Gingerbread Ice Cream Recipe

Spicy gingerbread cookie crumbs thicken and flavor this satisfying winter ice cream.

Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • Using more milk than cream offsets the richness of the cookie crumbs.
  • Cooking the crumbs in the custard base ensures they dissolve fully, for an ice cream that churns up silky-smooth.
  • A water bath jump-starts the cooling process, so the base can chill faster in the fridge.

This recipe is a great way to polish off the scraps left over from making my gingerbread, but feel free to use your own favorite recipe or store-bought cookies instead.

With a brown sugar base to play up the molasses notes of gingerbread, this ice cream has all the hearty flavor you'd expect from a gingerbread cookie—although you can also doctor the spices to taste before churning. It pairs brilliantly with the cranberry jam from our holiday trifle and makes a fun twist on cherry pie à la mode.

Recipe Details

Gingerbread Ice Cream Recipe

Active 25 mins
Total 5 hrs
Serves 8 servings

Spicy gingerbread cookie crumbs thicken and flavor this satisfying winter ice cream.


  • 5 1/2 ounces light or dark brown sugar (about 2/3 cup, gently packed; 145g)

  • 4 ounces egg yolk (about 1/2 cup; 110g), from about 8 large eggs

  • 3/4 teaspoon (3g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more as needed; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 6 3/4 ounces gingerbread cookie crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups; 190g), from store-bought or homemade gingerbread cookies, plus more for mix-ins and garnishing

  • 9 ounces heavy cream (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons; 255g)

  • 11 ounces whole milk (about 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons; 310g)

  • 1/4 ounce orange liqueur, such as Cointreau, or whatever sounds tasty (about 1/2 tablespoon; 7g), optional

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Freshly ground black pepper or other complementary spices, optional

  • Chilled homemade caramel sauce, optional


  1. Combine brown sugar, egg yolks, salt, and baking soda in a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, then whisk in cookie crumbs, cream, and milk. Cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until warm to the touch. Increase heat to medium, stirring and scraping constantly with a flexible spatula, and cook until steaming hot, about 8 minutes or to 155°F (68°C). Stir in liqueur and vanilla and season to taste with salt, black pepper, and/or additional spices if desired. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a large stainless steel bowl, pressing gently with a flexible spatula to release the liquid trapped in the crumbs.

  2. Fill a sink compartment or extra-large bowl with a few inches of ice water and place bowl of custard inside, stirring from time to time, until cool, about 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until no warmer than 40°F (4°C), about 4 hours. (The ice cream base can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.) Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Meanwhile, place a 1-quart container and flexible spatula in the freezer.

  3. When ice cream looks thick and light, shut off the machine and scrape ice cream into chilled container, using chilled spatula. If desired, layer ice cream with chilled caramel sauce and an extra handful of crushed gingerbread cookies, in pieces as large or small as you like. Enjoy as soft-serve, or cover with plastic pressed directly against surface of ice cream, then close lid and freeze until hard, about 4 hours. If well protected from freezer burn, the ice cream can be kept in the freezer for more than a month. Serve plain, with gingerbread cookies on the side, or as an à la mode scoop for gingerbread cake or cherry pie.

Special equipment

3-quart stainless steel saucier; nonreactive fine-mesh sieve; stainless steel mixing bowl; digital thermometer; ice cream maker; nonreactive, quart-sized freezer-safe container

Make-Ahead and Storage

The ice cream base can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week until you're ready to churn. Once churned, if well-protected from freezer burn, the ice cream can be kept in the freezer for at least 1 month.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
338 Calories
19g Fat
37g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 338
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 204mg 68%
Sodium 270mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 29g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 131mg 10%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 216mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)