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Homemade Lemon Ice Cream (So Easy!)

Learn how easy it is to make Lemon Ice Cream; it is made with fresh ingredients and just the right amount of lemon for a bright, citrus flavor. This recipe for lemon ice cream can be sweetened with either sugar or agave nectar, depending on what you prefer

glass dessert dishes with scoops of lemon ice cream

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Making this Lemon Ice Cream

Please forgive me for sharing this recipe for Lemon Ice Cream. I know lots of you are trying to be good. To eat healthy. To ignore the cravings for sweets.

How do I know that? Because that is exactly what I am doing too. And I know you and I have a lot in common.

I have been craving homemade ice cream for the past several weeks. It was easily put off because I didn’t have any cream in the house.

And that’s not to say I didn’t try to remedy the lack of cream.

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close up of lemon ice cream in a glass dessert dish

Buying the Ingredients for this Lemon Ice Cream

You could say that I “forgot” about said cream by the time I was at the store — I hear that’s what happens when you try to take two children under the age of 6 to the grocery store at 4:30 in the afternoon.

It’s just not a very good idea.

You forget at least a quarter of the items on your list and then you have to skip another quarter because you’ve just got to get the heck out of there before you, along with everyone else in the store, go completely berserk.

Not that I would know anything about that. But other moms will definitely tell you that it’s probably best to just go grocery shopping alone.

But sometimes the cravings are just too strong. And the ice cream won out in the end. After several failed trips to the grocery store.

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for homemade lemon ice cream out for quite some time and it finally worked out. I had a big bag of lemons in my refrigerator drawer and I finally had the cream.

I learned the tip about xantham gum from Jane, and it definitely helped the homemade ice cream not come out so icy and hard after storing it in the freezer.

ingredients needed to make this lemon ice cream recipe

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Tools Needed to Make Creamy Lemon Ice Cream

You’ll need a few kitchen tools to make this amazing recipe for fresh lemon ice cream. Here’s what I recommend having on hand before getting started:

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons – to measure the ingredients.
  • Microplane Zester – to grate the lemon zest.
  • Wire Whisk – to beat the eggs.
  • Wooden Spoon – for stirring the ice cream base.
  • Saucepan – For cooking the ice cream base.
  • Ice cream maker – We love this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. It’s very easy to use and makes big batches.
  • Ice cream scoop – Place the ice cream scoop under running warm water to make it easier to scoop out the key lime ice cream.
  • Ice cream storage container – Make your homemade ice cream look professional by storing it in a freezer-safe container made especially for homemade ice cream!
preparing the lemon sugar to make a recipe for lemon ice cream

What’s in Lemon Ice Cream

This easy ice cream recipe calls for a few simple ingredients. For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions to make this homemade ice cream, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Lemon Zest
  • Sugar or Agave Nectar
  • Egg Yolks
  • Salt
  • Xantham Gum
  • Whole Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Half and Half
woman making the ice cream base for homemade lemon ice cream

How to Make Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

This lemon ice cream recipe comes together quickly, but allow for the ice cream to freeze before serving.

To make this homemade ice cream, first combine the lemon zest, juice, and sugar in a bowl and refrigerate to help the flavors come together.

Then, heat the milk and beaten eggs in a saucepan until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the milk mixture from the heat and stir in the xantham gum. Stir in the half and half and cream, then refrigerate for a few hours until chilled.

Add the lemon juice mixture to the chilled cream mixture and stir to combine. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to package 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.

lemon ice cream churning in an ice cream maker

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Tips for Making the Best Lemon Ice Cream

  • This homemade ice cream recipe uses heavy cream, half and half, 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.
  • You’ll achieve the smoothest, creamiest ice cream by churning an already chilled base, so I recommend that you chill the ice cream mixture for at least a few hours before you churn it.

The Best Toppings for Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon ice cream may seem difficult to dress up, but there are actually so many ice cream toppings that pair well with lemon!

Some of my favorite ice cream toppings to enjoy on this homemade ice cream are:

woman holding a spoon of lemon ice cream to sample it after churning

Lemon Ice Cream FAQs

Got questions about how to make lemon ice cream? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments on this post and I’ll respond with answers.

