Homemade Lemon Ice Cream Recipe

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This homemade lemon ice cream recipe is so easy, and it’s the perfect summer dessert. All you need to make it are fresh ingredients and a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker!

bowl of lemon ice cream with spoon

When you think of summer, what first comes to mind? For me it’s pool time, warm weather, flip-flops, long walks, and ice cream. Today, I’m sharing a delicious homemade lemon ice cream recipe, and it couldn’t be easier.

First, before we get into the recipe details, a short summer story.

When I was growing up, my mom and dad made ice cream every summer. We had an old crank ice cream maker, and the whole process took a few hours. (At some point we did get an electric ice cream maker and that made the job easier.) We made it in our garage, and it was always hot. My mom would make the mixture, and my dad would handle the churning. My brothers and I would gather up old lawn chairs or buckets, and sit around the ice cream maker, just waiting for the ice cream to stop churning.

As the ice cream maker slowed down, our anticipation would always go way up. The rock salt and ice made such a mess, but my parents never seemed to mind. That ice cream was always such a treat, and it had the most incredible taste. It’s a piece of my childhood that I will never forget.

lemon ice cream recipe ingredients

Making ice cream in a Cuisinart isn’t the same thing, but it did bring back some good memories. I made a batch of vanilla ice cream as a practice run, and gave most of it to my dad. He thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Why This Recipe Works

The Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker enables you to make homemade ice cream whenever you want, and it’s so easy. It’s something the whole family can be a part of, especially the kids. It’s the perfect summertime activity!

Instructions

  • Prepare to make the ice cream by placing the Cuisinart bowl in the freezer for 24 hours.
  • In a large bowl, place milk, whipping cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whisk to combine, or use a mixer on low speed.
  • Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Combine well.
  • Cover and place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Remove the milk mixture from the refrigerator and gently whisk together.
  • Remove the Cuisinart bowl from the freezer and place it on the ice cream maker.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the frozen bowl.
  • Add the mixing paddle and easy-lock lid. Churn for 20 minutes.
  • When finished, put the ice cream in a freezer safe container.
  • Freeze until firm.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon zest if desired. Serve & enjoy!
lemon ice cream recipe in cuisinart

TIPS

  • Most homemade ice cream recipes can be made in the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. The thing to pay attention to is the amount of liquid you put into the freezer bowl. Do not overfill it. The magic number when it comes to the combination of liquids is 3 cups. (For this lemon ice cream I used 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup milk, and 1/2 cup lemon juice. It all equals 3 cups.)
  • The milk mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Minimum refrigeration time is 2 hours, overnight is best.
  • As the mixture churns, it also expands. Towards the end of the churning time, it may start to overflow just a bit. It’s nothing to worry about, because by that time the ice cream is set, and no dripping occurs.
  • The Cuisinart freezer bowl is really very nifty. It can be stored right in the freezer, so it’s ready to go anytime you feel like making ice cream!
  • After the finished ice cream has been in the freezer a while, it gets very hard. Just remove it from the freezer for about 10 minutes before serving. It will be much easier to scoop.
homemade lemon ice cream in loaf pan

Can lower fat milk & cream be used?

Yes…definitely. Keep in mind though that the higher fat products are what makes the ice cream rich and creamy. If less fat is used, the texture will be different, as well as the consistency.

Lactose Intolerant Solution

My son is lactose intolerant, so the last time his family visited, I used his a2 milk to make a batch of ice cream. I substituted 2.5 cups of a2 (it was 2%) for the whole milk and heavy cream. It was delicious!

lemon ice cream in loaf pan with yellow bowls

Variations

(adapted from cuisinart.com)

  • Vanilla Ice Cream: 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup sugar, pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon high quality vanilla bean paste. (This is what I made my dad, and it was delicious!)
  • Chocolate Ice Cream: 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
yellow bowl with homemade lemon ice cream

Shop + Source

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker | set of 4 yellow bowls | ice cream scoop | set of 4 yellow towels | white handled flatware | citrus juicer | citrus zester | glass loaf pan with lid | lemon table runner

If you are on the fence about purchasing an ice cream maker, I want to encourage you to give it a try. It’s the only way to get that fresh, old fashioned taste and consistency from days gone by. I love that there is nothing to cook, and it’s very quick and easy. I read tons of reviews before I decided on a Cuisinart, and I am positive I made the right choice.

