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Lemon Ice Cream

This Homemade Lemon Ice Cream is made with fresh lemons, infused with delicious lemon flavors, and is smooth, creamy and such a refreshing dessert!

It is made with only 4 simple ingredients, yet it is flavor-bursting and oh-so-delicious!

Scooping Lemon Ice Cream from a rectangular tub

Just like my Cookies and Cream Ice Cream and S’mores Ice Cream, (or any ice cream really, but these are my tried and true homemade favorites), this Lemon Ice Cream is my summer time necessity, summer time survival guide, summer time MUST HAVE.

When you are hot and sweaty and air conditioning alone cannot cool you down, grab a spoon and dig into it. It is tasty, refreshing, and the PERFECT summer time pick-me-up!

A few things you need to know about this Fresh Lemon Ice Cream:

  • it’s fairly light, almost a cross between sorbet and ice cream. If you were to draw a line and on one end is sorbet and the other is ice cream. This would be somewhere in the middle, but leaning towards the ice cream side. My husband thinks it also tastes a little bit like a lemon cream pie.
  • not too sweet, but sweet enough! The sweetness doesn’t overpower the lemon flavors
  • it is made with fresh lemons, so expect real, truly lemon-y flavors!
  • you’ll need an ice cream maker to make this


I make this Lemon Ice Cream in my Cuisinart 2-quart Ice Cream Maker (affiliate link) that I have a rather strong fondness towards.

This recipe fits a 2-quart maker perfectly. If your ice cream maker is smaller than 2-quart you should consider cutting the recipe in half.

Lemon Ice Cream on a tub with lemons on top


When I created this recipe, I wanted to keep the ingredient list short and simple.

Every ingredient plays an important role in bringing great flavors and textures to this Lemon Ice Cream, and they are easy to work with.

Here’s the four (YES, ONLY FOUR!) ingredients you will need:

  • Heavy cream
  • Milk – my secret for the lightness lies using a lot less heavy cream and more milk. I would recommend using 2% milk or whole milk.
  • Lemons – the star ingredient! We will use both the lemon juice and the zest
  • Condensed milk – no sugar needed, condensed milk gives this a creamy delicious flavor along with the sweetness. It’s also easier to work with because you don’t have to heat to dissolve condensed milk to incorporate into the mixture.

And if you noticed, no eggs are required. To keep it light, we will not be using eggs. Egg tend to bring a more custard-like texture in ice cream.

It is also SO MUCH EASIER when you are not dealing with cooking eggs in cream and trying to prevent it from turning into scramble eggs.

And YES. If you catch where I am heading. NO COOKING REQUIRED. Just mix everything together…and wait patiently!

Juicing lemon for Lemon Ice Cream
Lemon juice and lemon zest brings fresh, real lemon flavors to this delicious ice cream

How to Make Lemon Ice Cream

Step 1: Freeze ice cream bucket ahead of time

Whenever you are making ice cream, always remember to ice cream bucket in the ice cream maker at least 24 hours ahead of time.

Step 2: Bring together lemon ice cream mixture

When bucket is frozen and ready to be used, let’s start making the Lemon Ice Cream by zesting and juicing those fresh lemons.

I like to zest them first and then juice them – it can be hard to zest them once lemons are no longer firm and juicy.

In a large bowl, bring together heavy cream, milk, condensed milk, and freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

Mixing ice cream mixture in a large bowl

Step 3: Refrigerate mixture

Refrigerate mixture for 30-60 minutes so lemon ice cream mixture is cold. Keeping it cold will make it easier to churn the ice cream in Step 4.

Step 4: Churn ice cream

Follow ice cream maker instruction manual to churn the ice cream.

You will typically need to turn on the ice cream maker, then place frozen bucket and the churning fixtures on the ice cream maker.

Then you will add cold mixture into the bucket and let it churn for 30-45 minutes, or until ice cream has thickened.

Ice cream churning in an ice cream maker
Consistency of Lemon Ice Cream after it has been churned

Step 5: Transfer and Freeze

Once you are done churning the ice cream, transfer Lemon Ice Cream to a container.

At this point, Lemon Ice Cream will still be soft, but it will be thicker compared to its consistency prior to churning.

Freeze ice cream for 5-6 hours, or overnight, so that it hardens and resembles the ice cream we all know and love

Step 6: Serve!

I like to add some additional lemon peel to ice cream to give it even more lemon flavors.

Because yes, I love my lemons!

Top down view of a rectangular tub of fresh Lemon ice Cream

Serve them in a cone, in a cup…or simple eating them straight out from the container!

So dang YUMMY!

