Olive Oil Ice Cream


A few days ago a friend in Indianapolis sent me a lovely gift of olive oils and vinegars from a local place called Artisono's Oils and Spices. After cracking open and sampling a few of the bottles, I learned that this place truly has earned the 5 stars and rave reviews on its Yelp page. While the oils and vinegars are delicious on their own, it would be a shame to just use them for dipping bread or making vinaigrettes like the stuff we usually have. Why not, I thought, use them for something more interesting?

As you may recall, I have a bit of an affinity toward ice cream. I recalled having eaten olive oil ice cream in the past, and 5 seconds on Google confirmed that all you need to do is take a regular custard-based recipe and dump in half a cup of olive oil at the end in lieu of normal flavorings like chocolate or mint. After a rigorous scientific test involving one spoonful each of the lime and blood orange flavors, I determined that the blood orange was the least risky of my options. I didn't even consider the herbed flavor, although I bet it would be good for a non-dessert ice cream.


Soooo good! The blood orange flavor makes it taste like a buttery smooth Creamsicle. The orange flavor is definitely stronger than the olive oil taste, but neither were overwhelming.


I received the 2-Quart Cuisinart ice cream maker as a wedding present and have found that it's just perfect for my current burn rate of about one batch per month. There's just a bowl that you pop in the freezer for a couple of days before you make the ice cream, and otherwise it's pretty much a giant motor attached to an ice cream paddle with an on/off switch. The best part is that it's small and lightweight. This is good if you move frequently or just don't have a lot of storage space.

On the other hand, if you want to, say, make multiple batches of ice cream for a number of party guests, or find yourself impulsively wanting to whip up a batch and can't wait 24-48 hours for the freezer bowl to cool, there are some fancier models out there that include built-in cooling units. These are good if you have unreasonably large amounts of kitchen storage and someone with a very strong back at your disposal to help transfer your ice cream maker from storage to counter. Needless to say, I haven't spent much time investigating these fancier models.


I used the following recipe from a site called Endless Simmer. I made a couple of minor changes to the original recipe, including actually adding the vanilla extract (mysteriously omitted in the original version) and not bothering to strain the custard (a few lumps never hurt anyone):


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5  large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil (Try flavored! I also used a smidgen less than half a cup, depends on how flavorful your oil is)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Set up an ice-bath: Fill a large bowl 1/4 of the way up with ice water. Place a medium-sized bowl over the ice water. Place a mesh strainer on top.
  2. In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar and salt in the milk and cream over medium heat. Slowly drizzle the warmed mixture into the egg yolks, whisking without stopping, until smooth. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Pour the custard through the strainer, discarding the solids left behind.into your chilled bowl. Add the olive oil and vanilla extract, and whisk well for 2 minutes, until it is well blended. Cover the mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Store in a shallow container*, covered with plastic wrap and and air-tight lid. Keeps up to 2 months frozen.

* Pro tip: The quart-sized rectangular Pyrex is perfect for storing a batch of Cuisinart ice cream; I recommend puting it in the freezer at least an hour before your ice cream is finished to prevent your batch from melting around the edges. Since it's never very frozen after the machine, melting is always a bit of a concern.