Peppermint Ice Cream
This homemade Peppermint Ice Cream recipe features a rich and creamy peppermint-flavored base with crushed peppermint candy canes scattered throughout. It’s easy to make at home and perfectly refreshing – a delightful holiday dessert!
The Best Peppermint Ice Cream Recipe
This homemade Peppermint Ice Cream recipe is rich and creamy, and perfectly refreshing with a peppermint flavored ice cream base and crunchy little bites of crushed candy canes. It’s wonderful any time of year, and especially for Christmas. It’s a fun holiday dessert that has a special place in my family’s heart, thanks to my grandpa.
Why You’ll Love This Homemade Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream is always special, but crunchy-sweet peppermint ice cream during the holidays? That’s the ultimate! Here’s why you’ll love this peppermint ice cream recipe:
- Holiday peppermint perfection. Peppermint is a top flavor when it comes to the holidays. And who doesn’t like ice cream?! This ice cream features a peppermint flavored base AND crunchy bits of peppermint candy canes.
- Rich and decadent. I adore a traditionally-made ice cream that starts with a rich custard base. With a combination of whole milk, heavy cream, and egg yolks, this ice cream is rich and decadent, and doesn’t get icy in the freezer.
- Easy. While the custard base does take a little more effort than some other ice cream methods, I promise that this recipe is easy to make. And the end result will be so very worth it!
More Peppermint Recipes
What You’ll Need
Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this peppermint ice cream recipe. Make sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
- Milk – Use whole milk for richness.
- Heavy cream – The combination of heavy cream and whole milk creates an incredibly smooth and rich ice cream base.
- Egg yolks – This gives rich flavor and creamy texture. Save your egg whites to make angel food cake!
- Peppermint extract – Be sure to use pure peppermint extract (not “artificial” or “imitation”), for the very best peppermint flavor. Find it near the vanilla extract in the baking aisle.
- Candy canes – Or use hard peppermint candy.
How to Make Peppermint Ice Cream
I’ve outlined how to make this easy peppermint ice cream below. Find detailed instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Warm the milk. Stir together the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Prepare the cream. Pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice, and set a medium-mesh sieve on top.
- Temper the egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolks, then slowly pour in the warmed milk mixture.
- Cook. Scrape the warmed milk and egg yolks mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until it thickens into a custard.
- Strain. Pour the custard through the sieve, into the cream below. Stir the mixture over the ice bath until it’s cooled.
- Chill. Place the mixture in the fridge to thoroughly chill.
- Add the peppermint extract. Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled, stir in the peppermint extract.
- Churn. Churn the ice cream base in your ice cream maker.
- Add the crushed peppermint. Once the ice cream has churned, and is still fairly soft, fold in the crushed peppermint candy.
- Freeze. Transfer finished ice cream to a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour, preferably several hours, before serving.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect homemade peppermint ice cream:
- Make sure your ice cream maker bowl is VERY cold. Freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours, in the coldest part of your freezer, for best results.
- Use full-fat ingredients. As noted above, this recipe uses heavy cream and whole milk for the ultimate rich and creamy ice cream.
- Thoroughly chill the ice cream base. For the quickest, best ice cream results, chill the custard base until it’s absolutely cold before churning it in your ice cream maker. Chill the ice cream base for at least a couple hours in the fridge, or even overnight. You can also place it in the freezer and stir it every 20 minutes until it’s thoroughly chilled (what I do!).
- Churn the ice cream long enough. You want the cold ice cream base to reach a soft-serve consistency, which usually takes about 20 minutes. Then you can easily fold in the crushed candy while the ice cream is still a little soft.
- Fully freeze the finished ice cream. After you fold in the candy, allow time for the ice cream to freeze further. For a softer set, freeze for 2 hours. For harder ice cream, freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
Want to change it up a bit? Here are a few ideas for you:
- Add some vanilla. If you’re a super fan of vanilla, or just like peppermint and vanilla together, add a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract along with the peppermint extract.
- Fold in chocolate. When adding the crushed peppermint, also include chunks or flakes of dark, semi-sweet, or white chocolate.
- Add some sprinkles. Or, when adding the crushed peppermint, include some sprinkles. They could be red and green sprinkles or chocolate sprinkles, whatever you like.
Ways to Serve Peppermint Ice Cream
Peppermint ice cream is fun and festive for the holidays. You can serve it as-is, or try these serving suggestions:
- Top with chocolate. Peppermint and chocolate are a fantastic combo. Add a generous drizzle of hot fudge sauce. Or add a cap of homemade magic shell to scoops of peppermint ice cream, so fun!
- Serve in ice cream cones. Make easy handheld treats at a kids’ (or adults’!) holiday party and serve big scoops of cold peppermint ice cream in ice cream cones.
- Make a simple sundae. Top scoops of peppermint ice cream with chocolate sauce or hot fudge.
- Or make an ultimate brownie sundae! First, bake a batch of my mom’s easy, chewy chocolate brownies. Then take a warm brownie, top it with a couple scoops of peppermint ice cream, and pour some hot fudge over the top. Add swirls of whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed candy cane, too!
- With holiday desserts. I love a slice of my mom’s chocolate wacky cake topped with peppermint ice cream. Swedish sticky chocolate cake is also delightful! Or serve it with chocolate chip shortbread cookies, creamy fantasy fudge, super-fun Oreo truffle balls, or my grandma’s homemade chocolate caramels!
Store peppermint ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Homemade ice cream doesn’t keep as well long-term as store-bought ice cream, so enjoy it while it’s at its freshest. To help keep ice crystals from forming, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream, then make sure the lid is tightly secured. It also helps to store the ice cream in the back of the freezer, for more even freezing.
More Ice Cream Recipes
- Pumpkin Ice Cream
- Birthday Cake Ice Cream
- Crème Fraîche Blueberry Ice Cream
- Salted Caramel Ice Cream
- Ice Cream Pizza
- Peanut Butter Ice Cream
- Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- 8 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract - I use McCormick brand - add more if you like!
- ½ cup crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candy
- Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat to dissolve the sugar and salt completely.
- Pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice, and set a medium-mesh sieve over the top.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Very slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the egg yolks. Then scrape the warmed milk and egg yolks mixture back into the saucepan.
- Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon, about 5-7 minutes. Do not let the mixture get too hot that it starts to cook/scramble the egg.
- Pour the custard through the sieve, into the cream below. Stir the mixture over the ice bath until cooled. Then place mixture in the fridge to cool thoroughly.
- Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled, stir in the peppermint extract. Because peppermint extracts can vary in strength, start out with 1 teaspoon and give it a taste test. If you'd like more peppermint flavor, add a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired level of peppermint flavor. I use McCormick brand pure peppermint extract, and add between 2 and 2½ teaspoons when I make this ice cream.
- Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When the ice cream is formed in the ice cream maker, and still fairly soft, fold in the crushed peppermint candy.
- Transfer the ice cream to an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer for at least an hour (will still be quite soft), preferably for several hours or overnight. If the ice cream is frozen overnight or longer, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 105mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 22gProtein: 7g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Peppermint ice cream has a special place in my family’s heart. Not only do we love its pepperminty flavor, but it was a favorite treat of my Grandpa Renelt’s during the holidays. So, growing up, we always had a container of peppermint ice cream in our December freezer.
This post was first published in 2010, then updated in 2023.