buttermilk ice cream

In the last week, we’ve made not-so-subtle hints about buns in ovens, cravings and peas in pods so it’s an only natural transition to ice cream, whether or not you eat it with sweet grape pickles.

I’m horribly overdue to finally dish out the recipe for Claudia Fleming’s incredible buttermilk ice cream — she of the scones, the gingerbread and the sandies — something I promised in January and have been going on about since December, when a friend sent me home with a pint she’d made. This stuff is perfection — all of the elements of a great vanilla ice cream with an extra tang that keeps it from being, well, “vanilla”.

Buttermilk is a funny thing. I can’t remember my mother using it once growing up and when I started baking more, was horrified by the stuff, which smells and taste a lot like the curdled milk that it is. How wrong is that? But now I love it. I mean, I haven’t taken to drinking a glass of it warm like a certain cooking instructor told me his elderly mother does — yeesh! — but when I smell it, I think of biscuits and cakes and muffins and I like it. So an ice cream that magnifies this deliciousness was not meant to last long in our apartment.

buttermilk ice cream

Except — and I’m deeply ashamed to admit this — I made this at the wrong time. It was January, and I hadn’t quite figured out yet why I had no appetite and this batch of ice cream sat unloved, aside from a rare dish or spoonful, in the freezer for months. Basically, if it didn’t taste like grapes or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I pretty much wasn’t eating it those weeks, despite trying to woo my taste buds with steak sandwiches, empanadas and currys. Last weekend, as we hurriedly dumped the remaining contents of our freezer as the movers heaved our poor sofa down three narrow flights of stairs, it emerged again and made a regretful exit from our apartment and I’ve craved it every minute since.

I’d like to say “don’t let this happen to you!” but I believe these cruel inconsistencies in appetite are out of our hands. I will say instead that if you make some, and you should, can you save a bit for me? I haven’t unearthed my ice cream maker and Haagen Dazs just ain’t cutting it.

so many eggs!

Oooohh-klahoma! We fly out to the Pioneer Woman’s ranch tomorrow morning and I can’t wait. Seriously, anything to get away from The Great Unpacking of Aught-Nine. On Saturday, I’ll be demo-ing a few of my favorite New Yorkish recipes [page in progress] to a small group at the Lodge and on Sunday, Ree and I will be cooking up some more, or pretending to while I actually go out and ogle the cows cowboys. I hope to get an update or two in while I’m there (I was going to ask if they had connectivity out there; I’m not that bright these days) but if you’re anxious, you should also check out the Pioneer Woman’s site as she is a blogging machine and will no doubt have an almost-live feed of the weekend.Yee-haw!

One year ago: Cauliflower, Bean and Feta Salad
Two years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad

Buttermilk Ice Cream
Adapted from Claudia Fleming’s astoundingly awesome The Last Course which is woefully out of print but I have it on good authority that if you call The North Fork Table and Inn (where she now “pastries”), they have a small supply and might even send you a signed copy. The book includes the recipe for her famous mallomars — need I say more?

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cup sugar
12 large egg yolks*
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla or half a vanilla bean, scraped and simmered with the cream
Pinch of salt

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream and one cup of sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat and drizzle a small amount into the yolks, slowly, and whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Do this a few more times to warm up the yolks before pouring the yolk mixture back into the cream, whisking constantly.

Cook over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture and whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and salt. Cool completely and freeze according manufacturer’s directions.

* I’m going to share with you a little secret: You don’t need to use all of these egg yolks. Oh sure, you can and the results will blow your ice cream-loving mind. However, let’s say you find that you only have six or eight egg yolks on hand, this will also do. The ice cream will be less rich, but still incredibly more rich than anything you can buy at any store.

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187 comments on buttermilk ice cream

  1. Linda

    I so want to make this ice cream right now. One problem! I don’t have an ice cream freezer. What brand, kind do you have?? I am looking forward to seeing the blog from you and Ree but will have to wait until I get back from a girl’s weekend in Michigan and we are leaving tomorrow. Have a blast and safe travels.

    1. Yvonne Bradley

      I’ve done the freezer routine, but find it just as “do-able” to freeze it in your refrigerator freezer, a plastic ice cream container that you might have bought ice cream in. If you want ice cream for tomorrow, you need to make it and freeze it overnight for best results.
      I think I’m going to attempt to make “Buttermilk strawberry ice cream”. If it turns out well, you will be hearing from me for the recipe.

  2. So funny, I had some leftover buttermilk from cake-baking last week and I looked at like seventeen buttermilk ice cream recipes… And then I let my buttermilk go past its date and since it’s sort of spoiled milk anyway I thought it best to chuck it. Sigh. Maybe I’ll make a special purchase :)

  3. An ice-cream maker is the first thing on my list of to-buys for the summer. I already have the baby (9 months) and it might make me a bad mother to admit this out loud, but I know for a fact that he likes (loves) ice cream (thanks to his MiMi.) He shall be a good Southern boy and try some buttermilk vanilla!

    Congrats again on the wee one – being a mother is the best job you’ll ever have.

    And have fun at Ree’s! I’d give my right arm to see that new lodge in person.

  4. 12 egg yolks! That is indeed rich! It would be perfect to pair with the making of an angel food cake, that’s for sure. This sounds like rich, delectable, smooth, creamy heaven. *taking out 2 spoons* Have a great time on the ranch!

