DIY Food

How to Make Italian Ice at Home

For the times when you can't stop at your favorite stand.

July  2, 2019

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home. Today: Homemade Italian ice is just the thing to cool down summer's sweatiest days. Thanks to Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, you don't have to stop at your favorite stand to get some.

We are smack in middle of the dog days of summer: It’s hot, it’s humid, and the sun shines until 9 p.m. Well, that's likely the case for most of you. I live in Colorado—not in Denver where it's 100 degrees, but up in the mountains of Summit County, where the high for today was 62. 

While I may not be sweating my butt off, I am still taking advantage of summer the best way I know how: with lots of homemade ice cream, summer berries, cherries, and now, homemade Italian ice, too.

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Italian Ice

Some day I will make it to Italy for the summer, but until then, I can make myself some Italian ice and pretend I am walking the streets of Rome. The great thing about this recipe is that it's so easy: It takes just minutes to prepare, and there's no special ice cream maker required. Just use a blender or food processor, then let the freezer do the heavy lifting.

What is Italian Ice?

Similar to water ice, a classic summer treat from Philadelphia, Italian ice is typically made from water, sugar (or in this case, honey), fresh fruit, and occasionally a splash of lemon juice to balance out the sweetness. In Italy, you'll find a very similar frozen dessert called granita, though granita is a bit more coarse in texture.

Watch: How to Make Italian Ice at Home

Get the Recipe: Homemade Italian Ice

Makes: 4 cups


3 cups fresh fruit of your choice 
2 to 4 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups ice


1. Add the fruit (I used strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries), honey or sugar (I used 2 tablespoons of honey), lemon juice, and 2 cups of ice to the bowl of a food processor or a high-powered blender.

Italian Ice

2. Blend the mixture until chunky, and then add the remaining cup of ice. Blend until completely smooth.

Italian Ice

3. Pour the mixture into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. 

Italian Ice

4. After 30 minutes, remove the Italian ice from the freezer and scrape it with a fork until slushy. Place it back in the freezer for another 2 hours. 

Italian Ice

5. After the 2 hours are up, you can scoop the ice into cups. If it's too frozen-solid to scoop, either let the ice sit out for 5 minutes so that it softens, or add it to a blender and blend until the mixture has a slushy consistency.

Italian Ice

6. Scoop your Italian ice into cups and enjoy it with a colorful spoon. I highly recommend making multiple flavors, and serving them together for a real treat.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Tieghan Gerard

This recipe has been updated by the Food52 editorial team to include more information. 

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Recipe creator at Half Baked Harvest, food lover + picture taker.


Michael B. July 4, 2015
As chocolate is my favorite Italian Ice flavor, I'm wondering how this recipe would look if you wanted to make it. Any suggestions?

Also, what if we wanted to make lemon ice?
Cindy S. January 2, 2016
Did anyone ever answer you about the Chocolate Ice?? That is also my fav and so want to know the answer that one lol lol
[email protected] July 31, 2014
I love the colors and the fresh fruit that goes into this, as opposed to food dyes that go into Italian ices that you buy at a store. These look amazing, what a great post!