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Churn up a frosty homemade treat with just a few simple ingredients!
This peppermint ice cream gets its flavor from candy pieces — no extract required! Start a new family tradition with this easy-to-make recipe.
A cool, creamy dessert speckled with tiny flecks of crushed peppermints will get you in a festive mood for the holiday season.
Traditional custard bases can be a bit finicky, and they are especially hard to make with tiny kitchen helpers. Instead, this recipe uses marshmallows and real cream to create a silky base for all that frosty flavor.
Key ingredients & substitutions for Peppermint Ice Cream
- Peppermints — Round candies are typically easier to crush into pieces instead of shards. If you have leftover candy canes after the holidays, feel free to crush up a few of those instead!
- Marshmallows — It’s easier to count out jumbo-sized marshmallows, but minis can be used if needed. You’ll need about 10 mini marshmallows for every 1 large one, and they might melt faster in the microwave.
- Dairy — You will need heavy whipping cream as well as half and half for this recipe. Or, whisk an extra ¼ cup of heavy cream into ¾ cup whole milk to use in place of the half and half.
Special supplies needed
- I love this Cuisinart model because the double-insulated freezer bowl eliminates the need for ice or rock salt! It’s the perfect size for smaller groups — a full batch will make enough for 8 to 10 ½-cup servings.
- Use a microwave-safe bowl to prepare the peppermint syrup or whenever you need to quickly melt chocolate chips.
How to make homemade mint ice cream?
STEP 1 | Crush the candies
Place them in a ziplock freezer bag and smash with the flat end of a meat mallet. You want to break the candies into smaller pieces without creating too much dust.
STEP 2 | Make the peppermint syrup
Microwave the candy and marshmallow mixture until it’s melted and smooth. Heat for two minutes, stir, then heat for another minute and stir again.
Allow it to cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge — you don’t want the bowl to shatter! Chill for about 2 hours.
STEP 3 | Combine with the dairy ingredients
Whip the heavy cream until stiffened, then mix in the half and half and chilled syrup until well combined.
The mixture will have a natural pink hue, but you could add a drop or two of red food gel to get the color even bolder.
- Cold ingredients yield the best results, so use the homemade syrup and dairy ingredients straight from the refrigerator.
STEP 4 | Churn
Turn the machine on and pour the liquid into the top. Let it churn until thickened — about 45 minutes — adding in the remaining crushed peppermints during the last 5 minutes.
- This mint ice cream recipe has a high sugar content, so it takes a little longer to freeze and melts a little quicker once removed from the freezer.
- The texture will be soft right out of the machine. If you prefer a firmer, scoopable dessert, smooth the peppermint ice cream into a metal loaf pan and freeze for an additional 2 hours.
Frequently asked questions
The usual culprit is temperature! Be sure that the freezer bowl for the machine has been frozen long enough before you start churning.
Your base should be very cold as well. Place the bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before you start whipping.
Yes! Pour the mint ice cream mixture into a loaf pan and top with a piece of wax paper or parchment. Freeze for at least 6 hours—or better yet, overnight—until firm.
It should keep for up to a week when stored in an airtight container. After that, the flavor and texture will start to degrade — but I can’t imagine it will last that long anyway!
Spoon peppermint ice cream into bowls or scoop onto sugar cones for a simple treat. This would also be delicious over a warm brownie or drizzled with hot fudge!
Peppermint Ice Cream
- 16 large marshmallows
- 1 3/4 cups crushed peppermint candies divided
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup half and half
- Place the marshmallows, 1 cup of the crushed candy, and hot water in a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Heat for 2 minutes.
- Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and stir. Return to the microwave and heat another minute, then stir until the mixture is smooth. Cool, then refrigerate the peppermint syrup until it is completely chilled, about 2 hours.
- Using a chilled bowl and beaters, beat the heavy cream until still peaks form. Gently mix in the half and half. Stir in the chilled peppermint syrup.
- Turn the ice cream maker on, then pour the mixture into the freezer bowl. Churn until the ice cream is thickened, about 40 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of crushed peppermint candies through the ingredient spout and churn another 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately for soft serve ice cream, or ripen in the freezer for an additional 2 hours for scoopable ice cream.
About Sheila Thigpen
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.