Mint Chip Ice Cream


One of my favorite summertime memories was having mint chip ice cream back when I grew up in New England, which we ate outside and had ordered from a window at our local dairy. Even though the ice cream was freshly made, they made sure it bright-bright-green, so we knew we were eating mint, I guess.

I remember a few years later, after the dairy closed, when we bought a tub of Breyers ‘all-natural’ ice cream at the supermarket and I lifted the lid off the tub of mint chip ice cream only to be surprised to find that mint ice cream wasn’t really green at all, but almost pure, snowy white, save for the chunks of chocolate studded about here and there.

measuring mint leaves

When I wanted to come up with my own mint ice cream recipe, I used handfuls of fresh mint leaves for flavor, unlike what the store-bought stuff is made from, so it had a leafy, herbaceous flavor. A few people noted to me at various times that their mint-infused milk didn’t get the delicate green hue that mine has, but mint is a plant and most plants aren’t standardized—at least not the ones I want to eat.

steeping mint for ice cream

So, naturally there will be variations in strength and color depending on the mint that you use. If you’d prefer to have absolute certain, 100% standardized results, you could simply make a plain vanilla ice cream and add mint extract or crème de menthe in lieu of the vanilla, but I’ll stick to using only fresh mint in my ice cream.

fresh mint mint chip

I cook and bake—and make ice cream, because I like to do it. And it’s interesting reading lately around the internet that eating and cooking has become a bloodsport to some degree. I was reading a few sites where people talk about food and saw how analytical people are when it comes to picking apart recipes and techniques: detailed spreadsheets, line-by-line comparisons, and heated debates of various proportions, down to the last ¼ teaspoon, are dissected.

The whole mélange of everyone adding their two cents makes things interesting, I suppose, but reading through some of that stuff gives me brain freeze. I love talking about food, and writing about it. But I’m happiest when I pull up to the table with friends, and enjoy a good meal or a dish of ice cream. The reason I enjoyed working in professional kitchens, especially at Chez Panisse, was because the cooks I worked with were just interested in serving the best food we could. That, I think, is the objective of every cook, whether they’re cooking at home, or professionally.


I loved writing my ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop, because when I worked in the restaurant kitchen, my very favorite things to do was to make ice cream. I found ice cream to be a perfect backdrop for playing around with a whole bunch of flavors, not just chocolate and vanilla. And it seems everyone loves ice cream, including me.

Mint Chip is truly one of my fondest flavors, to this day, and this batch I recently churned up at home reconfirmed that. I could barely stop myself from taking copious samples as I was folding in the melted chocolate to make the crunchy little chocolate chips.


The French don’t have many chocolate-mint desserts in their repertoire (maybe we need a few Girl Scouts peddling cookies!) but at the outdoor markets, Arabic vendors sell huge bunches of fresh mint, which folks use to make mint tea and tabbouli. They’re cheap, too; normally just 30 or 40 centimes per bunch. Of course, you have to put up with being jostled by the remarkably resilient women who are certain there is a better bunch located somewhere near the bottom of the stack (and always seem to be right where I happen to be standing…), that has an additional branch or a few more mint leaves on them, than the forty-nine bunches of mint on top of the pile.

mint chip ice cream mintchipicecream1

Feel free to improvise and fold in any kind of chocolate chips you want, or go a little wild and add about two cups of chopped thin mints or crumbled brownies instead of making the chocolate chips with melted chocolate. One tip: When you melt the chocolate, make sure the bowl is clean and dry; any moisture or water will cause the chocolate to seize and harden. And if that happens, you’ll miss out on the fun of drizzling the chocolate and stirring them to make the homemade chips.

Mint Chip Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart (1l)

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press)

The bright taste of fresh mint is marvelous with the little bits of bittersweet chocolate. If you are unsure of the quantity of mint leaves, weigh them to the get the exact amount. I just stuck a few mint springs in my rooftop garden box and within a week, they took root and are thriving nicely. It’s not enough to make a batch of mint ice cream quite yet, so for now, I’m buying my mint at the market. Depending on where you shop, you might want to buy two bunches, to make sure you have enough.

For the mint ice cream:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (150 gr) sugar
  • 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups packed (80 gr) fresh mint leaves
  • 5 large egg yolks

For the chocolate chips:

5 ounces (140 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, salt, and mint.

2. Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.

3. Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. (You can also use well-washed hands to do it as well, making sure the mixture isn’t too hot to safely handle.) Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.

4. Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.

5. Rewarm the infused milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

6. Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant read thermometer, it should read around 170ºF (77ºC).

7. Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.

8. Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While the mixture is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in a microwave oven on low power, stirring until smooth. Place a storage container in the freezer.

9. When the ice cream in the machine is ready, scribble some of the chocolate into the container, then add a layer of the just-churned ice cream to the container. Scribble melted chocolate over the top of the ice cream, then quickly stir it in, breaking up the chocolate into irregular pieces. Continue layering the ice cream, scribbling more chocolate and stirring as you go.

When finished, cover and freeze until firm.

Related Posts and Recipes

Making Ice Cream Without a Machine

The Easiest Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe…Ever

Chocolate FAQs

Buying an Ice Cream Maker

Salted Caramel Ice Cream Recipe

The Perfect Scoop: Now in Softcover!

Ice Cream Making FAQs

Recipes for Using Leftover Egg Whites

my garden


  • Hello again,

    I found the Krups machine in Darty and have already made two batches of ice cream. One question, pls: I made a straciatella with your vanilla + mixing in the chocolate; it tasted great but had a noticeable amount of ice crystals in the ice cream.

    Is at a common flaw? Any idea why that happens? Will scalding the milk stop the crystals? Thank you for the comments!