Can I Use Meyer Lemons?

Yes! Meyer Lemons would work great in place of regular fresh lemons.

Do I Have to Use an Ice Cream Maker?

Don’t own an ice-cream maker? No worries — you can still make this creamy lemon ice cream!

I just happen to own an ice cream maker, so I use it when making ice cream, but you can make a no churn lemon ice cream, too.

freshly churned lemon ice cream in a storage container next to an ice cream scoop and fresh lemon

How to Make Lemon Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Machine

  • If NOT using an ice cream maker, place the lemon ice cream base in a freezer safe container with plenty of room for stirring.
  • 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.

Try this Lemon Ice Cream at Home!

Next time you’re looking for a great recipe for creamy ice cream, give this Homemade Lemon Ice Cream recipe a try!

Did you love the fresh lemon flavor? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this great recipe.

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

woman eating a spoonful of lemon ice cream

More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

This Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream is swirled with pumpkin caramel and crunchy gingersnaps. Bonus: it’s a no-churn ice cream!

I don’t know a single person who can resist this No-Churn Brownie Ice Cream with Vanilla Bourbon Caramel.

Switch things up with this Vanilla Frozen Yogurt with Balsamic Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb. The ultimate spring ice cream!

No one will guess that this Pistachio Ice Cream is actually dairy-free.

If you love lemon, give this Lemon Basil Ice Cream a try.

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What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

glass dessert dishes with lemon ice cream

Lemon Ice Cream

Yield: serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Freeze Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

This Homemade Lemon Ice Cream is made with fresh ingredients and just the right amount of lemon for a bright, citrus flavor.


  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar or 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


  1. Combine the lemon zest, juice, and sugar in a non-reactive bowl. Refrigerate for an hour to blend flavors.
  2. Slightly beat the egg yolks in a large bowl. Pour milk into a heavy saucepan and heat to a bare boil.
  3. Pour the milk into the bowl with the eggs, whisking while you pour.
  4. Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan. Heat gently, don't boil, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove from heat and whisk the the xantham gum.
  6. Stir in the half and half and heavy cream. Cool, at least to room temperature, but it's definitely best if you chill in the fridge for at least a few hours.
  7. Combine the milk, egg, cream mixture with the lemon mixture. Mix well.
  8. Proceed with your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions.


adapted from Tartelette

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 475Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 201mgSodium 79mgCarbohydrates 54gFiber 1gSugar 46gProtein 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!


Thursday 19th of May 2011

Yum! I wanted a lemon ice cream, not a lemon ice and this delivers big time. Not too sweet either. Very lemony and very good. I didn't have Xanthum Gum, but I'll get that for next time as I need it anyway to expand my gluten free repertoire when baking for others. Thank you!


Sunday 7th of November 2010

Love the you have a source?


Sunday 7th of November 2010

I think they are from Crate and Barrel.


Tuesday 14th of September 2010

Yum!! I saw xantham gum at Whole Foods the other day and was wondering what I would use it for. Now I know! :)


Wednesday 15th of September 2010

I never even knew what it was before but it always bugged me when I made homemade ice cream and it turned out hard and icy after freezing in the freezer. It was never as good as it was the first more problems like that! Xantham Gum is like cornstarch on steroids...


Tuesday 14th of September 2010

wondering if you could use plain soy or almond milk instead of the heavy cream and half and half. I have never heard of lemon ice cream. This sounds just wonderfully delightful. It makes you smile just saying lemon ice cream = )


Tuesday 14th of September 2010

Hi Tracey - unfortunately I do not know the answer to that question. In this post there is a recipe linked for a coconut milk ice cream. You could probably substitute coconut milk for the cream and then maybe the almond milk for the regular milk, but I don't think I would personally try using almond milk for the whole recipe. It doesn't seem like it would be thick/creamy enough. But do let me know if you play around with this and how it turns out.


Monday 13th of September 2010

Hey Katie, Just got directed to your blog from Robyn's and I'm so glad to discover it. Love your space and so looking forward to learning something new from you!

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