Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

Fresh lemon ice cream in small glass bowls

Fresh Lemon Ice Cream is like no other ice cream you’ve ever had, homemade or store bought ~ the zippy, tart, citrus flavor is unique and so refreshing because it’s made with lots of fresh lemon juice. And it’s ready in under 30 minutes!

Fresh lemon ice cream scoops in small glass bowls

The hands on prep time of this lemon ice cream is short because I don’t make an egg custard base. It’s a simple matter of mixing the ingredients and popping them into the ice cream machine. This is exactly the type of homemade recipe that convinced me to get a machine in the first place ~ I’ve never tasted any commercial ice cream with anything close to the pure, clean flavor of tangy fresh lemon. The secret is lots of fresh lemon juice and a tiny bit of pure lemon extract to really bring that flavor out.

Reader Rave ~

“My son and I just made this and we love it. I am not a lemon person but this turns out surprisingly not too lemony. We put vanilla bean extract instead of lemon extract. I asked my son to give the recipe a rating and he chose 5 stars. Kids don’t lie lol. We will be keeping this recipe for future use. Thank you”  ~ Has

fresh lemon ice cream in a cardboard container

I added 2 tiny drops of yellow food coloring, mostly for the sake of the photos. I hardly ever use food coloring, and when I do I use it very sparingly. In this case it just takes the ‘edge’ off the stark whiteness of the ice cream, and gives us a visual cue that what we’re about to enjoy is lemony.

Fresh lemon ice cream topped with lemon zest

I love this partly because I’m a lemon addict, but also because it’s such an unusual flavor, at least for ice cream. There are plenty of lemon sherberts and sorbets out there, but not too many actual ice creams. I almost added dark chocolate chunks to it, but held back in favor of the pure lemon. I think I made the right decision, although it’s something to think about for a future batch.

churning fresh lemon ice cream fresh lemon ice cream coming out of the machine

So far anyway I’ve been focusing on the simplest ice cream recipes, ones that involve no egg yolks, and no cooking. For this one I just whisk sugar into cold milk and cream, and then I poured the lemon juice in right before I added it to the machine. It curdled a bit but I figured it would work itself out as it churned, and I was right.

The best part of making your own ice cream is dipping the spoon in while it’s churning. One taste and I knew I had a winner. The large amount of lemon juice gives it a kick that you don’t expect from ice cream.

fresh lemon ice cream in small bowls

You can sprinkle on a little zest as a garnish, but again, I did that mostly for photographic purposes. I do think this lemon ice cream would be pretty spectacular with some homemade dark chocolate magic shell, or homemade bittersweet hot fudge sauce, though. Lemon and dark chocolate is a killer combination.

little bowls of fresh lemon ice cream with lemon wedges a small bowl of lemon ice cream

Which ice cream machine do I recommend?

I get asked all the time about what machine I use. I use and recommend Cuisinart. I’ve had my machine for years without any issues, I think that’s because there are no fussy electronic parts to break down ~ it’s a simple motor that turns the freezer bowl for churning the ice cream and it works quickly and perfectly every time. I love the easy on/off switch!

    • The machine I use is the base model. It works great for ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets, and makes all of them in about 2o minutes. Click HERE or click on the image for more info.

cuisinart ice cream maker

3.52 from 350 votes

Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

Fresh Lemon Ice Cream is like no other ice cream you've ever had, homemade or store bought ~ the zippy, tart, citrus flavor is unique and so refreshing because it's made with lots of fresh lemon juice.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Yield 1 1/2 pints
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar I used superfine baking sugar, but you don't have to
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice about 4 or 5 lemons
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 or 3 drops yellow food coloring optional


  • Mix the cream, milk, and sugar together and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the food coloring if you are going to use it.
  • Make sure your mixture and your lemon juice are cold, and when you are just about to add the cream to your ice cream maker, add the lemon juice and extract. Pour into the machine and process according to the instructions. On the basic Cuisinart machine it takes about 20 minutes.
  • You can eat it soft right from the machine, or freeze it longer for a firmer scoop.
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.


  • After this ice cream has been in the freezer for several hours it will be quite hard. Bring it out and let it sit for a while to soften up before scooping.
  • Recently I bought some quart sized cardboard ice cream containers, just like commercial ice cream comes in, and I love them. They’re great if you want to share your ice cream, or use it as a host/hostess gift. And if you have anyone in your house who likes to eat ice cream right out of the carton while they watch tv, letting it get all drippy and disgusting, and then put it back in the freezer, you might want to consider reserving a carton just for yourself.



You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Mary Younkin
    July 2, 2013 at 4:05 am

    This looks and sounds awesome, Sue. I had scribbled out some ideas for a lemon ice cream, but wow, a 1/2 cup of juice?! I bet that is a serious lemony kick. I need to kick mine up and try your version now. It sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    Denice Barker
    July 2, 2013 at 3:09 am

    I have the same ice cream maker you do and today I made cherry chocolate chunk, yesterday fresh strawberry. Tomorrow mint chocolate! Can you tell me where you get the ice cream containers? I’d love to be able to use them, too.

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    July 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Wow. Looks so clean and fresh. I love lemon anything. The sharper the better! I’m now on feedly which I’m loving. Great list of ‘ways to follow’ xx

  • Reply
    July 1, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Lemon! This ice cream sounds just perfect for the hot days we’ve been having. Now, if only I can carve out a space for the ice cream maker bowl in our stuffed freezer… 🙂

  • Reply
    July 1, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I love lemon and I really love ice cream. The recipe looks so simple. I may make some for the 4th. I shared this recipe over on my blog (full credit given to you of course.) Thanks for a great recipe.


    P.S. You photographs are also a treat.

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    July 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Hi my name is Tricia and I’m a lemon addict too. OK … I’m also addicted to ice cream. This recipe will be in my dreams. I made lemon curd ice cream once and loved it. This treat would make me very happy! Thanks Sue – hope you have a wonderful week.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Um, where’s the lemon extract?

  • Reply
    July 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    This is such a refreshing treat!!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I absolutely love simple ice creams without cooking and egg yolks. This is my kind of recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    July 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I love this ice cream! And I don’t even love lemon, or ice cream (give me a brownie or a cookie usually) but this…I want THIS!

1 2 3 7

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!


Get my tips, tricks & recipes for easy

foolproof baking


logo png