No Churn Lemon Ice Cream: the Recipe to Make Creamy, Soft Lemon Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker!

Total time: 15 mins. + resting time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

No Churn Lemon Ice Cream is a fresh, smart and easy dessert to prepare, an alternative to the classic lemon ice cream recipe, made in a few minutes and with only 4 ingredients: lemon, whipping cream, condensed milk and yellow food coloring. It can be made without an ice cream maker. A very simple and quick preparation that does not freeze in the freezer: the ice cream, in fact, will remain soft and fragrant, ready to be enjoyed.

Once ready, you can serve No Churn Lemon Ice Cream in the classic cups or on an ice cream cone and enjoy it as a snack or serve it as a dessert, served with lemon slices.

What is Lemon Ice Cream?

Lemon, with its refreshing and slightly acidic taste, became a popular flavor for ice creams in the 18th century, particularly among European aristocracy. The first documented recipe for lemon ice cream appeared in the 1768 edition of "The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy" by Hannah Glasse, an influential English cookbook. It was often served as a palate cleanser between courses in elaborate meals due to its refreshing properties. The advent of modern refrigeration in the late 19th century made it easier to produce and store ice cream, further increasing its popularity.

The no-churn method of making ice cream emerged as a popular alternative, gaining traction in the early 21st century as home cooks sought simpler, more convenient ways to enjoy homemade ice cream.

No-churn lemon ice cream became particularly popular as it retained the bright, zesty flavors of traditional lemon ice cream while offering a much simpler preparation method. Recipes for no-churn lemon ice cream began proliferating online and in cookbooks in the 2010s. 

What is The Difference Between Normal Ice Cream and No Churn One?

Traditional ice cream involves a custard base made from ingredients like milk, cream, sugar, and eggs, which is then churned in an ice cream maker to incorporate air and achieve a smooth, creamy texture. This process often requires precise temperature control and careful timing. In contrast, no-churn ice cream simplifies the process by using sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream as the base, eliminating the need for an ice cream maker. The mixture is simply combined with desired flavorings and frozen, resulting in a rich, creamy dessert with less effort and equipment.

Tips for the Best No Churn Lemon Ice Cream

  • Ensure that you use fresh lemons for both the zest and juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice provides a more vibrant and natural flavor compared to bottled juice, while fresh zest adds a fragrant, aromatic quality.
  • For best whipping results, chill your mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for about 15 minutes before whipping the cream. This helps the cream to whip faster and achieve stiff peaks.
  • When whipping the cream, start at a lower speed and gradually increase to high. This ensures a stable whipped cream and prevents over-whipping, which can turn the cream into butter.
  • When adding the lemon mixture to the whipped cream, fold it in gently with a spatula. This helps to maintain the airy texture of the whipped cream, resulting in a light and creamy ice cream.
  • If you choose to use food coloring, add it sparingly. Start with a few drops and mix well to achieve your desired color. Too much coloring can be overpowering and affect the appearance.
  • Make sure to freeze the mixture for at least 8 hours, or overnight if possible, to achieve the perfect scoopable consistency. Cover the mold with plastic wrap or a lid to prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface.
  • Before scooping, let the ice cream sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. This makes it easier to scoop and enhances the creamy texture.

Why Do We Need to Add Lemon Juice to the Ice Cream?

Adding lemon juice to lemon ice cream is essential because it provides the distinct tangy flavor that defines the dessert, balancing the sweetness of the condensed milk. Additionally, the lemon juice interacts with the cream and other ingredients to help achieve a smoother, creamier texture.

Will the Lemon Juice Curdle my Ice Cream?

No! The sweetened condensed milk in the mixture helps to stabilize the acidity of the lemon juice, preventing it from curdling the whipping cream. Remember to gently fold the condensed milk mixture with the whipping cream to ensure that the consistency remains soft, creamy and airy.

Can I Skip on The Food Coloring?

Yes! Skipping the food coloring won't affect the taste of the ice cream, as it's only used to give it a yellower color. If you want to use a natural alternative, try adding a bit of turmeric powder or finely grated carrot.

More Ice Cream Recipes You'll Love

Watermelon Ice Cream

Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

Melon Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

How to Store No Churn Lemon Ice Cream

You can store the No Churn Lemon Ice Cream in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months.


Condensed milk
300 grams
Lemons (zest and juice)
food coloring (optional)
Whipping cream
375 ml

How to Prepare No Churn Lemon Ice Cream

In a bowl, add the condensed milk and grate the lemon zest.

Add the lemon juice and mix with a spatula until they're well melded together and look homogeneous.

Add a tinge of food coloring.

Continue to mix until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous.

Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Add the previously prepared lemon mixture into the whipped cream.

Mix with a spatula, with movements from bottom to top, until all is well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a cake mold and level it up with a spatula. Freeze for 8 hours.

After the time has elapsed, make ice cream balls with an ice cream scoop and serve. Enjoy!

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