What Is Lemon Ice Cream?

Angela Farrer

Lemon ice cream is a light ice cream flavors made with juice or zest from this popular citrus fruit. This particular flavor is available from various ice cream manufacturers, and it can also be found in many ice cream parlors. A common misconception is that lemon ice cream is the same as lemon sorbet, but the two frozen desserts are made with different ingredients. Homemade ice cream enthusiasts often enjoy making lemon ice cream because this flavor requires simple ingredients and does not have quite as many preparation steps as some other flavors.

The oil-rich, outer skin of lemons known as zest is used to make some types of lemon ice cream.
The oil-rich, outer skin of lemons known as zest is used to make some types of lemon ice cream.

Manufacturer recipes for lemon ice cream can vary by ice cream company. Some brands are sweeter due to higher amounts of added sugar, and others are more tart due to higher concentrations of lemon flavoring. Some ice cream manufacturers use lemon oil derived from the rinds of fresh lemons to create this flavor. This ingredient can usually be found in extra premium ice cream that has a rich and dense texture.

Whipped egg yolks are used to make ice cream.
Whipped egg yolks are used to make ice cream.

Making ice cream at home with lemon flavoring is a relatively simple process. Many lemon ice cream recipes call for ingredients such as heavy whipping cream, whole milk, granulated sugar, and a small amount of butter. Some ice cream makers use pre-made lemon syrup, while others squeeze the juice of fresh lemons to add to the rest of the mixture. Using an ice cream machine is usually the easiest option for achieving the best texture, although some people report good results from leaving the ice cream ingredients to solidify in a freezer.

Custard lemon ice cream is another option that can be made at home. Whipped egg yolks added to the rest of the mixture create this richer ice cream texture. The rest of the ingredients are normally the same, though some some recipes may call for a smaller amount of added sugar. Many ice cream makers like to experiment with both custard-based and cream-based recipes.

The use of grated lemon zest in ice cream is a popular option, although some people find that it adds a grainy texture to the final product. Some beginning batches of homemade ice cream can also take on a slightly bitter taste if too much zest is added to the rest of the mixture. Experienced dessert makers often avoid this problem by grating only a small amount of lemon zest over the top of each ice cream serving.

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