This is how coffee ice cream should taste. No powders, no substitutes; just a real espresso and ice cream base. If you love coffee and love luxurious silky ice cream, you will love this.

There are various methods for making coffee ice cream. You can use espresso powder, put the beans in the hot liquid, or use actual fresh espresso. I thought that actual espresso might result in larger ice crystals because of the extra water content. Thankfully, I was wrong about that and the ice cream turned out as creamy as you could dream about and the flavor is just insane.

espresso ice cream scoops on sheet pan

One of the reasons that using actual espresso makes for better-flavored coffee ice cream is that you can control what espresso you use. Since different beans have different flavors, you can use the flavor and intensity that you prefer. Pretty cool, right?

If you don’t have an espresso machine to brew your own espresso, that’s not a problem at all. Stop by your favorite cafe on the way home and order up a few espresso shots to go, and don’t forget to order an extra to drink.

espresso ice cream with grounds vertical

I drink espresso drinks on a daily basis and really enjoy the strong coffee flavor with lots of milk or cream. There is a range with how much espresso to use in this recipe and it’s because you might like it strong, or you might like it weak. I prefer 4 shots, but my wife thought it was a tad strong, so she would probably make it with 2 shots.

If you are making this for an evening dessert, it’s probably a good idea to use decaf espresso, but either is fine.

espresso ice cream with grounds vertical

Espresso Ice Cream

This most delicious rich and silky espresso ice cream with a little caffeine boost.
4.37 from 19 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 1 quart


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 shots decaffeinated or regular espresso (1/4 to 1/2 cup)


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, sugar and salt over medium heat; whisking to dissolve the sugar (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks.
  • Gradually pour about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk bowl, while continually whisking to temper the eggs. 
  • Add the tempered egg yolk mixture back to the pan while whisking until it just comes to a simmer. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat, then add the vanilla extract and espresso.
  • Pour the ice cream base through a fine mesh strainer and chill completely.
  • Spin in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


  • Use between 2 and 4 shots of espresso depending on how strong you like the coffee flavor in the ice cream.
  • This recipe will yield about 1 quart of ice cream.

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  1. 5 stars
    This was my first time making homemade ice cream. It was delightful!! I used 1 double shot of espresso. Will make it again

  2. 5 stars
    I am a South Korean.
    Is the standard for one cup 240ml?
    Your recipe looks great.
    This is the recipe I’ve been looking for.
    (I am using a translator.
    I want you to understand if the sentence is not smooth.)

  3. 5 stars
    This is out-of-this-world good. My husband roasts his own coffee and, of course, brews it so this was a perfect collaboration recipe for the two of us. We used about four ounces of brewed espresso, knowing we would prefer it on the strong side, and it did not disappoint. I churned for about 20 minutes in my ice cream maker and froze in a designated ice cream container, and it’s creamy and scoopable without any notable crystallization. Smooth and bold, it’s like an affogato in a dish.

    This is immediately going into our ice cream recipe rotation!

    1. That’s amazing that your husband roasts his own coffee. So cool. And to put it into this ice cream is the best. Now I’m craving it again. Maybe a Bailey’s coffee version. 😛

  4. 5 stars
    My family just love coffee ice cream and we have tried lots of artisan examples. I tried this recipe with 4 shots of Illy espresso and it was excellent, really tasty, smooth and no ice. I am going to try it with one extra shot next time, I’m also going to try it with the addition of some coffee liqueur!

    1. Hey Mel! That sounds wonderful. And thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out. I bet it will be amazing with the coffee liqueur! Even Baileys could be a great addition.

  5. 1 star
    With 4 shots of espresso as per the recipe it wasnt creamy or silky at all. It was like crushed ice crystals and we won’t be making it this way again.

    1. Hey Richard,
      Super sorry to hear it had ice crystals and wasn’t creamy. I’ve made this countless times and haven’t had that issue, so I’d love to troubleshoot it with you to try and figure out what the cause was.
      What ice cream maker did you use? How long did you spin it for? Was the ice cream base completely chilled before spinning it?

  6. 4 stars
    Haven’t really made it yet, looking forward to it 🙂 quick question: how many servings (qts. Pints, liters) does it make?

  7. 5 stars
    This is THE BEST coffee ice cream I’ve ever made or taste!!! It is devine!!! silky, smooth and a lovely smell of coffee. I added 3 shot Nespresso and it’s just perfect. My family loves it and my friends rave about it. Thank you!!!

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve tried this recipe twice now, it turned out great….I think. The sugar amount is just right, it’s not too sweet at all. I’ve been doing the 2 double shots so equivalent to 4 shots. But when I did the 2nd time, what I noticed is there was some precipitate in the final ice cream. I wonder if I strained it right after I moved from the stove but the content was still heating so the egg was still cooking….any suggestions?

      1. Hi Jannela! Glad to hear it turned out great. I bet your hypothesis is likely what happened. If the egg was still cooking and not fully tempered yet, it could cause this. I would try cooling down more or strain a second time if you notice anything.

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! My favorite dessert is ice cream! And this ice cream looks heavenly! I am gonna have it right now and pinned your site! Thanks for sharing!

    1. That’s so nice to hear, Carlos! Thank you very much. I always learn something new when I write a post too, because it gets me thinking about the why and the how. 🙂