Make Ahead

Cereal Milk Ice Cream

September 25, 2014
6 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes a little more than 1 quart of ice cream
Author Notes

This recipe is inspired by the famous cereal milk soft serve from Momofuku Milk Bar, which I translated into ice cream using a formula loosely based off The New York Times' Master Ice Cream Recipe.

It's a bit milkier and icier than a typically creamy ice cream, since it has lower butterfat and fewer egg yolks. I was trying it emulate the less-rich flavor that comes with soft serve, without a soft serve machine. This way, the subtle flavor of the cereal milk comes through loud and clear. And the crunchy cornflake brittle helps keep things interesting. —Catherine Lamb

What You'll Need
  • For the ice cream:
  • 3 cups Corn Flakes, or other unsweetened cereal (such as Special K, Chex, etc)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the corn flake brittle:
  • 2 cups Corn Flakes, or your unsweetened cereal of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. For the ice cream:
  2. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Spread the cornflakes out on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. Combine cooled Corn Flakes and whole milk in a pitcher or large jar and stir vigorously. Let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pushing the cornflake mush against the sides with a spatula to get out all the cereal milk goodness. Put aside until ready to make the ice cream.
  4. In a small pot over low heat, stir together milk, cream, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves, about five minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks. Add a splash of the warm milk mixture into the yolks, stirring vigorously with a whisk. You've just tempered your eggs! Pour the tempered yolks back into the pot with the milk, and put the whole thing over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about five minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Taste for sweetness -- it should be a bit sweeter than you'd like, because it won't taste as sweet once chilled. Add a bit more salt or sugar if desired.
  7. Pour the mixture into a tupperware container and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  8. Churn your ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. Right after it's churned, it will have more of a soft serve consistency, or you could put it in a quart container or tupperware and store in the freezer until needed.
  1. For the corn flake brittle:
  2. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Spread the Corn Flakes out on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. (You could also combine this toasting session with the one for the cereal milk, if you're efficient.) Transfer the toasted cereal onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet, and spread them evenly.
  3. Heat the granulated sugar and water together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Watch it closely, swirling occasionally, as the sugar dissolves and begins to turn a light golden color. When it's the color of honey, turn off the heat and pour the caramel over the cornflakes. Using a spoon (not your fingers!), smush everything around so the cornflakes are evenly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.
  4. Once the brittle is cool, it's time for smashing! Put the cornflake chunks in a plastic bag, seal it up, then smash away with a rolling pin. You can keep the chunks any size you like, from a fine powder to big pieces that get stuck in your molars when you chew. Set aside to garnish.
  5. To serve: Scoop ice cream generously. Sprinkle with smashed cornflake brittle. Dive in immediately, preferably while watching the morning cartoons.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Liz Apple
    Liz Apple
  • Aisha Javed Ahmed
    Aisha Javed Ahmed
  • JocelynT
  • thebreukelenlife
  • Gregory Stroud
    Gregory Stroud

12 Reviews

Liz A. June 21, 2020
This recipe came out wonderful! The texture of the ice cream was perfect. I missed the addition of vanilla in the recipe? I added it just before the 4 hour fridge step. The cereal flavor was subtle but just the right amount of flavor. I skipped the corn flake topping- thought it tasted great on its own. Would definitely make this again!
Aisha J. May 11, 2020
Amazing ice cream recipe! Perfect texture. I'll be adopting this recipe for all my ice cream recipes moving forward.

The cornflake brittle was really fun to make and looked so cool before it was smashed but at the end of the day it was just sugar, and it's a LOT. We only used probably 2 tbsp of the stuff and the rest of the 3 cups was thrown out. You'll have better luck just sprinkling on toasted corn flakes I'd imagine.
JocelynT October 21, 2019
Amazing! I added the vanilla between steps 4 and 5.
Alerian H. August 12, 2018
I made this a week ago. Just the ice cream. Easy to make. It does thicken faster than most custards. Outstanding flavor. However, it was way too sweet. Like a cheap mass produced caramel ice
cream type of sweetness. I'd reduce sugar 30 percent.
Lulu February 16, 2018
I got to the part where I had to stir for 5 minutes, and there was less than a minute left when the whole thing curdled! I strained it anyway and I'll see how it turns out. I'm guessing its going to be a bit more like cereal milk gelato at this point, so I guess thats not too bad. What could have made the mixture curdle like though? I want to try it again but I want to know what to look out for!
thebreukelenlife May 29, 2015
I wanted to make this this weekend but my cereal loving Boyfriend had a fit when I mentioned corn flakes. Has anyone tried this with a pre-sweetened cereal - like cinnamon toast crunch? Maybe I just need to cut down on the sugar? Any thought greatly greatly appreciated!
Lulu February 16, 2018
I know this is an old comment, but I was wondering the same thing. I would suggest comparing the nutrition facts on a corn flakes box and the sweetened cereal you would like to use. Be sure the serving sizes are the same in grams. 2/3 cups brown sugar is about 135 grams. Keep in mind that when you strain out the cereal thats been soaking, not all of the sugar is going to be in the milk; some might stay in the cereal. You can't get the sugar amount exactly the same that way, but you might get it close. Also, right before you refrigerate the mixture overnight, the recipe says to taste test it and add more sugar if needed, and that the finished product will taste slightly less sweet. I hope this helps.
Gregory S. May 14, 2015
if you want something approximating soft serve, then I would recommend using iota carrageenan (like soft serve).
Atlanticgull October 12, 2014
After completing the instructions thru step 6 I returned to my prep area and found my bottle of vanilla staring me down. On a re read of the instructions I found no mention of the vanilla in the body of the recipe. I hastily pulled the still warm custard from the fridge, added the teaspoon of vanilla, gently mixed it in and put it back in the fridge. Can I assume it should have gone in with the sugar, cream, milk, salt? Will I still have some success with my late addition?
mboaoaoa March 11, 2018
Ditto!!! I re read 10 times! I really wished someone answered your questions cause I’m in the same boat!
Eva October 11, 2014
Made this a few days ago. The ice cream is OUTSTANDING. The flavor is perfect, and precisely as I remember it from Momofuku Milk Bar: sweet but not too sweet, carby, satisfying, and nostalgic.

However, the corn flake brittle didn't work out as well for me. I ended up with really large shards of crystalized sugar encapsulating little bits of corn flake (even after a good long bash with my rolling pin), so it was kind of like eating bits of corn flake-flavored rock candy on the ice cream.

After picking out the biggest shards, adding more toasted corn flakes, then whizzing the topping in a food processor to give it a sandier texture, it seems a lot better. Not sure what the solution is for the recipe, though. Perhaps a higher cereal-to-caramel ratio? A higher water-to-sugar ratio in the caramel?

But if you're on the fence about making this, MAKE IT NOW. I was an absolute ice cream-making-virgin and this could not have been better for my first foray.
Shef S. September 29, 2014
Four years ago, I went to NYC's Momofuku Milk Bar and had the cereal milk soft serve ice cream. Since then, I've always wondered how the corn flake flavor gets infused into the milk. You've finally dispelled that mystery for me, Catherine. Toasting the cereal first is genius! I can't wait to try this recipe.