If you love citrus, you’ll go crazy for this homemade Lime Ice Cream Recipe!
Like limeade, this easy lime ice cream recipe is sweet and tangy, made with real lime juice and lime zest, and an ultra-refreshing treat for a hot summer day.
Homemade Lime ice cream is naturally gluten-free and nut-free, and can be made with or without added food coloring.
I just love the delicious way citrus fruits are incorporated into ice cream. The mix of flavors – bitter, sour, and sweet – blend with vanilla extract and a creamy ice cream base to create a fresh, bright dessert that hits all of your taste buds.
Why You’re Going to Love This Lime Ice Cream Recipe
Classic French Style – The strong flavor of limes needs the balance of a rich and flavorful ice cream base. French-style ice cream starts with a custard made with egg yolks and cream and is perfect for this recipe.
Ingredients in Homemade Lime Ice Cream
Granulated Sugar– For sweetness and amazing ice cream texture, plain, white, granulated sugar is the perfect choice.
Lime Zest and Juice – You’ll need a few fresh limes to get the amount of zest and juice you need to make lemon ice cream. Be sure to use fresh juice and not bottled lime juice.
Egg Yolks – These create the base for our lemon ice cream custard. We’ll gently heat the egg yolks to pasteurize them, but you can also purchase pasteurized eggs if you prefer.
Half and Half – Some of our recipes use whole milk and heavy cream. For this one, half-and-half is a simple shortcut!
Vanilla Extract – Vanilla is a must for almost all of our ice cream recipes. It elevates the simple flavors of milk, sugar, and cream. Vanilla also rounds out the tart lime flavor nicely.
Green Food Coloring – This is optional. Without it, the lime ice cream will be a white-ish color. A drop of food coloring (i used Americolor mint green gel food color) will give it a pastel green hue.
How to Make Lime Ice Cream from Scratch
Start the day before by making sure that the bowl for your ice cream maker has at least 24 hours to freeze solid.
- Infuse the Sugar: Add the granulated sugar and lime zest to a medium-sized bowl and use your fingers to work the zest into the sugar. This will help the zest to release the citrus oil and give us the most lime flavor!
- Whisk: Add the egg yolks to the lime-infused sugar and whisk to combine fully.
- Temper: Place the half-and-half in a large saucepan set over medium heat and warm it just until it begins to steam and bubble around the edges. Slowly pour the half-and-half into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Then transfer the ice cream base back to the saucepan.
- Cook: Place the ice cream base over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon– about 5-7 minutes.
- Finish the Base: Remove the custard from the heat and pour it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any chunks of zest or scrambled egg. Then add the lime juice, vanilla extract, and food coloring, and whisk to combine. Cover the base with plastic wrap, making sure that it touches the surface, and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Churn: Churn the ice cream until it is soft-serve consistency. Transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze for 4 hours or until solid and scoopable. Enjoy.
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions for making lime ice cream, please see the recipe below.
How to Store Lime Ice Cream
Store this homemade lime ice cream in the freezer in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper pressed on top for up to one month.
Tips for Making This Lime Ice Cream Recipe
Use quality ingredients – When making homemade ice cream, you’ll want to make sure you are using high-quality ingredients for the best outcome. For this lime ice cream recipe, fresh lime juice and zest are the key to the amazing flavor.
Chill out – If possible, always start with chilled ingredients. This is important for homemade no-churn ice cream recipes and ice cream maker recipes. It’s also important to chill the ice cream base well before adding it to the ice cream maker.
Don’t skimp on the fat – High-fat milk and cream are essential when making homemade ice cream. Opting for a low-fat option often leads to icy ice creams and inconsistency in the texture.
Don’t go crazy with the add-ins – If you’re adding in additional ingredients, pick one or two and make sure they are chopped into pieces no larger than a blueberry or pea.
Don’t skimp on the sugar – Sugar not only adds sweetness to homemade ice creams, it also helps with the texture. Sugar is essential for the creamy texture of ice cream. In lime ice cream, the sugar is especially important to balance out the sour, tart flavor of the citrus.
How to Zest a Lime
First, be sure to zest your limes before you juice them. It’s difficult to remove the zest from fruit that has already been cut and squeezed.
To remove the zest from the outside of the limes, use a specialized tool called a rasp or Microplane grater. This tool has small, sharp holes that will remove only the green outer layer of the limes, leaving behind the bitter white pith.
No Churn Lime Ice Cream Directions
You can make Lime Ice Cream without an ice cream maker!
Chill a shallow container or a loaf pan in the freezer while you mix the ice cream ingredients.
Pour the ice cream mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 3-4 hours. Stir the ice cream every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours to help add air. This will help create a creamy, smooth texture.
Lime Ice Cream Add-Ins
Lime pairs well with sweet fruits such as mango or strawberry. Think about adding a swirl of fresh fruit puree or strawberry sauce to this ice cream before freezing it in the loaf pan.
More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes
Try making more of our easy homemade ice cream recipes featuring fruit!
- Blackberry Ice Cream
- Grape Ice Cream
- Watermelon Ice Cream
- Tutti Frutti Ice Cream
- Mango Gelato
- Peaches and Cream Ice Cream
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- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime zest
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 cups half-and-half
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Green food coloring, optional
- Freeze your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Add the granulated sugar and lime zest to a medium sized bowl and work the zest into the sugar with your fingers– this will help the zest release the oil so we get the most lime flavor!
- Add the egg yolks to the sugar and whisk to combine.
- Place the half-and-half in a large saucepan set over medium heat and warm it just until it begins to steam and bubble around the edges.
- Slowly pour the half-and-half into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Then transfer the ice cream base back to the saucepan.
- Place the ice cream base over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon– about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the custard from the heat and pour it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any chunks of lime zest or scrambled egg.
- Add the lime juice, vanilla, and food coloring (if using) and whisk to combine.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap so it is touching the surface of the ice cream– this will help prevent it from forming a skin. Place the ice cream base in the fridge until it is very cold– at least 4 hours.
- Churn the ice cream until it is soft-serve consistency. In my Ktichenaid Ice Cream Attachment, this took about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze for 4 hours or until solid and scoopable. Enjoy.
- Plan ahead by making sure that your ice cream maker bowl is in the freezer at least 24 hours before making ice cream.
- Homemade ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to one month. Keep it in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper pressed to the surface of the ice cream to keep ice crystals from developing.
- Homemade ice cream should be easy to scoop if you let it soften at room temperature for 5 minutes after removing it from the freezer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 23gProtein: 5g