Spiced Cranberry Ice Cream

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Serve up something unexpected this holiday with this recipe for spiced cranberry ice cream. Enjoy on its own or atop your favorite pie.

I was in one of those families that only served cranberry sauce straight from the can.

Despite living in Wisconsin, only a short drive from where much of the country’s cranberries are grown, we never made cranberry sauce from scratch. As a result I didn’t discover how much I actually enjoyed cranberries until I was an adult.

pumpkin pie with cranberry ice cream on top

We have a small Thanksgiving, which means when I make a small batch of sauce just for myself, I have a lot of cranberries left over. Most of these work their way into baked goods, especially breakfasts.

Tart cranberries are ideal when paired with sweetness to balance them, so I’ve used them in cranberry orange muffins, cranberry apple crumble, and my favorite, cranberry pecan streusel coffee cake.

However, I think this spiced cranberry ice cream might have taken the crown over all of them.

pumpkin pie, cranberries, and a slice of pie with cranberry ice cream on top

using fresh cranberries

During the holidays, fresh cranberries are incredibly cheap. I like to buy multiple bags in order to freeze the extra into smaller portions for recipes through the year.

When using cranberries for any recipe, be sure to wash them and sort through them for any that are mushed, shriveled, or discolored. Cranberries should be vibrant in color, ranging from dark to light red.

Cranberries that are fresh also bounce (they’re hollow!) but I don’t recommend you trying that in your kitchen!

pumpkin pie, cranberries, and slice of pie with ice cream on top, vertical

making cranberry ice cream

You’ll notice that this recipe does not call for eggs, as many traditional ice creams do. I generally do not use eggs when making ice cream in order to keep the process as simple as possible.

Instead, I use heavy whipping cream to make sure the ice cream is rich and creamy. For a lighter ice cream, you might be able to use half and half or even milk, but your consistency might not be as creamy. I recommend trying this spiced cranberry ice cream recipe before making tweaks!

Before doing anything, remember to put your ice cream maker bowl into the freezer! It needs to freeze for at least 24 hours before churning, or your ice cream might not set properly.

This recipe calls for a cranberry puree, which starts on the stovetop. Combine the cranberries with water, sugar, and orange extract; boil briefly. After it boils you let it stand, and then push the cranberries through a food mill.

If you don’t have a food mill, you can use a blender or food processor and then press the puree through a sieve to separate the skins from the pulp. Capture as much of the pulp and juice as possible!

After whisking together the pulp, liquid from cooking, spices, and heavy cream, the mixture will need to chill completely before churning in your ice cream maker. I usually chill it for at least 4 hours, so plan ahead!

Slice of pumpkin pie with cranberry ice cream on top

spices for cranberry ice cream

While cranberry ice cream is just dandy on its own without extra flavorings, because it’s the holidays I had to add some flavors to complement the season.

Orange is ideal for cranberries, so a bit of orange extract goes into the mix when cooking the cranberries. You can also use orange zest here instead — use what you have on hand!

Rather than pulling out multiple spices for this spiced cranberry ice cream, I used allspice.

Allspice is not a blend of spices but rather its own spice made from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica. However, its flavor does taste like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, which makes it an excellent addition any time you want those warming flavors. Just a little bit will do!

A note about the bourbon in this recipe: Alcohol in ice cream helps keep it soft for scooping so I include it. You can skip it if you prefer.

slice of pumpkin pie with cranberry ice cream on top, fork cutting into it

serving spiced cranberry ice cream

I absolutely love this ice cream with pumpkin pie (or butternut squash pie). You can also use it to make the best-ever ice cream sandwich using pumpkin molasses sandwich cookies.

What about adding a scoop to your hot chocolate, or on top of gingerbread waffles? The possibilities might just be endless.

Of course, a simple bowl of ice cream always hits the spot too!

Spiced Cranberry Ice Cream

Spiced cranberry ice cream is excellent on its own or atop your favorite holiday pies.
4.43 from 7 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Rest/Chill Time 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 288 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, or frozen and thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Instructions

  • Combine berries, water, sugar, and orange extract in a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, then cover and remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes.
  • Set a food mill fitted with the fine disk over a medium bowl. Pour contents of saucepan into the food mill and turn crank to force through cranberries. Be sure to scrape any puree off the bottom of the disk into the bowl. Discard skins. (Alternatively, use a blender or food processor to puree cranberries and then force through a fine sieve to remove skins.)
  • Whisk in heavy cream, bourbon, and allspice. Cover and let mixture chill for at least four hours.
  • Once chilled, pour into bowl of ice cream maker and chill according to manufacturer instructions.

Notes

  • Be sure to plan ahead for chill time, and have your ice cream bowl already frozen.
  • You can skip the bourbon if you prefer; this will make the ice cream somewhat harder for scooping.

Nutrition

Calories: 288 kcalCarbohydrates: 22 gProtein: 2 gFat: 22 gSaturated Fat: 14 gCholesterol: 67 mgSodium: 18 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 21 g
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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for this recipe. I’m making this for Christmas Eve dessert during this pandemic lockdown of a holiday. It’s chilling now in the refrigerator. A nice treat for the end of tonight’s meal. Looking forward to it!

  2. I had the wild idea recently that spiced cranberry would make a delicious ice cream flavor and was slightly surprised (but pleased) that it had already been thought of. I finally got to make it today and it turned out great.

    I made a few slight modifications just because of ingredients available (spiced rum in place of bourbon and powdered cinnamon in place of allspice). I also left the cranberries in (after some mashing) rather than pureeing and sieving the mixture. The result is just as good as I expected it would be.

    On a second making, I would probably cook the cranberry + water + sugar mixture down a little bit more to soften the skins and also reduce the liquid.

    FYI: this makes slightly too much mixture for my ice cream maker (the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker). So just a reminder for anyone else making it to double check how much liquid your ice cream maker can handle and adjust accordingly.

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