5 Ingredients or Fewer

Italian Ice

May 24, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Alex Egan
Author Notes

We are smack in the 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 the bounty of summer the best way I know how: with lots of homemade ice cream, summer berries, cherries, and now, homemade Italian ice, too.

Some day I will make it to Italy for the summer, but until then, I can make myself some Italian ice at home and pretend that 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. You can just use a blender or food processor, then let the freezer do all of the heavy lifting.

Adapted from the Food Network. —Tieghan Gerard

Test Kitchen Notes

There really is no better, more refreshing treat to make in the summertime than sweet, tangy homemade Italian ice. Similar to water ice, which is a traditional summer treat that originated in Philadelphia, Italian ice is usually made with easily accessible ingredients, such as water, granulated sugar (or, in this case, honey), fresh fruit, and occasionally a splash of lemon juice to help balance out all of the sweetness. This is a great, easy dessert to make with kids. Bonus: This recipe doesn't contain any dairy or eggs.

In Italy, you'll find a similar frozen dessert called granita, which can also be prepared without an ice cream maker or other special equipment, though you'll find that granita may be a bit coarser in texture (Italian ice is usually as smooth as sorbet). But granitas vary throughout all of Italy, so this will most likely depend on where you try it.

To get the fluffiest texture for your own Italian ice, mix the ice with a fork more than once while it's freezing. You can also top with some fresh basil or mint leaves for a photo-worthy dessert. Since it's so easy to make, try multiple batches with different amounts of lemon juice in order to get that perfect tangy bite. Use a variety of citrus fruits to land on your favorite flavor. And if you really want to kick things up a notch and are having a 21+ adult summer party, you can infuse a little tequila or rum into the ice.
In Italy, you'll find a very similar frozen dessert called granita, which can also be prepared without an ice cream maker or other special equipment, though granita is a bit coarser in texture (Italian ice is as smooth as sorbet).

To get the fluffiest texture, mix the ice more than once while it's freezing. You can also top with some fresh basil or mint for a photo-worthy dessert. Since it's so easy to make, try multiple batches with different amounts of lemon juice to get that perfect bite. —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Italian Ice
  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Makes 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh fruit (I've tried strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice, divided
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend the fruit, honey or sugar, lemon juice, and 2 cups of ice until the mixture is chunky. Add the remaining ice and continue to blend until completely smooth. Taste and blend in more honey or sugar, if needed.
  2. Pour the mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish and freeze for 30 minutes. Remove the ice from the freezer and scrape with a fork until slushy. Continue to freeze for another 2 hours.
  3. Scoop the ice into cups. If the ice is too hard to scoop, let it sit for 5 minutes to soften, or blend the ice in a blender until slushy, then scoop into cups.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • Tieghan Gerard
    Tieghan Gerard
  • Douglas
    Douglas
  • Joy Kramer
    Joy Kramer
Recipe creator at Half Baked Harvest, food lover + picture taker.

9 Reviews

Douglas August 5, 2015
Can I put watermelon in this?

 
Joy K. July 28, 2015
Probably could put pre-frozen ice through a sieve or food mill to remove seeds and skins. I imagine there are people who can't eat it with seeds in it. I can just imagine how good a chocolate ice would be...Yum.
 
Babs I. August 6, 2014
Way to go, Tieghan! Good work! Summers in Phoenix are a real change from Frisco, so I can't wait to try this.
 
mia N. August 6, 2014
I grew up in Brooklyn, loving the chocolate italian ice that could be had in every pizzeria and many, if not most, bakeries. I've never been able to find a recipe that duplicates that wonderful flavor. Can anybody help? Grazie!!
 
beege August 3, 2014
an how about the seeds in the strawberries or raspberries? what do I do there?
 
beege August 3, 2014
can one remove the fruit skins? For example, If I use fresh cherries, I can remove the pit, but should I peel the cherry before trying this dessert?
 
Author Comment
Tieghan G. August 3, 2014
Hi! I would personally leave the skins on the cherries. I also left my strawberries seeds in too! Hope you love this!
 
tulip549 July 29, 2014
Excellent and healthy dessert. Thanks for sharing!
 
cucina D. July 24, 2014
i love this! I am from italia and this is very much like our famous granitas :)
beautiful photo and now I am craving a iced granita with raspberries and blackberries... well done indeed.