  5. Have a great time out with Ree – can’t wait to see what you all cook up (both in and out of the kitchen)!

    This ice cream looks fantastic – Dave Lebovitz’s vanilla has been my go-to for a couple of years but this looks like it warrants trying.

    By the way, what ice cream maker do you use? My KA attachment just died (RIP) and I’m in the market for a new one!

  6. ncblondie

    Yum! I love homemade ice cream! And I also love PW’s site. I found your site on Time’s top 25 blogs, yay! Too wild that 3 of my work firewall approved blogs keep colliding in cyberspace/real space! (you, PW and Bakerella) Enjoy your trip!

  7. I purposely don’t buy ice cream at the store and now you go and do this? How will I resist now when I can make my own. Trouble maker. I’ll send you the bill for Weight Watchers.

  8. You have some really nice friends if they sent you home with a whole pint! I don’t even share that much with relatives! We love a good buttermilk flavor, thank you for sharing the recipe. Have a marvelous time at “The” ranch. I’ll be happily following along.

  9. Jen

    This recipe looks so great, but in my small kitchen, I felt guilty using up space for an ice cream maker that I don’t use very frequently. Do you have any suggestions of how to make this without an ice cream maker?

  10. Ooh, a tip about the Last Course! The best, best ice cream I’ve ever made was from the Last Course — I checked it out of the NY Public Library (I should totally have stolen it, given its scarceness now!) — the Earl Grey Tea ice cream. It was divine. The smoothest texture ever. Buttermilk ice cream sounds wonderful too — fresh blueberries? My mouth is watering now.

  11. This inspires me. I make my own buttermilk, but since I culture it (ie, it’s strong), I think I’ll opt for some store-bought buttermilk, at least for the first go-round.

  12. deb

    Ice cream maker questions: I have this one, it works just fine. Make sure you keep the bowl in the freezer almost all of the time, it really takes 24 hours to get cold enough to half-freeze the ice cream in 30 minutes. If I was doing it again, however, I’d just get the freezer bowl for the Kitchen Aid to save space. You know, if you already have a KA!

    David Lebovitz has a post on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

  13. Rita

    I have been asking for an ice cream maker for my birthday every year since I was a little kid, but unfortunately my birthday falls in November…enough said. I think I’ll splurge this summer and get one, and I’ll definitely be trying this recipe. One question, do you know anything about the Kitchenaid Ice Cream maker attachment? That’s the one that appeals to me most–any advice?

  14. Great timing- it’s been in the 90’s here this week – and we were just talking about homemade ice cream and fresh berries! Will make this right now. Really. Already have the buttermilk left over from… ummm, something else I made and can’t remember. Gotta go. Right now. Ice cream.

  15. Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with buttermilk either. It tastes/smells so awful on its own, but in baking it just add the magic touch and trasnforms everything into increadible creations. Deceptive bugger! Still snowing here, so I won’t make ice cream for a while, but I’m bookmarking this one and will make sure to try is as soon as we thaw!

  16. Ooooh, thanks for posting this. My initial foray into buttermilk ice cream last summer was made palatable only by the rhubarb compote that covered it. The thought of warm buttermilk gives me the heebie-jeebies, but I just love it cold – with a little sugar or agave nectar if it’s the cultured stuff or on its own after I’ve made butter. Delicious.

  17. britta

    When you said “how wrong is that?” I was reminded of how often Ina says “how bad can that be?” when she puts two sticks of butter in everything. I love it!

    1. Danielle

      OMG! I just made this and it hasn’t even frozen fully yet, but the sample I tried from the ice cream machine was to.die.for! Exactly what I’ve been looking for—it has that delicious semi-tart flavor, and I’m guessing it’s going to be creamy and smooth once hardened with all those yolks, something I haven’t had success with with other recipes. It doesn’t taste at all eggy to me, which I was a little concerned about. I opted to use vanilla bean and a dozen yolks. Totally worth the dozen eggs, and hey, now I can make meringues or angel food cake too! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Think I might have to go find that cookbook now too.

  18. beth

    So funny, there’s an article in the Times today about a dairy farmer who drinks a quart of his award winning buttermilk a day. I haven’t gone that far, but I do LOVE buttermilk, as well as sour cream, plain yogurt and anything else with that little tang to it. What’s the deal with raw egg yolks and buns in ovens? Allowed? Forbidden? Just curious.

  19. Rhonda

    This looks and sounds great. Buttermilk is a great with just the right tang. Will make this weekend to go with Mom’s birthday cake. My Mom loves to put her cornbread in a glass of buttermilk. Have fun in OK. Are ya’ll going to have a cinnamon bun bake-off??? And congrats on the baby – extraordinary life changes coming!

  20. Eileen

    I love my donvier ice cream maker, no electricity required! I make up the ingredients ahead of time to chill, then the maker becomes a party favor in itself! We pass it around to turn the crank, it could not be easier or more fun. Buttermilk sounds tasty… alongside a strawberry rhubarb crumble?! Yay!

  21. I love using buttermilk to cook. I use them a lot to make pancakes! This is an interesting recipe! Will definitely give it a shot once I unearthed my boyfriend’s ice-cream machine. I have made sorbet with it, but not ice-cream as my boyfriend’s mum is concerned about semonella from the raw egg yolks.

    Have you tried making the ice cream recipe with pasteurized egg yolks?

