No-Churn Scotch Ice Cream

July 13, 2019
18 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Makes 1 quart
Author Notes

If there's one drink I keep in my liquor cabinet at all times, it's single-malt Scotch. I like it in an Old Fashioned glass, splash of water. I like it in my ice cream, too. It makes sense to use booze you already have on hand when it comes to homemade ice cream, especially one that isn't churned, because 1) alcohol doesn't freeze and 2) it tastes good. Here Scotch doesn't turn the cream boozy, as liquor too often does in desserts; rather, it highlights the deep, musky notes of vanilla bean and perfumes everything like buttery caramel. It really works, and my method couldn't be easier: All you need is a whisk. This is no-cook, no-churn ice cream at its most refined—which is, more often than not, the simplest. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: No-Churn Scotch Ice Cream Is My Own Version of Self-Care. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 tablespoon Scotch whisky
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  1. Whisk together the cream, sugar, vanilla seeds, Scotch, and salt until soft peaks form, and then turn into an air-tight quart container. Cover and freeze until firm, about 3 to 4 hours. Remove to thaw for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping (should be creamy, not hard).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alek Meyer
    Alek Meyer
  • Marion Groth
    Marion Groth
  • lydia.sugarman
  • Liz D
    Liz D
  • AntoniaJames
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

28 Reviews

TWoo July 16, 2023
Made this a couple days ago, right on time for Ice Cream Day!

Shorted the sugar a bit, used vanilla powder, and a healthy splash of single malt. Oh and used a hand mixer as I didn't have the strength to keep beating it. And made it on a too warm day to those soft peaks didn't last very long, should maybe have beat it longer, but it was light enough.

The non-Scotch drinker said it reminded him of band aids, LOL....That was how Laphroaig was introduced to me decades ago, described as reminiscent of wet band aids.
Linda D. March 13, 2022
Thank you, Eric! Absolutely fabulous! No vanilla bean on hand so I used 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Indeed to use a vanilla bean next time. Proper 12 whiskey is what we have on hand so I used that.
blissra January 7, 2021
I have not used a vanilla bean to date. But the recipe ingredients call for a bean, "split and scraped." while the steps state add the seeds. I'm confused. Which?? Both??
Michele January 29, 2021
Hi Blissra!
You don't know what you're missing until you've used fresh vanilla bean! So you'll split the bean open and then scrape the little teeny seeds (the vanilla "meat" if you will) into your cream. You'll understand once you buy a bean and try it. I hope this helps! :)
Theresia A. October 10, 2020
As I am vegan, I was thinking of making cashew cream and use that instead of heavy cream. Do you think that will work?
Michael April 26, 2020
Love this recipe and make it all the time. Side not for all the questions about alcohol and substitutes. Vanilla extracts are at least 35% alcohol so you’re not really getting rid of alcohol by swapping it in. The final amount is very low (using a 45% alcohol whiskey would get you ice cream that has 1.3% alcohol if using the 2 cups of cream in the recipe). That said, for people struggling with alcohol addiction or who do not drink I could see the bigger issue being have left over alcohol in the house.
Marcie December 21, 2019
Could you use a rotary or electric beater if you don't want to hand whisk for a long time?
AntoniaJames December 23, 2019
Yes, absolutely. That's certainly what I plan to do. ;o)
marykate58 December 20, 2019
A distillery near me makes an amazing coffee, vanilla bourbon ! I may have to try it in this recipe. Love your writing.....
Mrs B. October 29, 2019
Drambuie + just a touch of finely grated orange peel . . . . or perhaps a really nice rye instead of the scotch. I'm inspired!
Amy October 27, 2019
Think maple bourbon would work here?
Eric K. October 27, 2019
Sure. Sounds delicious.
judy September 6, 2019
I make a version of this with Bailey's Irish cream and a banana. Having found that the full whipped cream is a bit too rich for my "blood". I whip the creamed add the Bailey's. Then I fold9n a moderatey well ripened banana--soft but not yet "banana bread" ready. to your taste for that banana, but make sure you can mash pretty well so it blends in with the whipped cream. follow the rest of the recipe. Works great. Enough for two of us. We like fold-ins as well, and chocolate chips and nut are good. Or change the profile and nice Italian cherries. Almond is good as well...Pistachios, anyone? Can almost get to Spumoni if I want to really go all out for it. Make 3 kinds: Cherry, pistachio (pistachio paste is very ice here, with chopped nuts sprinkled through) and chocolate version (nice chocolate chunks). Still use 1/2 cream and 1/2 banana for the base. Freeze and then soften slightly and fold 1/3 of each flavor together just a bit--leaving distinct parts or each, refreeze. Enjoy. So good. (albeit does have a faint banana flavor to it).
Jaehyang S. September 3, 2019
This is an amazingly simple recipe and absolutely delicious! I added some Valrhona chocolate chips with it, and the dark chocolate made a great contrast to the vanilla.
Alek M. August 22, 2019
I noticed there weren't any reviews of the finished product, so I thought I'd say that this recipe is very simple and very good. It was delicious even before freezing -- I might start adding a dash of scotch to my whip cream for other desserts now.
Marion G. July 23, 2019
For those of you worried about the alcohol content: ITS A TABLESPOON, for children and the generally abstenant, not an issue. If you're an alcoholic, or are serving one, well, common sense dictates omitting it, buying commercial icecream or using a recipe for a churn.
Leslie July 17, 2020
I know, right? As a kid I ate baba au rum from Italian bakeries and those were soaked in rum, ha ha.
lydia.sugarman July 20, 2019
Bourbon? No Scotch in the apartment.

For teetotalers, what about using vanilla extract? Would that alcohol be acceptable?
Eric K. July 23, 2019
Vanilla extract would be more than acceptable, Lydia!
Smaug July 23, 2019
As a recovered (?) alcoholic- it's been about 30 years- I don't worry too much about the alcohol in extracts, vinegars etc. but for someone with a more pressing alcohol problem it could be a worry. I think it would take a pretty outrageous amount of extract to materially alter the ice cream's texture. But it would taste good.
TheLibrarian July 19, 2019
Is there a substitution for the alcohol the teatotallers amongst us?
TheLibrarian July 19, 2019
*for the teatotallers
Liz D. July 19, 2019
You could just leave it out, or use another flavoring. However, I believe the alcohol helps it to not freeze too hard & become icy
Smaug July 19, 2019
Unfortunately there really isn't. A frequent problem with ice creams, since the major consumers are children and recovering alcoholics. More sugar will also lower the freezing point, but it's hardly advisable.
Leslie July 17, 2020
Maybe a rum extract from the baking section? Add some raisins and you have rum raisins.
Liz D. July 18, 2019
OK, I made this, it's in the freezer now. I used vanilla-infused sugar, and my vanilla bean was dried out, so I soaked it overnight in about 2T of Macallan and then used that Scotch in the ice cream. I put the whole 2T in, too, because, well, Macallan. The flavor is really good, if a little sweet, but I imagine being frozen will damp that down a little. Very easy
AntoniaJames December 23, 2019
Liz D - "Because, well, Macallan" - love it!! ;o)
Leslie July 17, 2020
Add some smoked sea salt on top :-)