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Strawberry Basil Ice Cream

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 1 quart.

This recipe uses David Lebovitz’s simple formula to create your own custom ice-cream flavor with flavor infusions and add-ins. The pairing of strawberry and basil is the quintessential flavor of summer.


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Table salt
  • 1 cup tightly packed, coarsely torn basil leaves
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen strawberries, trimmed, pureed, strained, and mixed with 1/2 cup sugar


  • In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the basil leaves. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 1 hour. Taste and let sit longer if you want a stronger basil flavor.
  • Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with several inches of ice water. Set a smaller metal bowl (one that holds at least 1-1/2 quarts) in the ice water. Pour the remaining cup of cream into the inner bowl (this helps the custard cool quicker when you pour it in later). Set a fine strainer on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  • Rewarm the cream mixture over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. In a steady stream, pour half of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.
  • Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula until the custard thickens slightly (it should be thick enough to coat the spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), 4 to 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 175° to 180°F at this point. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle. Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream in the ice bath. Press firmly on the basil leaves in the strainer with the spatula to extract as much flavor as possible.
  • Cool the custard to below 70°F by stirring it over the ice bath. Stir the strawberry puree into the cooled custard.
  • Refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Then freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the just-churned ice cream to an air-tight container, and freeze for at least 4 hours or up to 2 weeks.


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Reviews (5 reviews)

  • MHB13 | 06/08/2021

    This recipe is outstanding. I would recommend reducing the strawberries a little, though. The first time I made this, it came out perfectly without reducing. The second time, the it was icy and hard to scoop because that bunch of strawberries had more water in them. I made sure to just go ahead and reduce them over a stove a little the next time to cook off some of the water. I just puréed them as directed in the recipe and cooked them for a few minutes over medium heat. Then I added the sugar to them (Note: I only add 1/4 cup of sugar to the strawberries rather than the 1/2 cup that is called for- it was too sweet the first time, especially given that the cream already has 3/4 cup sugar in it and the strawberries are sweet to begin with). It’s creamy, flavorful, absolutely delicious ice cream!

  • moonfelt | 08/09/2017

    Have made several times to use up my abundant garden basil. The basil is a great complement to the sweet strawberries.

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