Peppermint Ice Cream Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. + chilling Process: 20 min. + freezing
Our peppermint ice cream features the ultimate holiday flair. It is full of minty flavor and a bit of crunch thanks to crushed-up candy canes.

Updated: Dec. 12, 2023

If you ask me, ice cream is an all-year dessert. I will just as happily indulge in the heat of summer or the dreary depths of winter. The only change I make to my order or recipe is the flavor. For the holiday season, that flavor is always mint. That’s where this peppermint ice cream recipe comes in. It’s full of minty flavor and a bit of crunch thanks to crushed-up candy canes.

This ice cream tastes great in a dish with a bit of chocolate syrup on top, but I have to say, the best way to enjoy this is on top of a fudgy brownie or sandwiched between some chocolate Christmas cookies.

Ready to try it? Here’s how to make peppermint ice cream at home.

Peppermint Ice Cream Ingredients

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  • Heavy whipping cream and half-and-half: The combination of these creams will give the ice cream the rich texture you’re craving.
  • Peppermint extract: A touch of mint extract is all you need to imbue this recipe with plenty of minty flavor. You can find this at most grocery stores and baking supply shops.
  • Crushed mint candies: Minty candies add flavor and texture to this creamy ice cream. You can crush up extra candy canes or other mint-flavored hard candies to use in this recipe.

Directions

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Step 1: Make the cream mixture

In a large saucepan, heat the half-and-half to 175ºF. Stir in the sugar and salt and mix until dissolved.

Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs. This will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling as they cook.

Return the mixture to the pan of half-and-half. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 160º and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once it’s hot enough, remove from heat immediately. Be careful not to let the mixture boil.

Editor’s Tip: Precise temperatures are critical for this recipe. Make sure you have an instant-read thermometer or candy thermometer on hand.

Step 2: Cool the mixture down

When the cream mixture hits the right temp, immediately transfer it to a large bowl set inside a pan of ice water. Stir gently and occasionally for two minutes. Stir in the heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract and peppermint extract.

Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard. Place it in the fridge, and let it chill for a few hours or overnight.

Step 3: Churn

Next, it’s time to break out your ice cream maker. If your model uses a frozen cylinder, make sure it’s prepped and completely frozen before you begin.

Transfer the custard mixture to the machine, and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the machine has completed its churning cycle, stir in the crushed peppermint candies. Transfer the ice cream to freezer-safe containers, allowing a little headroom for expansion. Freeze for two to four hours to firm up completely.

Recipe Variations

Want to make this ice cream recipe your own? Try these easy upgrades:

  • Stir in chocolate chips: For many people, mint ice cream isn’t complete without a hint of chocolate. When you’re stirring in the peppermint pieces, you can also stir in a handful of chocolate chips or chunks. You can also stir in crushed-up chocolate mint candies like Andes mints.
  • Crumble in cookies or brownies: If you have Oreos in the pantry or a pan of brownies on the counter, crumble those up, and stir them into the ice cream after churning but before freezing.
  • Add a dash of food coloring: Looking for that signature mint color in your ice cream? Stir a few drops of green food dye into the mixture before you add it to the ice cream maker.

How to Store Peppermint Ice Cream

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To store this peppermint ice cream, transfer it to an airtight container. Layer a sheet of waxed paper over the top to prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface. (You can also invest in specialty ice cream storage containers. You can find these at most kitchen shops during the summer months.)

Store your ice cream—whether homemade or store-bought—in the back of the freezer towards the bottom; this is the chilliest part of your freezer.

Peppermint Ice Cream Tips

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Can you use fresh mint to make peppermint ice cream?

Yes, you can use fresh mint in peppermint ice cream. Add three or four sprigs of fresh peppermint or spearmint to the cream as it heats up. Let it sit 5 to 10 minutes before straining and proceeding with the recipe.

Can you make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker?

It is possible to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. Intermittently blend the cream with a hand mixer. Between each blending session, stash the ice cream base in the freezer.

Peppermint Ice Cream

Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4-1/2 to 6 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups crushed peppermint candy

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat half-and-half cream to 175°; stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat until mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and a thermometer reads at least 160°, stirring constantly. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat immediately.
  2. Quickly transfer to a large bowl; place bowl in a pan of ice water. Stir gently and occasionally for 2 minutes. Stir in cream, vanilla and peppermint extract if desired. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  3. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer; freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer ice cream to freezer containers, allowing headspace for expansion. For each batch, stir in some of the peppermint candy. Freeze 2-4 hours or until firm.

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup: 416 calories, 28g fat (18g saturated fat), 183mg cholesterol, 121mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (30g sugars, 0 fiber), 5g protein.

With flecks of mint candy, this peppermint ice cream recipe is perfect for the holidays. —Berneice Metcalf, Leavenworth, Washington
Recipe Creator