Ice Cream / Recipe

Strawberry-Vanilla Swirled Ice Cream

A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. Silky Strawberry-Vanilla Swirled Ice Cream positively transforms any warm summer day.

A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |
A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |

I think it’s safe to say that most of us seek congruity in our lives- harmony and peace– whether it’s through watching re-runs of our favorite television shows, by standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a small kitchen sharing laughs with our loved ones, by writing in complete and utter silence, or by opening the curtains on a summer morning, only to discover a picturesque day waiting outside the window. I found it in this strawberry-vanilla swirled ice cream.

For me, peace is the feeling that you get when you wake up early on a Saturday morning, ready to take on the day. It’s the sound of people snoring, and the hubbub of the over-sized air conditioner in the living room struggling to cool the entire house. It is the feeling of standing barefoot in a small kitchen–covered in grey and blue Jackson Pollocke-d linoleum tiles–wearing basketball shorts that barely fit and an azzurro blue pinstriped dress shirt that could easily accommodate two.

A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |
A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |

When I awoke early Saturday morning, I felt in peace for the first time in a long time. I haven’t been home much, which explains a lot (even my lack of posting). The night before, I planned to push all of my work aside, I turned off my cell phone, and shut down my laptop. I was relieving myself of anything that didn’t involve creating in the kitchen.

I had several punnets of strawberries from the farmers’ market waiting to be used up. I grabbed a legal pad from my backpack, my favorite pen, and began jotting down what I’d make with the berries. First on the menu– Strawberry-Vanilla Swirled Ice Cream. Three words: To. Die. For.

A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |
A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |

Strawberries are the taste of a rhapsodic wide-skied summer–this ice cream is the essence of that.

It all starts off with a classic vanilla ice cream base- the seeds from a plump vanilla bean are scraped into a pan of simmering cream, milk, and sugar. Half a dozen bright orange egg yolks are then whipped with a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt, until they turn a beautiful, pale primrose.

A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |
A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |

A mugful of the simmered cream is gradually ladled and continuously whisked into the bowl of yolks, until frothy, pale, and light. The warm yolk mixture is then combined into the remaining vanilla-freckled cream, and is set to cook on a gentle flame until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

While the dulcet elixir is set to cook, a punnet of strawberries is hulled and quartered into a waiting bowl. A lazy snowfall of cane sugar and lemon zest, along with a light squeeze of lemon juice are added, springing the flavors into action. The berries are then squidged with a fork until the entire mixture is nubby and sweet; it is then set to a boil until slightly thickened.

A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |
A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |

Once both mixtures have been tucked away in the fridge–and the base has settled in the refrigerator– for a few hours, the frosty ice cream bowl is put on its respective base, and the machine is set to churn the vanilla custard into the consistency of soft-serve.

The vanilla ice cream is slid into a container and dollops of the venetian-red berry sauce are swirled into the freckled base. The container is then put in the freezer for a few hours, until it’s just firm enough.

A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |
A delightful vanilla ice cream recipe swirled with homemade strawberry sauce. |

After a few hours of “endless” waiting, you shout “It’s time for ice cream!” You hear footsteps racing to the kitchen. Suddenly, bowls, mugs, and spoons bombard the kitchen table, surrounding the homemade ice cream and you- the scooper. Scoops are quickly doled out, and the remaining ice cream is secretly tucked away in the freezer, behind the gallon bag of frozen blueberries for days that long for picturesque skies and a sense of peace.

Yield: Makes a little over 1 Quart

Strawberry-Vanilla Swirled Ice Cream

Swirl Ice Cream

Adapted from: Canal House Cooking: Vol. 1

Making ice cream at home is no big deal. It’s both therapeutic and satisfying, plus- nothing compares to homemade ice cream.

You could stop after you’ve made the vanilla base, but you’d be missing out on summer in a bowl.

Let’s face it, vanilla beans can be pricey, a good substitute would be 2-3 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste (which is affordable and is just as good) or 2 teaspoons of good-quality vanilla extract. Try not to put more than a scant tablespoon of the vanilla bean paste or the extract because you don’t want the vanilla over-powering the strawberries.

I suspect that other types of berries will work well, if prepared in a similar manner.

You will need an ice cream maker to make this recipe, but if an ice cream maker is something you don’t have, worry not: Make the vanilla ice cream first. Every hour for 3 hours into freezing the vanilla ice cream, blitz it in a food processor or blender (if you have neither, whisk it). Then, put it back in the container. Do so until it is the consistency of soft-serve; swirl in the strawberry sauce, and let it solidify a bit. Then, you’ve yourself some kick-butt strawberry-vanilla swirled ice cream.