    Have fun with your trip to PW’s ranch.. looking forward to the updates! Bon voyage!

  22. Kate

    To blow your mind even more, get some lemon zest in there. It’s seriously the most intense flavor combination ever. Absolutely amazing, and just as good on its own as on top of desserts.

  23. rebecca

    A bun in the oven! You are adorable to announce your wonderful news that way. So, CINGRATULATIONS!!!! I can’t believe it, I take a hiatus due to hectic family holiday timing and post holiday recovery :)– and this is what I missed! I have always called my brood of nieces and nephews my” yummy cinnamon buns” “bundle of buns” ” bear cubs” ” swirl swizzle’s” “tea cups” “little munchkins” etc. (not to mention all the other food realted nicknames for each individually–scary, I know). But having grown up in Israel, I had never heard the expression “bun in the oven” before. You are too cute. Good luck with this yummy smitten baby bun that is growing inside you. And, hello?! you are going to THE Lodge!!!! I love pioneer woman! How exciting to combine two awesome food bloggers in one place. Magnificent! Funny thing is, the way I found pioneer woman a few years back was by looking for a cinnamon bun recipe online (I always wondered if she left out the eggs from the recipe inadvertently or that was the actual recipe). Anyway, have a wonderful time on the ranch, and a little note on ordering Claudia Fleming’s book from the inn–not only is it available there, but if I recall correctly, although still pricey, it is significantly cheaper to order it through her at the inn. Also, she personally signs the book to you with your name. Sorry such long commnet **)

  24. Congratulations, Deb! What an exciting time for you, all around!!

    During the first trimester of my pregnancy, my cravings included buttermilk. I lusted after the stuff to the point that I totally grossed my co-workers out with it. I think my body must have needed all of that wonderful immune-boosting lactic acid, or something.

    Every morning for I drank an entire quart of buttermilk, accompanied by a basket of strawberries and an entire cantaloupe for breakfast – at my desk. For lunch and dinner it didn’t matter what I had, as long as there was plenty shrimp involved.

    Buttermilk ice cream would have rocked my world!! In fact, it sounds pretty good right about now, too. Thanks for the fun read and yummy sounding recipe.

    Brightest Blessings,

    ~ Paula

  25. What a different idea for ice cream. I will have to give it a try because I love ice cream, love to cook and bake with buttermilk, and I love to try new things!

  26. Hooray… I love love love buttermilk ice cream. I’ve made Homesick Texan’s buttermilk peach ice cream more times than I would like to admit in the last month, and this is next up! Thanks!

  27. Looks so simple and refreshing. we just had a heat wave here and I made sorbet from Meyer lemons, blood oranges, and pink grapefruits. Insterestingly enough there is an article int he nytimes today about buttermilk.

    It proves to be very interesting.

    Yet I still search for uses in the other type of
    buttermilk’. THe one you get after whipping cream into butter. Not so synonymous?

  28. I have yet to really get over my fear of buttermilk, except for when I make cornbread, or biscuits. But my mom always said when she was pregnant and sick buttermilk was the only thing that would calm her stomach. And I think… drinking buttermilk straight up might be one of the few things to turn my stomach.

    Super cold, and with a little bit of sugar, it might just work for me.

  29. Hi again Deb, sorry this is a comment unrelated to this post. I need advice from you: do you have a recipe you’d recommend for home-made burger buns?
    Thanks Deb,

  30. Ooh, this looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it. Do you think it would work with reconstituted buttermilk powder instead of the real thing? I keep a canister of the powder around for baking and if I can use that, then I wouldn’t even need to go to the store to make this recipe…

  31. Susan

    Yay! It’s getting to be ice cream season again. In our house, though, I don’t think it ever goes out of season. You don’t see very many recipes for it during the cold months, so I’m really happy about this recipe. I’m glad you added that you don’t need all those egg yolks, cuz that sounds like it would be almost too eggy.

    I’m still chugging along with my hand crank Donvier. I really like that little machine, but it doesn’t make a lot of ice cream in one churning. This recipe at least halves easily. Thanks, Deb! Have fun this weekend.

  32. I’ll have to try this, but I hardly ever make ice cream with egg yolks. I instead use one of the Ben & Jerry’s bases without eggs or one of the 100 other alternatives. I just hate the feeling of storing the egg whites and then having them go bad (even with the ability to make macaron, I never go through the egg whites fast enough). Maybe I’ll buy some eggbeaters and see if the pasteurized egg yolks work as well.

  33. Tula

    Mmmm, cowboys. Ahem, I mean, mmmm ice cream :-) I have a Lello ice cream maker with a built-in compressor and it’s fabulous. It is a little pricey, but I like that it has a removable bowl which makes for easy cleanup and I don’t have to wait for a bowl to get cold enough. I’ll have to try this recipe soon. Right now, though, I’m experimenting with sugar-free versions (yes, I know it’s a sacrilege) so I can do low-carb for a while now that I can see bathing suit season approaching. So far, all the sugar-free versions — made with Equal, since me and Splenda don’t get along too well — come out kind of dry in texture and way too hard, despite all the cream and egg yolks.

    For those worried about salmonella, wouldn’t the cooking of the egg yolks until they’re thickened be enough to kill any bacteria? I don’t think I’ve ever seen pasteurized eggs of any sort, other than those egg-beater type cartons in the grocery store.

  34. Bob

    I always cringe when I hear about people drinking buttermilk, it just sounds so foul. I could see buttermilk ice cream though, that’s something I’d love to try.

