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Homemade Gelato Recipe

I love cooking and sharing my recipes. I make homemade gelato for my friends and family and love inventing crazy flavors!

Authentic gelato recipe

Authentic gelato recipe

Make Gelato at Home

Making gelato at home is so worth the effort. After I started making my own and cranking out new flavors from fresh ingredients, there was no way I would go back to store-bought frozen treats. The process might seem daunting at first, but there are really only a few basic steps. And I will share how you can avoid the mistakes I made early on.

Gelato is made by first making a custard base. Making the custard on a stovetop can take a bit of practice and does require attention to detail, so please read all the instructions before starting. Once the custard is complete, it will need to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before running in the ice cream maker.

Total Gelato Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

8 hours

30 min

8 hours 30 min

approx 1 quart gelato

Gelato Custard Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar, white or raw sugar
  • 1 cup milk, can substitute with nut or cocnut milk for diary-free
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups cream, can substitute with coconut cream for diary-free

Choose Your Gelato Flavor

NOTE: The above ingredients for custard do not include the ingredients you will need to add flavor to the gelato.

Flavoring is added to the custard while it is being prepped and before cooling. The flavor you choose is up to you, but here are some ideas:

  • Salted Caramel Gelato
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Gelato
  • Orange Dreamsicle Gelato

Another possible variation of gelato is to create a vegan or dairy-free gelato. To accomplish this, cream and milk can be substituted with coconut cream and coconut milk. Egg yolk alternatives would be necessary for a completely vegan gelato recipe.

Once you get the hang of gelato-making, you might start feeling a little more adventurous with the flavors you create. Some of my most wild (and delicious!) flavors are:

  • Jalapeno avocado strawberry
  • Bacon fudge
  • Ghost chili vanilla


To follow this recipe and make delicious gelato at home, you will need:

  • Two medium mixing bowls
  • Small saucepan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Whisk
  • Ice cream maker

Recipe Outline (Details Below)

  1. Make custard: Custard is made by heating milk, sugar, and eggs on the stovetop. Temperature precision is key here. Flavoring is added in this step.
  2. Chill custard: The custard is chilled in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
  3. Ice cream maker: Custard is run in the ice cream maker for about 1 hour. Syrups and other flavorings can be added during this step.
Strawberry cheesecake gelato: Made by me

Strawberry cheesecake gelato: Made by me

Detailed Gelato Instructions

1. Prep Eggs

Begin by separating five egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Heat Sugar and Milk (165 °F)

Combine sugar and milk in a small saucepan with a whisk and set on medium heat. Add a candy thermometer to the pan. The first time it did this, I had my thermometer touching the bottom of the pan, which is a lot hotter than the liquid, so I thought it was hotter than it was and ended up pulling it off too early. So make sure you are measuring the temperature of the liquid, not the bottom of the pan.

Bring to 165 °F, stirring occasionally. Once the saucepan hits temperature, pour half of the sugar/milk mixture into the egg yolk bowl, stirring until combined. Return egg yolk mixture back to the pan, stirring continuously.

You can also cook the custard sous vide style and get consistently creamy gelato with no risk of overcooking.

3. Add the Gelato Flavor

Now is when you add the flavoring. This can be whatever you can come up with! But it should not add too much water to the custard. The added water will make the resulting gelato icy. Gelato's texture should be smooth and creamy so keep the water content you add in this step to 3/4 cup or less. This restriction has kept me from getting a good watermelon gelato. I could always use an extract or fake flavoring but to me, that defeats the purpose of making the gelato from scratch.

4. Heat Custard Again (172 °F)

Once you are satisfied with the flavor, bring the mixture up to 172 °F. Stir constantly until it reaches the desired temperature. Beware, this is the most error-prone part of the process because if the mixture goes above 172 °F at any point, the egg yolks will cook, and the custard will be ruined. Unless you are trying to make scrambled eggs flavored gelato! Once it hits the temperature, remove the mixture from the heat. Pour 2 cups of cream into a medium mixing bowl. Pour the custard mixture from the saucepan into the mixing bowl. Whisk together.

5. Refrigerate

Now your custard is ready to go into the refrigerator. Add saran wrap to cover the mixing bowl so that the saran is touching the liquid. The goal is to not allow any air to touch the surface. Place in refrigerator. Custard needs to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Ice Cream Maker

Remove custard bowl from the fridge. Depending on the size of your home ice cream maker you may have to run the custard in two batches.

Pour the custard into the ice cream maker. Start the machine and let it run until the ice cream maker stops, which will be about 45–60 minutes. Ice cream makers can vary widely, so it may take a few runs for you to figure out how long it takes to get to the creamy texture you want. I have an old but trusty machine that sometimes quits out too early once the gelato starts to get thick and needs to restart to continue.

If you want your gelato flavor to have any syrups or crumbles, this is when they go in. I've made my own caramel sauce and added it during this step to give a coffee flavor an extra sweetness. Wait until it thickens after the first 20 minutes before you put in any add-ons, or they will all sink to the bottom.

My orange dreamsicle gelato

My orange dreamsicle gelato

Dessert Time!

Now, dig in and enjoy all your hard work.

Gelato will last about two weeks in the freezer—much less if you tell your friends and family that you have fresh, handmade gelato! I usually vacuum seal gelato that I know will not be eaten in a few weeks, which will keep it fresh for months.

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