Heat the cream:

  • 1 ½ cups / 355ml / 12 oz heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups / 355ml / 12 oz whole milk
  • ½ cup / 100g / 3.55oz natural cane sugar (can use granulated)
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise (alternatives in the headnotes)

Whisk the Egg Yolks:

  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • ¼ cup / 50g / 1.75 oz natural cane sugar (can use granulated)
  • Pinch Salt

Make the Strawberry Sauce:

  • 1 lb / 454g / 16 oz strawberries, hulled and halved
  • ½ cup / 100g / 3.55oz natural cane sugar (can use granulated)
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Make the Custard: Put the cream, milk, and ½ cup (100g / 3.55oz) sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the plump vanilla bean into the pan, add in the whole bean, as well. Simmer the cream over medium-heat, gently stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Meanwhile, whisk together the bright orange egg yolks, salt, and ¼ cup (50g / 1.75oz) sugar in a large mixing bowl until the yolks are thick and are a a beautiful, pale primrose.

Gradually ladle about 1 cup of the simmered cream into the yolks, whisking constantly. Stir the warm yolk mixture into the vanilla-freckled hot cream in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low (kamran note: if you’re cursed with an electric stove, as I am, up the heat to around medium-low) and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, registering between 175ºF and 180ºF on an instant-read thermometer, about 10-15 minutes. Constantly stirring the custard as it cooks prevents it from coming to a boil and curdling (something you don’t want!)

Strain the custard into a bowl, and add the vanilla bean. Set the bowl in a ice bath, and whisk the custard frequently until it has cooled off. Cover the custard with cling film (have the cling film touch the custard, so it doesn’t form a skin after it’s chilled) and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours (the custard base can be refrigerated for up to 2 days).

Make the Strawberry Sauce: In a large skillet or saucepan, mash together the strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl and refrigerate, covered.

Make the Ice Cream: Discard the vanilla bean, and churn the custard in an ice cream maker (I’ve included instructions in the headnotes if you don’t have an ice cream maker), following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Scoop the ice cream, which will have the consistency of soft-serve, into a large container with a lid. Dollop spoonfuls of strawberry sauce all over the ice cream. Gently swirl the venetian-red sauce into the vanilla ice cream with a butter knife or a spoon.

Cover, and freeze for a couple hours until it is just firm. If you’re serving the ice cream after it’s completely frozen, let it soften a bit before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/3 cup scoop

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 3g


  • Kat
    July 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    This post is a REALLY convincing reason to get an ice cream maker.

    • kamran
      July 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      It is, but if you’ve a blender, food processor, or even a whisk, you can still make the ice cream, you’ll just have three extra steps (technically one… whisking the ice cream as it freezes).

  • Winnie
    July 6, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I love so many things about this post. Your lovely description of the process, your photos, and the ice cream itself…looks like heaven :)

    • kamran
      July 7, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Winnie, you are the sweetest! Thank you. :)

  • Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen
    July 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I love the swirls. And the process photos are gorgeous and informative. I actually just made a semi-freddo that I, too, put in a loaf pan. First time I’ve ever used it like that. Pretty awesome.

    • kamran
      July 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Adrianna- loaf pans are where it’s at!

  • tracy
    July 7, 2011 at 12:22 am

    such BEAUTIFUL shots, Kam!! I love your denim shirt too. I just made something from the same Canal House volume. I’ve been enjoying that series immensely and look who’s lured me into making the ice cream recipe!

    • kamran
      July 7, 2011 at 8:45 am

      Tracy- I am totally obsessed with the Canal House series! I recently purchased all 6 volumes at a local Williams-Sonoma and I don’t regret spending that much. The photos are great, the recipes are great, and with the book being on back-order nearly everywhere, I’m sure other people out there agree.

  • Kulsum at JourneyKitchen
    July 7, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Beautiful shots Kamran! Total love. This is the kind of flavor I grew up with even though I like to go all fancy now with ice cream flavors there is nothing like strawberry vanilla swirled ice cream!

  • The Café Sucré Farine
    July 7, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Looks just fantastic, I wish good strawberries were still available where I live!

    • kamran
      July 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

      To be honest, you can use even the most vile of strawberries and come out with some pretty kick-butt ice cream. If they’re not sweet, I’d add a little more sugar to them when making the “sauce” and let them macerate for a little while before even putting them on the heat. The beauty about this recipe is that it can easily be made year-round and that it can easily be adopted. Now that I think about it… A crumbling of graham crackers over the top of the ice cream (when serving…) would be fantastic. I’ll stop thinking out loud now.

  • Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    July 7, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Great photos and what a delicious ice cream!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    July 7, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Gorgeous photos!

  • Gail
    July 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Kamran, your photos are so beautiful. Love your process, love your sensibility.

  • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction
    July 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Kamran, this ice cream looks simply amazing! Love all of the photos… Just lovely!!