  35. deb

    J Strizzy — I haven’t tried it with the powdered, but I am sure it would work. For the best flavor — since the buttermilk is really the central flavor — I’d just get a carton. Stuff lasts at least a month.

    Seanna — You can freeze unused egg yolks or whites for months, safely. Or just bake some meringues to go with your ice cream.

  36. My grandfather is of the glass-of-buttermilk-a-day sort also (I think the cultures in it are supposed to prevent cold sores). As a kid, I didn’t know this, and grabbed what I thought was the milk and poured it on my cereal for breakfast. Boy was that a nasty surprise! But I like the idea of using it in ice cream, though.

  37. I hated buttermilk until I started making my own butter, and wow, the real stuff is incredible. I’ve been making Claudia Fleming’s buttermilk panna cotta for years, so this recipe is definitely going into our ice cream making rotation, which should start in a week or two, given the heat wave we’re having out here. & if my kids hankering for the panna cotta is any indication, your new one is bound to love this ice cream too! Congratulations…!

  38. Mo

    I confess – I regularly take sips (or swigs) of buttermilk when cooking with it. My secret is that I buy fresh real buttermilk from the same local dairy we get our milk from, and the real thing is infinitely better than the cultured faux buttermilk I’d used before.

    We don’t have an ice cream maker, but once I get one I will have to try this out.

  39. Oh my, this looks so good! I must start making ice cream again, it’s been years.
    I grew up watching and helping my Mom churn butter in a gallon jar that had a crank and paddle for butter. She’d pour in fresh milk from the cow and we’d turn the crank until the butter separated from the milk. Voila! Homemade buttermilk, which I loved to drink when I was young. Now, I just cook with it.

  40. Thanks so much for the Lebovitz link – I am on a No More Single Purpose Appliances purchasing diet and can’t justify buying an ice cream maker, but sometimes I’d like to make some. I’ll definitely give this a try.

    When I was little, in the blissful days of the early 80s before people freaked out so much about pollution, my mother would make me snow ice cream and it was the most delicious thing in the world. You basically cool a custard a bit and then furiously mix in fresh snow, preferably while you sit in said snow in a snowsuit, laughing about the prospect of eating ice cream while wearing a hat and mittens.

  41. Mmm, that ice cream sounds fabulous! I’m glad your tastebuds are “back in whack.” Man, I’m sure you’ll be fed super well this weekend at Pioneer Woman’s! Have a great time; can’t wait to hear your report back.

  42. When I was pregnant with my second guy, all I could eat for the first three months was Campbell”s cream of mushroom soup. Seriously. We bought flats of it at Costco. So, your cravings sound far better to me! This ice cream sounds fabulous. I love what buttercream does in recipes. Though I also try not to take a deep whiff of it.

  43. laurie

    Deb, have a great time with Ree. My two favorite bloggers together is almost too much for my brain to handle. For a luncheon this week, I baked her oatmeal apricot bars and your mom’s apple cake. Please introduce her to black and white cookies. I bet she’d swoon over your matzoh balls, too.

  44. Lauren

    Hi Deb,

    My friend from high school is going to be with you at the ranch this weekend!! Shea (also known as A California Girl in Kansas) is so fun, and I hope that you have a great time with her. I’ve already told her that I’m completely jealous that she gets to hang with you in that gorgeous location. Have fun!!

  45. Jenn

    The nurse educator who conducted our “Get Ready ‘Cause There’s a Baby Comin’ Out of That Small Hole” class told us that we could eat a scoop of vanilla ice cream to sooth our ranging indigestion. Not a scoop covered in hot fudge and smothered with whipped cream and nuts, but… I think you could call this ice cream medicinal, even prescribed! Congratulations

  46. :D

    The ice cream looks creamy in the photo, but how does the ice cream freeze overnight and after a few days in the freezer? I had made homemade ice cream before and tend to get rock hard after a couple of days in the freezer. It’s not airy and easy to scoop like store bought.

  47. wes

    ooh! This is the perfect recipe for when I make angel food cake! I never quite know what to do with all the egg yolks that are left from making the cake. I bought a cheap ($19.95) ice cream maker at Lowe’s a couple summers ago and while it’s very noisy, it makes great ice cream. There is nothing like homemade ice cream. Can’t wait to try this ice cream in it. I love buttermilk, but haven’t quite gotten to where I can drink it straight.

  48. Hmmm…my father loved buttermilk and would drink it every day. Warm? I don’t think so? But he did think it was beneficial for his ulcer? Now we use buttermilk for marinades and in baked good all the time. We even have a tamale recipe that uses it and makes delicious sweet ones? So this ice cream is going on out “to do” list. Thanks and best from Santa Barbara, s

  49. Sara

    I managed to get a copy of The Last Course through my boss who is a friend of the author. This was after much searching and despairing. Apparently she owns the publishing rights these days, so people can get the book at a reasonable price, thankfully.
    Try her cherries cooked in red wine with this once the market gets bombarded with them. Delicious!
    This ice cream is a cooked custard. There are no raw yolks to worry about. You can use a thermometer to make sure it reaches a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to be extra safe.

  50. deb

    76 — If your ice cream is freezing too hard, it is likely your freezer temperature (ice cream freezers are usually slightly warm, keeping them scoopable) or the recipe, which may not have gotten enough air in it.

