Gelato is one food I would probably eat even if there wasn’t a way to make it healthy. When my husband and I first started dating, we traveled to Europe with some friends and he introduced me to gelato. It was love at first spoonful and I’m pretty sure that is about all I ate for the entire trip! Strawberry gelato was my favorite flavor and I knew I wanted to try making my own when I got back home.
Strawberry Gelato vs. Ice Cream
Gelato is essentially a smoother, thicker, and richer version of ice cream. It contains less air than ice cream because it is churned more slowly as it is freezing. But don’t worry, the texture can be replicated without a special gelato maker.
Authentic gelatos use more milk and less cream than ice cream and don’t usually contain egg yolks, which ice cream sometimes does. This recipe does contain egg yolks, which I like for the added nutrients and smoother texture.
How Can I Make Gelato At Home?
I love to make my own gelato and ice cream. That way, I can control which ingredients go into it. I can use organic milk and cream, honey instead of refined sugar, or even make it dairy free if I want. I can also leave out all the not-so-good for you ingredients that commercial ice creams often contain.
The easiest way to make homemade gelato or ice cream is with an ice cream maker. They’re usually not too expensive and are simple and fast to use. The one I have uses a bowl that stays in the freezer until I’m ready to use it. Then I just add the ice cream mixture and turn it on.
If you don’t have or want to buy an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture for a couple of hours, blend, and then return it to the freezer. It may not come out quite as smooth, but it will still be delicious.
No Ice Cream Maker?
You can use the tin can method. This one is a great activity for kids to help with. It essentially just requires one sealed container holding the gelato/ice cream mixture inside a larger container of ice and rock salt. The kids’ job is then to shake, toss, and roll the mixture until the ice cream freezes. It’s a lot of fun for everyone! This recipe makes a large enough batch that it can be divided into small portions so that everyone can shake their own.
Making Strawberry Gelato
This recipe reminds me of the wonderful memories I have of getting to know my husband and of Europe. It is actually a pretty healthy dessert full of nourishing healthy fats.
The recipe calls milk and heavy cream, but if you are dairy sensitive you can create the same texture with coconut milk and coconut oil. I heat the milk and cream and then whisk them with honey and egg yolks before gently heating them again. (Be careful not to heat the milk and egg mixture too much or you’ll scramble the eggs.)
As a last step, stir in the pureed strawberries and let the mixture cool for a few hours in the refrigerator before adding it to the ice cream maker.
If you discover that you enjoy making your own ice cream too, try my homemade butter pecan or strawberry coconut milk ice cream recipes.
Strawberry Gelato Recipe
- 2 cups milk (or coconut milk)
- 1 cup heavy cream (or ¼ cup butter or coconut oil)
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup honey (or maple syrup or stevia tincture to taste)
- 2 cups fresh strawberries (stems and tops removed, pureed)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp lemon zest (optional)
- Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Simmer, stirring constantly, for about 4-5 minutes.
- While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, salt, and honey or blend in a blender until smooth and creamy. I prefer to do this in a blender to make the next step easier.
- While whisking/blending on low speed, very slowly add the warmed milk mixture to the egg yolk and honey mixture. Do not do this quickly or you will have scrambled eggs!
- Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and stir constantly over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
- Add the pureed strawberries and lemon zest and mix well.
- Chill the mixture for at least 4-5 hours in the refrigerator or until it is completely cool. Refrigerating overnight will create an even more intense flavor.
- When it is completely chilled, the mixture can be made into gelato in an ice cream maker by following manufacturer instructions. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze for 2-3 hours, put in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth, and then re-freeze for 3-4 hours until hardened.
Do you love gelato? What is your favorite flavor? Share below!
Discussion (14 Comments)
What is the purpose of boiling the milk first? I use raw milk and cream and would prefer to retain the enzymes and probiotics if possible. Would it work to just heat gently at the end without raising the temp above 110 degrees?
This recipe sounds great.
I avoid high carb sweeteners so how much stevia would you use ?
This sounds awesome…My family are huge ice cream fanatics and I haven’t had the opportunity to travel to Italy to have authentic gelato, but I do love the Talenti brand. I’ve given up wheat, grains and sugar recently and wonder if I could substitute Swerve (erythritol blend) for the honey since I am not a big fan of stevia. If so, could I put the Swerve in with the milk while it is heating because the crystals sometimes take longer to dissolve and I don’t want it sugary. Thanks.
thanks for this wonderfull recipe.
I am just dealing with 11kg of strawberries we “self-picked” yesterday and am trying out every possible strawberry recipe. I am very glad abut this one, I love gelato! And I love the “new conscience” that it is actually healthy! 🙂
I was just wondering: does the mixture need to go to the fridge straight away after mixing with the fruit or can I let it cool down on the counter before putting it in?
Thank you and all the best.
Either would probably work, but it’ll cool faster in the fridge so if you are pressed for time that’s the better option.
Hello I’m new to your blog. Your fantastic!! I just made this tonight. The recipe was very easy to follow. I hope that i don’t mess it up tomorrow. I have also made your chocolate chip cookie recipe 2 nights in a row. I gave half the other batch away. This is ADDICTIVE!! Thanks for amazing recipes!!!
So if I’m using an icecream maker do I just turn it on or is there a special way it turns to gelato?
Thanks, can’t wait!
Katie - Wellness Mama
It is the recipe that makes it gelato
Stracciatella gelato was my favorite!! I think I had gelato at least once a day when we were in Italy.
I made this recipe with coconut milk and butter–YUM! No longer will I be tempted to give up the good food fight! There is a currently a raspberry version in the frig cooling to be frozen–this time coconut milk and coconut oil (i’m a paleo gal slowly working my little family in that direction).. Your treats make this transition for them so much more enjoyable! Plus we have made quite a few memories learning to make nontoxic personal care and cleaning products via your recipes. (shea butter whipped across the kitchen wall, for example..) Cannot thank you enough for all you do!!!
So glad you’ve enjoyed it! 🙂
My little boy and I would have Mommy-Son dates and would go every other week on gelato dates…we had too many favorite kinds to name. Plus, you could taste test each flavor. I look forward to making at home. Thanks for sharing!
Erin Edge Pope
Trying this tonight with coconut milk!