  • Evan
    July 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I second your view on congruity and peace, and we have the same idea of those notions in a Saturday morning. This ice cream looks positively addictive; not just the definition of summer, but a definition within parentheses. And it’s just cut to the near front of my ice cream to-do list line – right behind brown sugar miso.

    Thank you for the recipe, Kamran, and the beautiful photos and story to match.

  • Naz
    July 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    The photographs are so tantalizing! I tried making ice cream with milk, half & half, and butter ( I thought it would make up for the lack of heavy cream). Butter wasn’t the best idea, it floated to the top made a thick shell. Though, I think it kept the ice cream from getting icy or crystalized because I didn’t stir it after I let it freeze. Anyway, I will definitely have to try this. I have to get ice cream-literate before the summer is over. My mom and I love making things homemade because we know what exactly is going into our food.

    Best wishes and keep up the good work!

  • kankana
    July 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    That thing you said about watching fav series again and again .. that gives me peace at times when I watch FRIENDS (can you believe it ??!! ).. but mostly I think waking up after a sound sleep on a Saturday morning knowing I have the whole day in hand and making a breakfast or brunch with my husband ..would be complete inner peace I always look for :)
    This looks delicious .. and will try to make some for my husband !

  • Emily | Nomnivorous
    July 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    As others have said, your writing is amazing once again. But that feeling, of cooking when no one is around, letting things set up, and pulling it out in the midst of activity? That is the best feeling ever. I made a chocolate-covered-strawberry pie this weekend for my roommate “while she wasn’t looking.” She found it in the fridge mid-process and was all surprised. When it was finally ready to be pulled out of the fridge, she was sooooo excited.

    Anyway, it’s a great feeling, and ice cream is all about those feelings!

    • kamran
      July 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Emily- I adore that feeling, as well! And what a great roommate you are! Also- thank you for your kind words! :)

    July 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    you know Kamran, i’m quite happy to read that you allowed yourself some space . . . space that gave you permission to do what you love doing – being in the kitchen. beautiful writing, beautiful photos and beautiful ice cream . . . makes me happy!

    • kamran
      July 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Aww! Thanks Deb! :)

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    July 8, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Beautiful photos! And strawberry or raspberry swirl is my favourite ice cream flavour! :D

  • bayaderka
    July 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Truly impressed by your images. Natural and beautiful.

  • Sanjeeta kk
    July 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Love those swirls in the ice cream! Glad to come here following a Tweet. You have a lovely collection of recipes. Like the chocolaty brownie.

  • Kristen
    July 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Good for you for unplugging and getting back to what you love for a bit. This ice cream? Fantastic!

  • Tricia @ {every}nothing wonderful
    July 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    The writing, Kamran, the writing! Delicious!

  • susan
    July 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

    you have good accessories…love the whisk and the metal pan! the ice cream doesn’t look so bad either!

  • Dotty
    July 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Your writing is persuasive in its beauty – every paragraph makes me want to go and make this myself, at this very moment. You should be really proud that you are able to do that – I doubt there are many such people in the world!!!

    I have a side question, though, that I’d really appreciate if you answered: I’m around the same age as you, and I’ve been baking for some time now as well, but on the odd occasion, something will go wrong, or a recipe doesn’t turn out quite as perfectly as I wanted it to, and I tend to go into a slump and become de-motivated afterwards – does this ever happen to you? If so, how do you go about ‘re-motivating’ yourself? Thank you in advance!!

    • kamran
      July 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      Dotty- thanks so much for the kind words!

      As for your question: It happens! Recipe testing on the site has made me learn to think positively because there’s always going to be a “failure.” Usually, the recipes turn our great in the testing process… My family and friends usually approve of them on the first test, but I always say, “Hmm, what can I do to make this taste better?” Or what can I do to make this look prettier/have a better texture, etc.”

      Just recently, the day before my birthday, I made a six-layer Tres Leches cake. The entire cake came tumbling down (onto the cake plate) before I could decorate it. I scooped whatever I could into small glasses, I sliced up some berries and topped it all with whipped cream. It still tasted great! Failed cakes that still taste delicious can always be made into a delicious trifle!

      When a recipe I’m testing fails miserably, I study my notes, the recipe, and I compare it to a recipe that I know is perfect. I compare the ratios of flour and butter, etc. I compare the different methods of preparation and see what is missing, or what I left out. I also page through cookbooks and search the web seeing what’s a better way to prepare the recipe. Sometimes my failure is due to mis-reading the recipe. I made chocolate chip cookies a while back. I wanted to make only half of the recipe, so I made the recipe, but after the cookies came out of the oven- they looked odd and tasted horrible. I looked through my notes, and I noticed that I didn’t halve the amount of eggs when I was making the recipe. It wasn’t a delicious failure, but I learned to always keep a post-it, or a notebook handy whenever I planned to halve a recipe, just so I know that I’m putting the right amount of things into the mixing bowl.