I wish I would have had an ice cream maker when my kids were young…but since I can’t go back, I plan to make it with my grandchildren. Hopefully it will become a summer tradition when everyone comes to Grandma’s house!

lemon ice cream recipe fi

Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

This homemade lemon ice cream recipe is so easy, and is the perfect summer dessert. All you need to make it are fresh ingredients and a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker!
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.75 from 68 votes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Churning time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
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Equipment

  • Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (just a pinch)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (heaping)

Instructions

  • Prepare to make the ice cream by placing the Cuisinart bowl in the freezer for 24 hours.
  • In a large bowl, place milk, whipping cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whisk to combine, or use a mixer on low speed.
  • Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Combine well.
  • Cover and place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Remove the milk mixture from the refrigerator and gently whisk together.
  • Remove the Cuisinart bowl from the freezer and place it on the ice cream maker.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the frozen bowl.
  • Add the mixing paddle and easy-lock lid. Churn for 20 minutes.
  • When finished, put the ice cream in a freezer safe container.
  • Freeze until firm.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon zest if desired. Serve & enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 681IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg
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If you make this recipe, and love it, please come back to leave a comment and a 5-star review. I would really appreciate it, and it would help me so much. Thank you!

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4.75 from 68 votes (54 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




39 Comments

  1. Shawn Peterson says:

    5 stars
    I made this ice cream just now. I have a fancy Cuisinart ice cream maker that is like a mini ice cream store maker. Therefore, I didn’t cool the mixture for 2 hours. The “Dairy Sweet” ice cream store in my hometown of Adair, IA has lemon ice cream every Monday. It’s the best but I live over an hour away one way. I cut the recipe by 2 TB of sugar (I know, not that much, but every bit helps) and was lazy and didn’t add the zest and began freezing the ice cream. My husband has never had lemon ice cream and he thought it was delicious. I too thought it was delicious. I’d like a cone to place the next serving in. Very good recipe and it’s perfect for my Cuisinart, which is the same size container as the freezer version.

  2. What is the purpose of the 2hour wait time before putting the mixture into the ice cream maker? Is this step necessary or could I mix the ingredients and put into the ice cream maker right away?

    1. Hi Lori…for lack of a better word, it’s just an aging process. The end result will be better if, when added to the ice cream maker, the mixture is at refrigerator temperature. That’s about 36-38 degrees F. This is a step recommended by Cuisinart, so I made sure to include it. Thank you!

  3. My husband says he does not like the texture of the lemon zest. Will the recipe work without it? Should I add more lemon juice?

    1. Yes…the recipe will be delicious without it. No need to add more lemon juice. It’s important to zest the lemon very finely, and make sure you don’t get any of the pith with the zest. But I know lemon zest isn’t for everyone, so feel free to just leave it out!

  4. 5 stars
    Made ice cream on Monday. In can in freezer til the day. Put in ice maker. Killer. First time I’ve ever made ice cream wo eggs & making a custard first.

  5. 5 stars
    easy to follow instructions and tasty too!

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious and refreshing! I will definitely save this recipe.

    I made one modification. I was afraid the lemon juice would curdle the milk, so before I added the lemon juice I stirred a corn starch slurry into the milk (a tablespoon of corn starch whisked into about 1/3 cup of cold water).

  7. Eric Carrero says:

    5 stars
    Hi Ann,
    This is the best lemon ice cream recipe I’ve ever had, it is delicious!
    Now it’s my new and only lemon ice cream recipe. Thanks for sharing.
    Greetings,
    Eric

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Eric…I’m so glad you like it. Thank you very much for the rating…I truly appreciate it!

  8. I really want to try this recipe, but how does it not curdle? Any advice or insight before I dive in?

  9. 5 stars
    This was delicious!
    I used 2 cups of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of whole milk because I wanted more fat since I was balancing it with lemon juice. It turned out great and I would love to make again some time.

  10. Danny N Hackworth says:

    Hi,
    How much does this recipe yield? How many servings do you think I need to make for 3 gallons?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Danny…the ice cream maker yields 1.5 quarts. So for 3 gallons, you would need to make about 7 batches of ice cream. Enjoy!

  11. Danny N Hackworth says:

    Hi,
    How big is the serving size? I want to make 3 gallons.

  12. Holly C Atkinson says:

    Could you make this using kitchenaide rice cream attachment?

  13. Stacie Sonnier says:

    5 stars
    It’s like Summer in a bowl! This ice cream is bursting with lemon flavor. Very refreshing! My children and I really enjoyed this treat :)

  14. Susie Kirsten says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and I absolutely love it! This ice cream recipe is so easy to make and it is so refreshing.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you for coming back to leave a comment…and thank you for the rating. I really appreciate it!

  15. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe, Ann! I have an ice cream maker by Pampered Chef. I use a sugar substitute(Lakanto) to make it sugar free. Yum!

  16. 5 stars
    I came across this site looking for a lemon ice cream recipe. The Cuisinart booklet does not have one; only a gelato or custard version. I did not want to try any of the cooking/heating methods. A few I found on the internet also had those heating methods.
    At first, I could not figure out if this would work. Wouldn’t the lemon juice + cream = curdle? I tried it though; glad I did. I used half and half since I was out of milk and it is very fluffy/whipped, but the lemon taste is perfect! Not all spikey/sharp like a store bought, but very lemony.
    So great. Good one to try even if you aren’t a lemon person. haha.

