Only 2 Steps and 5 Ingredients Stand Between You and This Ice Cream

If the grocery store isn't your favorite place, it should be. We're sleuthing for the best back-of-the-box recipes and every Sunday, Posie Harwood from 600 Acres will share our latest find. 

Today: A spectacular summer ice cream recipe with just two steps and five ingredients.

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Summer means ice cream, even if scoop traditions are different for everyone: It could be vanilla soft serve on the boardwalk, coated in rainbow sprinkles and served in a waffle cone, or a cup of custard layered with Italian ice on a hot, humid night in the park. 

For me, the first sweltering, sticky days of June bring to mind homemade ice cream. When I was little, we had an old-fashioned, rickety wooden ice cream maker. Using one of those is a far cry from powering up the modern ice cream machine and watching it silently whir away in your kitchen. 

With the old-fashioned kind, you pack it full of rock salt and ice and haul it outside (it’s messy!). Sprawled on the grass, you crank the handle for what feels like eons. The silky custard inside offers little resistance at first, but as it hardens, it gets more and more difficult to turn. You end up sweaty with tremendously sore biceps and a serious appetite for dessert.

I won’t suggest you go buy one for novelty’s sakebut do consider it if you have the space. It’s such a neat thing to do as a kid, and the memory is one of my most vivid—the smell of freshly cut grass, the bulky plastic bag of rock salt, the thrill of sneaking a sweet fingerful. 

Happily, you can make excellent ice cream at home with any sort of machine (and even without one!). And while most recipeswith or without eggsrequire some cooking, today’s creamy blackberry lemon ice cream does not. Instead, it relies on sweetened condensed milk to thicken the mixture. 

I had never been in love with no-cook ice cream. I found it lacking in richness and in flavor. But this recipe changed my mind. Two cups of puréed blackberries and a hefty dose of lemon juice give the ice cream a deep, intense flavor that balances out all the creaminess. 

The one drawback to no-cook ice cream is, usually, the texture. Often it resembles soft serve more than ice cream, but with this recipe, I had no troublelikely because of the high percentage of fruit. I recommend freezing the ice cream in a container after churning it to keep it scoopable and hard.

Blackberry-Lemon Ice Cream

Adapted from Eagle Brand Condensed Milk

Makes 2 quarts

cups puréed blackberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 cups half-and-half
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

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

Do you have a favorite back of the box recipe, or have you heard about a great one? Leave any suggestions in the comments, and I'll try them out and share them here!

Photos by Posie Harwood 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • em antonelli
    em antonelli
  • Cheri Talbot Mambro
    Cheri Talbot Mambro
  • Cortney Tunis
    Cortney Tunis
  • Nikita
  • CarolMusic
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


em A. May 13, 2017
What do you use if you don't have an ice cream maker?
Cheri T. May 11, 2017
Do you have this recipe with just sweet , creamy lemon? Childhood favorite that I can't find anywhere???
nadia May 12, 2017
Hers one for ice pops...

14oz can sweetened condensed milk
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
150ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 or 4 lemons)
1 1/2 cups water
6 tablespoons Lemoncello

Put the condensed milk, lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk together by hand until fully combined, then whisk in the water and limoncello until smooth and well blended. 

Pour the mixture into small molds or ice cube trays, push lolly sticks or tooth picks into the mix (after about 90 mins) and freeze for at least 5 more hours... recipe from my new Ice Kitchen 'poptails' book ;)
Cortney T. June 30, 2016
That is one beautiful spoon! And eating from gold flatware can improve the taste of sweet things like this ice cream (thanks, Gastropod!
Nikita May 6, 2016
Recipe sounds delicious, but the snack in your bio sounds messy. How does one slather a smell, anyway?
CarolMusic June 29, 2015
Will try using blueberries!
Fanny C. June 7, 2015
It sounds lovely and I will definitely make it. We usually have no-cook ice cream and it's full of flavour - lots of fresh fruit (peaches or nectarines particularly), whizzed with delicious Yeo Valley Organic natural yoghurt the churned with skimmed condensed milk, and a couple of handfuls of toasted flaked almonds swirled in to the ice cream containers before they go in the freezer. Low fat, delicious, minimum ingredients.
IamTheCook June 6, 2015
What quantity of berries is needed to get 2 cups of pureed berries? This looks so creamy and delicious!
Posie (. June 6, 2015
1 pint of berries should make approximately 1/2 cup of puree, give or take! But -- don't worry about having exactly 2 cups. It's not too precise of a recipe. If you have a little less, it'll still be great, just less strong on the berry flavor.
SonyaB June 5, 2015
Hi, does it have to have the lemon juice, or is that just for flavor?
For us foreigners in London, what's half and half? Semi fat milk? Thx x
Posie (. June 5, 2015
It's usually called half-cream in the UK I believe! Half whole milk and half light cream.
Amy June 1, 2015
Love the colour! Have been obsessed with making ice cream these days, will have to try adding blackberry puree! :)
Rhoda June 1, 2015
Thanks. I'll try it before July 4th when I'll need it.
Rhoda May 31, 2015
OK What is a batch??1 pint,1 quart, 1 gallon?? How many scoops or servings ??
Kathy M. May 31, 2015
A batch is usually and traditionally about a half-gallon (give or take a bit either way). Hope that helps...
Posie (. May 31, 2015
This recipe will make about 2 quarts!
Kathy M. May 31, 2015
Isn't 2 quarts equal to a half-gallon?
Posie (. May 31, 2015
Yes! Thanks Kathy. Was just confirming for Rhoda that it does in fact yield that.
Kathy M. May 31, 2015
LOL, thanks... was wondering if my math was's been a long day.
Stacey B. May 31, 2015
Is there anyway to make this without the condensed milk? I'm lactose intolerant, and while cream (which I would substitute for the half-n-half) doesn't bother me, condensed milk does!
Kathy M. May 31, 2015
Condensed milk can be made with other kind of "milks" by cooking out a lot of the water to make it more syrup-y like. Almond milk or coconut milk can be condensed, just go low and slow with the heat, then let cool in the fridge before using.
Stacey B. May 31, 2015
Thanks!!! I also found a recipe online to make sweetened condensed milk out of lactose free milk. Can't wait to try this yummy looking ice cream!
Kathy M. May 31, 2015
Oh, good. Glad you found something that you can try for a substitute. Happy summer!
Annette L. June 1, 2015
Mmmmm.... imagining condensed coconut milk!! Fantastic.
Susan May 31, 2015
This looks yummy, and my blackberries happened to be loaded with fruit.
Kathy M. May 31, 2015