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Easy 7 Ingredient Homemade Lemon Basil Ice Cream

This recipe for Lemon Basil Ice Cream turns the idea of this classic sweet treat on its head a bit by adding something savory to the mix–fresh basil! The idea of basil ice cream may sound strange, but it is truly intoxicating. You’ll love how refreshing this summer ice cream recipe is.

photo of a bowl of lemon basil ice cream recipe

Sharing this Lemon Basil Ice Cream Recipe

With only 2 weeks till we pull out of Albuquerque and head out to Colorado to settle in Boulder, I’ve got quite a lot on my plate.

Please welcome the lovely Georgia Pellegrini, author of “Girl Hunter“, here for today’s guest post: Lemon Basil Ice Cream. Doesn’t this recipe sound perfect for the warmer months ahead?

Want to know more about Georgia? Check our the GoodLife Books Georgia Pellegrini Interview

Creating this Recipe for Lemon Basil Ice Cream

Hi Everyone! I am thrilled to be paying a visit to Katie at Good Life Eats today.

I’m here to share one of my favorite ice cream recipes with you that highlights all of the herbs that are so abundant during the Spring months.

I have cooked a lot with my grandmother through the years and one of the beliefs that I’ve inherited from her is that there is nothing better than fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are an inexpensive and healthy way to introduce so much extra flavor and intrigue into any dish.

I even use fresh herbs in sweet dishes. One of my Grandmother’s favorite herbs to grow is stevia leaves, a natural sweetener.

She and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth… in fact, she taught me that in most recipes, you can often cut the sugar down to about 1/3 of what it calls for and taste the rest of the ingredients much better that way.

This recipe turns the idea of a sweet treat on its head a bit by adding something savory to the mix–it’s Lemon Basil Ice Cream! It may sound strange, but it is truly intoxicating.

What I Love About Homemade Lemon Basil Ice Cream

There is something about this ice cream recipe… it’s the potent smell of the basil and the tang of the lemon.

You can play with the balance, adding more or less lemon and more or less basil. And of course any other herb would also be a nice experiment. Thyme is another favorite of mine.

One of the things I like about making my own ice cream is knowing how simple the ingredient profile truly is. Just 7 ingredients here and all wholesome ones.

photo of ingredients to make lemon basil ice cream

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Tools Used to Prepare this Ice Cream Recipe

  • Saucepan: For cooking the ice cream base.
  • Blender: For preparing the lemon basil ice cream base.
  • Ice Cream Maker: We love this ice cream maker from Cuisinart. It’s very easy to use and makes big batches, but read on to find instructions for preparing this Lemon Basil Ice Cream without an ice cream maker.
  • Ice Cream Scoop: Place the ice cream scoop under running warm water to make it easier to scoop out the ice cream.
  • Ice Cream Freezer Containers: Make your homemade ice cream look professional!

Ingredients in Lemon Basil Ice Cream

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious and refreshing recipe for basil ice cream:

  • Whole Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Fresh Lemon Zest
  • Salt
  • Egg Yolks
  • Sugar

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

photo of steps showing how to make lemon basil ice cream

How to Make Homemade Lemon Basil Ice Cream

Spring time is such a great time to experiment with fresh herbs, and this recipe is a great way to start. I think Lemon Basil Ice Cream truly is my favorite ice cream flavor. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Combine the milk, cream, basil, and lemon zest in a saucepan until boiling. Then, turn off the heat and let the flavors infuse while the cream mixture cools from hot to warm.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.
  3. Next, transfer the cream mixture to a blender and puree until the basil is blended.
  4. After that, slowly pour the warm cream into the egg mixture while whisking vigorously.
  5. Then, return the mixture to the saucepan and stir over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula.
  6. Chill the ice cream base in the refrigerator until cold.
  7. Then, churn using your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

How to Make this Ice Cream Without a Machine

Don’t own an ice cream maker? No worries — here are some instructions to make it without one!

I just happen to own an ice cream maker, so I use it when making this basil ice cream, but you can use the no churn ice cream method, too.

If NOT using an ice cream maker, place the ice cream base in a freezer safe container with plenty of room for stirring (such as a metal rectangular pan). Then, transfer the container with the ice cream base in it to the freezer and freeze for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove the pan from the freezer and stir it to break up any frozen chunks. Make sure you scrape along the edges of the pan as well. Return to the freezer and freeze for 30-40 minutes. Repeat the stirring and freezing until the mixture is thick and frozen.

Tips for Making the Best Basil Ice Cream

  • This lemon basil ice cream recipe uses heavy cream and whole milk to get that extra creamy texture. Don’t try to substitute either ingredient for something lower in fat.
  • Make sure you have put the insert for your ice cream maker in the freezer at least 12 hours prior to churning the ice cream, or longer if your manufacturer’s user manual instruct to do so. You need to make sure it is frozen solid so the ice cream base freezes as it churns.
  • The lemon basil ice cream churns best if the ice cream base is chilled at least 4 hours before churning, but overnight is even better. You’ll achieve the smoothest, creamiest ice cream by churning an already chilled base.

