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Decaf Coffee Homemade Ice Cream

While ice cream can (and should!) be eaten at any time of the day, I know I eat it most often after dinner. I also love coffee ice cream. Do you see my issue here? It’s the same problem that made me develop a Decaf Espresso Martini as one of our first recipes. It’s a perfect treat to enjoy after a meal, but who wants a caffeine jolt that late at night?

Does Store-Bought Coffee Ice Cream Have Caffeine?

Just about all coffee ice cream contains caffeine. Moreover, it can be hard to tell exactly how much caffeine is in a scoop of ice cream. Bon Appetit tells us that a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz comes in at 180 mg of caffeine per pint (or 45 mg per ½ cup serving.) Häagen-Dazs’ coffee ice cream clocks in at 75.6 mg of caffeine per 14oz container (or 21.6 mg per ½ cup serving.) 

In contrast, a standard cup of coffee contains 80 – 100 mgs of caffeine. Even the half a cup serving size listed by Ben and Jerry’s will give you about half that much caffeine. And let’s be real, who among us has stopped at ½ cup when eating ice cream? I certainly haven’t.

Decaf to the Rescue

Fortunately, decaf coffee offers an easy fix to this problem. If you make your own coffee ice cream, you can use any kind of coffee you like in your ice cream. 

This also gives you a wide open canvas to tweak the ice cream to your liking. Want to use a juicy light roast for an even sweeter, lighter ice cream? Go for it. Or if you want to pull darker, caramelized flavors into your ice cream, use a French roast. Just make sure you use a decaf roast so that you’re not up all night.

As with all the recipes I write here, I hope this can serve as a jumping off point to experiment with, rather than a rigid path to follow. Try following this recipe closely, and once you feel comfortable with it, try experimenting! 

Decaf Coffee Ice Cream Cone

Infuse Your Milk and Temper Your Custard

Making ice cream is pretty simple. You start by gently heating the milk, cream, and ground coffee until it just reaches a simmer. Stir regularly while it heats up. As soon as you see the pot starting to bubble, pull the pot off the burner, cover it, and let it steep for at least 25 minutes. This will allow the coffee flavors to infuse into the milk. 

While the milk is steeping, it’s time to tackle the custard. This is where we cover tempering eggs, a useful technique that’s helpful for any home-cook to know. Tempering eggs is a process where a small amount of hot liquid is mixed with raw eggs. After the liquid is incorporated into the eggs, the eggs can be further heated without scrambling. This is a crucial step in making custard. You’ll also find it in something like avgolemono, a Greek lemon-chicken soup in which tempered eggs give the broth a silky-smooth texture.

For our purposes, we start by beating the egg yolks and sugar together until it forms a pale-yellow paste. Using a stand mixer or a blender to do this will save you a lot of elbow grease. Set aside the mixture afterwards.

Meanwhile, strain the ground coffee out of the milk once it is finished steeping. You can leave the ground coffee in if you like, but it will give the ice cream a gritty texture. Take the strained, coffee-infused milk and return it to the stove. Heat it gently, and make sure it doesn’t boil. 

Once your milk starts to steam, take 1/2 cup of hot liquid and slowly add it to the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously while doing this (or run the blender or stand mixer while you slowly add the liquid.) 

When the liquid has been incorporated, pour everything into the pot. Whisky vigorously, and make sure nothing boils. Once the liquid thickens into a loose custard that coats the back of a spoon, remove it from heat. 

All you have to do now is cool the ice cream and mix it according to your ice cream maker’s directions!

For this round, I used the Whynter ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker.

Decaf Coffee Ice Cream Recipe





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  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream

  • 1 ½ cups whole milk

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 6 tablespoons medium-fine ground coffee

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or one pinch)


  • Add ground coffee to the milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot, and cook over medium heat, whisking regularly. When the liquid reaches a bare simmer, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for at least 25 minutes.
  • While the coffee is steeping in the milk and cream, add egg yolks and sugar to a blender, stand mixer, or large mixing bowl. Beat until the sugar and eggs are incorporated, forming a pale yellow paste. Set aside.
  • Strain ground coffee from milk and cream, and gently reheat while stirring regularly.
  • When the milk & cream begins to steam, remove ½ cup of liquid. While running the stand mixer, blender, or beating by hand constantly, slowly add the hot liquid to the egg/sugar mixture.
  • Return egg mixture to the rest of the milk & cream. Continue whisking and gently heating the liquid until it thickens into a loose custard that coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil.
  • Chill the custard for at least 4 hours, and prepare to the specifications of your ice cream maker.

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