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This homemade strawberry ice cream recipe is the best! It’s creamy and bursting with pure, sweet tart berry flavor.

Strawberry Ice Cream
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Everyone knows that homemade ice cream is the best. And in the case of strawberry ice cream, the results are beyond worth the effort. Try this homemade strawberry ice cream recipe! It’s lusciously creamy, with a pure sweet tart berry flavor interspersed with chunks of red berries. To be honest, I don’t like storebought strawberry ice cream, but I couldn’t stop eating spoonfuls of this homemade version!

Ingredients in homemade strawberry ice cream

Sure, it’s easy to buy a pint of strawberry ice cream from the store. But the flavor can have an artificial aftertaste. In fact, we typically avoid purchased strawberry ice cream. But homemade strawberry ice cream is like a totally different animal! The flavor is beautifully pure from the ripe berries and vanilla extract. All you need are a handful of ingredients for a symphony of flavor! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ripe strawberries: you’ll want the ripest sweet berries you can find
  • Cornstarch: cornstarch helps to thicken the ice cream and keep it soft after freezing; it’s absolutely essential in our book!
  • Whole milk
  • Granulated sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring: optional: keep reading!
Strawberry ice cream recipe

Food coloring is optional

Do you need food coloring in homemade strawberry ice cream? Typically we’re as natural as possible in the food we make, and we like to avoid adding artificial colors. However, we eat with our eyes, and the bright pink color really makes this ice cream! We’re not averse to adding a few drops of red food coloring to accentuate the color. (It’s the same reason we put a few drops of green in our classic mint chocolate chip ice cream.)

But if you’re not into added colors, no problem! This strawberry ice cream is a beautiful pale pink color without red food coloring.

Churn it in an ice cream maker

This is a classic strawberry ice cream recipe, so you’ll need an ice cream maker! It’s a great investment you can use to make sorbetssherbet and ice creams all year round. Here are two types of ice cream makers you can find on the market:

  • Freezer bowl ice cream maker: This type of maker is the most inexpensive and requires freezing overnight before making the recipe (store the bowl in the freezer). We use this 2 quart freezer bowl ice cream maker; it’s very durable and has held up well over the years.
  • Automatic ice cream maker: If you make ice cream often, you might want to consider an automatic ice cream maker, which is larger and more expensive. But it requires no pre-freezing, so you can make ice cream any time you please! You can also make multiple batches back to back without needing to freeze the base again.
Homemade strawberry ice cream

How to make homemade strawberry ice cream

This homemade strawberry ice cream recipe has no shortcuts — it’s the classic method for whipping up this popular dessert! You’ll make a custard, combine it with berries, and then churn it an an ice cream maker. We also recommend letting the ice cream “ripen” for 4 hours or overnight for the best hard ice cream texture.

  • Make the custard (5 minutes): Simmer the cornstarch, whole milk and sugar 4 to 5 minutes, taking care that it doesn’t boil. Then add in the heavy cream, more milk, vanilla, salt, and food coloring (if using).
  • Cool the custard (1 to 3 hours): Cool down the custard before churning it. Transfer the mixture to a large metal or glass bowl and place the bowl in a smaller bowl of ice water for 1 hour. Alternatively, place the bowl in the refrigerator and wait for 3 hours or until the temperature drops to 40°F.
  • Churn (25 minutes): Churn the ice cream in the ice cream maker. After 25 minutes, it makes a soft serve texture you can eat immediately.
  • Freeze or “ripen” for hard ice cream texture (4 hours or overnight): We recommend freezing the ice cream for 2 to 4 hours for a scoop-able, hard ice cream texture (as shown in the photos).
Strawberry ice cream

Mix-ins and variations

Homemade strawberry ice cream is one thing: and it’s darn good on its own! But want to step it up even more? Here are some fun ideas for mix-ins to add to strawberry ice cream:

  • Chocolate chunks: Make the chocolate chunks from this Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream to make it Strawberry Chocolate Chip
  • Graham crackers: Make Strawberry Pie Ice Cream by adding crushed graham crackers (like this Strawberry Cheesecake flavor)
  • Vanilla cookies: Make Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream by adding crushed vanilla cookies

More homemade ice cream flavors

Want to make more ice cream at home? Here are some flavors to try:

This homemade strawberry ice cream recipe is…


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Strawberry ice cream

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x
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This homemade strawberry ice cream recipe is the best! It’s creamy and bursting with pure, sweet tart berry flavor.


  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe strawberries (about 4 cups chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring (optional)


  1. In a small saucepan, slowly whisk the cornstarch into 1 cup whole milk, then whisk in 1 cup sugar.
  2. Heat over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, whisking frequently, until it’s almost simmering and the mixture thickens.
  3. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract. If desired, add 1 to 2 drops of red food coloring until the desired color is reached (it will lighten slightly when frozen). 
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl in a smaller bowl of ice water for 1 hour, making sure not to splash any water into the custard. Alternatively, simply place the bowl in the refrigerator and wait for 3 hours or until the temperature drops to 40°F.
  5. Meanwhile, hull the strawberries and chop them into very small pieces. Place them in a bowl, sprinkle with ¼ cup sugar, and mash the fruit lightly with a potato masher or pastry blender for several minutes until they are very saucy.
  6. When the custard is chilled, stir together the custard and the strawberries. Pour them into an ice cream maker and churn according to the ice cream maker instructions, about 25 minutes for soft serve consistency. For a hard ice cream texture, transfer to a loaf pan or sealed container and freeze in the freezer for at least 2 hours (or up to 4 hours). Store in a loaf pan with a parchment sheet over the top or a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: Dessert
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Danielle T says:

    I made this over the weekend.. my first ever homemade ice cream and it’s amazing!