Ice Cream can sometimes sound like an intimating task to take one, but it really is pretty straight forward. It does require some preparation ahead of time, and a little bit of wait time and patience.

But this Lemon Ice Cream also calls for simple, straight-forward ingredients, which really makes it fairly easy once you get the hang of it!

Lemon ice cream on two cones

Recipe Notes

A few things to keep in mind!

  • Freeze ice cream bucket at least 24 hours prior to churning the ice cream.
  • Make sure Lemon Ice Cream mixture is cold (refrigerate it for 30-60 minutes prior) when pouring it into the bucket/ice cream maker to churn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make ahead the ice cream mixture?

Yes! Make ahead, store in an airtight container, and refrigerate mixture for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it if you want to keep it longer.

How do I make this more sweet/ less sweet?

Add more condensed milk if you like Lemon Ice Cream sweeter. Use less condensed milk and/or more lemon zest if you like it less sweet.

Can I make this without an ice cream maker?

You can but the consistency will be different and it will not taste like traditional ice cream.

Scooping Lemon Ice Cream from a rectangular container

Other Fruit Recipes!

Two Lemon Ice Cream cones

Lemon Ice Cream

Light and refreshing, this lemon ice cream requires no cooking and is addictively good! The perfect summer time dessert that will cool you off and leave you wanting more, and more!
4.84 from 30 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze + Churn Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 392kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 14 oz condense milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest


  • Freeze ice cream bucket at least 24 hours prior.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Refrgerate for 30-60 minutes until mixture is cold.
  • Pour mixture into a 2-quart ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions, or until mixture is smooth and thickened. 
  • Transfer to a container, freeze for 4-5 hours, or overnight.
  • Serve and enjoy!


This post was originally published on June 218 and was updated with new photographs to improve user experience on April 2022.


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 136mg | Potassium: 399mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 841IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 311mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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4.84 from 30 votes (20 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Just made this today—and it was *glorious* 😀 Loved how easy the recipe was, and how nicely the flavours turned out! (I also used Meyer lemons, so it smelled really good) The coworkers all gave it positive reviews! I doubled the recipe and now I can’t wait to enjoy the leftovers in the upcoming summer heat hehe. This recipe’s a definite keeper 🙂 Thank you for sharing it!!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Hi Rosanne! Thank you so much for making the recipe and letting me know how it went! I am so thrilled that you and your co-workers love it. You are making me want to make a new batch using Meyer lemons – that sounds so amazing!! I may or may not wait until I finish my current batch that is in the freezer…?

  2. Can I substitute whole milk for the 2%?

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Yes!! It will be creamier that way!

  3. Hi I live in UK, do I use whipping cream (30-40% fat content) or double cream (48% fat content)?

    Thank you 😊

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I think whipping cream would work well!

  4. 5 stars
    I made it. Was easy to make It’s so creamy & refreshing! We love it.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      You are so welcome! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it!

  5. 5 stars
    Your Lemon Ice Cream is a absolute Joy to have, impressively flavorful, and that cooling feel.
    I am new in making Ice Cream, but your recipe make it a breeze!
    It has been a gorgeous experience. Thanks

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  6. Kelsey Houston says:

    5 stars
    I recently bought an ice cream maker and I was excited to try some ice cream recipes. I made this lemon ice cream over the weekend and loved it! It was really simple. It came out light and refreshing, with lots of yummy lemon flavors. Fantastic recipe! I won’t change a thing about it.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you Kelsey! Glad you experimented with your new ice cream maker with this lemon ice cream recipe! Thanks for giving it a try! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Love this light and refreshing ice cream recipe. It’s the perfect treat for us – fairly light and not overly creamy, and still flavorful and tasty.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you! Happy to hear that you enjoyed it, Andrea!

  8. 5 stars
    This Lemon Ice Cream was incredible! It was fresh, smooth and yummy! Perfect dessert for this summer. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks, for sharing

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you so much! Glad you all enjoyed it!

  9. 5 stars
    This lemon ice cream sure hit the spot on this warm day. So fresh and refreshing. We love the lemon flavors, and I might even try adding more lemon juice in the future (we love lemons!).

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thanks Michelle! Thrilled to hear that it hit the spot!

  10. dina miller says:

    5 stars
    4 ingredients and so delish! Thank you! We loved it.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Glad you did!!! 🙂

  11. 4 stars
    Like the lemon flavor.
    Texture was great. A little too sweet for me.
    Can I reduce the proportion of condensed milk?

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Yes! That’s totally fine!

  12. 4 stars
    Very good, but pretty sweet. Next time, I’ll reduce the amount of condensed milk and up the amount of cream/milk.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thanks for sharing! I’m glad it turned out well.