What Goes Well With Coffee Ice Cream?

There are countless ways to make coffee ice cream since everyone has their idea about how it should taste. So, what goes well with coffee ice cream?

What goes well with coffee ice cream?

Do you like your coffee sweet and creamy with just a hint of coffee? Or do you like a bold, bracing flavor with only a dash of milk and sugar? Or perhaps you prefer it as bitter and concentrated as a shot of espresso?

The point is that there are infinite ways to make coffee ice cream, but no one can agree on how it should taste. So, what do ice cream makers do? It’s simple – make them all. 

After experimenting with different recipes, coffee roasts, grind settings, and flavor combinations, I've decided on recipes that range from mild to outrageously dark and bitter. The idea isn't to force you to stick to one type of ice cream but to show you how to make any type of coffee ice cream that you like. 

Coffee Ice Cream Basics

The Beans

The beans
Freshness is essential – using stale-tasting beans will result in stale-tasting ice cream

Use high-quality coffee beans. Freshly roasted and ground-quality beans will provide depth and character to your base, whereas dirt-cheap macro-roasted coffee will yield cheap-tasting ice cream. Freshness is essential – using stale-tasting beans will result in stale-tasting ice cream.

However, don’t stress about purchasing the best, most expensive, most painstakingly harvested beans since the subtleties of your coffee will most likely be lost in all the sugar and cream. I like darker roasts for my coffee ice cream, but keep in mind that the darker your roast is, the more bitter your coffee ice cream will be. 

You'll also love our list of the best coffee ice-cream recipes.

The Grind

The grind
Use a coarser-mesh filter to strain your base if you enjoy bits of grounds in your coffee

A simple medium grind will provide enough coffee flavor while staying large enough to filter easily later. Use a coarser-mesh filter to strain your base if you enjoy bits of grounds in your coffee.

Do you like to use whole beans? You can use them, but you'll need more of them to get the same flavor, and you'll have to steep them individually in milk and cream.

The Brew

You can steep the grounds in hot cream and milk to make coffee ice cream, then temper the hot liquid with egg yolks and sugar. It's a lot of hassle and can quickly turn into a disaster, so there's no reason to do it. 

Coffee quickly infuses its flavor into dairy, and in my experience, longer steeping does not improve the flavor. Instead, whisk your grinds directly into your egg yolks and sugar, add cold milk and cream and cook the base in just one pot. Your beans will have given up everything they have to offer by the time you bring your base to 170°F, which is the ideal custard temperature.

How To Make Coffee Ice Cream

Once you've mastered the basics, you can easily tweak your recipe to achieve the desired flavor and texture. My recipes call for anywhere between one to five tablespoons of coffee for every quart of ice cream. 

A mild, milky ice cream similar to a sweet latte is produced at the low end of that spectrum, while you get a bolder, bracing flavor with more bitterness on the other end. Make your ice cream even more intense by using extra-bitter Vietnamese-style coffee grinds or chicory coffee.

Butterfat content and sugar quantities are the other main variables, and they affect your ice cream in the same way you'd anticipate. Higher cream-to-milk ratios produce richer, more buttery ice creams, and I've discovered that coffee enhances this butteriness better than other ingredients.

More sugar means more sweetness and less bitterness, so reduce the sugar if you want your coffee to have a more refreshing, bitter taste. I find that six egg yolks for every three cups of milk create a rich, flavorful ice cream that isn't overly eggy.

Coffee Ice Cream Recipes

No coffee ice cream is out of reach if you follow these guidelines. With that in mind, here are some recipes to get you started, ranging from mild and easygoing to full-blown intense coffee.

Coffee ‘N Cookies ‘N Cream Ice Cream 

Coffee ‘n cookies ‘n cream ice cream is a vanilla-coffee hybrid that pits aromatic vanilla against bittersweet coffee, with some Oreos thrown in. It has a mild and sweet flavor, with just a hint of coffee.

Brownie Batter Coffee Ice Cream

I love brownies, and I usually pair them with a cup of coffee. So, ice cream made up of brownie batter and coffee? Well, for me, nothing can beat this delicious combination! 

Oreo Fudge Cappuccino Ice Cream

You can make the most delicious dessert by combining Oreo cookies, hot fudge, and cappuccino. The best part about this simple recipe is that you don't need an ice cream maker to prepare it.

Sweet Cream Coffee Caramel Ice Cream

What goes well with coffee ice cream? Sweet cream coffee caramel ice cream
The best thing about this recipe is that it is low carb, grain-free, sugar-free, keto, and gluten-free

Combine sweet cream and black coffee ice creams with a coffee-scented caramel sauce to make this recipe. And guess what? Your kids or guests will love this delicious, creamy coffee caramel ice cream! 

The best thing about this recipe is that it is low carb, grain-free, sugar-free, keto, and gluten-free.

Milky And Mild Coffee Ice Cream

If you like your coffee in the form of a sweetened latte, then this may be the best coffee ice cream for you. It has a rich, buttery base with a mild kick of coffee.

Coffee Cardamom Ice Cream

Coffee and cardamom are a natural match worldwide, and they're as delicious even in ice cream form. Cardamom's citrusy, minty scent supports the milky, mild base.

Bold And Bracing Coffee Ice Cream 

More coffee and less cream yield a bold coffee flavor with a refreshing, creamy scoop that isn't overly rich. It's similar to an iced coffee, only with a splash of milk and sugar.

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

This ice cream is strong, with a pronounced bitterness and caramelized sweetness, as it is made with ultra-dark Vietnamese-style coffee grinds, sweetened with rich condensed milk. Using a not-too-fine mesh filter, let some of the grinds make their way into the ice cream for extra flavor.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream With Shaved Dark Chocolate And Candied Pecans

Irish coffee ice cream is more of a boozy caramel ice cream than a coffee flavor, but it uses coffee to add a shot of fresh bitterness to cut through the richness of caramelized sugar and whiskey. 

You may also want to read our guide on What Is Affogato Coffee?


  • Danico Dacillo became a fan of coffee when he was in college 'cause it helps him stay awake. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, but now working as a content writer. His passion for writing started when he was still in grade school -- as a sports news writer.