Creamy Fresh Lemon Ice Cream (eggless)

Creamy Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

This bright and sunny, smooth and creamy, fresh lemon ice cream has the perfect balance of surprisingly tart and pleasantly sweet.

creamy lemon ice cream with zest

This “American-Style” or “Philadelphia-Style” ice cream is made with no eggs or egg yolks so that the bright, sunny, lemon flavor can really shine. A little corn syrup is added, too, so that this ice cream will be extra creamy and scoop-able, and will stay that way to the last scoop.

For some helpful tips before you begin, click here.

Makes about 1.5 quarts.


  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (240 ml)  half & half
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • Zest of 4 lemons (about 1/3 cup or 24 g)
  • Juice of 4 lemons (about 1 cup or 240 ml)
  • 1 can (397 g or 14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon (.75 g) sea salt


1. Do ahead:

– Freeze the ice cream maker canister and the ice cream container at least 24 hours before preparing the creamy lemon ice cream base.

2. Heat the heavy cream and half & half with the sugar and zest.

– Combine the heavy cream, half & half, sugar and lemon zest in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
– Heat over medium heat until just beginning to simmer and the sugar is completely dissolved.
– Remove from the heat and let steep until it cools to room temperature.

  • Letting the mixture steep will help release the essential oils from the lemon zest, adding flavor, aroma and color.
heating cream and zest

3. Combine with the remaining ingredients.

– In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla, corn syrup and salt until smooth and combined.
– Pour the cooled cream mixture through a sieve (to remove the zest) into the bowl and stir until combined. (Press out as much flavor as you can from the zest.)

  • The mixture will thicken like custard as you stir.
thickened lemon ice cream base

4. Chill the ice cream base.

– Chill in the refrigerator at least overnight and up to 2 days.

5. Churn the ice cream.

– Give the ice cream base a stir and then pour into the ice cream maker.
– Churn for 25 to 30 minutes. (Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)

  • This creamy lemon ice cream will be soft (like very soft “soft-serve”). It will firm up nicely in the freezer. So don’t be tempted to over-churn the ice cream or it will become butter.
churning lemon ice cream

6. Freeze the ice cream until firm.

– Remove the churned ice cream into pre-chilled ice cream containers.
– Cover with plastic wrap making full contact with the surface of the ice cream.
– Freeze until firm to your liking, 4 to 8 hours.

scooping lemon ice cream
lemon ice cream - no zest

About this recipe

Bright, tart lemon, mellowed with creamy sweetness and a touch of vanilla. This “American-style” or “Philadelphia-style” ice cream has no eggs or egg yolks, allowing the sunny lemon flavor to really shine through unmuted. And a touch of corn syrup will keep this ice cream from becoming rock hard or icy.


Here are 4 helpful tips:

1) Fresh lemons only.

– There is no substitute for the bright zing of fresh lemon juice. Plus, lemon zest cannot come from a bottle.

  • Lemon zest is the outermost yellow part of the rind. The zest holds essential oils, which add citrusy flavor and aroma.

2) Everything must be cold, cold, cold!

– Keeping everything at its coldest will ensure your lemon ice cream is as fluffy as it can be.

  • Freeze the ice cream maker’s canister at least 24 hours. Your ice cream will never churn to its fluffiest unless the canister is absolutely frozen through.
  • Chill your ice cream base at least overnight. (Although 24 hours is best.) This not only ensures your ice cream base is at its coldest, it also allows the flavors to meld and develop.
  • Freeze the container where you will be keeping your lemon ice cream at least the night before. That way your fluffy, just-churned ice cream won’t melt and liquify from being placed in a room temperature container.
freezing churned lemon ice cream

3) Why sweetened condensed milk?

– Sweetened condensed milk is often seen as a “shortcut” in ice cream as a replacement for the egg yolks. But it’s more than that. I often choose to use sweetened condensed milk when I want the flavors of the ice cream to shine on their own, unmuted by the richness of egg yolks, but without losing the creaminess.

making lemon ice cream

4) Why the corn syrup?

– Using a little corn syrup in your ice cream base will prevent the formation of ice crystals and will help keep your creamy lemon ice cream smooth, creamy and scoop-able.

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bowl of lemon ice cream
Creamy Lemon Ice Cream with extra lemon zest

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