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For years, ice cream shops have been pushing the flavor envelope, so why not try making unusual ice cream flavors at home? These 14 unique ice cream recipes will keep you happy all summer long and are a nice change from vanilla and chocolate.
If you need even more inspiration, consider Secret Breakfast, a boozy bourbon ice cream with cornflake crunch from San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe; rosemary–olive oil ice cream from Atlanta’s Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream; or sticky black rice from New York’s Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (while not currently available at the shop, you can make it at home from the recipe in “Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream”).
We’re pushing the ice cream envelope here… join in the tasty fun — you won’t be sorry. Best of all: not all of these recipes require an ice cream maker, and even the ones that do can be adapted.
So no reason not to dive in and check out these cool twists on homemade ice cream.
Mason jar ice cream is an easy way to make your own without an ice cream machine (though you do need some arm strength), and you can add whatever flavors you like. This combo of roasted strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and cracked black pepper might just be the new hit of the summer. Get the Strawberry Balsamic Mason Jar Ice Cream recipe.
For something extra-summery that also has some maverick spirit, nothing beats this Watermelon Basil Sorbet.
If you like the idea of breakfasty ice cream but not so much frozen bacon, make a batch of cinnamon toast ice cream; it’s an indulgent flavor with a nice play on textures (smooth ice cream, crunchy cinnamon toast bits). Or take it back to Saturday morning cartoon time and use Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for a similar effect.
If you like Indian flavors, try this stunning golden blend of sweet and savory. Get the Coconut Curry Ice Cream recipe.
The sweet flavor of corn goes surprisingly well with ice cream—and corn ice cream has long been a popular flavor in Mexico. Get the Sweet Corn Ice Cream recipe.
Love hummus? Try tahini in your ice cream with this dairy-free tahini chocolate soft serve based on bananas. Bonus: it does not require an ice cream maker. Get the Tahini Chocolate Banana Soft Serve recipe.
This matcha green tea ice cream comes from the certified ice cream experts at Coolhaus, and is just as delicious on its own as it is sandwiched between ginger molasses cookies. Get the Matcha Ice Cream recipe.
Staying with the green theme for a moment, moringa powder makes a vibrant and deliciously different ice cream when blended with coconut, avocado, mint, and lime. It’s probably the most summer-appropriate way to try the superfood powder for yourself. Get the Moringa Ice Cream recipe.
Not quite as savory as some tahini desserts (see the complex soft serve above), this gelato with toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil balances that deep, nutty flavor with sweet honey, but it’s still far more interesting than your average scoop. Get the Toasted Sesame and Honey Gelato recipe.
Yes, these are ice pops, but they’re ice cream adjacent and have certainly earned their place in the annals of frozen dessert history. Inspired by Mexico’s ultra-refreshing paletas, these sunny pops spark sweet mango with spicy cayenne pepper so they cool you down but also have a little kick. They’re dairy-free, too. Get our Mango and Cayenne Paleta recipe.
If Cherry Coke Slurpees were your summer jam through middle and high school, try this grown-up—dare we say, sophisticated—take on the convenience store classic. This sorbet combines that iconic cola with sweet cherries, cherry juice, a little lemon, and simple syrup. You’ll need a food processor, but no ice cream machine is required. Get the Cherry Coke Sorbet recipe.
Black raspberry chocolate chunk ice cream is an underrated choice with a great balance of sweet and tangy flavors (and a gorgeous color)—but we also love that pure, uncomplicated cookies and cream. This genius ice cream invention mashes them up and is the only thing we really want to eat all summer. Get the Black Raspberry Oreo Ice Cream recipe.