In case you didn’t know, July is National Ice Cream Month.  What a spectacular idea!  A whole month devoted to ice cream, one of my very favorite desserts!  Unfortunately this month I have been so busy in my kitchen with other goings on, I have not made a batch of ice cream all month (though I did make a wonderful sorbet.)  But, I love ice cream so very much that I couldn’t let this occasion pass without doing something to celebrate.  I decided to finally give coffee ice cream a try, and oh, what a good decision that was.   I’ve made a LOT of ice cream, but I think this has to be in my top three favorite flavors.  It is just perfect.  The coffee flavor is spot on, balanced perfectly with some sweetness, and unbelievably creamy. Make it.  You’ll understand.


  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups whole coffee beans
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, divided
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. finely ground coffee or espresso powder


  • 01

    Combine the milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt and ½ cup of the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once the mixture is warm and just begins to bubble, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

  • 02

    After steeping, return the saucepan with the coffee mixture to the burner over medium heat.  Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.  Once the coffee mixture has become warm again, slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  Return the egg-coffee bean mixture to the saucepan over medium high heat.

  • 03

    Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula or spoon (about 170-175° F.)  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible, then discard the beans (I used a heavy-bottomed drinking glass to do this.)  Mix in the vanilla and ground coffee or espresso powder.  Chill the batter over an ice bath, or in the refrigerator.  Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Tara

    wasn’t that a fantastic flavor?! this was the first one we made from TPS and now i’m so craving it all over again. lol love the addition of the coffee beans in the photo!

  • Elizabeth

    This looks awesome! Because of all of your ice cream and sorbet recipes (that plum raspberry sorbet picture really did it!), I went out and bought an ice cream maker last week. I’m definitely going to have to try this one!

  • This is such a good choice of ice cream. You can never go wrong with coffee ice cream. Love the photo as well. Makes me wish I had an ice cream maker right now.

  • Hi Annie-I am so glad that you have entered the challenge and being that I LOVE coffee and live in RI, I am loving your submission.

  • I didnt know it was national ice cream month!! opps!!!
    So since this is COFFEE ice cream, does that mean I can skip my morning mug of joe and just have this?

  • Annie

    Absolutely! My hubby just told me this morning I would be perfectly justified in having this with a donut for breakfast! (He’s a keeper ;) )
    :) Annie

  • nutmegnanny

    Yummy! I’m hosting Blogger Secret Ingredient(BSI) this week and I picked coffee as the secret ingredient. Feel free to participate with this recipe if you want:) Just check out my blog for the instructions if you want to enter. BTW this ice cream looks awesome!

  • Steeping the coffee beans in the milk, what a great idea!

  • Oh, this looks so good. I wish I could make this, but I gave up coffee over a year ago. Darn.

  • I have never had coffee ice cream, but it’s definitely on my list to try. I can only imagine that it’s absolutely declicious!

  • delightfullysweet

    Mmmm coffee ice cream. One of the best things on the planet!

    I don’t love coffee but I do love a coffee ice cream! Thanks for the recipe. A must try!

  • Elizabeth

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that doesn’t like coffee, but does like coffee flavored ice cream! :)

  • Annie

    Elizabeth, I’m actually not much of a coffee fan either! I do occasionally get a cup from Starbucks but then it is very sugared and doctored up so that it barely resembles coffee :)

  • Turquoise

    I don’t like coffee unless it’s an iced mocha or ice cream!!! I want go get a cone right now!

  • Alexis

    Just a quick note to let you know I made this tonight for my Husband. He loves coffee ice cream. He gives it more than two thumbs up, he can’t stop smiling and gushing about how great it tastes. He also wants to know if its something I can make weekly for him – LOL

    Thanks for sharing this. Not sure where I found you, but mostly likely foodgawker or tastespotter.


  • Lisa Joy

    This recipe was also referenced on the blog Simply Recipes, and she also said that it was one of the best ice creams she’d ever had. Both of you are right! I made it (with modifications on the base ice cream — I use Alton Brown’s Frozen Custard recipe), and it was gone WAY too fast!

    I was just directed to your blog by Bill James, Amanda’s dad. He’s a good friend of ours, and he knew I’d love your blog. He was right, too!

  • I am an ice cream snob. I am obsessed with coffee. I get coffee ice cream about 70% of the time I get to choose. This was one of the most amazing ice creams I have ever had. Seriously! I posted about it (excuse the horrible picture, I wasn’t patient enough…I really wanted to finish my ice cream!):

  • I made this a couple of days ago and fell in love. I also made your vanilla ice cream (the one that is not custard-style) and I think I would prefer a texture between the two. This ice cream is so velvety smooth and rich that I can barely down more than one or two spoonfuls (though that is probably a good thing). I love the flavor, even though I used granules to steep and then strain. Next time, maybe I will reduce the amount of egg yolks. For an uber-rich ice cream, this one is great!