  51. latenac

    Looks lovely. I’ve been into buttermilk ice cream ever since making David Lebovitz’ lemon buttermilk sherbet. So lovely and refreshing.

    And if your ice cream is too hard, are you using low fat stuff to make it? I find if I make sorbet or low fat ice cream it wasn’t as nice the next day. However, full fat really does the trick or a little (1 tsp) vodka or kirsch when making sorbet.

  52. Caetie

    Fantastic, buttermilk works so well in ice cream. I’ve also made something similar in the summer with fresh peaches and no heavy cream. It’s so fresh and delicious.

  53. Teresa

    Congratulations on your baby news! You MUST register for the “baby food maker” they have at Williams-Sonoma. It’s newish (my youngest is 3 yrs old) so I have no actual experience with it but it’s a fantastic idea. Steam the foods on one side, then blend them on the other! And it’s small, so it won’t take up too much counter space. Whole Foods by me does sell some wonderful frozen baby foods too, though, in case making your own is not really your thing. Have fun this weekend!

  54. Meg

    Hey there,
    I actually had delicious buttermilk ice cream about 2 years ago at Ici, an ice cream joint in Berkeley started by an ex-Chez Panisse pastry chef. It was amazing. Ici changes its ice cream menu quite often, and on my subsequent trips to the place, they NEVER had the buttermilk flavor! I’ve been hunting for buttermilk ice cream for so long now! So it’s very exciting to see you’ve made your own. Inspirational. I will perhaps attempt my own one of these days… also a friend of mine works for an ice cream co. in Great Barrington, Mass.–maybe I will pass this link along to her!
    Looks great, lady!

  55. Rose

    Maybe this has already been answered, but what kind of buttermilk do you suggest? Is the cultured stuff okay? Nonfat or full fat? Or do you need to get real churned buttermilk (not sure I have access to that around here). Thanks!

  56. Mmm. It’s been a few months since we’ve made ice cream here, but I daresay it’s time to break out the ice cream maker and whip up a batch. Nothing compares to a good, lovingly crafted, homemade ice cream and this buttermilk one sounds delish.

    I’ve only recently started using buttermilk and I have to say, smell aside, I love what it does for foods it’s in. Yum.

    And many congrats on the pea in the pod. Being a mother is a wonderful experience.

  57. Red

    I’ve been looking for a good buttermilk ice cream recipe for a while. My plan is to be using my ice cream maker a lot more this year.
    I’m a first time comment poster. I’ve just finished reading your archives and bookmarked tons of the recipes. My favorite so far… those yummy Chicken Empanadas.

  58. You make me want to go to the store.

    I have sugar.

    I have vanilla.

    I have 12 dozen or so eggs still (I lost count, but I know we ate another dozen this morning).

    But, I have no cream, no buttermilk–and, alas, no ice cream maker.

    And it was 95 here two days ago.

    Ice cream sounds good.

    I’ll be watching for you on PW.

    When you come back, please tell us–how DOES she get all that blogging done?

  59. Midge

    I can’t bring myself to drink a glass of it myself, however…I thought you might want to know that my 93-yr-old, healthy-as-an-ox, still-driving-and-living-alone grandmother swears by a glass of buttermilk every morning (not only does she swear, she also drinks it!!) So, maybe it isn’t as bad as it smells!

    Wishing you a very happy, healthy pregnancy and the easiest labor and delivery EVER!!! Good luck and good wishes. :-)

  60. Selkie

    Deb: you look so great in the pics over on Pioneer Woman: so healthy and glowing and a good bump. Wishing you and Alex Health and Happiness as Baby SK grows and wiggles and becomes.

  61. just saw what must be the first official internet photo of you and the baby bump over at pw. you look fantastic, deb! have a great time on the ranch…

  62. Ashley

    Deb, sounds delicious. How much does this make? We have a 6 qt freezer (i know ridiculous) and am just wondering how much to adjust the recipie. Thanks!!

  63. very interesting I can see how the combination of flavors could entice the palette. Not sure if I’ll be making it though. Are you expecting a bundle of joy!!! If so, Congrats !! :)

  64. How delicious. Have never made icecream myself but will definitly give it a go. I love your site and all the recipes you post. Thanks so much for sharing. Very inspiring.


  65. Boot C

    I love buttermilk ice cream! But to be fair, I grew up drinking buttermilk (small glasses of COLD buttermilk!) & our family has a cake made w/ buttermilk. My recipe for ice cream is a simpler one though, buttermilk,cream &sugar. You almost think it is lemon ice cream! love your blog, thanks!

  66. Michelle

    What a coincidence! I was just reading the NYT online and the front page features an article on buttermilk with some recipes… which made me hungry… which made me decide to visit your site for more recipe ideas… and look what you had written about!

    Here’s the article http:

  67. I hope you have a fabulous time with Ree this weekend. I can’t wait to see the photos and the food on both sites. What an awesome collaboration!

  68. I made this recipe today! David Lebovitz’s instructions for making ice cream without an ice cream maker worked like an absolute charm. It came out beautifully. I went whole hog with all 12 egg yolks, and it really is blowing my mind. I may have to call in mind-blown to work tomorrow.

