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Mascarpone Ice Cream

Do you want a creamy, dreamy Mascarpone Ice Cream that’s easy to make and tastes amazing? 

If the answer is yes, then you can stop looking. You’ve come to the right place. This traditional Italian ice cream recipe is all that and more!

Scoops of Mascarpone Ice Cream in  a glass dessert bowl.
Creamy, dreamy and luscious!

I discovered this recipe quite a few years ago when my children were younger and I didn’t have time for a complicated ice cream recipe. Since then, I’ve been making my Mascarpone Ice Cream using cornstarch to replace the egg yolks, creating a lighter, more refreshing dessert that is ideal in the heat of summer. In contrast, a fussy, créme anglaise ice cream base can turn into scrambled eggs in a matter of moments

Cornstarch might seem like a strange inclusion in ice cream or gelato but it’s the magic ingredient that stabilizes, thickens, and produces a perfect silky texture. Known as Sicilian ice cream, this eggless recipe is loved in southern Italy because it’s easier to digest in the heat of summer than heavy, egg-based versions.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Incredible flavor – This no egg, ice cream recipe is perfectly flavored with just enough sweetness and a beautiful vanilla fragrance, bringing back all your memories of the best ice cream you’ve ever had.
  • Creamy texture – You’ll be pleasantly surprised with this mascarpone gelato’s luscious, velvety texture as it melts effortlessly on your tongue without a single trace of ice crystals. Cornstarch together with corn syrup (not the nasty one)
  • Simplicity – Ice cream making has never been more simple. This recipe uses basic ingredients and easy techniques that still produce fantastic results regardless of your cooking or baking experience.
  • Pairs perfectly – This ice cream teams wonderfully with Stewed Pears or Strawberry Compote. I know you will enjoy it. If you are looking for more ice cream recipes, be sure to try my delicious mango gelato which uses sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream to make an easy no-churn ice cream!

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe as in the recipe card.
  • Mascarpone cheese – this is a spreadable, white cheese that originates in the Italian region of Lombardy. It’s one of the main ingredients in Tiramisu and adds richness and flavor to this ice cream. For best results, purchase good quality mascarpone cheese.
  • Whole milk – full fat, whole milk is the best for this and most ice cream or gelato recipes. 
  • Heavy cream – look for cream with at least 36% milk fat and preferably use pure cream with no additives. 
  • Cornstarch – this is also known as “cornflour” in some countries. It’s a fine, white powder made from the starchy part of corn available in most grocery stores. Don’t confuse it with corn flour or polenta which is a yellow, grainy powder used for corn bread and Italian polenta.
  • Salt – just a pinch of fine table salt highlights the flavors and makes all the difference.
  • Sugar – use white granulated sugar for this recipe. Other types of sugars will change the color of the dessert.
  • Vanilla extract – available from grocery stores. Use extract as opposed to essence. It’s the real stuff and has an amazing flavor!
  • Light (referring to the color) corn syrup – this is available at most grocery stores. You should look for glucose-packed “regular” corn syrup made from corn. Please don’t confuse this with high-fructose corn syrup. This nasty type of corn syrup is only available commercially. However, corn syrup is optional in this ice cream recipe but has anti-freezing “power” so that the ice cream is soft and scoopable.

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

Whisking cornstarch and water.

In a small bowl, whisk a little of the milk with the cornstarch. 

Adding the cornstarch slurry to milk and cream in a saucepan.

Heat the milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry then boil to thicken.

Pouring creamy liquid over thick white cream.

Cool the thickened mixture to lukewarm, stir in the vanilla extract then add whisk the mixture slowly into the mascarpone cheese.

Whisking thick, creamy liquid.

Whisk until the mixture is free from lumps.

Creamy liquid covered with plastic wrap.

Cover with plastic wrap, and chill overnight.

White liquid being poured into stand mixer ice cream maker.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

Transfer churned ice cream to a chilled loaf pan or shallow, freezer-proof container with a capacity of at least 4 to 5 cups. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

Hint: Have everything very well chilled before churning the Mascarpone Ice Cream. Chill the ice cream mixture very well but also freeze the loaf pan you’ll use to freeze the ice cream in. If the weather is hot, turn on the air conditioning and pack ice around the outside of the loaf pan so that it remains cold.

Substitutions

  • Vanilla Extract – instead of vanilla extract you can use vanilla bean paste or the scraped seed of a vanilla bean.
  • Light Corn Syrup – use glucose syrup instead of light corn syrup 

Variations

  • Lemon Mascarpone Ice Cream –  omit the vanilla extract and add finely grated lemon zest to the hot milk and cream mixture.
  • Kid friendly – add mini chocolate chips in the last 5 minutes of churning. 

Equipment

To make this recipe you’ll need an ice cream maker. There are various types available. Some ice cream makers require the removable bowl to be frozen before churning while others have an inbuilt compressor to freeze the ice cream as it churns.

Storage

The ice cream base can be made a day or two in advance to ensure that the mixture is well chilled. This time will also allow the flavors to mature and develop.

Homemade Mascarpone Ice Cream has a short shelf life but there are some things you can do to improve keeping qualities. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface so that the ice cream doesn’t come into contact with the cold, dry air in the freezer. If the container doesn’t have a lid, wrap it well in several layers of plastic. In this way, it will keep well for two weeks.

Top tips

Ice cream being scooped.

Making ice cream doesn’t have to be difficult and this recipe proves it. Just follow these simple tips for complete success.

