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Fried Ice Cream Recipe With Sopapillas and Pear-Honey Sauce

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

Fried Ice Cream With Sopapillas and Pear-Honey Sauce

Fried Ice Cream With Sopapillas and Pear-Honey Sauce

What Is Fried Ice Cream?

While fried ice cream is definitely an American invention, there's a lot of controversy as to when it came into existence. Some say its birthplace was Chicago's World's Fair in 1893, at the same time the ice cream sundae was introduced. Others say it was the brainchild of Japanese tempura restaurants of the 1960s. But one thing is certain: fried ice cream came into popularity in the United States in the early 1980s, when it was adopted by a popular Mexican restaurant chain.

What keeps fried ice cream from melting? First, the ice cream balls are frozen very hard, so a brief immersion in hot oil creates a crisp coating on the ice cream. Although fried ice cream is traditionally served on a cinnamon-sugar tortilla shell, why not try it with sopapillas for a spectacular treat? Finish it with pear-honey sauce and you'll have the perfect grand finale for a Mexican feast. Enjoy!


  • Completely crush the crackers and cornflakes in a blender before measuring.
  • Allow plenty of time for the ice cream balls to freeze. If they're too soft, it will be impossible to roll them in the cornflakes.
  • Freeze cornflake-covered ice cream balls on a cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap. The plastic will make it easier to peel off the very frozen ice cream balls without damaging them.


Homemade Fried Ice Cream

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

5 min

25 min

6 servings


  • 1 quart ice cream, any flavor*
  • 3 cups cornflakes (cereal), crushed
  • 3 cups vanilla crackers, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 egg whites


  1. Scoop ice cream in 1/2 cup portions. Form six balls and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Combine crushed cornflakes, vanilla crackers and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Place egg whites in a bowl. Whip until foamy.
  4. Roll balls of ice cream in egg whites then in crumb mixture. Repeat the process, rolling them again in egg whites and crumb mixture.
  5. Freeze until very firm, 3–4 hours.
  6. Heat vegetable oil to 400°F (204°F).
  7. Fry ice cream balls for 10 seconds, or until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

*Horchata ice cream is the perfect complement for cinnamon-coated sopapillas. Our second choice is high-quality vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

How to Make Sopapillas

Cornmeal gives the sopapillas an extra crunch. Serve leftover sopapillas and honey for breakfast, instead of donuts.


  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, unbleached
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a medium bowl, mix milk, egg and butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cornmeal, yeast, and salt.
  3. Combine wet ingredients and dry. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough forms.
  4. Place dough onto a floured surface, such as a countertop, and knead until elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes. Add more flour, as necessary, to keep dough from sticking.
  5. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and leave in a warm place for 1–2 hours, until double in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and place on the floured surface.
  7. Cut dough in half.
  8. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough out into two circles, 1/4 inch.
  9. Using a knife, cut the dough into wedges as you would slice a pizza. You should have 16 wedges.
  10. Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan to 375°F, or 191°C.
  11. Fry sopapillas, two or three at a time, until golden brown. As they puff and turn golden, flip them over and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes total.
  12. Combine 1 cup white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon on a large plate.
  13. While sopapillas are still warm, roll them in the cinnamon and sugar.

How to Make Pear-Honey Sauce

Here's how to make the pear-honey sauce.


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 pears, peeled and chopped in cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil. Continue boiling until sugar dissolves, about a minute.
  2. Add salt and cubed pears. Simmer on medium heat for a minute, or until pears are tender.
  3. Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry. Quickly stir the slurry into the pear/sugar mixture.
  4. Add honey and stir to combine.
  5. Continue to boil for about a minute longer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens.
  6. Add vanilla and allow to cool before use. Store in refrigerator up to one week.

How to Assemble Your Dish

Arrange one sopapilla on each plate or bowl. Top with fried ice cream and serve with pear-honey sauce on the side.

Bon Appetit!

Fried Ice Cream With Pear-Honey Sauce

Fried Ice Cream With Pear-Honey Sauce

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