  69. It’s surprising how really easy it is to make ice cream at home and I have one tip: wait for the heated milk mixture to really cool enough that you can dip your finger into it for ten seconds (mashochists make it one minute). Then slowly drizzle and whisk it in the egg mixture. You get a satiny result if you then slowly bring up the temperture to thicken the mixture before final cool down–otherwise you end up with scrambled egg Creme Anglaise– not such a bad thing I guess, but ice cream is better.

  70. eric

    One of the agreements my grandparents had when they got married was that my grandfather would have to make his own supper on Sunday nights. He had no idea how to cook, so he’d make himself cornbread in buttermilk every Sunday (literally *every* week). We’re from Mississippi, I guess it is one of those old-timey southern things…I can still picture him in his recliner in the den with a big glass full of cornbread/buttermilk and a spoon.

  71. Ruby

    I made this a little lower fat, replacing the heavy cream with 18% cream & using only 6 yolks as was suggested – still amazingly rich. I have learned to not play around with sugar amounts as the sugar keeps ice crystals from forming in the ice cream. Also, I am terrible with getting custards and curds to set and have learned that custard is done cooking once it reaches 180oF on a thermometer. You have to let this then cool to 40oF before putting in an ice cream machine. It was fantastic and fruit goes very nicely with it!

  72. This ice cream looks and sounds amazing! I had a few disasters with my ice cream maker last summer (too icey, not thick enough, etc) so I gave up and it has been in the cupboard since. You have inspired me to give ice cream making a whirl again… Thanks!

  73. Robin

    Hi there! I am new to your blog, but I was immediately tempted by the this ice cream recipe! I love buttermilk…so, I was just curious…how much does this recipe yield? Are all ice cream recipes standard? Grazie!

  74. deb

    It makes a little more than a quart. Most ice cream recipes for home ice cream makers are fairly standard, they don’t want to give you more than will fit in your machine!

  75. Erica

    My mum lent me her ice cream machine for the express purpose of making this recipe.
    Well, I set off making this recipe and managed to turn it into a comedy of errors. I overcooked the custard (it had started, like, baking on the bottom when I poured it into a bowl to chill). Then, I fell asleep last night before the custard was done chilling. Then today, there was too much custard to fit in my eensy-weensy ice cream machine (I guess it holds a pint?). Then, despite chilling the mix and freezing the ice-cream machine canister for 18 hours, I found out that I had not frozen the ice cream machine canister thoroughly.
    But never fear, Deb had posted a link to David Lebovitz’s manual ice-cream freezing method! I am using a loaf pan and it is working like a charm. Better still, I just scooped out some perfectly frozen bits for a taste test, and the ice cream is rich and very tangy. Wow!
    Thanks for posting the recipe and the link, Deb! And to everyone else, you can screw up every step of this recipe just like me and it will still be delicious.

  76. This recipe looks fabulous! Being from the South, it’s all about buttermilk, and I love how you used it here. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  77. I am making this ice cream now…couldn’t resist seeing what the color would look like when I used raw sugar and eggs from our hens. I’ll post a photo on my blog later and link back here to your recipe. So far, the ice cream is golden, because the yolks of our hens are so much darker than ‘normal’ eggs.
    Can barely wait to get a taste once it’s frozen.

  78. I made this ice cream this past weekend for my family, and while it was edible, no one really liked it. It had a little off flavor—not the type of tang I was going for (I was envisioning a yogurty tang, I guess). I did enjoy it eaten alongside the sour cherry-rhubarb pandowdy…

  79. Tiffany

    I made this ice cream yesterday for Mother’s Day. I used half and half instead of cream and 8 egg yolks. Our family of 16 loved it. I thought it was just a bit sweet (I was expecting a bit more tang) but it’s was very good, regardless! We served it with chocolate tunnel cake and fresh strawberries…a perfect combination!

  80. Rhonda

    Made this today to go along with buttermilk pound cake and it was great. Way rich and had a little problem with it freezing hard…till my brother the ‘grocer’ of the family said the higher cream content was the problem and I thought it was the overly warm kitchen. I am thinking that half and half will fix that problem and maybe the kids would like it better. SIL and I were soaking the cake in the melting bowls.

  81. Rhonda

    Also used full fat buttermilk. Too high a fat content…use lowfat with cream? I used only 8 yolks. Hmm. Have to make again soon.

  82. I made half a batch (with four egg yolks) last night and thought it was fantastic; I love how the buttermilk cuts the sweetness a bit. I will definitely be making this one again.

  83. Nicole

    has anyone used 4-6 yolks? and how did it turn out? I can’t bring myself to use so many eggs in one quart of ice cream. also, thanks to those who post comments after they have made the recipe– it helps.

    1. deb

      Hi Nicole — I used 8 when I made it. I bet 6 would be just fine. Slightly less rich, but still, way richer than almost anything you buy.

  84. Holy, this just finished its whirl in the ice cream maker, and I already regret mentioning to my husband I was making it– I could seriously just sit down and eat the quart right now, by myself (I mean, I’m already watching America’s Next Top Model, this moment needs ice cream). But looking forward to eating this tonight with some (or all) of the strawberries we bought.

    Ps, I did a half batch with 4 yolks (I was going to do three, but they were medium eggs). It is ridiculously rich.

  85. christina

    We made this ice cream last night and, even though my husband and I had VERY LITTLE support about the buttermilk ingredient, once it was tasted, there was a resounding love for our new favorite homemade ice cream recipe. It was incredible! We doubled the recipe so there was about 24 yolks of richy goodness and some left over for this evening….yum!

