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
Looking for more fruit desserts?
Outside of this lemon gelato recipe, here are our favorite fruit desserts on A Couple Cooks:
- Easy Bananas Foster Recipe
- Chocolate Banana Bread
- Granola Instant Pot Apple Crisp
- Orange & Fennel Upside Down Cornmeal Cake
- 6 to 7 lemons (enough for 1 ½ cups lemon juice)
- 1 ½ cups 2% milk
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.