No Churn Lemon Ice Cream is refreshing, smooth, and creamy. It takes only a few minutes to make and just a few ingredients. Super easy and delicious dessert!
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I’ve been resisting jumping on the no churn ice cream trend for a few years now. I actually have an ice cream maker, so making a regular churn ice cream isn’t an issue. Also, I always assumed that the ice cream will not be as “ice creamy” as the real churn one.
Well, I can say that I was mistaken. This No Churn Lemon Ice Cream is the proof that no churn ice cream can be creamy and smooth and just absolutely perfect without any churning.
This Lemon Ice Cream is deliciously refreshing, sweet, and perfect summer dessert. Have it as an afternoon treat or as a dessert after a meal – it’s delicious and you won’t be able to stop at just one scoop.
Ingredients to make No Churn Lemon Ice Cream
You only need 3 ingredients with an optional lemon extract.
- Lemons (juice and zest)
- Pure lemon extract (optional)
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Whipping cream
Another optional ingredient is yellow food coloring. I did not use it for the photos here but I’ve used it in the past when I wanted my Lemon Ice Cream to look lemony. You only need a few drops to add just a subtle yellow colour.
How to make No Churn Lemon Ice Cream
There are basically three steps to making No Churn Lemon Ice Cream before it goes in the freezer.
- Mix sweetened condensed milk with lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract.
- Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks. You can use stand mixer or hand mixer.
- Combine the whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk with lemon juice together.
Yes, there are a few tricks to making sure that the steps for making no churn ice cream work.
TIP 1: It’s better to use a Microplane zester to zest the lemons as you need a really fine zest that would almost dissolve in ice cream.
TIP 2: Add a few spoonfuls of whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk and mix it up, first with a spoon and then with a mixer. This will lighten up the sweetened condensed milk to make sure that it doesn’t deflate the whipping cream.
TIP 3: Fold the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream with a spatula as well as you can without deflating the whipped cream. Once most is folded in, use the mixer to whip everything together.
Once the no churn lemon ice cream base is mixed, all you need to do is freeze it and then enjoy.
How to store Lemon Ice Cream
I highly recommend storing any homemade ice cream in an airtight container. These are the containers that I have used in the past. However, I personally prefer to use those plastic takeout soup containers from fast food places.
Yes, the photos show a cake pan for storage. It is just a visual styling trick to make the ice cream look pretty. You’ll notice that most photos online will depict ice cream in various cake pans.
However, storing Homemade Ice Cream in cake pans means that it has to be wrapped in a few layers plastic wrap extremely well. And even with all that wrapping, No Churn Lemon Ice Cream will start drying out within a week and the texture will turn a bit chalky.
If the ice cream is stored in a good airtight and freezer-safe container, then this Lemon Ice Cream will easily last in the freezer for about 3 months.
Flavour variations for Lemon Ice Cream
Lemon goes well with pretty much any fruit or berry, so you could add those into the ice cream.
- Lemon and raspberry (blend the raspberries into the sauce and swirl into the mixture before freezing)
- Lemon and blueberry (mix in whole blueberries, try not to mash them)
- Lemon and tiny marshmallows (mix in marshmallows or even pink marshmallows for pretty colours)
- Lemon and Small Batch Instant Pot Lemon Curd (just swirl it into the mixture before freezing)
- Lemon and mint (fold in finely chopped mint leaves)
How to use Lemon Ice Cream
- You can make absolutely delicious Lemon Milkshakes by blending this No Churn Lemon Ice Cream with some milk – totally refreshing in the summer!
- Lemon Affogato Coffee Drink – perfect way to enjoy coffee and ice cream in the summer!
- Serve over meringue nests.
- FUN IDEA: The whipped cream before freezing is totally delicious, so you could use it in a trifle or as a delicious whipped cream icing for a cake.
Difference between Churn and No Churn Ice Cream
Regular Churn Ice Cream is made in an ice cream maker, which cools the ice cream as it also churns it. Churning process adds air into the ice cream. So, ice cream base usually expands and almost doubles in size in the ice cream maker.
You can even eat the ice cream right out of the ice cream maker, although it’s not fully frozen. When churn ice cream melts in the fridge, it turns into liquid.
No Churn Ice Cream is made without an ice cream maker, which means that the ice cream base needs to get aerated manually. Usually it means that the bulk of the ice cream base is whipped cream that is sweetened (most commonly with sweetened condensed milk) and flavoured.
The mixture is then frozen. When no churn ice cream melts in the fridge, it often still stays pretty airy since it is made with whipped cream.
For both types of ice cream, to make pretty ice cream scoops, it is generally best to take the ice cream out of the freezer for 10-15 minutes to soften.
No Churn Lemon Ice Cream
- 4 lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups whipping cream (35%)
- Zest one lemon. You could zest more than one if you prefer more lemon flavour in your ice cream.Use microplane zester to zest the lemons as you need a really fine zest in this case.
- Juice all the lemons.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and sweetened condensed milk until well combined.
- In a large bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks. Make sure to not overwhip.
- Add a few big spoonfuls of whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk mixture and mix first with a spoon and then with a mixer. This step will lighten up the sweetened condensed milk and make it easier to combine everything together.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream and gently fold together using a spatula. Try to make sure that the whipped cream doesn't deflate too much.
- When the mixture is mostly mixed, use the mixer to fully mix it together and whip a bit more until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the No Churn Ice Cream base into a freezer safe container. If it's a storage container, then cover with a lid. If it's a cake pan, then cover with plastic wrap really well, make sure that the wrap touches the ice cream to prevent drying out.
- Freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Let No Churn Lemon Ice Cream stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving to soften it before scooping and serving.
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Sherry Suttles says
Hi! Could you substitute coconut milk for the sweetened condensed milk? I’m sensitive to dairy…:(
Quick answer is: I don’t know. I have heard that there are sweetened condensed coconut milks so maybe it would work but I’ve never used them. However, you’d also need to sub whipped cream for something else. And with all those substitutions I’m not sure how they’d behave when frozen – they might separate when frozen or become crystallized and not creamy. You could always try with half the ingredients
I just wonder if it matters what kind of lemons I use. I have a Meyer lemon tree in my backyard and they do taste differently than the type typically sold in grocery stores. I like your comments about how to store it. This won’t last in my house more than two day!
I’ve actually never had Meyer lemons myself so I can’t even imagine the taste but I heard that they are sweeter than regular lemons. My guess would be that you could use them but you might want to omit lemon extract as the flavours two kinds of lemons might get mixed, although I can’t imagine if it’ll be good if they are mixed or not. If you omit the extract you might want to use a bit more zest (if Meyer lemon zest is even edible?) to provide more flavour. Good luck! Let me know if you try 🙂