Can you put fruit in an ice cream maker?


Ice cream is a delicious frozen treat that is enjoyed worldwide. Traditional ice cream is made from dairy ingredients like cream, milk, and sugar. However, fruit can also be used to create flavorful non-dairy ice cream. Using an ice cream maker, you can easily blend fruit into creative frozen desserts.

Fruit adds natural sweetness, flavor, texture, and nutrients to ice cream. From berries to tropical fruits, the possibilities are endless. With some simple preparations and care, you can successfully make fruit-filled ice cream at home in your ice cream maker.

Benefits of Adding Fruit to Ice Cream

Adding fruit to your homemade ice cream offers many benefits:

  • Enhances flavor – Fruit provides natural sweetness and infuses ice cream with flavor. Berries, mangos, bananas, and other fruits make ice cream more aromatic and tasty.
  • Provides nutrients – Fruits like berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Adding them to ice cream boosts the nutritional value.
  • Adds texture – Fruit pieces provide more texture and dimension than plain ice cream. They give each bite more chew and variation.
  • Lower calories – Using fruit allows you to cut back on some of the heavy cream and sugar found in traditional ice cream recipes. This can result in fewer calories per serving.
  • Customization – Mixing in your favorite fruits lets you fully customize flavors. You can create anything from strawberry banana to mixed berry peach ice cream.

With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why fruit can be a great addition to homemade ice cream.

Fruits that Work Well in Ice Cream

Many different fruits can be successfully incorporated into ice cream:

Type of Fruit Best Fruits to Use
Berries Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
Tropical Fruits Mangos, pineapple, bananas, passionfruit, coconut
Stone Fruits Peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries
Melons Cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon
Citrus Fruits Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
Pome Fruits Apples, pears, quince

Berries, tropical fruits, and stone fruits are especially popular choices as they become soft and blend easily into ice cream. Sturdier fruits like apples may need to be chopped or cooked first before adding to the ice cream mixture.

When selecting fruits, opt for varieties that are ripe, sweet, and flavorful. Overripe or underripe fruits will not make the best ice cream. Take time to taste fruits beforehand and use your favorites. Combining two or more fruits, like mangos and strawberries, can result in creative flavor fusions.

Preparing the Fruit

Proper preparation is the key to successfully incorporating fruit into ice cream:

Wash and Dry

Always wash fruits thoroughly under cool running water to remove any dirt or residues. Berries and delicate fruits should be gently rinsed to avoid bruising. Then lay fruits out on clean kitchen towels to fully dry before use. Adding wet fruit to an ice cream mixture risks creating ice crystals.

Cut and Slice

Cut larger fruits like apples, mangos, and peaches into smaller cubes, slices, or chunks. This allows the fruit pieces to be evenly distributed throughout the finished ice cream. Bananas and soft berries can be mashed for a ripple effect.

Roast or Cook

For some firmer fruits, roasting or cooking helps concentrate the flavor and softens the texture. Roasting stone fruits like peaches in the oven caramelizes the natural sugars. Cooked apples or pears simmered in juice or wine also grow tender. Allow cooked fruits to cool fully before adding to ice cream.

Create Purees or Sauces

For a smooth texture, puree softer fruits like berries, mangos, or pineapple in a food processor or blender. Strain out any seeds or fibrous bits. You can also cook fruits down into thick sauces. Swirl fruit purees or sauces into ice cream for ripples of fruity flavor.

Macerate in Sugar

Sprinkle berries and sliced fruits with sugar and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes. This draws out the natural juices to create flavorful syrups that infuse ice creams with fruity essence. The sugar also prevents icy texture.

Calculating How Much Fruit to Add

A general guideline is to use 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped fruit per 2-3 cups of ice cream base mixture. You can adjust this amount to your taste preferences:

  • For subtle fruit flavor, use around 1/2 to 3/4 cups fruit per 2-3 cups base
  • For moderately fruity ice cream, use around 1 cup fruit per 2-3 cups base
  • For intense fruit flavor, use 1 1/2 to 2 cups fruit per 2-3 cups base

Keep in mind fruits like berries contain a lot of water. Excess water content will make ice cream icier. For berries, aim for no more than 3/4 to 1 cup per 2-3 cups of base. Cooked fruit purees add deep flavor without extra water.

Taste the ice cream base mixture before freezing for balance. Add more sugar, lemon juice, or spices if needed to complement the fruit. Underripe fruits may require extra sweetening.

Choosing a Base for Fruit Ice Cream

Fruit can be swirled into almost any ice cream base. Consider the texture and flavor you want:

Dairy Base

A classic custard base made with cream, milk, sugar, and egg yolks works well with fruits like mango, stone fruits, and berries. It provides a rich, creamy backdrop.

Cream Base

Simpler sweet cream bases contain heavy cream, half and half, or milk with sugar. They allow the pure fruit flavor to shine through.

Yogurt or Buttermilk Base

Non-fat yogurt or tangy buttermilk can be used in place of some of the dairy for a lighter texture. Yogurt helps balance sweeter fruits.

