Easy gourmet homemade cherry ice cream—without an ice cream maker. This No-Churn Cherry Ice Cream is so creamy and has so much depth of flavor, you’d never know it was made with just a handful of ingredients and barely any time. Fresh cherries get cooked down into a jammy compote that’s then folded into a simple ice cream base infused with vanilla and almond extract.

small white bowl with two scoops of cherry ice cream

Ingredients needed: 

  • Sweetened condensed milk 
  • Almond and vanilla extract 
  • Heavy whipping cream 
  • Fresh sweet cherries — I love using Stemilt’s Moon Cherries because they are firm and full of flavor! August is the best season for Moon Cherries so make sure you grab a big soon!
  • Honey
cherries, sweetened condensed milk, cream, honey and extract set out on a table

Step-by-Step Instructions + Photos

Cook the cherries down with a bit of honey, mashing with a potato masher, until thickened and resembles a fruit compote. Remove from heat and let cool completely. 

Combine the sweetened condensed milk, extracts and salt in a large bowl. 

three images showing how to mix together sweetened condensed milk and extract, what stiff peaks in whipped cream look like, and adding whipped cream to sweetened condensed milk

Whip the cold cream until nearly stiff peaks form. What do I mean by nearly? You don’t want perfectly perky stiff peaks, but you do want the cream to hold most of its shape when scooped. 

In small increments, fold whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk mixture.

grid of images showing how to fold whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk

Fold cooled cherry mixture into the cream mixture.

Spread into prepared container and freeze until solid. 

Why Cook the Cherries?

I initially tested this will fresh cherries simple minced in the food processor and folded into the ice cream base. I wanted this ice cream to be as simple and stress-free as possible. But the problem with adding fresh cherries, and their juices, is they add too much water to the ice cream base result in an icy ice cream. 

Cooking the cherries down with a bit of honey does three things. One, it concentrates the cherry flavor. Two, it cooks off the excess water. And three, honey helps to make the ice cream smoother and more creamy by reducing the formation of ice crystals, and it makes it slightly softer which makes it more scoopable. 

swirled cherry ice cream in a loaf pan with a scoop taken out

Tips for Making the Best No-Churn Ice Cream 

  • Don’t over-whip the cream. The cream should be whipped to nearly stiff peaks. Too stiff and the ice cream will take on an overly-fatty mouthfeel that leaves a buttery layer in your mouth. 
  • Let the cherry mixture cool completely. If the mixture is folded in while still warm, much of the air incorporated into the whipped cream will deflate. 
  • Work quickly. Once the cherry mixture is completely cooled, start whipping the cream. Once the cream is whipped start folding it into the sweetened condensed milk immediately (but gently). Once everything is mixed together, transfer it to a container and pop it in the freezer right away. 

Difference Between Heavy Cream, Heavy Whipping Cream and Whipping Cream

The difference lies in fat content. 

Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are the essentially the same—they both need to contain at least 36% milk fat per the FDA to be labeled as such. 

Whipping cream (or sometimes labeled “light whipping cream”) contains less fat, clocking in at 30–35% milk fat.

So how should they be used? Both whip really well, but the higher the milk fat, the more stable the whipped cream will be. Heavy whipping cream is great for piping, no-churn ice cream, and pastry filling. Lower-fat whipping cream is light and pillowy and best served right away as it will deflate and turn to liquid over time. 

ice cream scoop with a scoop of cherry ice cream in it


No-Churn Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream: fold chopped dark chocolate chunks or swirl chocolate sauce into the ice cream base right before serving. Top servings with chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips), shavings, sauce or shell. 

No-Churn Cherry Garcia Ice Cream: swirl chocolate fudge into the ice cream right before freezing. Serve with additional fudge.

No-Churn Cherry Caramel Ice Cream: swirl caramel sauce into the base right before serving. 

No-Churn Cherry Red Wine Ice Cream: add ¼ cup red wine to the cherries as they cook down. 

No-Churn Cherry Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: swap the almond and vanilla extract for 2–3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste.

No-Churn Cherry-Almond Ice Cream: increase the almond extract to 2 teaspoons and fold in ½ cup chopped or sliced toasted almonds. 

swirled cherry ice cream in a loaf pan with scoops taken out and placed in small white bowls

If you make this homemade ice cream recipe, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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small white bowl with two scoops of cherry ice cream

Cherry Ice Cream (No-Churn recipe)

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Freezing Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 ½ hours
  • Yield: 8 cups / 2 pints (16 servings) 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


A fresh cherry compote gets folded into a fluffy no-churn ice cream base to create a very easy, and very gourmet, Cherry Ice Cream.


  • 3 cups Stemilt Moon Cherries, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla 
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled


Cook cherries and honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat, mashing with a potato masher, until jammy and thick, 10 minutes; cool completely. Cherry mixture should measure 1½ cups.

Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (you can also use two pint freezer containers). 

Combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt in a large bowl. 

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a hand held mixer), beat heavy cream on medium high speed until nearly stiff peaks form.

Fold a scoop of whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk until mostly combined. Continue folding whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk in increments until nearly combined; fold in cooled cherry mixture (reserve a spoonful for swirling).

Spread ice cream base into prepared loaf pan or freezer pints. Dollop reserved cherry mixture over top then swirl using a toothpick or skewer. Cover with parchment paper (or lid) and freeze until form, at least 8 hours. 


If you really love the flavor of almond extract, add an additional ¼–½ teaspoon extract.

For a lower-sugar ice cream (3 grams less per serving), skip the honey and simply cook the cherries down unil jammy.

Frozen cherries can be used, just be sure to cook them down as directed in the recipe.


  • Serving Size: per ½ cup
  • Calories: 160
  • Sugar: 20g
  • Sodium: 72mg
  • Fat: 7.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 29mg
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This sponsored post is in partnership with Stemilt. As always the thoughts, opinions, recipe, photos and content are all my own.

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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, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. Delicious recipe and so easy to make, thank you. Pretty much followed the instructions as written with the only modification of using 2.5 cups whipping cream because we prefer slightly less sweet knowing the condensed milk can be overpowering and also added a little more almond extract. It was the perfect! Used fresh pitted Bing cherries and would probably go with 4 cups next time. I was able to make 4 pints from this and my husband raved it was a keeper recipe. Thank you!

    1. Hi Linda, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Great idea to sub with a bit more whipping cream—I’ll have to try that next time. Thanks for the review!

  2. For a no churn ice cream it’s very good, and easy to make!
    Can you use light whipping cream ?