  • For great results, use the best quality ingredients that you can afford. Full-fat ingredients help the dessert stay creamy.
  • Remove any lumps in the cornstarch slurry mixture then stir it again before adding to the hot milk and cream. If there are lumps, strain them out using a fine mesh sieve.
  • Bring the ice cream base to a boil to thicken then remove it from the heat. Overheating cornstarch can cause it to break down and lose some of its thickening power.
  • Whisk the mixture regularly while cooling to ensure skin doesn’t form on the surface.
  • Chill the ice cream mixture well before churning. It will thicken to a pudding-like consistency which is correct. This will give the mascarpone ice cream the structure it requires to churn light and creamy.
  • Heat is your enemy. So run the air conditioning, freeze the loaf pan, and use ice to keep everything cold. The ice cream maker will churn the mixture perfectly but if you need to remove it from the canister, chill the pan beforehand.
  • Before freezing the ice cream, press plastic wrap onto the surface. This helps prevent ice crystals from forming.

FAQ

What does mascarpone ice cream taste like?

This is probably the question I get asked the most. My family says that it tastes like the best vanilla ice cream ever! It’s creamy, buttery, and rich with barely a hint of tang. Don’t worry. It won’t taste like cheese. Just be sure to purchase the best mascarpone cheese you can afford.

Is Philadelphia cream cheese the same as mascarpone?

Philadephia cream cheese and mascarpone are both soft, white cheeses however they aren’t the same. Philadelphia cream cheese has at least 33% milk fat while mascarpone cheese is much higher. Mascarpone is prized for its rich, smooth texture and is noticeably less tangy than Philadelphia cream cheese.

How can I make ice cream without a machine only with a freezer?

You can make this ice cream without a machine however it will be more icy. To make this recipe without a machine, you will need to churn the ice cream base using a fork, spoon, or hand-held or stand mixer several times during the freezing process. 
Start beating the mixture after 60-90 minutes of it first being in the freezer. You’ll need to scrape any frozen bits from the sides of the pan and break up the frozen chunks. Return the ice cream to the freezer for another 30-45 minutes, then repeat. Continue this process at regular intervals as the mixture freezes to prevent ice crystals from forming. It’s important to return the mixture to the freezer quickly after beating.

Serving Suggestions

Overhead view of ice cream in a loaf pan with some balls scooped and scoops in a glass dessert bowl. #FrozenDessert #SicilianIceCream #ItalianGelato

There is almost nothing that can’t be served with a scoop or two of Mascarpone Ice Cream. Whether it’s with something fruity like Baked Peaches or Blueberry Compote, or alongside a slice of Italian Lemon Cake or Blueberry Pound Cake, adding ice cream turns something simple into something decadent.

Why not be a little cheeky and serve a scoop with Sourdough French Toast for breakfast? Go on. It’s worth it!

Mascarpone Cream
Cannoli Filling
Cannoli Cake

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Scoops of Mascarpone Ice Cream in a glass dessert bowl.

Mascarpone Ice Cream Recipe

Creamy and luscious Mascarpone Ice Cream is easy to make and tastes amazing. This egg free recipe makes ice cream that tastes of your childhood.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Review
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Freezing time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings:8 people
Author: Marcellina

Equipment

  • medium saucepan
  • ice cream maker
  • 8½ x 4½ inch loaf pan or shallow, freezerproof container with a capacity of at least 4-5 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (480 mls) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 mls) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch See Note 1
  • 3 teaspoons (15 mls) light corn syrup optional but See Note 2
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons (15 mls) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250 grams) mascarpone cheese

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup (120ml) full-fat milk, and cornstarch together.
  • In a medium saucepan, pour in the remaining full-fat milk, heavy cream, granulated white sugar, corn syrup (or glucose syrup), and salt.
  • Place the pan over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Heat until the mixture is steaming but not boiling.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
  • Return the saucepan to medium heat, and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. The mixture needs to boil to thicken but as soon as it does take the saucepan off the heat.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool to lukewarm. Whisk the mixture regularly to keep the mixture smooth and free from lumps. To cool the mixture rapidly, I fill the sink with a bit of water and set the saucepan in the water.
  • Meanwhile, scrape the mascarpone cheese into a large bowl. Stir with a spoon to soften and loosen the cheese.
  • When the milk and cream mixture is lukewarm, stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Then slowly whisk the mixture into the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth and liquid.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down onto the mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool to room temperature
  • Refrigerate overnight or until cold enough to use in an ice cream maker. The mixture will thicken to a pudding-like consistency.
  • Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. I churn mine for 20-30 minutes.
  • If you wish to enjoy soft serve ice cream, serve immediately in chilled dessert glasses.
  • Alternatively, transfer churned ice cream to a chilled loaf pan or shallow, freezer-proof container. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream and freeze for at least 1 hour or until frozen to your desired firmness.
  • For longer storage, wrap well in plastic for up to two weeks.

Notes

  1. Cornstarch is also known as “cornflour” in some countries. This is a fine, white powder, derived from corn or sometimes wheat that is used to thicken puddings, etc.
  2. This is regular corn syrup from the grocery store not high fructose corn syrup used commercially. Corn syrup is labeled “glucose syrup” in some countries. It is optional but desirable for a creamy, scoopable frozen dessert.
Tips for Success
  • Start with the best quality ingredients.
  • Blend the cornstarch with milk until completely smooth.
  • Once the ice cream base has thickened, don’t keep boiling it. Cornstarch can break down if overcooked.
  • Use a wire whisk to whisk the thickened mixture regularly while cooling so that a skin doesn’t form.
  • Chill the ice cream base very well before churning.
  • If the weather is very hot, be sure to keep everything cold. Turn on the air conditioning, freeze the loaf pan, and use ice to keep everything cold. 
  • Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 0.03g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 930IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

This updated and improved recipe was first published here on August 25, 2017.

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5 from 6 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I added chocolate chips to mine and the kids absolutely loved it! Thanks, Marcellina. This recipe is a keeper.

  2. 5 stars
    Looks amazing! I’ve never used mascarpone in my ice cream before. Pinned for later x