Frozen Lemon Custard


frozen lemon custard-12 squareMaking homemade ice cream is a funny thing. For something that has to be eaten quickly, it almost always requires some intermediate-ish kitchen skills and lots of patience (cooking…cooling…freezing…hardening…) It’s almost never cheaper to make ice cream rather than buy it. If you like things like hardened peanut butter swirls or marshmallow ribbons, those things are difficult to achieve at home.


It is so. Dang. Good. And fun to make. And satisfying, in the same way that making yeast breads is satisfying. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

I love lemon everything–lemon candles, lemon cleaning products, savory lemon dishes, lemon-y desserts, lemon lotion. And now that we’re in the thickest, hottest, longest part of the summer here in Louisiana (and really, this summer hasn’t been nearly as terrible as past summers; I wore a sweatshirt the other night, which leads me to believe that it’s likely the apocalypse is upon us.) So during the hottest, stickiest weeks of the summer, I’m shunning chocolate, real food, and denim and am 100% behind all things citrus, which includes lemon. Lemon ice cream. Well, really, this is frozen custard (which is funny because you’d think that would make it heavy and thick, but it’s just light and smooth and luxurious.) Guys…right now, it’s my favorite.

For the custard, you’re going to need lemons, heavy whipping cream, half and half, sugar, and a pinch of salt.

frozen lemon custard ingredients

In a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream,

frozen lemon custard heavy cream

half and half, salt, sugar,

frozen lemon custard sugar

and lemon zest.

frozen lemon custard grated lemon zest

Over medium-low heat, stirring very frequently, heat the mixture until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat.

While the mixture is heating, whisk 5 egg yolks together.

frozen lemon custard egg yolks

After you’ve removed the cream mixture from heat, remove 1 cup of the hot cream mixture from the pan. Very slowly, just a few tablespoons at a time, and whisking constantly, pour the hot cream mixture into the eggs. If you add the cream mixture too quickly the eggs will scramble, so go slow and be patient.

After you’ve added all the hot cream mixture, return the pan with the cream mixture to medium-low heat and slowly whisk in the egg mixture. Heat, stirring constantly, until thickened–it’s ready when you dip the back of a spoon into the mixture and, when you drag your finger through it, it leaves a trail.

frozen lemon custard finger trail on spoon

Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator (for several hours or overnight).

When the mixture is chilled, add 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

frozen lemon custard lemon juice

and stir to combine. (Do you like the toddler photo bomb in the background? I’m rolling with it here.) Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (in a 4-5 quart machine).

While the ice cream is churning, take a package of shortbread cookies

frozen lemon custard shortbread cookies

and break them.

frozen lemon custard broken shortbread cookies

During the final few minutes of churning (or after you remove the ice cream from the machine),

frozen lemon custard

mix in the broken cookies.

frozen lemon custard adding cookies

Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least four hours before serving. Makes 10-12 servings.

frozen lemon custard from Our Best Bites




woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Oh WOW, this was soooo amazing!! Granted, I already love everything lemon flavored, but this was probably one of the yummiest ice creams I’ve ever had! I seriously ate almost the entire batch by myself. And even though it isn’t a whole lot cheaper to make your own ice cream versus buying it, the quality of homemade is so much better that I think it’s definitely worth it to own an ice cream maker. 🙂

  2. What is the difference between frozen custard and ice cream? Most ice cream recipes have eggs in them so are they just mislabeled?

  3. This is super good! Although it does have a sad ending for me! As it was churning, apparently my Cuisinart was moving and it fell off the counter and onto the floor!! My nice I.c. maker totally busted!! My kids and I practically lapped the ice cream off the floor!! Soooo good! The rest is freezing in the frezer! Can’t wait to finish it off!

  4. I tried this yummy recipe, but made 1/2 batch because I have a 1-qt ice cream freezer and the recipe says it makes 4 qts. I might have done something wrong, but the 1/2 batch didn’t make quite a quart, so I think I could have made the whole batch. It was delicious and will make a repeat appearance soon.

  5. I have been wanting to make some Ice cream lately, but did not want to make the usual stuff. This looks perfect. I have some churning right now. I hope it is as awesome as it looks! Thanks!

  6. wow i am so craving some of this right now.. so perfect for summer!

