Two Ingredient/Two Minute Cherry Ice Cream

Some tastes are summer in your mouth. This is one of them.

When the weather gets gloomy, and the great overcast sky of Seattle forms a continuous ombrey of silver-darkening-to-slate with the damp pavement, this is the flavor that recalls sun on your neck and trips to the lake.

This is also the recipe that justifies all that work you spent pitting and freezing cherries in July. And just in case you need yet more incentive to make this, it will take less time to make this ice cream than it took to get the cherry stains off your fingers back then, I promise.

Two Ingredient/Two Minute Cherry Ice Cream

  • 1 pound (about 3 generous cups) pitted, frozen, dark, sweet cherries.
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups milk (half-and-half or part cream can be substituted for a richer result, but I actually prefer plain whole milk in this application)

Optional Third Ingredient For Grown Up People Who Like It Like That:

  • 2-4 tablespoons Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Dark Rum, or Kirsch


Combine cherries (still very, very frozen – the colder the better) and 1 ½ milk in your food processor.

Process for about a minute, pulsing at the beginning until the cherries break up into small pieces.

Add in liquor if using. If additional liquid is required to get puree spinning, slowly add more milk as necessary, up to an additional ½ cup.

Process until quite smooth and thick, like soft-serve ice cream.

At this point, you can eat the Cherry Ice Cream as is. It is fantastic just like this, with a smooth creamy texture, but will melt pretty quickly. If you want to serve it later, or just prefer a firmer ice cream, pop it in the freezer for 15 or 30 minutes until it’s the consistency you prefer.

If frozen for several hours or overnight, let ice cream thaw slightly before scooping.

When I served this, I gilded the lily a bit by topping the cherry ice cream with cherries canned in a heavy lime-almond syrup.

Dessert: done, and in about the same time it took you to read this.

Variations On a Theme

You can do this same Two/Three Ingredient Ice Cream thing with pretty much any frozen fruit. I like peaches, mangos and any kind of berry, but cherries are great because they never need additional sugar. Fruits that are naturally lower in sugar, like this peach variation I did last summer, will benefit from a little honey or superfine sugar added to the puree.

Want to make your cherry pitting easier next July? Looking for something to put on your Christmas list? This cherry pitter is how I got through 90 (or was it 120?) pounds of cherries last July and lived to tell the tale. Highly recommended.

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  1. That looks absolutely amazing, and now I’m cursing the fact that I’m stuck at work for another 5 hours because I want to try it like NOW! (and I have about 5 lbs of cherries in my freezer… and plums, and kiwis, and peaches, and pears, and apples… )

  2. This looks awesome! Can’t wait to give it a try.

  3. Homebrew Husband says:

    This is also a fantastic sore throat salve – there’s the usual fall bug going around and a few spoonfulls of this nice, cold icecream last night was easily the best feeling I’ve had in days! Better than Cepacol!

  4. We’ve been making pear ice cream the same way except with coconut milk. Hells to the yes! I love telling my kids, “sure you can have another 3 bowls of ice cream.”

  5. Yay! I went a little overboard with cherries this year . . . 100 lbs, or I *thought* I did before reading this – thank you! Could you share your almond lime syrup recipe :) ?

    • Sure – it’s basically my “No Pectin Jam” idea. After mixing whole pitted cherries with sugar and macerating, I add lime zest and just a teeny splash of amaretto. Everything is brought JUST to a boil and then the cherries are canned. You can find the jam flavor maker chart for lots more combination ideas under the Downloadables tab:

  6. Wow – this looks amazing! Hopefully I can give this a go when I have a bit more time later in the week.

  7. Ooooooooooooo! This brings back two memories for me – rather like Poust and the madeliens. The bad one is over 30 years ago when I had to have surgery on my mouth – removal of 4 wisdom teeth, piece of bone from jaw and suspect lumps that fortunately were benign. At the time we were living out in a rural area but DH stocked up with “treats” for my return from the 14 days in hospital. One treat was ice-cream and the only flavour that was available at the cash and carry was you’ve guessed it – Black Cherry. We were needing to live very frugally at the time so I had to eat my way, could not eat much unless is was very soft and very cold after the surgery, through it. Even to this day the smell of Black Cherry Ice cream ….. Ugh! But a few years ago on one of our trips to your neck of the woods, all that early frugallity paid off, we were able to enjoy the true taste of cherries as they should be – picked fresh in Wenachee!
    But that looks a super easy recipe and so much better than what they laughingly often sell as ice-cream these days! I often just blitz the flesh of a ripe mango with some sugar syrup and hey presto Mango Sorbet!

  8. YUM. The perfect solution for a bag of frozen peaches I’ve had for awhile! I used a can of coconut creme, some almond and vanilla extract, a spoonful of honey…and about a half cup of my homemade granola! Whirled it all up in my cuisinart, and voila! A healthy dessert made in minutes with stuff I had on hand!

  9. My kids and I make and eat this all the time – probably TOO often. But we call them smoothies. Sometimes we use vanilla ice cream instead of milk. We usually use berries, but whatever fruit is in the freezer works! Ours never lasts long enough to make it back into the freezer though. :)

  10. Oh yum! Why did I decide this was the year I was going to CAN my cherries instead of freeze them? Darn it!

  11. Hellz yeah! was just trying to figure out something a little sweet that i could make real quick. all that goat’s milk in my fridge now has a higher purpose. thx!!!

  12. Sounds more like a smoothie than ice cream, but it’s probably delicious. I typically go for a much higher fat content in ice cream (usually 2:1 cream:milk), so I’d probably do ALL cream instead of your all milk if it’s going to be frozen and eaten later. Otherwise it’s too much ice for me.


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