This is the best homemade Oreo ice cream recipe! Thanks to the genius of Stella Parks, the recipe features crushed Oreo cookies steeped in a custard batter, then churned in an ice cream maker with crushed cookies.
You've never had Oreo cookie ice cream quite like this before. This is truly *the* most decadent Oreo-flavored dessert there is.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- A high ratio of egg yolks and Oreo crumbs creates a rich, thick custard base that lasts for days in the freezer without getting icy.
- Steeping Oreo crumbs in the custard base yields an intensely flavored cookie base.
- Stella's technique forgoes the popular but tricky method of tempering egg yolks; instead, you mix all the custard ingredients in a pot and slowly heat it until thickened. Read more on why the traditional method of tempering eggs is unnecessary.
I've been making ice cream for many, many years after my parents gifted me a standard Cuisinart machine over a decade ago. I still remember the first flavor we tried: mocha chip; I loved the soft serve-esque texture that came out of the machine, freshly churned, so creamy and milky with specks of chocolate.
The ice cream was delicious, but after a few days in the freezer, it was icier than a commercial variety or a scoop from my local creamery. Why was that? I wondered.
Homemade Ice Cream vs. Commercial Varieties
Soon after, I did some research and found there were a few reasons for this difference:
- Consumer appliances take significantly longer to freeze and churn the ice cream compared to commercial varieties, resulting in larger ice crystals.
- Home freezers can't get as cold (and stay as cold) as commercial ones, and it's often harder to control the temperature. They also undergo temperature changes, which can cause the ice cream to thaw slightly in the freezer, then refreeze with larger ice crystals.
- Commercial ice creams often have additives or emulsifiers that help prevent larger ice crystals from forming.
"Hacks" For Better Flavor and Texture
It may seem like the odds are stacked against you to make great homemade ice cream, but rest assured, there are several tricks1 to ensuring a creamy consistency.
- Fat: Fat performs a whole host of functions in ice cream, from trapping air (which lightens the texture) to keeping the ice cream from melting too quickly.
- Sugar: Obviously, we know sugar makes ice cream taste sweet. But sugar also helps produce a scoopable ice cream with a creamy texture.
- Alcohol: Alcohol naturally lowers the freezing point of the ice cream, which can yield a softer texture. Too much alcohol, however, can prevent the ice cream from freezing at all. Usually, for a quart of ice cream, I won't add more than ¼ cup of alcohol..2 Note that ¼ cup adds some boozy flavor too, so if you're looking to change the texture (without affecting taste), try adding 1 - 2 tablespoons of vodka to the base.
The Benefits of Egg Yolks
When I came across Stella Parks' ice cream recipes on Serious Eats, I noticed something interesting. Her recipes used significantly higher amounts of egg yolks in the ice cream base. Eggs act as an emulsifier in ice cream to help thicken the base and create a smoother consistency. I tried her recipe, and I was amazed at how much creamier my resulting ice creams were.
This Oreo ice cream is a riff on her recipe, which I've tweaked slightly to make the recipe a bit more efficient -- but otherwise I left it alone in its glory.
This ice cream recipe requires just a few simple ingredients!
- Oreos: You'll need a package of Oreos for this recipe, but you won't use the *full* box, so you can snack on them while making the ice cream!
- Half-and-Half: Half-and-half keeps the ice cream creamy without being too rich. You can also use 50% cream and 50% whole milk if that's what you have. Lactose intolerant? I recommend Organic Valley's Lactose-Free Half-and-Half.
- Eggs: Six egg yolks produce the perfect texture. I don't recommend reducing the amount of eggs here, or you'll have an icier product.
- Sugar: Sugar is necessary here, both for flavor and texture. I don't recommend reducing the amount of sugar, or you'll have an icier product. You can try Stella's toasted sugar recipe if you want an ice cream that tastes less sweet.
- Espresso Powder: I add a touch of espresso powder to bring out the chocolaty flavors of the ice cream. You can omit this if you don't have it!
For the full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card.
How to Make Homemade Oreo Ice Cream
Make the Custard
Step 1 - Make the Oreo Crumbs: In a food processor, pulse the Oreo cookies into fine crumbs (the consistency of wet sand). You can also do this by hand by crushing up the Oreos in an airtight plastic bag with a rolling pin
Steps 2 - 4 - Heat the Custard: In a large sauce pot, add the sugar, eggs, salt, crushed Oreos, and half-and-half. Mix until smooth, ensuring there are no remaining clumps of egg.
Heat the custard over medium-low heat until it's warm to the touch. Increase to medium heat, then stir frequently with a flexible spatula just until the egg mixture begins to steam. If you have a thermometer, you’re looking for a temperature of 155°F (68°C).
Step 5 - Strain: Remove the custard from the heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a heatproof mixing bowl. Use your spatula to press any remaining liquid through the sieve.
Step 6 - Chill: Stir in the vanilla extract, then cool ice cream mixture to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge (up to 1 week in the fridge) until the temperature is no warmer than 40°F (4°C).
TIP: If you want to chill the ice cream faster, submerge the mixing bowl in a large bowl filled with ice water.
Just before churning, place your flexible spatula and ice cream tub in the freezer.
Steps 7 - 8 - Churn: Churn ice cream to a soft-serve consistency, adding the chopped chunks of Oreos just before it finishes churning.
