How to Make an Ice Cream Terrine

How to Make an Ice Cream Terrine ~ if you’re entertaining friends and family this summer, how about trying one of these pretty terrines? It requires no cooking skills, and the payoff is enormous for such a simple project. Everybody will want to gather around and watch you ‘carve’ dessert!

striped ice cream terrine, sliced

This is the ultimate summer frozen dessert and one you’ll be so glad you mastered. Wow your friends and family with your own customized ice cream cake ~ if you can open a pint of ice cream, you can make a terrine!

What is an ice cream terrine?

An ice cream terrine is a beautiful frozen dessert made with layers of ice cream, molded in a bowl or a pan. It’s sliced to serve, which shows off all the pretty layers. No two pieces will be alike.

striped ice cream terrine slices on a distressed metal surface

What kind of mold do I use for an ice cream terrine?

I like to use a loaf pan because it makes a nice cake-like shape that’s easy to portion into equal slices. Any loaf pan will work, just be sure you line it with plastic or parchment paper with long ends so you can lift it out after it has been frozen. You can also use a small to medium sized bowl lined with plastic to make a round ice cream ‘bomb’ shape.

How do I choose the flavors for my terrine?

That’s the fun part! Nowadays the market has exploded with gourmet ice cream flavors, both in stores and ice cream shops. Take a tour of the freezer aisle, or make your own creative flavors. There aren’t any hard and fast rules, which is nice, and there are a number of ways you can go ~

  • Choose contrasting colors ~ this helps achieve that ‘wow factor’ when the terrine is sliced.
  • Choose by type: use all fruit sorbets, or all chocolate ice cream variations to keep a consistent flavor palate.
  • Choose compatible flavors like chocolate and coffee, or fruit and vanilla. Use common sense and don’t mix mint chip with mango (unless you like that sort of thing!)
  • Arrange a rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
  • Choose two flavors and alternate for a simple palette.
  • Go with red white and blue for the patriotic holidays.


frozen Neapolitan terrine from Dairy Goodness
HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ mango blackberry terrine
frozen sorbet terrine from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Do I have to use ice cream in my terrine?

No, you can use frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, gelato, or semifreddo as well, so you can make it low fat, sugar free, or non dairy.

HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ blueberry terrine

vanilla frozen yogurt and blueberry terrine from Cooking and Beer

This gorgeous terrine is made with semifreddo, an Italian frozen treat that’s similar to ice cream.

HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ semifreddo terrine

raspberry and chocolate ripple semifreddo from Bakers Royale

What else can I put in a frozen terrine?

You can layer yummy extras into your terrine, like chocolate, fruit, sprinkles, nuts, etc. When you’ve softened your ice cream, you can stir them in and then spread into the mold, or add the ice cream first and layer in the berries, etc. afterwards.

I added blueberries to a vanilla layering my terrine, and the one below has beautiful raspberries scattered throughout, don’t the slices look pretty?

HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ frozen berry terrine

frozen berry and chocolate terrine from Design Sponge

The terrine below has cookie crumbs, fresh raspberries and fresh peaches layered into it.


apricot raspberry ice cream cake from Shutterbean

Pistachios give extra texture and interest to this semifreddo.

HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ strawberry pistachio semifreddo

strawberry pistachio semifreddo from Martha Stewart

Do I have to layer my terrine?

No, you can do it any way you like, this pretty terrine is dotted with pistachios and Turkish delight candy. I like to add my flavors in big blobs, and then take a chopstick and swirl them together for a marbleized effect. Get creative and add see what you come up with.

HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ Turkish delight terrine

Turkish delight terrine from Delicious

And of course you can just use one flavor for your terrine if you prefer, like the mint chocolate example below. The benefit is that your dessert can be neatly sliced instead of having to scoop it out, and you can decorate it beautifully. No one needs to know how easy it was 😉

HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ Mint chocolate terrine

mint chocolate ice cream terrine from Tesco

Can I make a healthy frozen terrine?

Why not? These healthy lemony yogurt or yogurt and berry terrines are proof.

HOW TO MAKE AN ICE CREAM TERRINE ~ lemony frozen yogurt terrine

layered ice cream terrine with spoons
3.17 from 6 votes

How to Make an Ice Cream Terrine

Course Dessert
Author Sue Moran


  • 6 varied flavors of ice cream about 1 1/2 cups each
  • In mine I used:
  • strawberry coconut ice cream
  • chocolate
  • vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries
  • raspberry sorbet
  • chocolate chip ice cream
  • mango sorbet


  • Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Make sure to leave long ends extending so you can lift the frozen cake out for cutting.
  • Starting with your first layer, take out the ice cream from the freezer and put it int a small bowl. Mash it with a spoon until it becomes a spreadable consistency. If your ice cream is super hard you can let it sit for a few minutes, first. Spread the softened ice cream out into an even layer across the bottom of the loaf pan. Put in the freezer to harden up, 30-40 minutes or so, depending on your freezer and the thickness of your layers.
  • Do the same with each layer, freezing solid in between each one, until you have filled the loaf pan to the very top. Cover with plastic and put in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or until serving.
  • To serve, lift the terrine out of the pan using the ends of the plastic wrap. Flip it upside down on a platter and carefully peel away the plastic. It's ready to slice and serve!
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


How to make an Ice Cream Terrine pin


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  • Reply
    July 13, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    My mother-in-law made me a terrine cake for my first birthday with their family. She put some type of thin candy layer in between each ice cream. She always added chocolate ice cream and a sorbet for contrast with 2 other flavors. Do you know what the thin candy layer could have been. It was like a thin praline and gave it a crunch.