  17. 5 stars
    I doubled this recipe, Jeff out the lemon juice and zest, and made a very tasty vanilla ice cream. You can purée any fruit though and add that for different flavors. We made cherry, strawberry and raspberry ice cream with this recipe! Works great!!

  18. Stephanie says:

    Ann, I remember sitting on towels on top of the freezer while my Dad turned the crank when I was a girl. Later, like your parents we got an electric freezer. Your homemade lemon ice cream looks delicious but I also have a recipe using a half gallon of store bought vanilla ice cream. Let it soften and add a can of frozen lemonade which has defrosted and also a cup of orange juice. Refreeze in a container. It is delicious. The original recipe said to serve it in hulled out oranges.

  19. Your summer story brought back such special memories for me…thank you. This recipe sounds divine – I need to look into getting a Cuisinart ice cream maker. Yum!

  20. If you don’t have a Cuisinart ice cream maker I highly suggest you buy one!
    We keep the insert for ours in the freezer so it is ready to go. For a crowd I make 2 batches and freeze – I make a vanilla batch first then the flavored so I don’t even wash off the “beater” of batch one. If any of you are fans of soft serve ice cream or custard this is just like that if you freeze for only a short time. All fresh ingredients, no preservatives and flavor of you choice. Can’t wait to try this recipe Ann, sounds refreshing. Thanks for posting

  21. Ann, do you think this recipe will work in a motorized old fashioned ice cream maker?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I honestly don’t know. The Cuisinart holds 1.5 quarts. So if your ice cream maker is bigger, you would have to possibly double the recipe. I looked around online for recipes that use a regular ice cream maker and the ingredients are very similar. Some call for eggs or egg yolks, but others do not. If you decide to try it, let us know!

  22. 5 stars
    I’ve had my Cuisinart for several years now and friends and family have come to expect ice cream at any and all gatherings that I host. Some favorites so far include Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, Key Lime “Pie”, Apple Pie, Cherry Garcia, Irish Cream Whisky, and Peppermint Stick (that I make for our Yule celebrations). I prefer “Philly style” ice creams over the custards and this recipe fits the bill. I think this Lemon will be a nice finishing touch to the Low-Country Boil I am making tomorrow.

  23. 5 stars
    This was a hit! Luckily, I keep my Cuisinart ice cream tubs in the freezer so they’re always ready to go. This ice cream turned out so good! I added crushed graham crackers as a topping and it tasted like a lemon cream pie! We plan to take the rest of it on a camping trip in our motorhome. Can’t wait to pull this homemade ice cream out of the freezer while glamping! Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Love your blog too!

  24. Mine a very similar childhood memory,we did farm stand peaches, or strawberries we grew, mom made strawberry jam,grape jam,thick w fruit! He smell,never to be replicated! & the pies,oh goodness,another story. We were so blessed!

  25. Can you make the lemon ice cream without the machine ? I lover anything lemon but I don’t have a ice cream maker. I would love a recipe and then make some sugar cookies to go with it , oh my how Devine that sounds.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      No…you do need an ice cream maker to make this recipe. Thank you!

  26. Lemon ice cream sounds delicious! I have owned a Cuisinart ice cream maker for many years. When my sons were young I never bought pre-made ice cream. Ours was always homemade, thanks to our cuisinart. I discovered chocolate ice cream could be made with chocolate milk! Fresh peach ice cream is dreamy with angel food cake! I cannot wait to try this lemon recipe.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Chocolate milk for chocolate ice cream is brilliant! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it!

  27. I am so impressed by the notion of making homemade ice cream and your charming story about growing up! Being a city girl, my experience was chasing the ice cream truck as it came down our street with the bells clanging and us kids yelling, “stop!” How much more civil making home made ice cream is! I think I’d love to try it and the Cuisinart seems the perfect place to start. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Barb'ry Allen says:

    5 stars
    We’ve had a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker for years. Used a lot during the pandemic! I’ve got to try this recipe ASAP as I love ice cream and lemons.

  29. What vanilla bean paste and extract do you use?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      My favorite is Nielsen-Massey, but it’s pricey. I have tried other kinds, but always go back to NM. I figure I don’t use very much so I can splurge!

  30. Barbara Moore says:

    I can attest to the value of a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker! It’s now a family tradition to make ice cream whenever my large family is together. I purchased my ice cream maker for the grand kids, but the adults are just as thrilled! It’s so easy to use and produces the most delicious ice cream. The Cuisinart is so worth the money and one of my favorite purchases ever.