cold brew coffee ice cream recipe

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Long before I learned to love coffee, I loved coffee ice cream. After reading the coffee chapter of Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine, I wanted to try cold brewing in cream. Myhrvold recommends it as the method of choice when making coffee based desserts with dairy.

How to cold brew in cream

The set-up is pretty similar to normal cold brew. Myrhvold recommended more of a crushed coffee bean rather than ground (i.e. bigger chunks) or even using whole beans. I opted for crushed. To do this I put my roasted coffee beans in a freezer baggie and wrapped it in a towel. Then I used my meat tenderizer to give it several blows until the coffee was in chunks.

The next step is to place your coffee in a clean jar or container and add cream (or milk, whatever you are using). Put a lid on it and brew in the refrigerator for 20-24 hours.

The next day, you can strain out the coffee and use the cream or milk in your recipe. I used a mesh strainer and the fine bits of coffee bean in my ice cream were a nice addition.

As you can see, the 2 main differences to brewing in water are using whole or crushed coffee beans, and you must brew in the fridge for food safety.

cold brewing in cream vs. water comparison chart

Cold Brew Ice Cream



Total time




  • 1.5 cups milk

  • 1.5 cups heavy cream

  • 3/4 cups sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • Vanilla bean* or extract (optional)

  • 1 cup whole roasted coffee beans


  • Crush the coffee beans as directed above. Place in a jar and cover with the cream. Put a lid on and place in the fridge to steep for 20-24 hours. This will be thick–try to stir or swirl the mixture a few times during the steeping process so coffee and cream is thoroughly combined.
  • Once steeped, strain the cream from the coffee through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside in the fridge.
  • Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a simmer.
  • Whisk eggs and sugar together in a separate heat proof bowl.
  • Gradually add the heated milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Tip: Add your milk very slowly at first to prevent scrambling the eggs. Once the eggs are warmed by the milk, you can add the milk a little faster.
  • Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. This takes 10-15 minutes. You can add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract at this point if desired.
  • Let the milk mixture cool for 5-10 minutes, then stir in the coffee infused cream.
  • Let the ice cream mixture chill in the fridge until cold.
  • Process the mixture in your ice cream maker per your manufacturer’s directions.


  • If you would like to use a vanilla bean, slice a bean open and steep with the milk in step 3. Remove the bean before proceeding.
  • Makes about 1 quart. 1 serving is half a cup.
  • Total time is from the beginning of preparing the custard through chilling of the ice cream. Steeping the beans in dairy adds another 20-24 hours.

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