Easy Espresso Ice Cream Recipe

Sneak Peek: This easy Espresso Ice Cream recipe makes about one quart. I like to make it in a Donvier Hand-Crank Freezer, but you could just as easily use an electric freezer. If you love coffee-flavored desserts, it’s addictive!

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream served in dessert gobletsPin

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Are you a coffee or espresso ice cream lover? Have you tried making it yourself? If you have a small-batch ice cream maker (1-quart), this recipe is simple and easy to make at home.

This is my very favorite ice cream. Here’s why:

  1. You don’t have to separate eggs, make a custard, or cook anything with a double boiler.
  2. You don’t have to make espresso since the recipe calls for instant espresso powder.
  3. All you need is a whisk or portable mixer and a small bowl, along with an ice cream freezer.
  4. The flavors are pure and rich: Cream, instant espresso, and sweetness.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • SUGAR: Use granulated sugar. I can’t recommend any substitutions.
  • EGGS: I use large eggs in all my recipes. The eggs do not need to be at room temperature. If you aren’t comfortable eating raw eggs or are serving immuno-compromised guests, use pasteurized eggs or pasteurize them yourself.
  • MILK: Whole milk is best, but I often use 2% milk. Using milk with less fat will result in ice cream that doesn’t taste as rich and freezes too hard.
  • SALT: A pinch of table or sea salt is all you need to bring out the flavor.
  • HEAVY CREAM: Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream makes the best ice cream.
  • INSTANT ESPRESSO POWDER: This is the magic ingredient. Look for it in the coffee and tea aisle of your supermarket.
  • VANILLA: Pure vanilla extract is my first choice.

How to assemble espresso ice cream

  1. Mix the sugar and eggs in a medium-sized bowl until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs are lightly colored.
  2. Add the milk, salt, vanilla extract, and instant espresso powder. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream just until combined. Don’t overmix.
  4. Chill this mixture for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
  5. Pour the chilled mixture into the frozen ice cream freezer and churn as shown below.

Have you recently come into a small Donvier hand-crank ice cream maker? I see them all the time at thrift stores. Or maybe you inherited one. If you can’t access the manufacturer’s instructions, I’ve provided pictures and directions below.

How To Use a Small Ice Cream Maker

Any small electric ice cream freezer will work. The one shown in the pictures below is a hand-crank model (Donvier). It makes ice cream as good as an electric model.

empty Donvier freezer after it has been chilledPin

Store the inner liner in your freezer or place it in your freezer for a minimum of 12 hours. If it doesn’t freeze hard, it’s possible that someone has run it through a dishwasher. In that case, you will need to find a replacement. There’s no fixing it.

paddle inside empty ice cream freezerPin

Insert the paddle and pour it into a chilled ice cream mixture. It’s important that the milk mixture has been chilled in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.

Donvier Ice Cream Freezer--ready to goPin

Put the lid on and turn the paddle to churn the ice cream mixture.

Freezer of freshly churned ice creamPin

Keep turning until frozen.

packing ice cream into loaf pan before putting into the freezer.Pin

Pour into a chilled loaf pan lined with plastic wrap

Is a Hand-Crank Ice Cream Machine Like the Donvier a Lot of Trouble?

In the beginning of the churning process, give the ice cream a couple of turns every minute for 3 or 4 minutes.  As the ice cream gets hard, you’ll need to turn it less and less–like once every five minutes.

Typically, I start my ice cream and then proceed with another task in the kitchen, stopping once in a while to give it a turn. I’ve even carried it to my laundry room or upstairs to my desk, where I turn it periodically while working.

Moreover, it’s a great job for children. They really can’t mess it up.

NOTE: Hand-crank ice cream machines like the Donvier have become scarce. If you have one in good working condition, hang on to it. Otherwise, this recipe works just as well in an electric ice cream maker.

Coffee Ice Cream served with a cookiePin

Espresso or coffee is my favorite homemade ice cream flavor.  However, if you don’t share my passion, leave the coffee out for a tasty vanilla ice cream. Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract. It’s also delicious with chopped fresh fruit, chocolate chips, or chopped Oreo cookies.

If you prefer an uncooked ice cream base as we do, try this Blackberry Ice Cream with Chocolate Shards, Peachy Amaretto Frozen Greek Yogurt, and Creme Fraiche Ice Cream with Nutella Flakes.

Adapted from the Sweet Cream Base recipe published in Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book(paid link).