      Often, a lot of people are wary of baking because of a failure they had with a recipe. I must say that there are a lot of cookbooks out there that are junk. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s true. Some cookbook authors aren’t testing their recipe, or are measuring the ingredients incorrectly, or aren’t taking the time to carefully note what they are doing- it’s the perfect way to make a bad recipe. If you have a failure making a recipe for the first time. So be it. Okay, $5, $10, $15 went in the trash, but the next time you have that money, test a recipe from a trusted site or a cookbook that you know you’ll constantly get good results from. It’s the only way to go.

      A lot of people say that baking is a science, but it really isn’t as much of a science as cooking is, in my opinion. There are rules in cooking. And there are rules in baking. And everyone, even the most seasoned cooks and bakers have their failures.

      So, if you’ve a cooking / baking failure- don’t worry about it. Just get back up, and try a new recipe, or study what may have went wrong. Being in the kitchen is a learning experience. It comes with good days and bad days.

      I hope that helps!

  • erin
    July 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    You make me wish it was summer here. And I’m a total winter person!
    Your pictures are amazing, by the way. Thank you!

  • Julie
    July 11, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Stunning. So nice to see you doing it in a loaf pan!

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl
    July 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Beautiful. You make it all look so easy!

  • Jaime {sophistimom}
    July 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    This is gorgeous. The lighting in your photographs is always so beautiful, Kamran.

  • Dotty
    July 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Thank you so, so much for your reply! I honestly didn’t expect such an honest answer, full of such depth! I really appreciate that you took the time, out of what I’m sure is a very busy schedule, to formulate such a well-thought out reply. I will definitely take what you have said on board, and keep reading and learning through blogs like yours.

  • S.
    July 16, 2011 at 11:14 am


    This looks glorious. I went out and bought all of the ingredients to make it today. I found the best strawberries too! Looks like a few perfect summer days are coming my way :)

  • Lance
    July 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I was never aware you could write friggen free-verse poetry about ice cream. That was really shockingly cool just now.

  • Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom}
    July 17, 2011 at 12:25 am

    What a beautiful post and inviting pictures! There is something strangely therapeutic about making something from scratch and enjoying the process. I love the ribbons of strawberry in the ice cream.

  • simommie
    July 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    My three-year old ice cream connoiseur declares at the table tonite, “I love this ice cream, Mom. It’s good. It’s very good.” Just think, this recipe has inspired him to talk in complete and coherent paragraphs. Shows the power of “summer in a bowl.” He even helped make it when it was time to swirl in the strawberry goodness. We could probably solve most of the problems in the world, even if only for a short while, with sweetness like this in every kitchen worldwide. Thanks for this kid-friendly, yet sophisticated recipe, and I can’t wait to try even more recipes on your site! BTW, I had to cook my custard on medium heat instead of low as your recipe indicates, to get it to thicken. I have an electric stove, so that probably had something to do with it, but I’m typing this just incase any of your readers wonder why the custard isn’t working; perhaps they need to turn up the heat (ever so slightly) like I had to. Keep up the great work!

    • kamran
      July 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      Hi simommie! I am soo glad that the recipe turned out well for you! Great point about the custard; I also have an electric stove. And it’s not one of the newer versions, either. It’s one of the the old-fashioned ones with coils that never keep a pot or pan steady. Darn things. Anywho, I will say that it took forever (and a half!) to start thickening on low, and in my personal notes, I did write that I brought the heat to medium-low. I’ll definitely include that in the recipe notes because I do guess that you an I aren’t the only one’s cursed with electric stoves! ;)

      Thanks so much for tipping off other readers and I; and for the great feedback on the recipe!

  • Eliana
    July 28, 2011 at 6:10 am

    This is what ice cream dreams are made of Kamran. Looks amazing!

  • Kristin
    August 12, 2011 at 4:47 am

    I made this ice cream over the last two night and finally finished it and was able to try a taste last night – wow. It was so delicious. I loved the flavor of the strawberry sauce so much more than I ever expected. Fabulous.

  • Helene
    August 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I love making ice cream but find myself making Vanilla all the time. This is nice for a change. BTW love your answer to Dotty. Really nice of you.

  • Amanda
    August 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    wow. i agree with you. the ice cream does look like it’s to die for. :D your photography and writing is so nice. I am a teen food blogger too, I wish I could be as good as you one day :D


  • anita
    August 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Kamran, you have really nice hands. You also take amazing pictures.

  • Ryan
    July 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I made this recipe and ended up having to melt down the ice cream after churning it since you couldn’t taste the strawberries so I added an extra ⅔ cup of sugar. I also had to mix the cream and strawberry puree together since ice formed when the strawberry puree froze.


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