  • Amber

    Annie, I love your blog-you are such an inspiration. I made this last night and it was delicious! The only problem was that the caffeine kept me up way later than I am used to! Next time, I will try making it with decaffeinated coffee beans.

  • Jennifer

    I really enjoy your blog. I made this ice cream with the help of my 2 year old today. I only used 3/4 cup of beans and very coarsely ground them. It still had great coffee flavor. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Alice

    I made this yesterday and it was so good! We’ve already decided to make a double batch next time we make it – I’m pretty sure it will all be gone before I get home tonight…

  • liz

    Does the coffee need to be instant? Or is fresh coffee grounds okay?

  • Anonymous

    It’s not ground, you use coffee beans.

  • Dek2711

    Annie,i just had a scoop of the ben and jerry coffee heath bar crunch ice cream and its delish. I thought since i have a cuisinart ice cream maker i should try making it.Then i chked ur blog to see if you had any suggestions..and lo and behold an awesome recipe!!! However since no one in my house drinks coffee,i have no idea what kind of whole coffee beans to buy…espresso beans or some other kind?Should i pick it up from regular grocery stores(Kroger) or speciality food stores?

  • Anonymous

    I’m as clueless as you since I don’t make coffee either. However, the type of bean does make a huge difference in the flavor of the ice cream. Last time I made it I used caramel macchiato beans from The Fresh Market and it was ah-mazing! Highly recommend something similar to that.

  • I might have to try this. I currently just use instant at the beginning, but using beans and instant in different stages sounds interesting!

  • Judy

    It is all your fault Annie that I have all this delicious ice cream sitting in my freezer tempting me! I love your blog and kept passing over the ice creams and sorbets because I didn’t have an ice cream freezer and didn’t want to buy one. Well, I kept encountering them on your blog, they looked delish and everyone raves about homemade ice cream.

    Since Mother’s Day, my birthday (the day before Mother’s Day this year), and summer are just around the corner I decided “why not?” and broke down and bought an ice remaker as a treat to myself!

    My youngest daughter picked coffee ice cream (what? she is only 17) as the first kind to make. My oldest daughter, who does not drink coffee but likes coffee ice cream, took one bite and said she will never eat store bought ice cream again. I used Starbucks coffee beans (did that have something to do with why it was so good?) to make this as it was the only beans I had on hand. Someone gifted it to me and I don’t own a coffee grinder!

  • Kat

    Awesome. Just. Awesome.

    My husband thought for sure nothing would ever surpass your chocolate ice cream recipe when we tried it last weekend. Till I tried this one this weekend ;)

    I was never a huge ice cream fan. You’ve converted me.

  • Aimster

    Thanks! I have been trying to make a coffee ice cream for my husband for a year with no luck. This one is great and successful.

  • Beth Abel

    What do you store your ice cream in? I’ve heard it goes pretty hard in plastic containers…how much in advance can you make it without that happening?

  • Beth Abel

    Sorry, one last question :) Do you think it would be okay to do all the first steps one evening, refrigerate overnight, and put in the machine the next morning?

  • annieseats

    Homemade ice cream generally freezes harder than commercial ice cream not because of the container it is stored in, but because of a couple factors, mainly the fat content and the churning method (more air is incorporated into commercial ice cream, making it seem softer). As a rule, the more fat in your homemade ice cream, the softer and less icy it will be (so things with heavy cream and egg yolks will have the best texture). Another thing that can help is adding a tablespoon of alcohol (vodka for a neutral flavor). Since alcohol has a much lower freezing point than other substances, it will help prevent hard freezing of homemade ice cream. As long as the recipe has enough fat and the correct proportions, you can store your ice cream for very long periods of time (several months at least) without an appreciable change in texture.

    All that said, I just store my ice cream in one of a variety of plastic containers. As long as they are air-tight, they work fine and won’t cause freezer burn. I hope that helps!

  • annieseats

    Yes, absolutely. That’s what I do the majority of the time. The colder the batter is initially, the less time required in the ice cream maker.

  • I LOVE this ice cream recipe–thank you so much! Last summer I made a version with rum cream, and today I made a mocha chip variation. I added 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder with the coffee beans, and poured 4 ounces of melted dark chocolate into the ice cream machine when it was almost done churning. It turned out really well! I actually love coffee, but I need a little chocolate in my coffee desserts :)