FAQ About Espresso Ice Cream

Is there caffeine in powdered instant espresso?


Is this ice cream safe for small children or elderly people with immunocompromised health?

I can’t recommend it unless you use pasteurized eggs.

Can I substitute instant coffee for instant espresso?

Yes, but the coffee flavor will be different.

How can I keep the Donvier paddle from getting too frozen to turn the ice cream?

During the first five minutes, it is essential that you turn the paddle every minute until the temperature of the milk mixture is closer to the temperature of the inner liner. After that, you can turn it less often.

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If you use a Donvier and a part breaks, don’t throw it away just yet. Parts are available online.

Random thoughts: I recently found a Donvier at an estate sale. It didn’t have the inner liner that actually freezes the ice cream, but I was happy to take it home for the parts. The plastic handle and paddle can break when they meet up with too much force.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

Homemade Coffee Ice CreamPin
Yield: 10

Easy Espresso Ice Cream Recipe

Homemade Espresso Ice Cream is uncooked and flavored with instant espresso. This will make a little more than a quart. Slightly adapted from the Sweet Cream Base recipe published in Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

5 from 3 votes
Prep time: 40 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours 40 minutes


  • 2 large (100 g) eggs
  • cup (133 g) granulated sugar
  • pinch table or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (227 g) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons powdered instant espresso
  • 2 cups (454 g) heavy whipping cream


  • Blend 2 large (100 g) eggs and ⅔ cup (133 g) granulated sugar in a medium mixing bowl until the sugar dissolves and the eggs turn light yellow.
  • Whisk in a pinch table or sea salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup (227 g) whole milk, and 2 tablespoons powdered instant espresso. Stir in 2 cups (454 g) heavy whipping cream.
  • Chill for 3-4 hours. Pour ice cream mixture into your ice cream freezer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


If left in the freezer over 24 hrs, ice cream may become hard and difficult to dip. Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften.
Looking for a “lighter recipe”? Use 2 cups of milk and 1 cup cream instead of 1 cup of milk and 2 cups of cream. I do it all the time, and it goes down just as easily. Having said that, it’s not quite as rich and creamy as the original.
Looking for something different? Chop up oreo cookies, KitKat bars, or chocolate-covered graham crackers for something a bit different. Start with about 1/2 of chopped cookies or candy.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 98mg | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 787IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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Recipe Rating


  1. Oh my, so many amazing foods here. I really wish I wasn’t stuck in freezing winter temperatures right now because I want to eat them all.

  2. This looks delicious, Paula. I think mine will require a few shavings of dark chocolate over the top. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. I am with you on the chocolate!

  3. Love the nutritional stats. Keep them coming.
    btw…..I have had salad every day for 2 weeks.
    Best thing that has ever happened to lunch for me.

    1. Scooter, So cool about the salad. Keep changing it up so you don’t get tired of it. I DO get tired of preparing it (so I try to do it first thing on Saturday morning when I have lots of energy) but I never get tired of eating it. I always have a little something (as in 1/4 cup portion) I really like to go with it–usually some kind of leftover veggie or entree from the night before.

  4. LOL, I’m laughing about the part where you sometimes churn ice cream on the way to a party. At least it’s fresh that way!

    Your ice cream looks perfect 🙂

  5. Now isn’t your post timely!
    I happen to have one of these that used to belong to my parents.. and it has just been sitting there.. waiting for me to make Coffee Ice Cream.
    Thanks so much~~

  6. This looks fantastic… and I just love your site!

  7. Ann Hastings says:

    This looks great- I’ll have to try it!! I can attest to those cookies, I’ve made them twice since you shared the recipe, each time they’re gone in one sitting with friends!!! Thanks for sharing such GREAT recipes!!!

  8. sounds yummy! you should mention adding the blackberries to make blackberry flavor too. that was my favorite! also, for the nutrition info, i would add how much a “serving” actually is…is it for 8, 1 cup servings, or 8, 1/2 cup servings? some people may have differing opinions on what a serving should be…and for ice cream, i want as large of a serving as possible! and this is from a dietitian! 🙂

  9. I’m not a coffee fan, but my husband (Joey) would love this! I’ve not seen those ice cream makers…must check them out!
    I like your layout too… I’m new to wordpress, was on blogger for almost 5 years. I like wordpress much better so far but I’m getting used to it also!
    Have a good day Paula!