  86. Nuala

    I made this once over the summer and just decided to make it again this past weekend for Thanksgiving– I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and used it as filling for gingerbread ice cream sandwiches. It was amazing. Really amazing.

  87. Thanks for this! Came out fantastic with half the full number of yolks. I had some leftover fine buttermilk from Tonje’s Farm (Union Sq. Greenmarket) and wanted to make an ice cream with it, and ended up following this recipe…. Visiting my grandparents in New Orleans, I’d eat Creole Cream Cheese ice cream, from the bygone K&B drugstore chain – the sour/cultured flavor of this is the closest I can come to that up here in NYC.

  88. Cybil

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I brought it to a dinner, and after only 30-minutes, there was nothing left to bring home. :(

  89. Suzi

    This is fabulous! I didn’t have enough white sugar so I ended up using about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Now I’m afraid to make it any other way – it was wonderful!

  90. Mandar

    This is absolutely THE best ice cream I have ever had! Getting an ice cream maker for Christmas was the worst thing that has ever happened to me and my boyfriend. It’s all ice cream all the time!

  91. I’ll be making this tonight. I’ve started making my own buttermilk with a purchased cultured starter, so I have to find SOMETHING to use it up on! And my CSA accidentally sent me an extra dozen eggs this week, so I have a few extra yolks to use :)

  92. amy

    just curious..what DOES buttermilk ice cream taste like? i’m looking for something different to wedge between a couple of homemade chocolate chip cookies for july 4th..would this be a good candidate? or is it too..whatever it is?

    1. deb

      It has a bit more tang than regular ice cream, kind of like a cream cheese versus buttercream frosting; or a sour cream coffee cake versus a regular one. But it’s still sweet and desserty.

  93. Marla

    I was thinking of making ice cream sandwiches with this and some citrus cornmal cookies. I feel like it would be a good pairing. Any thoughts?

  94. Francesca

    Loved reading about your buttermilk ice cream. I grew up eating it. That and fudge and divinity were the only desserts that my grandmother made all others coming from the bakery. That was a long time ago and have had it maybe only once since the 60’s. Wouldn’t mind making some, but I am living in France now and I have never seen buttermilk here. Wonder if it could be called something else. Come to think of it, I have also never seen an ice cream maker here.

  95. caity

    hi! would you happen to remember how many egg yolks you ended up using? six sounds like a standard amount to me, but does it need a little extra decadence?

  96. Jason James

    This recipe is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I love ice cream, so I’m shocked I had never heard of buttermilk ice cream. I made it exactly as the recipe is written. I used vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract and chilled the custard overnight. Delicious! My new favorite ice cream!

  97. Jennifer

    Just made this for Picky Husband and it was a hit. He is diabatic so I used Splenda in place of the sugar. And I forgot to buy cream so I used my son’s whole milk. Turned out great!

  98. I just literally posted this status to my FB page on Tuesday, “Anyone else’s kiddos beg for straight up buttermilk?? I can’t keep it in the fridge.”

    I will definitely be making this for the kidlets! I also enjoy baking with it, but the glasses of buttermilk are reserved for my 6 and 2 year old.

  99. Kate

    I’ve made this 2x now, with fabulous results. Like Deb says, it’s sweet and dessert-y, but with an extra little tang. The batch I made yesterday had 1 adjustment: 1/2 a vanilla bean *and* 1 teaspoon vanilla. David Lebovitz recommends this for vanilla ice cream, and since buttermilk ice cream is so similar, I thought…why not? I also added a cheeky teaspoon of rum, to help keep the ice cream a little softer after day 2. Yum!

    1. deb

      Hi Jina — That’s usually more about freezer temperature. Ice cream freezers (like, at ice cream stores) are usually less cold than our freezers at home. Leaving it out for 5 or so minutes before scooping it should help.

  100. Jillian L

    WOW! So delicious! I made a half-batch and used 6 egg yolks, but I used 1/2 and 1/2 rather than cream (all I had in my fridge), still so rich! And instead of vanilla, I used vanilla vodka so that the ice cream didn’t freeze too hard (alcohol trick from ‘the perfect scoop’ by david lebovitz). Thanks for sharing! Now I’m trying to figure out my favourite toppings – maybe the salted caramel sauce?

  101. Krysten

    I made this to go with the dark chocolate pear cake for Christmas using David Leibovitz’s instructions for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. It was awesome! I just agitated the mixture every half hour for about four hours with my immersion blender. After letting it freeze the rest of the way overnight, I let it sit for about an hour in the fridge before serving…it was just the right creamy texture, easy to scoop. Will be making this again!

  102. Janna

    My husband reluctantly made this for me – not being a huge buttermilk fan himself. We modified it by halving the eggs. It is delicious. I have eaten it many ways. With syrup seemed like a natural flavor extension (buttermilk pancakes?), over bread pudding, and with raspberry sauce (ok, jam). Mmmmm. We also paired it with a chocolate ice cream – and the combo ended up tasting like chocolate cheesecake. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe – I have had a blast trying it!

  103. Monica

    I just made this ice cream for a co worker who gave me an ice cream maker. I modified the recipe by browning some butter and putting in half a cup of pecans. Good LORD! The instructions on the ice cream maker said “wipe the mixer with a spatula any excess ice cream.” Forget that! I started licking the damn thing! The flavor is at once tart and sweet, kind of like a turtle cheesecake. I might just “forget” the ice cream at home ;)

  104. Heather

    My Donvier ice cream maker makes only a pint, so when I made this, I froze half the first day and left the second half in the fridge for the next night. While it was good the first night, we weren’t really blown away by it. The next day, though, the ice cream was incomparably better after the custard had sat overnight in the fridge. It is wonderful on rhubarb crisp. . .