Use your spatula to transfer the ice cream to the container. Cover and seal the ice cream tub, then freeze until firm, about 4 - 6 hours.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer, scoop, and serve. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
For the creamiest, smoothest ice cream with a rich flavor, try these tips and tricks:
- Use the right equipment. A scale is highly recommended for the most accurate results. An IR thermometer helps ensure you cook the custard to the right temperature. A flexible spatula ensures easy transfer every step of the way, from heating the custard to churning the ice cream. Ice cream containers or a wide freezer-safe container like a loaf pan can minimize ice crystal formation.
- Don't overcook your custard. If the milk mixture overcooks, it can thicken significantly, yielding a very dense ice cream -- or worse, it can curdle and scramble. Take it off the heat once you see any steaming.
- Chill everything. If you have an ice cream maker with a freezer bowl, ensure it's completely frozen (at least 24 hours minimum, but ideally 2 to 3 days). And just before churning, put your ice cream container and spatula in the freezer so that the churned ice cream stays as cold as possible.
Ice Cream Maker: I currently use the Cuisinart ICE-100, which I love because it comes with a compressor so I don't have to freeze a freezer bowl. However, if you're just starting out, you can purchase a very affordable ice cream machine that will do a wonderful job. The Cuisinart ICE-21 is a great starter option.
Because this ice cream is quite rich and creamy, you shouldn't need to thaw it for more than a few minutes at room temperature before it's scoopable. When serving the ice cream, make sure to put it back in the freezer ASAP to prevent it from thawing too much.
Ice cream stored in an airtight container in the freezer will last about 1 - 2 weeks before the flavor and texture deteriorate significantly.
Unfortunately, no. This is a custard-style ice cream, so it requires an ice cream maker.
This usually happens if you overcook the custard. Next time, make sure to remove the custard from the heat as soon as you see steaming -- it happens very quickly!
Yes! I saw a great tip from KAF about this. If your custard is scrambled, remove it from the heat as quickly as possible, then blend it until smooth and push it through the sieve. It may not be as creamy, but it should still taste great.
Yes, it's totally normal! I recommend giving it a stir before churning, and it should be good to go.
This can happen if you over-churn the ice cream, which separates the fat globules. It can be tempting to keep churning the ice cream to make it as airy as possible, but it can also lead to over-churning, so keep an eye out!
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Homemade Oreo Ice Cream
For the ice cream base:
- 191 grams Oreo cookies, about 16 oreos
- 113 grams granulated sugar
- 103 grams egg yolks, from about 6 large eggs*
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, use half the amount if using any other type of salt, such as Morton's or Sea Salt
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- 20 ounces half-and-half, Organic Valley has a lactose-free version I love
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 83 grams roughly chopped Oreo cookies, about 7 Oreos
- Freeze your freezer bowl: If using an ice cream maker with a freezer bowl, make sure it's been frozen for at least 24 hours before making this ice cream.
- Make the Oreo crumbs: In a food processor, pulse the oreo cookies until finely ground, like the consistency of wet sand. Note: You can also do this by hand by crushing up the oreos in an airtight ziploc bag with a rolling pin.191 grams Oreo cookies
- Prep your station: Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large heatproof mixing bowl. Note: If you want to chill the ice cream faster, you can place the mixing bowl atop a large bowl of ice water.
- Make the custard: In a 3-quart sauce pot, mix the cookie crumbs, sugar, egg yolks, salt, espresso powder, and half-and-half until combined. Heat the custard over medium-low heat until warm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, then stir frequently with a flexible spatula just until the custard begins to steam, about 4 to 6 minutes. If you have a thermometer, you’re looking for a temperature of 155°F (68°C).Note: Make sure to stir constantly with your spatula, scraping up the sides and bottom of the pot to prevent the eggs from curdling.113 grams granulated sugar, 103 grams egg yolks, 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, ½ teaspoon espresso powder, 20 ounces half-and-half
- Chill the custard: Remove the custard from the heat and pour into the fine-mesh sieve. Use your spatula to press any remaining liquid through the sieve.Allow the custard base to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge (up to 1 week in the fridge) until the temperature is no warmer than 40°F (4°C).Note: I typically allow the custard to chill overnight. This ensures it's nice and cold, and it helps marinate the flavor!
- Churn: Just before churning, cut out a piece of wax paper or parchment paper the circumference (or area) of your ice cream container. Place your flexible spatula and ice cream container in the freezer.Remove the custard from the fridge and give it a stir to ensure it's smooth and homogeneous. At this point, taste your ice cream. Note that it will taste less sweet when fully frozen, but if you find it too sweet, you can add up to ¼ teaspoon additional Diamond-Crystal Kosher Salt (or ⅛ teaspoon of any other salt).Churn your ice cream according to the machine instructions, adding the chopped cookies about 2-3 minutes before it finishes churning. The ice cream is done once it reaches the consistency of soft-serve, and the mixer paddle will have slowed down significantly. Transfer the ice cream to the container with the spatula, then press the paper gently on top of the ice cream. Seal the ice cream container, then freeze until firm, about 4 - 6 hours.83 grams roughly chopped Oreo cookies
- Serving and Storage Instructions: Because this ice cream is quite rich and creamy, you shouldn't need to to thaw it for more than a few minutes at room temperature before it's scoopable. When serving the ice cream, make sure to put it back in the freezer ASAP to prevent it from thawing too much.Ice cream stored in an airtight container in the freezer will last about 1 - 2 weeks before the flavor and texture starts to significantly deteriorate.
1 Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream by Dana Cree
2 The Real Rules of Making Boozy Ice Cream by Serious Eats