you and your personal preference.
Now what you want to do is extract the cherry juice and make it so that the cherries stay relatively soft in your ice cream.
To do this, you’ll add your cherries to a medium bowl, and then add some sugar and lemon juice.
Stir the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice together and let it sit on your countertop at room temperature for two hours. The sugar will help draw the juice out of the cherries, and will also get sucked into the cherries to help keep them from freezing solid in your ice cream.
Now it’s time to add all those cherries and their luscious juices to your whole milk, sugar, and heavy whipping cream.
First, mix the whole milk and sugar together with a whisk in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
Then add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla and mix.
Finally, add your cherry mixture.
Just stir everything together until it all turns pink.
Now add it to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. (I recommend the Cuisinart ICE-21 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream Maker. For comparisons with other ice cream makers, read Which Ice Cream Maker is the Best?)
Because of the high volume of cherries and cherry juice, you may need to churn this ice cream in two batches. I just add about half to my ice cream maker and churn it. Then I transfer it to an airtight container and put it in the freezer to wait for the rest of the ice cream. (These ice cream containers are my favorite! They make it so easy to scoop the ice cream!)
After removing the first batch, just pour the second batch into your ice cream maker and start churning again! The second batch will take longer, because the ice cream bowl won’t be as cold, but it will still work.
You’ll want to freeze this ice cream for at least two hours before serving (unless you want it to be soft-serve, in which case, you can eat it right away!). Freezing overnight is even better.
Now it’s time to make it! Just follow the recipe below, and you’ll be eating delicious Black Cherry Ice Cream in no time!
And if you have more questions, be sure to scroll past the recipe for all the FAQs about Black Cherry Ice Cream!
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chop your cherries in a food processor or blender by pulsing until finely chopped (not pureed).
- Add the chopped cherries to a medium-sized bowl with 1/3 cup of sugar, and two Tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir and allow to sit at room temperature on your counter. This will draw the juices out of the cherries.
- When almost ready to churn, prepare the ice cream mixture by adding the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of whole milk to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the 2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the milk and sugar and blend well.
- Carefully add the cherries and all their juices to the ice cream mixture. Stir until everything is well-blended.
- Add to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Depending on the size of your ice cream maker, you may need to churn this in two batches.
- Transfer soft-serve ice cream to an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for at least two hours or overnight.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 2g
FAQ’s about Black Cherry Ice Cream
Can I use fat free milk instead of whole milk?
Sure–but I wouldn’t recommend it. As a rule of thumb, the less fat there is in milk, the more water it has. Skim or low-fat milk has a higher water content than whole milk, which means your ice cream will be more icy and crumbly, and more difficult to scoop.
If that’s a trade-off you’re willing to make, go for it.
Can I make Sugar-free Black Cherry Ice Cream?
Again, I don’t recommend this. Sugar plays an important part in the chemistry of ice cream. I’ve written a whole post called “Can You Make Ice Cream Without Sugar” that explains the effects of various sugar substitutes in ice cream.
How do you keep cherries from freezing in ice cream?
Macerating the cherries (letting them sit on the counter in the sugar and lemon juice) helps keep the cherries soft in ice cream. Because of cherries’ naturally high sugar content, they won’t turn as hard as rocks, even if you don’t give them the lemon/sugar treatment.
Can I add chocolate and make Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream?
Sure! All you have to do is grate a chocolate bar (high quality dark chocolate is best), add mini-chocolate chips, or melt some chocolate and drizzle it over the ice cream in layers as you’re transferring it to your airtight freezer container.
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