  105. Rachael

    good gracious, this is awesome! we concluded it sort of tastes like cheesecake ice cream. 6 yolks was plenty and it did NOT last long! even better with hot fudge or raspberry sauce!

  106. Chelsea

    Wow. So good. … The above reviewer said cheesecake ice cream. Exactly right!! But I doubted: I thought, hmm, only 8 eggs? Must not be very good compared to the 12. WRONG. It’s reeeeeally good. Like, humma humma humma status. Also, I doubted comments about lemon. However, I think a touch of lemon would cut the sourness a bit. I’m no expert, but I can easily see their point now. Thanks for posting this and helping me use up 2 whole cups of buttermilk – score for me.

  107. Debby

    I have had this recipe printed out and hanging on the fridge door for the longest time, waiting for the perfect occasion to make it, and finally was all prepared to make it for my brother’s birthday… but then I dropped the entire carton of eggs on the floor! I checked into buying “The Last Course” and nearly fainted when I saw the prices….$150!!!!! Luckily my library has it and I only had to wait two weeks for it to be returned. It was worth the wait. I’ve already flagged seven recipes and I haven’t even gotten home from the work yet!

  108. This was SO delicious! I made it with a blueberry swirl added in and fell in love. Had to share my version of the recipe on my site because it was oh so yummy. Thanks for sharing this! My new go to ice cream.

  109. Emily

    Oh my this was so rich and delicious! Favorite ice cream recipe yet! I added swirls of the tart syrup called Raspberry Shrub, and it was incredible. So good that I had to share it here! Thanks, Deb!

  110. Eliza

    LOVE this recipe as a base for any ice cream! Sometimes we sub in some honey, sometimes we skip the eggs, sometimes we steep mint in the milk for mint choc ice cream. Sooo good!

  111. Allison

    Made this a few weeks ago and it was heavenly! We grilled apricots and served the ice cream on top. Summer perfection.

  112. Lisa

    You should make a buttermilk section on your recipe index. I bought it for your blueberry pancakes and now found this recipe trying to figure out what to do with the leftover buttermilk. Seems like there is always extra….

  113. Kris

    Thank goodness for your tip about the eggs or I would have never made this! I found a Cuisinart ice cream machine for $8 at a thrift store and to test it out I didn’t want to make any complicated recipes with expensive ingredients. I used 6 egg yolks and THIS IS DELICIOUS. It has such a nice rich taste and that sight sourness that reminds me of crème fraîche. So much better than vanilla although hardly more difficult!

  114. Ann

    I made this to go along with a salted maple pie (Sister Pie) and cherry rhubarb pie, and it was excellent with each of them. I only used nine egg yolks, but that was plenty. The ice cream is smooth and creamy, and the tang from the buttermilk keeps it from feeling too rich. It’s delicious!

  115. Rebecca

    Hey all- just to flag we have a basic cuisinart icecream maker which only accomodates 75% of this recipe (the description states it makes 1.5 quarts on Amazon). We learned this the hard way so wanted to flag as this seems to be a pretty standard size. On the other hand, this is the absolute best ice cream ever, we usually use about 8/12 egg yolks, and it still never gets icy in the freezer. The other tip is to put your ice cream container in the freezer to get it really cold prior to putting the ice cream in.

    1. Ruth

      I have the 2 quart Cuisinart. It’s my second one, the upgraded version with settings for ice cream, gelato and sorbet. My old one was fading, and I got a great deal on it. I found that the canister from the old one fits the new one, so I saved it. So I can freeze both canisters, and divide the base between them, no overflow.

      And I have seen the canisters
      at thrift shops, usually for about $5, many times. So it might be worth picking one up if you see it.

  116. Rachel

    I’ve made this recipe many times and love it. The first few times it was with roasted strawberries, which is a stellar flavor combination. But then, a revelation: buttermilk cookies and cream. It’s *just* on the grown up side of an indulgent treat. But not hideously far, it still tastes like childhood. I can’t recommend my proportions: I used most of an Oreo sleeve in a half recipe of ice cream and it was 70% Oreo. But seriously, cookies and cream buttermilk ice cream is an unspeakably good addition to quarantine.

  117. Valentina Rossi

    this is one of my absolute favorite ice creams! it’s beyond creamy and is a PERFECT complement to any summer (or fall) fruit desserts. I’ve paired it with rhubarb-strawberry crostata, plum crostata, mixed stone fruit compote, strawberry-rhubarb compote, brown sugar-bourbon peach pie, and more!

    I did make one addition -and that was to add 1/4 creme fraiche! I always splurge on dairy for this from a local creamery – really worth the extra cost.

    I can’t wait to make another batch!

  118. Michelle

    I just discovered that this cookbook, “The Last Course” has been reprinted! I read in Samin Nosrat’s cookbook that a beloved dessert at Chez Panisse was based on this recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  119. Bonnie Barker

    I made this on Labor Day and It was DIVINE. So much better than vanilla. It will be in our rotation for fruit “everything” . Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’ve reserved The Last Course from my local library.