Non-Dairy Base

For non-dairy ice cream, use a base made from canned coconut milk, nut milks, or soy milk. Coconut milk pairs especially nicely with tropical fruits.

Sorbet Base

For intensely fruity ice cream, try a simple sorbet base of fruit juice, sugar, and water. The lack of dairy really amplifies the fruit.

Mixing Fruit into the Ice Cream

Stir prepared fruit directly into your cooled ice cream base before churning for smooth results:

  • For chunky fruit pieces, gently fold in diced fruits.
  • For purees or sauces, drizzle in a spoonful at a time until fully incorporated.
  • For whole berries or soft fruits, gently crush them against the side of the bowl when folding in to lightly break them up.
  • Avoid over-mixing once fruit is added to prevent coloring the base.

You can also layer fruit and base for homemade ice cream sandwiches or ripple in fruit after churning. Take care not to break up frozen ice cream when folding in fruit post-churn.

Churning and Freezing Fruit Ice Cream

When using an ice cream maker, the process remains the same as regular ice cream:

  1. Prepare cooled base and mix in fruit.
  2. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions, 20-30 minutes typically.
  3. When mixture reaches soft serve consistency, transfer to a freezer safe container.
  4. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap or wax paper.
  5. Freeze 2-4 hours minimum until firm.

Fruit additions may require slightly longer churning and freezing times for optimal texture. Berries have acids that inhibit churning, so an extra 5 minutes of mixing may be needed.

Serving Suggestions for Fruit Ice Cream

Fruit ice cream opens up endless serving possibilities:

  • Scoop into a bowl, cone, or ice cream sandwich.
  • Layer parfaits with crumbled cookies, cake cubes, or brownie chunks.
  • Top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, nuts, or sprinkles.
  • Drizzle with fruit sauces or honey.
  • Blend into milkshakes or smoothies.
  • Use as the base for ice cream cakes or pies.
  • Freeze into ice cream bars, sandwiches, or popsicles.

Let the flavors of the fruit ice cream inspire creative toppings and mix-ins. Sliced ripe fruit always makes a lovely fresh garnish.

Troubleshooting Fruit Ice Cream

Adding fruits to ice cream is fairly straightforward but a few issues can arise:

Problem Solution
Ice crystals forming Ensure fruit is fully dried before use. Add corn syrup or glycerol to base.
Grainy texture Puree fruit into sauces or slices smaller. Strain out seeds or peel.
Fruit sinking to bottom Cut fruit into same size pieces. Gently fold into base.
Weak fruit flavor Use very ripe, flavorful fruits. Increase amount added.
Fruit not blending smoothly Cook firmer fruits first to soften. Add dashes of lemon juice.

Paying attention to fruit prep and recipe ratios will help minimize difficulties churning or freezing. Adjust amounts as needed to suit your preferred fruit intensity.

Storing and Freezing Fruit Ice Cream

Due to the water content, fruit ice creams don’t store quite as long as traditional ice cream. For best quality and texture:

  • Consume within 1 week of churning.
  • Keep frozen solid in air tight container at all times.
  • Avoid freezer burn by minimizing air inside container.
  • Freeze at 0°F or colder if possible.
  • Do not refreeze after thawing.

Properly stored, most fruit ice creams retain pleasant flavor and creaminess for 3-4 days after opening. Berries and citrus flavors deteriorate faster due to high acidity. For longer storage, consider making large batches and freezing pints.

Recipes for Fruit Ice Cream

To get you started, here are some tasty fruit ice cream recipes to try:

Strawberry Ice Cream


  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a bowl, mix together chopped strawberries, sugar, and salt. Set aside to macerate 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a large bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Gently fold macerated strawberries and juice into whipped cream just until combined.
  4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn 25-30 minutes until thick and creamy.
  5. Transfer to freezer safe container. Freeze 2-4 hours until firm.

Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream


  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • Pinch salt


  1. In a bowl, stir together pineapple, coconut milk, condensed milk, cream, coconut extract and salt until combined.
  2. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to chill thoroughly.
  3. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Scoop ice cream into container, smoothing top. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

Mixed Berry Swirl Ice Cream


  • 2 cups mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla


  1. In a bowl, mix berries with 2 Tbsp sugar. Set aside 30 minutes to macerate.
  2. In another bowl, stir together half and half, heavy cream, remaining sugar and vanilla.
  3. Churn cream mixture in ice cream maker 20-25 minutes.
  4. Add macerated berries and swirl through ice cream.
  5. Transfer to container and freeze until firm, about 3 hours.


Adding juicy, flavorful fruits takes homemade ice cream to the next level. With a little forethought and careful prep, you can churn out delectable fruit-filled ice creams in your own ice cream maker. Ripe, seasonal fruits will provide the best results. Mix and match your favorites for custom refreshing treats all year long. Be sure to store fruit ice creams properly in the freezer before scooping and serving. With so many tasty fruits to explore, get creative with your own fruity ice cream recipes.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *