I LOVE ice cream – it’s one of my all time favorite desserts. I normally go for very rich flavors like coffee, chocolate, or cookies and cream. So, while I wait and hope for spring to come, I was inspired by the brighter flavors of that season to put together an herbal ice cream. This is another one of my recipe experiments I was very unsure of and was thrilled when it turned out to be, not only edible, but good enough to rival some of my other favorite flavors.

Now, just because the flavors of this ice cream are lighter, doesn’t mean the ice cream itself isn’t rich! I find I get the best results with heavy cream and whole milk so if you have dairy problems, this one is not for you. But don’t you worry – this experiment definitely inspired me to make a dairy-free version as well. Something I’m working on now!

If you’ve tried my coffee cookies and cream ice cream you know I highly recommend getting this Cuisinart ice cream maker. It’s their simplest version and you can usually find it for a great deal! There are certainly ways to make ice cream without a machine but if you want to make traditional thick ice cream like you would find in a boutique ice cream shop, an inexpensive machine is a great investment.

Basil and Roasted Strawberry Swirled Ice Cream

These herbal, fruity, but not too sweet ice cream is perfect for anyone who wants dessert but don't want to feel like their teeth are about to fall out. Bonus that the light green color contrasted with the bright pinkish red of the strawberries looks absolutely stunning in an ice cream bowl.
Course Dessert
Servings 2 pints


For the Basil Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 5 large basil leaves

For the Roasted Strawberry Swirl:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste


For the Basil Ice Cream:

  • In a bowl, stir together 14 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine the cream and basil leaves until completely emulsified – the mixture will be a pale green
  • In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk, the basil cream, sugar, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • After cooking for 4 minutes; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Place cheese in a bowl and pour in 14 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the rest of the milk.
  • Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled. This is a good time to make the strawberry swirl – see instructions below.
  • Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Transfer ice cream to a storage container by pouring in half the mixture, then scooping tbsps of the strawberry mixture across the top. Pour in the rest of the ice cream then dot the top again with the strawberry mixture. You do not need to us all the strawberry mixture unless you want to! You can save the rest for a dessert topping, smoothies, or pancakes.
  • Take a knife and run it up and down the ice cream to create a swirl pattern with the dollops of strawberry. Press plastic wrap onto the top of the ice cream (or use an airtight lid) and freeze until set. This will take a little longer because of the strawberries – I try to aim for overnight.

For the Roasted Strawberry Swirl:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Toss hulled and quartered strawberries in a baking dish with 1/2 cup sugar and bake until they start to break down – about 30ish minutes
  • Add roasted strawberries to a pot with the remaining sugar and vanilla syrup and cook until it becomes syrupy.
  • Let cool completely before using in the ice cream – you can put it in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes to help this process along
Keyword basil ice cream, basil strawberry, Ice cream, ice cream recipe, strawberry ice cream