This festive pink Peppermint Ice Cream is a Christmas time favourite, featuring a rich egg custard base flavoured with peppermint extract and flecks of crushed candy cane. The perfect dessert after a holiday meal!
What is peppermint ice cream?
Peppermint ice cream, also known as peppermint stick ice cream is an ice cream flavoured with peppermint extract and/or crushed peppermint candy, or crushed candy canes.
It has an icy, cool taste and a sweet flavour.
What is the difference between peppermint vs. spearmint?
Peppermint contains a higher amount of menthol (about 40%), whereas spearmint contains about 0.5%.
Due to the higher menthol content, the flavour in peppermint is stronger and more prominent.
Peppermint is commonly used in dessert recipes, whereas spearmint is used in savory applications.
Why is peppermint ice cream pink?
The pink colour comes from the red and white crushed candy cane pieces that are added to the ice cream.
The candies incorporate with the ice cream and turn the ice cream a beautiful shade of pink.
You can add more or less peppermint candy, to your liking.
Is peppermint ice cream the same as mint chocolate chip?
No, mint chocolate chip ice cream is typically colored green with chocolate chips or chocolate flakes.
Why you'll love this recipe
This Peppermint Ice Cream recipe is refreshingly cool, minty, and not excessively sweet.
The ice cream base is adapted from on my Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, which is delicious and easy to make, especially if you have an ice cream maker.
Twice the mint! Peppermint extract flavours the ice cream base, and crushed peppermint candy adds another hit of that minty, icy cooling sensation.
Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream only requires a few ingredients, with no stabilizer gums like carrageenan or guar gum.
Special equipment you'll need
- ice cream maker: to mechanically churn the ice cream and incorporate air into the mixture
- spatula: for scraping the ice cream
Ingredients you'll need
- egg yolks: add richness to the ice cream base
- heavy cream: preferably at least 36% milkfat (MF), or you can also use half and half -- you'll need to churn it a little longer though
- whole milk: don't use skim milk for 2% for this recipe
- peppermint extract: use a pure peppermint extract; it usually contains alcohol, peppermint oil and water; you can use peppermint oil but use sparingly as it is much more concentrated
- vanilla extract: optional, adds more flavor to the ice cream but if you want a pure mint flavor, you can omit it
- granulated sugar: to sweeten the mixture; note that the base is not very sweet to start with as we'll be adding crushed candy cane to it; if you prefer a sweeter base, you can increase the sugar by another 10 grams
- fine sea salt: to balance out the sweetness
- candy cane/peppermint stick/peppermint candy pieces: you can crush candy cane or peppermint candy using a food processor or spice grinder
How to crush candy cane
There are a few ways easily crush candy cane:
- food processor: add the peppermint candy pieces into the food processor and blitz a few times, until broken into smaller pieces
- spice grinder: same as the food processor; add the peppermint candy pieces into the spice grinder and blitz a few times
- bashing it with a rolling pin: add the candy pieces into a heavy-duty Ziploc freezer bag, seal it and bash with a rolling pin or a meat mallet until broken
Note: for the first 2 methods, don't over blitz the candy cane or it might stick together.
How to store crushed candy cane
Humidity will cause the the candy cane pieces to melt and weep.
Store crushed candy cane pieces in a completely airtight container, preferably with one of these:
- dry silica packets (the ones you get with various packaged foods and draws out moisture -- DO NOT EAT)
- uncooked white rice (draws out humidity)
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (keeps everything dry)
How to make peppermint candy cane ice cream
Pour the cold heavy cream into a large bowl or jar. Set aside.
Separate 4 egg yolks from the egg whites and place the egg yolks into a heat-safe bowl. (Refrigerate or freeze the egg whites for later use, or make pavlova or Japanese Soufflé Pancakes).
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with sugar, sea salt and set aside.
Add the milk to a medium saucepan or pot and simmer over low heat until scalding hot.
While whisking the egg mixture, gradually pour in the warmed milk (known as tempering the eggs).
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, until the custard thickens. When you can draw a line on the back of a spatula or wooden spoon, the ice cream mixture is ready.
Remove pan from the heat and stir in peppermint extract (and vanilla extract, if using).
Pour the ice cream mixture through a sieve into the cold heavy cream.
Give the mixture a stir and cover with a lid/plastic wrap.
Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight.
The next day, churn the ice cream according to your ice cream manufacturer's instructions.
In the last 5 minutes of churning, add in the crushed candy cane pieces.
Transfer the churned ice cream to an airtight container and place into the freezer.
Freeze the ice cream for at least 6-8 hours, or until firm.
Sprinkle additional crushed peppermint candy cane pieces before serving, if desired.
How to store & serve
Keep the Peppermint Ice Cream in the freezer until ready to serve.
Serve the ice cream on its own, with fudge brownies, in Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches, or cookies.
Expert tips & FAQs
If using half and half, you will need to churn the mixture longer.
Can I make this without an ice cream maker?
If you don't have an ice cream maker, use a no-churn method combining heavy whipping cream and condensed milk, and add in the crushed candy cane pieces.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes, you can double the recipe, or use my Vanilla Ice Cream base and add in the peppermint flavouring.
How can I make the ice cream less pink?
Add less crushed peppermint candy.
Other ice cream recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Peppermint Ice Cream
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 250 ml heavy whipping cream (at least 36% milkfat) cold
- 4 egg yolks
- 50 g granulated sugar
- pinch fine sea salt
- 125 ml whole milk
- ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- 2 tablespoon candy cane or peppermint candies crushed
- Pour the cold heavy cream into a large bowl or jar. Set aside.
- Separate 4 egg yolks from the egg whites and place the egg yolks into a heat-safe bowl. (Refrigerate or freeze the egg whites for later use).
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with sugar, sea salt and set aside.
- Add the milk to a medium saucepan or pot and simmer over low heat until scalding hot.
- While whisking the egg mixture, gradually pour in the warmed milk (known as tempering the eggs).
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, until the custard thickens. When you can draw a line on the back of a spatula or wooden spoon, the ice cream mixture is ready.
- Remove pan from the heat and stir in peppermint extract (and vanilla extract, if using).
- Pour the ice cream mixture through a sieve into the cold heavy cream.
- Give the mixture a stir and cover with a lid/plastic wrap.
- Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight.
- The next day, churn the ice cream according to your ice cream manufacturer's instructions.
- In the last 5 minutes of churning, add in the crushed candy cane pieces.
- Transfer the churned ice cream to an airtight container and place into the freezer.
- Freeze the ice cream for at least 6-8 hours, or until firm.
- Sprinkle additional crushed peppermint candy cane pieces before serving, if desired.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
This peppermint ice cream is just perfect for the Christmas season. And your photos are so dreamy and have me ready to celebrate!
Ben | Havocinthekitchen
Beautiful and luscious seasonal ice cream! And we don't need to wait till December to enjoy it, right? 🙂
David @ Spiced
Interesting notes about peppermint vs. spearmint - I never knew the difference! Growing up, we had a neighbor who made peppermint ice cream for neighbor gifts every year. It was a fun and unique way to mix things up. This version looks delicious...and perfect for the holidays!