This lemon ice cream recipe is the queen bee of all homemade ice creams. Creamy, lemony and studded with poppy seeds, you’ll be blown away by how much this ice cream tastes like a lemon poppy seed muffin. Grab a spoon and dive in!

Lemon Ice Cream

This lemon ice cream recipe is essentially my go-to ice cream base turned up a notch. 

For my ice cream base I use a 1:1 ratio of cream to whole milk (so yes, you can use half-and-half if you’d like). 

I then use some regular sugar and, instead of corn syrup, some honey. The honey (which acts like corn syrup) is essential to creating a smooth ice cream. Why? Honey interferes with the formation of ice crystals during churning and freezing, which helps to ensure this ice cream is smooth and not icy. 

The final key component of my homemade ice cream base is a hearty amount of egg yolks. They add a luscious creaminess that you can’t get with anything else. 

So what makes it lemon? Well, take this base and add a hearty amount of minced lemon zest and some fresh lemon juice!

Photograph of a metal baking pan filled with lemon ice cream with scoops set on top and spoons in the ice cream

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream

Step 1: combine cream, milk, half of the sugar, honey and salt in a saucepan. 

Step 2: cook mixture until steaming. 

Step 3: whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar together. 

Step 4: whisk a splash of the heated milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture (this is called tempering).

Step 5: add yolk mixture to saucepan with remaining milk and cook until mixture reaches 185-degrees.

Step 6: let cool; then transfer to refrigerator to chill completely. 

Step 7: churn ice cream until it resembles thick soft-serve; meanwhile throw a metal baking pan in the freezer to chill. 

Step 8: transfer churned ice cream to frozen metal pan and freeze.

My go-to ice cream machine! 

Photograph of lemon ice cream scoops stacked in two white porcelain cones

Key Ingredients to Infusing Muffin Flavor Into Ice Cream

There’s one key ingredient that takes this ice cream from lemon poppy seed to lemon poppy seed muffin. Can you guess??

Two words: Butter extract. 

YA’LL. I’m not even Southern and butter extract has me saying ya’ll! It’s that good. My sister and I have agreed that we will be adding it to almost every baked good we make from here on out. 

Are we overreacting? Maybe.  

Are we being a bit extreme? Most definitely. 

Is butter extract worth us being a bit “extra”? One-hundred percent. 

You guys. I’m not encouraging you to use butter extract in place of, well, real butter. No, no, no. That’s not the point of butter extract. It simply adds a whole other dimension to baked goods and desserts by offering more of a decadent, indulgent flavor.

Photograph of lemon ice cream scoops stacked in two white porcelain cones

How to serve lemon ice cream (lemon ice cream desserts):

Lemony Ice Cream Sandwich

Freeze ice cream on a large baking sheet instead of a baking pan, then use a round cookie cutter to cut ice cream out. Sandwich ice cream between shortbread cookies. (The lemon or triple ginger thins from Trader Joe’s would be AHmazing). 

Lemon Poppy Seed & Blueberry Muffin Sundae 

Spoon this fresh blueberry sauce over a few scoops of the lemon poppy seed ice cream. 

Lemon Poppy Seed & Blueberry Muffin Trifle 

Layer scoops of lemon poppy seed ice cream with fresh blueberry syrup and diced pound cake. Top with whipped cream!  

Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream Float

Top scoops of lemon poppy seed ice cream with Prosecco or Limoncello.

Want more homemade ice cream?! Check out these favorites!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Photograph of lemon ice cream scoops stacked in two white porcelain cones

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Ice Cream

  • Author: Lauren
  • Yield: about 1 quart (8 servings) 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Freezer
  • Cuisine: American


This lemon ice cream recipe is the queen bee of all homemade ice creams. Creamy, lemony, and studded with poppyseeds, you’ll be blown away by how much this ice cream tastes like a lemon poppy seed muffin.


  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream 
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk 
  • ½ cup sugar, divided 
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 
  • ¼ teaspoon + ⅛ teaspoon table salt 
  • 6 egg yolks 
  • 2 teaspoons poppyseeds 
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Place a metal baking pan in the freezer. 

Combine cream, milk, ¼ cup sugar, honey, zest, lemon juice, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook mixture, stirring frequently, until steaming and registers 175°F on an instant-read thermometer, 6–8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth and light in color, 1 minute. 

Slowly whisk 1 cup heated milk mixture into egg yolk mixture to temper. Add yolk mixture to remaining milk mixture in saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 185°F on an instant-read thermometer, 5 minutes. 

Off heat, stir in poppy seeds, butter extract, and vanilla extract.

Transfer custard to a large bowl and cool completely. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto surface of custard and transfer to refrigerator; chill completely, at least 4 hours.

Transfer chilled custard to bowl of ice cream machine. Churn, according to manufacturer’s instructions, until mixture resembles very thick soft serve, 15–20 minutes.

Transfer ice cream to frozen baking pan and press a piece of plastic wrap onto surface; freeze until edges are firm, about 1 hour. 

Transfer ice cream to an airtight container, pressing to compress and remove air pockets. Freeze until firm, 2 hours. 


Ice cream is best enjoyed within 2 weeks of making, but lasts up to 1 month. 

My go-to ice cream machine is the Cusinart 1.5 Quart machine.


  • Serving Size: per ½ cup
  • Calories: 299
  • Sugar: 23g
  • Sodium: 119mg
  • Fat: 23g
  • Saturated Fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 221mg

Keywords: Lemon ice cream recipe, homemade lemon ice cream, lemon ice cream

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes
Photograph of lemon ice cream scoops stacked in two white porcelain cones


Share it with the world


About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

Learn More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star