    • Reply
      July 13, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      That sounds wonderful, I love the contrast of the chocolate ice cream with sorbet, so pretty. I can’t think offhand what the candy could have been unless she maybe made her own thin praline.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Sue, this is a super post! Thank you! You think I could add a layer with meringue somewhere in the middle?

    • Reply
      August 28, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Gosh, I don’t know how the meringue would freeze, texture-wise, Alexandra…might be worth a try!

      • Reply
        August 29, 2018 at 2:28 am

        To be on the safe side I will simply use it as a cushion to rest the terrine ..thank you Sue…

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Thanks for the tip, Sue. I’m going to make it again soon. I love this ice cream terrine. Perfect for our hot south Florida summers!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2018 at 5:58 am

      If you love the idea you might try some other molds, I really want to try a bowl sometime.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I’ve made the terrain twice, and it disappears very quickly in my house. I made layers of vanilla ice cream with fruit sherbet layers. Yum! I used a standard loaf pan, but can get only four layers of 1-1/2 cups of ice cream & sherbet in the pan. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      August 4, 2018 at 10:46 am

      Your pan might have slightly different shape or dimensions than mine, you can try using 1 1/4 or even 1 cup per layer to get more stripes.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2018 at 7:09 am

    I love how beautiful and inspired these creations are! So tempted now to find my loaf pan and start layering 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    July 8, 2018 at 9:25 am

    So many beautiful examples…it is hard to decide which one to try making first.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Oh my gosh Sue, these terrines look out of this world, they are such a special treat. You can buy terrines like this in Germany. They were my mom’s favorite. Pinned!

    • Reply
      July 7, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Hey Gerlinde ~ what fun that you can buy these ready made in Germany…we need to get with that trend in the States 🙂

  • Reply
    Irish Chef
    July 7, 2018 at 4:18 am

    Loved all these delish photos, Sue.
    Another very easy terrine-y ingredient is ‘still-frozen’ instant or cooked pudding mix – tastes like old fashiond frozen custard and so many flavours available.

    • Reply
      July 7, 2018 at 6:53 am

      Love that, I’ve used pudding mix in popsicles before, but I didn’t think of it for these, thanks!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I need to do this today! OK, not today, as I’m traveling to DC to protest ANYTHING, really. But soon!! I recently got an ice cream maker (by recently, I mean ordered and it isn’t here yet), and I’m stoked to see this. (Side note, anyone else drooling over the white berries? What are those??) (Side note #2: I think I’m going to try homemade vanilla ice cream and pink grapefruit pieces for my terrine, because your pink grapefruit jello has my mouth watering. I looooooove pink grapefruit. Think the jello would freeze ok, or better to just use the peeled fruit?)

    • Reply
      July 6, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Where to start? First of all, good for you for making sure your voice is heard, that’s what we’re all about, right? And I’m so glad you’re getting an ice cream machine…perfect timing! The white berries are frozen currants. And I have no idea how the jello would freeze, I’ve never tried. But also not sure how fresh grapefruit would freeze, it could be icy. Hope this answers everything 🙂

  • Reply
    Lynn A
    July 6, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Oh, these look so good! I want to make a banana split terrine. Do you think fresh bananas would freeze well? I’m thinking about using vanilla ice cream with ribbon layers of the traditional toppings between the ice cream layers. I’d put a layer of bananas on the bottom, then the first layer of ice cream. I’d finish with a drizzle of chocolate fudge topping. What do you think?

    • Reply
      July 6, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Bananas do freeze well, Lynn, so I think your plan is a go ~ let me know how it turns out!

      • Reply
        Lynn A
        July 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm

        Well, the banana split terrine was a mixed success. The bananas did freeze very well, but I wasn’t wild about the texture. The rest was great! Next time, I’ll just serve the terrine with the bananas sliced up on the side. Live and learn, right?! Thanks for a great recipe idea!

        • Reply
          July 8, 2018 at 8:01 am

          Interesting. You could also make some banana ‘nicecream’ to go inside 🙂

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    July 6, 2018 at 7:35 am

    SO beautiful and perfect for company. I’ve had that one terrine with mango and blueberries on my list for years 😉 But yours is so much prettier! Outstanding summer dessert.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    July 6, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Such a fancy name for such an easy and impressive dessert! Thanks, Sue for the great instructions and beautiful examples! I’m going crazy now, thinking all things terrines!

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