  7. It’s chilling away in the fridge right now!! The wait to put it in my Cuisinart (w/compressor) is killing me!!!

  8. Looks amazing! I love lemon as well, especially in the summertime. Cannot wait to try this one.

  9. It looks great, specially after a VERY hot day in DC! One question though, how do the shortbread stay after freezing? I’m a bit traumatized of adding mini chocolate chips and having them freeze rock hard!


    1. I’ve made this several times over the years, and it’s always just wonderful! I usually use lime zest and juice instead of lemon, and add in toasted coconut at the end. Delicious! I make a tub of this every Fathers Day for my key-lime-loving father-in-law and he’s always thrilled. ????

  10. If this is anything like Aggie Ice Cream Lemon Custard, I’ll be in heaven. For a girl that always experiments with new foods and enjoys picking “the most interesting and different thing on the menu”, I never get any other flavor when I go there. You just can’t beat Lemon Custard. Now I’ve got to pull out my ice cream machine from wherever I stored it. 🙂

  11. My husband will seriously think that this is Manna from Heaven!! It’s his birthday on the 31st, and he’s not a big “cake person”. I think this will definitely make him feel special. 🙂 Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  12. I just put my ice cream maker in the freezer to get it set for this ice cream! Can’t wait to get with the kids and make some tomorrow!

  13. Oh my GOSH, this looks amazing! One horribly hot, humid day a couple of years ago, my family was walking around Nauvoo and we stepped into the little custard store by the temple. Their flavor of the day was lemon, and I got a scoop of it with raspberries on top. It was seriously the most AMAZING thing I have ever eaten, and whenever we go by a custard place, I always hope their flavor of the day is lemon. Alas, it usually isn’t. Now I don’t have to go to a store to buy it! One question for you: what exactly is the difference between heavy cream and other types? Could you use regular or light? I’ve just never been able to understand the difference. Thanks! You guys are amazing!

  14. Summer is our time for lemons as well. One of our favorite lemony desserts is a lemon poppy seed cake with lemon glaze and surrounded by fresh raspberries. Tasty, and especially refreshing when chilled. This frozen custard sounds great too. I don’t know why I’ve never thought of a lemon ice cream, we’ve made sorbet and sherbet before. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. You had me at lemons+whipping cream+half and half 🙂 I went to Amalfi, Italy last September…home of the famous lemon groves and all things lemon, and ate waaaaay to much lemon gelato and lemon pastas! You better believe you are the only food bloggers I would trust to create a half-decent, no trip to Italy required lemon ice cream. I will for sure be busting this out soon!

  16. I was on the fence about this until you broke out the cookies! Sold! I love the idea of gingersnaps too. I’m going to have to make this for when I have company next week. Probably should make a “tester” batch before hand…

  17. This looks absolutely delicious! Would something like this be safe to eat if you’re pregnant?

    1. Yep!! The eggs are fully cooked, so you’re good, but if you’re nervous, you could always use pasteurized eggs. 🙂

  18. I am also among your readers who do not own an ice cream maker because, as you point out it is always more expensive to make ice cream than to buy it in the store, and it is just another appliance to store, not to mention that it is just my husband and I at home and we don’t need (?) ice cream in large amounts hanging around the house. But if ever a recipe has tempted me to run right out and purchase an ice cream maker, it is this one. It looks so delicious! Now I will have to do some deep breathing to avoid temptation! Especially because I really want to try making your recipe for ice cream cones or bowls.

  19. Mmmmm! This sounds like lemon ice box pie in a cone. I may need to get myself an ice cream maker ASAP!

  20. Lemon Custard is in my top 3 favorite Aggie Ice Cream flavors! But I don’t live in Aggie Ice Cream territory anymore (so sad) so I’ll totally be making this recipe instead! Thanks!

  21. I am also a lemon obsessed individual. Have you tried Watkins Lemon Cream lotion? That stuff smells amazing! You MUST try it!

  22. Oh yum. Are you kidding me??? This will be worth a trip to the store this morning for the heavy cream.

  23. What a funny coincidence. I had planned on making lemon ice cream/custard today to try out my new ice cream maker but I didn’t have a recipe. I was gonna search the internet, but got on your site first to check the new recipe for today and Wah-lah! Here it is. Your really know how to deliver! Thanks!

  24. Give up chocolate? I’m not that brave. 🙂
    I love all things lemon. I now know what to do with that whipping cream in my fridge! Plus, my kids love when I bust out my ice cream maker. Thanks!