Fresh Peach Ice Cream


Chill out with a few scoops of homemade peach ice cream.

Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs 50 mins
9 cups

Blissfully cold, creamy, and perfectly sweet, homemade peach ice cream is the reigning queen of peach desserts—it's a divine joy on a sweltering summer day! I can still hear the gravelly hum of my grandmother's old-fashioned ice cream maker churning its heart out on her back stoop, the layers of ice and rock salt shifting and settling around the canister of soon-to-be-soft-serve peach ice cream. This easy-to-follow recipe captures the essence of those summers of my childhood, delivering nostalgic flavor with the ease of modern convenience.

This peach ice cream recipe is blessedly simple, but it does require three things: ripe peaches, the ice cream maker of your choice, and time. Unless you have a tank of liquid nitrogen handy, there's no kitchen wizardry that can speed up the process of making ice cream. We suggest you make it at least a day ahead to avoid any unnecessary hustling. Now without further ado, let's make some peach ice cream!

Fresh Peach Ice Cream
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

How to Make Peach Ice Cream

This is a custard-style recipe, which basically means the ice cream base is made from a mixture of eggs, sugar, and milk that is cooked gently until thickened. The mixture is then cooled and transferred to an ice cream maker to churn to your desired consistency. If you don't have an ice cream maker and don't have time to get one, try this recipe for no-churn ice cream.

1. Start by Making a Custard

It may sound fussy, but making a custard is nearly effortless. Start by whisking the egg yolks and sugar together in a saucepan until completely combined—the mixture should be uniform in color, but the sugar will still be grainy (that's OK!). Next, whisk in each of the milks until combined.

custard for ice cream

Q: Can I use lowfat milk?
A: It's best if you don't. More fat = a creamier, less icy texture.

2. Cook It Low and Slow

Don't be tempted to crank up the heat; cooking a custard low and slow is the best way to guarantee a perfectly smooth custard. Set the heat to medium-low, and commit to stirring the mixture constantly for 15 minutes. Yes, constantly. The universe is going to urge you to multi-task, to step away from the stove to load the dryer, feed the neighbor's cat, or run to the mailbox. But trust us—the quickest way to scorch a custard is to walk away from it. Just chill out and give yourself the gift of doing just one thing for 15 minutes; you'll be surprised at how calming and restorative stirring a custard can be!

Q: How do I know when the custard is done?
A: Dip a spoon into the custard, then swipe your finger along the custard-coated spoon. If the line holds, you're ready to churn.

3. Add the Peaches

Soft, ripe peaches are ideal for peach ice cream. Plan to buy the peaches a few days before making the ice cream. If your peaches are on the firm side, don't fret—you can pop them into a paper bag (and seal it) or set them on the window sill to help them ripen faster. Peel the peaches whichever way you like (my grandmother always used her favorite wood-handled paring knife), then cut them into small chunks. For peach ice cream, you want to make sure the chunks are small, because large chunks turn into peach ice cubes after churning. For extra insurance, crush the peach chunks with a potato masher.

custard with fresh peaches
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

Q: Can I use frozen or canned peaches?
A: Yes, in a pinch, but thaw and/or drain them first.

4. Cool It Down

After you've stirred the peaches and vanilla extract into the custard mixture, it's time to chill everything down. The peach mixture needs to spend at least four hours in the refrigerator to get it nice and cold before churning. This is a great make-ahead moment, because you can stash the peach mixture in the refrigerator overnight and churn in the next day if you like.

cooling peach ice cream base

Q: Can I speed this up by popping the peach mixture in the freezer?
A: Yes, but watch it and stir every 15 minutes; you don't want the mixture to freeze!

5. Churn, Baby, Churn

Once everything is nice and cold, it's time to transfer the peach mixture to the container of your chosen ice cream maker. If you're using a countertop model with a freezable insert (this one is our favorite), you'll need to make sure to freeze the insert overnight.

pouring ice cream into base
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

If you're using an old-fashioned model that requires layering ice and rock salt around the rotating canister, pick up an extra bag of ice, especially if it's a very hot day. Just note—old-fashioned style ice cream makers are often larger than countertop models. Check the capacity of the canister and double the recipe, if needed.

freezing peach ice cream

Q: Do I have to use rock salt?
A: Regular salt will work.

6. Freeze, if You Please

For most ice cream makers, the consistency of the ice cream just after churning is similar to soft-serve. For a firmer ice cream, transfer it to a sealable, freezer-safe container, and freeze for another couple of hours, or up to two weeks.

Fresh peach ice cream in container for freezing
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

Q: What do you serve with peach ice cream?
A: It's delightful on top of any summer fruit cobbler!


  • 5 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk

  • 2 cups mashed peaches

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Whisk in the milks. Cook over medium-low, stirring constantly, 15 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the peaches and vanilla.

  2. Cool completely (about 30 minutes); cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

  3. Pour the custard into the freezer container of a 2 1/2 to 3-quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.) Transfer to a freezer-safe container; freeze 2 hours or until firm.

    a bowl of fresh peach ice cream
    Emily Laurae/Southern Living


Recipe Revival: Southern Classics Reinvented for Modern Cooks (2016; Time Inc. Books)

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