This Cherry Amaretto Ice Cream takes the classic combination of almonds and cherries to the next level with a dreamy amaretto ice cream base swirled with halved cherries for a surprise chew in every bite.
The flavors of this almond ice cream recipe transport me right to northern Italy where amaretto is said to have originated! Even if you've never been to Italy, this recipe's sophisticated flavors will have your guests saying "grazie mille" for sharing this tasty dessert!
Why We Love This Recipe
- This super simple homemade cherry ice cream only requires 7 ingredients.
- The cherry and amaretto flavor combination is perfect any time of year. Adding some almond extract to my cake with cherries is a great way to enjoy them too!
- Once you learn to make the best ice cream base, the variations are endless.
- It can stay in your freezer for up 2 months in a freezer-safe container - but it probably won't last that long!
- It's a fun recipe to make with your ice cream machine, just like my Chocolate Malted Crunch Ice Cream and Mint Oreo Ice Cream recipes!
- Almond liqueur (also known as Amaretto) - this is a key ingredient to bring that unique almond-y flavor to this cherry ice cream. I used my favorite non-alcoholic Lyre's Amaretti, but you could use your preferred brand of traditional amaretto liqueur, like Disaronno.
- Cherries - the cherries give this ice cream some welcome texture and a pop of bright cherry flavor. I used maraschino cherries for that nostalgic ice cream sundae taste, but you could also use amarena cherries for a more sophisticated twist.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Try swapping out different types of cherries like amarena, dried or fresh cherries, or brandied cherries for a spin on this maraschino cherry ice cream.
- Turn this into a cherry almond sundae by topping the amaretto ice cream recipe with toasted slivered almonds, a splash of amaretto, whipped cream, and a cherry on top, of course!
- Add chocolate chunks or chocolate chips for a decadent chocolate cherry version. Or, add toasted almonds for an extra almond-flavored crunch!
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
You will need an ice cream machine for this recipe. I use the ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer, and you can also find stand alone ice cream makers at most home goods stores.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the half and half, heavy whipping cream, and amaretto until hot but not yet boiling.
Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and pinch of salt. While whisking constantly, temper the egg yolks by adding a ½ cup of the hot cream mixture in a steady stream into the egg yolks.
Step 3: Pour the egg mixture into the pot over medium heat while stirring until almost simmering.
Step 4: Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Allow to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Place ice cream maker and medium pan in the freezer to chill overnight as well.
Step 5: Churn the ice cream base according to the ice cream maker's instructions. Add the halved cherries in the last few minutes of churning.
Step 6: Pour ice cream base and cherry mixture into frozen pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze.
Tip #1 - Tempering your egg yolks is key to ensure no scrambled eggs in your ice cream. Adding a small amount of hot cream while whisking allows the temperature of the egg yolks to slowly rise versus shocking them with hot liquid which will cook them.
Tip #2 - Make sure to freeze both your ice cream machine and your storage container the night before you plan to churn your ice cream. This will ensure your ice cream churns properly and doesn't melt when you transfer it to the storage container.
Tip #3 - If the ice cream is too hard to scoop after being in the freezer for hours, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Traditional amaretto does contain alcohol, but I like to make this an alcoholic-free version by using a non-alcoholic amaretto like Lyre's Amaretti.
Amaretto is typically made from almond and peach pits and has a distinct almond and subtle cherry flavor. It is sweet and slightly bitter.
If you love this fruity ice cream, try my even simpler 3-ingredient peach ice cream!
Freezing Instructions: Store this ice cream in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Cherry Amaretto Ice Cream
- Ice cream machine
- Medium saucepan
- Fine mesh sieve
- Heatproof bowls
- Medium shallow pan
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1 cup (236.59 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (236.59 ml) half and half
- ¼ cup (59.15 ml) almond liqueur
- 4 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup (66.67 g) granulated sugar
- tiny pinch salt
- ½ cup cherries halved
- Place a medium shallow pan and ice cream maker in your freezer.
- Whisk the heavy whipping cream, half and half, and almond liqueur in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it's hot but not boiling.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt. While stirring constantly, slowly pour ½ cup of the hot mixture into the yolks. Then transfer the warm yolk mixture to the pot while continuing to stir. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it's almost simmering.
- Pour the ice cream mixture into a heatproof bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Let it cool, then cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Following your ice cream maker's instructions, churn the cold mixture until it's thick and creamy like soft ice cream. A few minutes before it's done churning, add the halved cherries.
- Pour the ice cream into the frozen shallow pan. Cover and freeze.
The provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Accuracy is not guaranteed.