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Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Sweet, creamy, and fruity — this easy homemade ice cream is absolutely delectable!

My homemade strawberry ice cream is made with ripe, sweet strawberries for the best fresh strawberry flavor. Churn into soft serve ice cream in about 30 minutes or freeze it longer for firmer ice cream you can scoop.

Instead of making a custard base with egg yolks, this ice cream recipe starts with sweetened condensed milk and fresh strawberries, takes less prep time, and is easy enough for even beginning cooks. If you’re intimidated by the thoughts of cooking a custard, this eggless strawberry ice cream is for you!

Today’s recipe makes a small batch for a counter top ice cream maker, but can easily be doubled and made in a larger ice cream freezer.

If you’ve got an abundance of strawberries, you might enjoy my strawberry yogurt popsicles or my dreamy strawberry icebox cake. Craving a more ice cream? My no churn blueberry ice cream is another popular and easy option!

a bowl of homemade strawberry ice cream on a table.

Why you’re going to love it!

  • Real fruit flavor. Bits of fresh strawberry in every bite.
  • No expertise required. Anyone can put this together.
  • A special treat. Everyone gets excited for homemade ice cream!

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream: behind the recipe

When I was a little girl, at family picnics my Dad would make homemade ice cream in a hand-crank ice cream freezer with crushed ice and rock salt. We all waited in anticipation — it was a long process and took some muscle — as my Dad and uncles took turns at the crank.

Finally, when the crank couldn’t be turned another inch, my Mom started dishing up bowls of the fresh made ice cream and everyone swooned. Cool, creamy, and delicious, we were all in heaven!

Now with convenient electric ice cream makers, homemade ice cream can be enjoyed a lot faster and easier, yet the anticipation and excitement it brings is just as strong.

Special equipment needed

Ice cream maker — I own this Cuisinart model with a double insulated freezer bowl that eliminates the need for ice. It’s the perfect size for smaller groups as it only makes up to 1 1/2-quarts. That’s enough for 8 to 10 1/2-cup servings.

tips

  • The ice cream maker’s freezer bowl must be completely frozen before you begin your recipe. Place the bowl in your refrigerator’s freezer overnight (or see the manufacturer’s instructions).

ingredients for strawberry ice cream on a table: fresh berries, sweetened condensed milk, half and half, vanilla, brown sugar, and lemon.

Key ingredients and substitutions

  • Strawberries — Fresh, ripe strawberries are best, but you may substitute a package of frozen strawberries. Just be sure to thaw the berries before you begin.
  • Sweetened condensed milk — If you didn’t know, sweetened condensed milk is cow’s milk that has been heated until all the water evaporates and the milk reduces by half. Sugar is added so it has a sweet, caramelized flavor. Thick and rich, it eliminates the need for eggs in this recipe.
  • Half and half — Essentially equal parts milk and cream, you could substitute equal parts of whole milk and heavy cream, or if you’re feeling especially indulgent, just use 2 cups heavy cream.
  • Brown sugar — I like the caramel flavor brown sugar adds to the berries, but you may also use white granulated sugar.
  • Lemon juice — Just a little squeeze brightens up the flavor of the fresh fruit.

How to make homemade strawberry ice cream

process steps for making the cream for strawberry ice cream: macerate berries, add sweetened condensed milk, whisk, add strawberry juicee.

STEP 1 | Sweeten the berries

  1. Rinse and pat the strawberries dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Remove the hulls and slice or dice the berries.
  2. Macerate, or soften, the berries by placing them In a small bowl with brown sugar sprinkled on top. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, until the berries are soft and juices have formed in the bowl.

STEP 2 | Mix the ice cream base

  1. For the best results, the ingredients need to be cold, even the sweetened condensed milk.
  2. Use a whisk to combine the sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Add any accumulated juices from the strawberries, then return the berries to the refrigerator.

tips

  • If you want your ice cream to have a more pronounced pink color, add a few drops of red food coloring to the ice cream base before adding it to the ice cream freezer.
  • If you prefer a smoother ice cream without the strawberry bits, make fresh strawberry puree instead. Place the berries, brown sugar and lemon in a blender and process until smooth, then add them all at once to the ice cream base.

pouring ice cream mixture into a table top ice cream maker.

STEP 3 | Churn

  1. Place the frozen freezer bowl on the machine and turn it on. Pour the ice cream mixture into freezer bowl through the opening in the top.
  2. Let churn until the ice cream is thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
crushing strawberries with a potato masher and spooning them into ice cream maker.

STEP 4 | Add the strawberries

  1. Wait to add the macerated strawberries until the last 5 minutes of freezing. If you desire smaller strawberry pieces, gently mash the berries with a potato masher and discard any excess juice at this point.
  2. Spoon the berries into the ice cream freezer through the opening on the top. Continue churning until the ice cream is thickened.
a container of homemade strawberry ice cream with an ice cream scoop and strawberries on a table.

Serving suggestions

  • For soft serve ice cream, serve immediately. For firmer ice cream that you can scoop, transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container and cover tightly. Let ripen in the freezer for 2 to 6 hours.
  • Scoop the ripened fresh strawberry ice cream between my chocolate drop cookies to make yummy ice cream sandwiches.
two ice cream bowls with scoops of homemade strawberry ice cream with an ice cream scoop laying on the table.

Frequently asked questions

Why doesn’t my ice cream thicken up in the ice cream freezer?

Soupy ice cream can be caused when the ice cream freezer bowl hasn’t been frozen long enough or when the ingredients are not cold enough. Also, when adding the strawberries at the end of churning, use a slotted spoon or drain the berries so that you don’t add more juices that have accumulated at that point.

What if I don’t like icy berries in my ice cream?

Of course, as the ice cream freezes so will the strawberries. Because of their water content they can get a little icy. To avoid this, puree the berries instead and add them to the ice cream base (see the tip box above).

two ice cream bowls with scoops of homemade strawberry ice cream on a table with two spoons.

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Yield: 12 servings

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

a bowl of homemade strawberry ice cream on a table.

Sweet, creamy, and fruity — this easy homemade ice cream is absolutely delectable!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 pint fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the brown sugar and lemon juice; stir gently. Place in the refrigerator and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 15 – 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the sweetened condensed milk, half and half, vanilla, and any accumulated juices from the strawberries.
  3. Turn the ice cream maker ON and pour the ice cream mixture into freezer bowl through the opening in the top. Let churn until thickened, about 30 - 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile use a potato masher to gently smash the macerated berries; drain off any excess juices. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, spoon the berries into the ice cream freezer; continue churning until the ice cream is thickened.
  5. For soft serve ice cream, serve immediately. For firmer ice cream that you can scoop, transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container and cover tightly. Let ripen in the freezer for 2 to 6 hours.

Notes

  • The freezer bowl must be completely frozen before you begin your recipe. See the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream freezer model.
  • Likewise, keep the ingredients cold until ready to mix together.
  • If you want your ice cream to have a more pronounced pink color, add a few drops of red food coloring to the ice cream base before adding it to the ice cream freezer.
  • If you prefer a smoother ice cream without the strawberry bits, make fresh strawberry puree instead. Place the berries, brown sugar and lemon in a blender and process until smooth, then add them all at once to the ice cream base.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 45mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 3g

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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