What Is Cookie Dough Ice Cream?

Emily Pate
Emily Pate
Chocolate chip cookie dough.
Chocolate chip cookie dough.

Cookie dough ice cream is a frozen treat made with a base of frozen cream or milk. Chunks of raw cookie dough are stirred into the ice cream. It may be made in a home ice-cream maker, in a shop, or manufactured. The cookie dough is prepared separately from the ice cream, usually before or during the freezing process. Ingredients and preparation methods vary somewhat from earliest known recipes like the Ben & Jerry's® version created at a Scoop Shop in Vermont during the mid-1980s.

Raw cookie dough may be used when making cookie dough ice cream.
Raw cookie dough may be used when making cookie dough ice cream.

The cookie dough mixture is typically made with a combination of butter, sugar or brown sugar, and flour, as well as egg, vanilla, and add-ins like chocolate chips or nuts. Dough is typically prepared, refrigerated, and stirred into churned ice cream or used as a topping. Variations for dietary restrictions or lifestyle may include using spelt or millet flour for gluten-free dough or artificial sweetener for sugar-free dough, for instance.

Cookie dough ice cream typically has a vanilla base, though other flavors may be used, especially in homemade versions of the treat. As with all ice cream, quality and taste varies with the type of ingredients used. Super-premium ice cream, for example, uses high-quality ingredients like actual sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. It also has a higher fat content and uses less emulsifying agents than premium or standard ice cream.

Store-bought cookie dough ice cream may have additional ingredients, depending on the brand and quality. Cookie dough ice cream may have oils added, like partially-hydrogenated or expeller-pressed oil. Hydrogenated oils are liquid fats chemically modified to become semi-solid. Higher-quality ice cream typically has expeller-pressed oil that's only mechanically refined. Homemade ice cream may not have oil at all, using butter instead.

Homemade ice cream is typically made by creating a custard with butter, eggs, sugar, and milk. Heavy cream and extracts are also used. Mixing and heating methods for the custard vary, with ice baths being used in some recipes. Ingredients may be added in various orders as well, depending on the recipe. The custard is chilled and then frozen in an ice cream maker per manufacturer instructions.

The first-known cookie dough ice cream was created by a Ben & Jerry's® Scoop Shop in Burlington, Vermont, in 1984. The shop had a suggestion board for flavors, and an unknown guest put chocolate chip cookie dough down. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream was available as a homemade flavor at the shop until Ben & Jerry's® introduced it in a pint in 1990. The flavor's popularity continued into the 21st century, with other companies and shops following suit, offering cookie dough in the ice cream itself or as an add-on.

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Discussion Comments


A good way to make this ice cream is to just get a cookie dough mix and make it, but omit the eggs. You're not baking it, anyway. Roll the dough into bite-sized pieces and freeze it, then mix it into freshly churned, homemade vanilla ice cream. It's not difficult. I love chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

I remember hearing stupid urban myths about people getting sick from the raw eggs in the cookie dough, until the ice cream companies started reminding people they didn't put eggs in the dough. Some ice cream is made with raw eggs that are never cooked, and people don't get sick.


I don't remember when I first had cookie dough ice cream, but I do remember really liking it. I thought that and cookies and cream ice cream were about at the pinnacle of ice cream deliciousness.

I think I had something like cookie dough ice cream when I got a Blizzard from Dairy Queen that had cookie dough pieces in it. I was hooked from then on. And, if the DQ featured chocolate soft serve to go with the cookie dough pieces, bonus plan!

I don't remember the first ice cream brand I saw that carried it, because we couldn't get Ben & Jerry's down here in the South until the mid-1990s. I think it may have been Purity or maybe Edy's that had it.

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    • Chocolate chip cookie dough.
      Chocolate chip cookie dough.
    • Raw cookie dough may be used when making cookie dough ice cream.
      Raw cookie dough may be used when making cookie dough ice cream.