July is generally not one of my favorite months of the year.  While it beats the gray, freezing winter months no contest, I wouldn’t consider it top tier like October (swoon), April, May or June.  This year, though, I’m finally starting to embrace July more than usual.  I’m not aching for fall…in past years, that longing has generally set in in early June.  I’m quite sure there are several factors at play making July more tolerable this year.  For one, the weather has been actually really mild and nice – no horrid heat wave like last year.  Of course I’m always grateful for the plentiful fresh summer produce while it’s around.  We’ve been spending lots of time outside with the kids, doing all sorts of fun activities and just playing around.  And then of course, there is the obvious, the thing that makes every July nearly lovable – it’s National Ice Cream Month.

I have a few great ice cream recipes to share over the course of the month, but I wanted to start out with this one because it’s so different than anything I’ve had before.  The ice cream itself is actually popcorn flavored – yes, you read that right.  The cream mixture is steeped with popcorn before the base is finished and frozen.  As a result, this slightly sweet frozen treat is infused with popcorn flavor.  Not creepy fake popcorn flavor like that abomination of a jelly bean, but real popcorn flavor.  Even being the popcorn fiend that I am, I was uncertain of whether this would really be a dessert I truly enjoyed.  The ice cream itself is a little sweet and a little savory, and combined with a handful of caramel corn and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce, it makes for a dessert that is both unique and memorable.  And for popcorn/caramel corn lovers like myself, kind of addictive.  You’ve been warned.


For the ice cream:
1¾ cups heavy cream
¾ cup whole or 2% milk
¾ cup sugar, divided
About 5 cups prepared popcorn (1/3 cup unpopped kernels, if you make your own)
2 large egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. coarse salt

To serve: 
Caramel corn
Vanilla bean caramel sauce


  • 01

    In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream with the milk and ½ cup of the sugar.  Heat over medium heat until warmed and bubbles form around the edges.  Remove from the heat, stir in the prepared popcorn, and cover.  Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes.

  • 02

    Return the pan back to the burner over medium heat.  In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar.  Whisk until smooth.  When the mixture in the pan is warmed through again, slowly pour into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon (170˚-175˚ F on an instant read thermometer.)  Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into a storage container.  Stir in the vanilla and salt.  Let cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.

  • 03

    Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.  To make sundaes, layer with a handful of caramel corn and a drizzle of caramel sauce.


  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This is pretty much perfect! LOVE!

  • Kinsey Drake

    Yum! This looks like the perfect balance of sweet and salty!

  • HalfBakedHarvest

    This is amazing! I have been doing a lot of popcorn desserts lately!! I am loving everything about this. YUM!

  • Liz

    Can’t wait to try this….amazing! :)

  • Rebecca

    We once ordered a “butter popcorn sundae” on a whim in Sonoma, with no description on the menu. What came out was basically what you made here – salty/sweet “butter” ice cream, caramel sauce and popcorn. It was fantastic and I’m so glad to have a recipe to make for my husband and remind us of our great trip to wine country!

  • Zainab @ Blahnik Baker

    Oh wow! This looks amazing!! Sweet and savory!

  • Jamie Stone

    Holy yum. Cant wait to try!

  • Oh my lawd.

  • looks so good!!!

  • Caroline L.

    I’m super intrigued right now! Did not know it was National Ice Cream Month – I think that just gave July LOTS of brownie points! :)

  • Vicki Bensinger

    This is such a fun combination. I’ve been making tons of popcorn lately and kettle corn but caramel corn is my favorite with some chocolate drizzled over it. I’m going to make some of that this weekend. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Tara McLaren

    This looks amazing! I love popcorn! I’m curious though, the recipe says to steep the popcorn but doesn’t say to remove it. Do you leave it in? Wouldn’t that just result in slimy lumps?

  • Popcorn ice cream!? Sold!!

  • annieseats

    It does – the part where you pour it through the fine mesh strainer. That removes the popcorn. Hope you try it, and enjoy!

  • I’d eat this for every movie marathon. Dangerously :D

  • Stephanie Long Thompson

    When I was younger I worked at Baskin Robbins for a summer. One of my very favorite flavors was a limited edition baseball flavor–I think it was called Triple Play. It had popcorn in it and I loved the unique texture. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks!

  • nessa

    Love this idea!

  • Annalise

    What a fun recipe! Love this.

  • Laura Campbell

    Oh man, Annie this dessert looks incredible! I am a big fan of caramel corn… I once had a similar dessert to this, but the caramel sauce was made with a big splash of bourbon and there was… wait for it… bacon in the ice cream. It worked, though I could only eat a bit of it before being overloaded with sweet, savoury and salty goodness! Thanks for your lovely recipe. Great photo! xx

  • Popcorn flavored ice cream? You’re a genius, Annie!

  • Megan {Country Cleaver}

    I can’t even comprehend this kind of amazingness!! Popcorn flavored! I love it!

  • Ice cream is the perfect way to enjoy the month of July! And this ice cream sundae looks amazing.

  • Rochelle Hutchinson

    Ooooh this looks so good. I love popcorn and ice cream all that is missing is some chocolate

  • Amanda

    I churned some of your caramel ice cream last night and am waiting for the ice cream maker to freeze enough to do this one next. My son can’t wait for some caramel and popcorn ice creams … perfect for a summer movie night!

  • Amber Patty

    This was hands down our favorite ice-cream EVER! I was a little nervous but glad I gave it a try! The popcorn and caramel were PERFECT toppings and the ice-cream tasted heavenly! Thank-you so so much for posting this recipe!!!!!

  • Patti

    i missed this post when i was on vacation but just saw your photo of it on instagram. i am making this immediately!

  • S A Foxwell

    Actually the best icecream ever, never had so many compliments on a dish! You may have raised my icecream expectations for life! x