14 In Desserts

Lemon Gelato

Lemon Gelato | A Couple CooksLemon Gelato | A Couple Cooks

Gelato is an essential part of a trip to Italy, at least the trips we take. This fluffy, Italian-style ice cream is so intensely flavorful that it’s hard to pass up, especially when there’s a shop on every corner. On our recent trip to Rome, we spent one afternoon visiting five different gelato shops to sample flavors (I mean, we had to find out which was best!).

I usually go for chocolate flavors if I have the choice, but surprisingly, Alex and I found that our favorite gelato flavor was not a rich chocolate but lemon. And this isn’t just any lemon. This is tangy, intense, lip-puckering lemon, with just the right hint of sweetness so that doesn’t taste a bit sour. It was so intense and refreshing that we ordered it frequently.

Of course there’s nothing like gelato made in Italy, but this is our attempt to make lemon gelato at home. With only three ingredients, it’s a simple concept, but does take some time to assemble (mostly hands-off). It’s actually closer to a sorbet made with fruit and water, which is how most of the fruit-flavored gelatos in Italy are made. Interestingly, we found it was best made with milk, which gives it a slightly creamy consistency.

Give it a try and let us know if you’re transported to Italy, or if you have a favorite gelato flavor or recipe!

Our Trip: Rome & Naples, Italy

Lemon Gelato
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • 6 to 7 lemons (enough for 1 ½ cups lemon juice)
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk
  • ¾ cup white sugar
What To Do
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups milk and ¾ cup sugar. Over medium heat, heat until the sugar fully dissolves when stirred; do not boil. Transfer to a bowl and bring to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, juice enough for 1 ½ cups lemon juice (about 6 lemons). Stir the lemon juice into the milk mixture, then place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours.
  3. After the mixture is chilled, churn it in an ice cream maker. Serve immediately for soft serve consistency, or freeze for another 2 hours for a firmer consistency. (Freezing overnight makes the gelato become rock-hard; if this occurs, you can bring it back to the soft serve texture by running it through a food processor.)


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  • Reply
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    July 30, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Gelato is my favorite, but I had NO idea how to make it myself. You just saved my life..and my wallet. Pinned!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    July 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I had my first gelato in Rome. It was called Zuppe Englaise (I probably just butchered the spelling of that!) and it converted me from ice cream. Thanks for sharing the recipe – sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    July 30, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I usually go for the chocolate too but I love anything tangy, and I’m sure this is great. Must get an ice cream maker!!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    July 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    This gelato look perfect! Such a refreshing flavour too – I crave lemon in summer!

  • Reply
    Dena Norton
    July 31, 2014 at 6:30 am

    I’ll never forget the sight and smell of the citrus-lined streets and football sized lemons around Naples/Sorrento….and, oh, the limoncello gelato!! Thanks for the walk down memory lane, and for the recipe – pinned!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    August 1, 2014 at 11:28 am

    this is so simple and pure looking gelato.

  • Reply
    kristie @ birchandwild.com
    August 1, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Whoah, this looks so good! Your trip was good to you, and now it is good to us. I can’t wait to make this!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Wow! That looks really great!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life
    August 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I have such fond memories of wandering through Rome with a cup of pistachio gelato (my favourite) or lemon sorbet. Thank you for giving me the inspiration to recreate these at home! (and hopefully talk my boyfriend into a trip to Italy one day!)

  • Reply
    August 18, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Is it possible to make this without an ice cream maker? if yes, please share…. thanks!

    • Reply
      August 18, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Hi! I’m sorry, we don’t have a method without an ice cream maker :)

  • Reply
    April 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    as I added the lemon juice it started to get lumpy?

    • Reply
      April 25, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Interesting! Did you cool the milk and sugar all the way down to room temperature before adding the lemon juice?

  • Reply
    August 10, 2015 at 5:24 am

    very good. Maybe I will try it with limes or raspberries next time.

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    Happy Cooking! ~ Sonja & Alex