How Long is Lemon Basil Ice Cream Good For?

Homemade ice cream will last for up to 2 months in the freezer when stored in an airtight container.

To help preserve freshness and prevent ice crystal formation on the surface of the ice cream, place a piece of plastic wrap, parchment paper, or wax paper on the surface of the basil ice cream before placing the lid on the container.

TIP: For best results, make sure your storage container is considered a freezer safe container.

a photo of lemon basil ice cream in a bowl on a wooden table

Try this Easy Basil Ice Cream Recipe!

Next time you’re looking for an easy summer dessert, give this lemon basil ice cream a try! Did you think it was a refreshing sweet treat? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this homemade ice cream recipe.

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this basil ice cream!

More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

Want more recipes for delicious homemade ice cream? Here are a few of my favorites!

This Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream is loaded with all of the familiar flavors of this popular dessert. A creamy, tangy cheesecake ice cream base swirled with a fresh blueberry sauce, and if you like, topped with crunchy graham cracker crumbs.

This Key Lime Pie Ice Cream is loaded with all of the familiar flavors of your favorite pie — even the crunchy graham cracker crust!

No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream is swirled with layers of Pumpkin Caramel and Crunchy Gingersnaps for the perfect fall ice cream recipe!

In this recipe for No Churn Brownie Chunk Ice Cream with Vanilla Bourbon Caramel, creamy vanilla no churn ice cream is layered with chewy brownie chunks and swirled with sweet and salty vanilla bourbon caramel sauce.

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.

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Have you ever used fresh basil in ice cream?

lemon basil ice cream recipe

Homemade Lemon Basil Ice Cream

Yield: serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This recipe for lemon basil ice cream turns the idea of a sweet treat on its head a bit by adding something savory to the mix–fresh basil! The idea of basil ice cream may sound strange, but it is truly intoxicating.


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar


Preparing the Ice Cream Maker

  1. At least 12 hours before you plan to churn the ice cream, place the insert for ice cream maker in the freezer. Or, check your ice cream machine's user manual to see what is recommended.

Making the Lemon Basil Ice Cream Base

  1. Combine the milk, cream, lemon zest, and basil along with a pinch of salt in a medium sized sauce pan.
  2. Bring it up to a gentle boil over medium heat, then shut off the heat and remove saucepan from the hot burner.
  3. Let the basil and cream mixture infuse, stirring to make sure to stir so the bottom doesn’t scorch. Let sit and infuse until no longer hot, but still warm.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they are a pale yellow in color. Set it aside.
  5. Transfer the basil cream mixture to a blender. Place the lid on, and blend until the basil is pureed.
  6. Temper the yolks by slowly pouring a bit of the warm cream mixture to the egg and sugar mixture while whisking. Keep stirring constantly, scraping down the sides to avoid scrambled eggs.
  7. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir it constantly over low heat until it thickens to the point where you can leave a track with your finger on the spatula. Turn off the heat.
  8. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes, then pour the liquid into a refrigerator safe container with a lid.
  9. Chill the ice cream base for at least 4 hours, or until completely cold.

Churning the Lemon Basil Ice Cream

  1. Set up the ice cream machine according to manufacturer instructions.
  2. Then, pour the ice cream base into the frozen ice cream container and churn it until it reaches a thick, frozen ice cream consistency.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 320Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 205mgSodium 83mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 0gSugar 26gProtein 6g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

About the Recipe Author:

Georgia Pellegrini is a chef, author, and blogger who roams the world hunting and gathering, tasting good food, and meeting the good people who make it.


Friday 4th of September 2020

Great flavors. I doubled the lemon zest and then after tasting, decided to add the juice of 1 lemon before putting it in the ice cream maker. I also toasted a few pistachio nuts I had on hand and added those about 20 minutes after the ice cream maker started. Will add a pinch of SALT to enhance the depth of (all the) flavors next time.


Sunday 13th of April 2014

Made this with lemon basil and it is so yummy and so refreshing! Also, very easy to make! I will be experimenting with my herbs more now that this was such a success! Thanks for posting!


Thursday 9th of August 2012

Made this for an friend's Asian-grill-themed barbecue...I figured the basil and lemon referenced Asian ingredients, and I paired them with sesame bacon ginger cookies. The ice cream was a huge hit! Thank you for the recipe!


Wednesday 8th of August 2012

I do youth programming at a public library and in two weeks I'm doing a program on Blissful Basil. I would like to make this ice cream for that program and am wondering if anyone has tried it with Lemon Basil instead, or Opal Basil. If so, I'd love to hear about the results!


Saturday 9th of June 2012

This sounds delicious! I wish I had an ice cream maker. Do you think there is a way to use basil and " dress up" store bought lemon sherbert?

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