    PS the seond recipe was simple vanilla with melted choc added to hot milk. No ice crystals and delish.

  • Sigh, I’m not the only with this insane weakness for mint ice cream (with or without chocolate). I love mint ice cream with a goodly dose of vanilla…This year, I’ve planted apple mint, orange mint, spearmint, peppermint, and pineapple mint. All I’m missing is chocolate mint (yes! and it really, honestly, truly smells like chocolate). Bring on the heat, let the churning begin! (and thank, Thank You for those gorgeous images.)

  • Your post reminded me of college study breaks fueled with Friendly’s green-mint chip. It also reminded me of how fabulous this recipe was when I made it last summer. Yesterday’s overdue garden clean-up yielded a huge bunch of mint, and the pale green custard base awaits the churn. Tonight another college student will be initiated into the delights of (pale-green) mint chip ice cream.

    The rest of the mint will go into faux-jitos…

  • FINALLY, something to use my mint for besides mojitos!

    I hear there’s a chocolate mint herb out there somewhere too?

  • Mint chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream flavor, so of course I had to try this recipe. I used the usual USA-supermarket variety of mint. Oh. Holy. Cow. Definitely the best mint ice cream I’ve had. The herbal note from the fresh mint (and a little stem because I’m an impatient person) was absolutely lovely! Now you’ve spoiled me. Thank you so much, David!

  • I made it already two times, that was divine! The first time it was light green! Thanks for the recipe!

  • I made this the other day and on first bite, I tasted some woodsy notes. After inhaling a few more bites, the woodsy-ness went away. This happened every time I went back in the tub for more.

    I took it to a dinner party and my friends informed me that the “woodsy” flavor I was getting tasted more like WEED. For someone who never smoked the stuff before, I was quite taken aback.

    I had also brought the pistachio gelato as well but at the end of the night everyone said they preferred the Weed Ice Cream best. :1

  • Anna: I made some two days ago with chocolate mint from my garden, the taste was awesome, and the colour was a lovely green too, no artificial colouring needed.
    I have some Apple mint at the allotment that I intend to try on the next batch, although the leaves on that are a variegated green and yellow, so I am not expecting such a strong colour.

  • Hi David,

    I would like to make ice cream sandwiches for an upcoming party. Your chocolate chip mint ice cream would be perfect, but I’m not sure what kind of cookie would be the right accompaniment. What do you think of using Flo’s Chocolate Snaps?

    Thanks for your help!

  • Jane: Yes, those work great. You can also use the recipe in The Perfect Scoop, which is a variation, but is scaled for ice cream sandwiches. Happy churning!

  • Thanks David! That’s a great idea!

  • Thanks David – great idea!

  • ROFLMBO!!! I feel the same exact way about some the dissections I see on the various food forums and blogs. Egad! Its food, people, get over yourselves! On top of it you posted Mint chip Ice Cream! My hubby’s favorite! I do belive you are one of my newest favorite sites! Thanks so very much!

  • Nice one! Seeing the chocolate drizzle trick instantly made me want to try this recipe. So much that I picked up a large bouquet of mint leaves on my way home from work and made it the same evening. It turned out really minty and pale green – not quite like the crazy green colour I remembered from my grand parents’ freezer in Australia, but very good. The only thing is, that using purely cream tends to make the ice cream a little too runny and leaves one with a kind of greasy feeling in spite of the mint. Would you recommend a mixture of milk and cream perhaps, and if so – what would be the ratio?

  • peppermint for food (especially ice cream)
    spearmint for toothpaste and chewing gum

  • David, I’ve been looking all over for “heavy cream” in France, have written to Americans based in France and by all accounts, heavy cream supposedly doesn’t exist here.

    I’ve not yet found it at Leclerc or at Monoprix. Can you let me know what brand you’re using, where you bough it, and the percentage of milkfat?

    I’d really love to make ice cream homemade here and am at a loss as to how to proceed. :o(

  • Kay: You can find crème liquide or crème fluide, or sometimes it’s called crème entiere (whole cream) at most supermarkets in the dairy case, either in plastic bottles or in the case of the Elle et Vire brand (which is thick but works the same of regular heavy cream in ice cream making). You can also get UHT heavy cream, usually sold in packs for 3 small boxes, at most supermarkets, although I prefer fresh cream.

    If you like the taste, you can use crème fraîche in ice cream making, although I’ve found that if you let the mixture sit too long, the whole batch of ice cream is in danger of ‘taking’. So it should be added not too long before churning.

  • Thanks, David. I’ve seen cream at the grocery, but nothing with 36 to 40% milkfat. The ones I’ve seen at Monoprix and Leclerc were all 22 percent milkfat and under. Is there a version or brand here with the 36 to 40 percent milkfat?

  • Hi David! Sorry about the confusing note I left on June 22nd – looked like there was only cream in your recipe, which of course there wasn’t. Since then I’ve tried a different version with 2/3 milk and only 1/3 cream and that was just the right mixture for my taste – so there you go. Thanks anyway for a delicious recipe that I want to try anew now that we finally have abundant mint leaves in our summer garden.

  • For as long as I can remember, mint chip ice cream has been my absolute favorite. When I’m feeling indulgent, a bit of hot fudge sauce on top tastes pretty darned good, too.

  • Hi! Loved this recipe! It definitely beats any of the store bought stuff (although I wouldn’t turn it down). Was surprised at the green-tinge I ended up with from the mint I got at the farmer’s market. Thanks for the recipe!

  • David, I bookmarked this recipe when I saw this post and made it a few days ago. Even though I messed up melting the chocolate so it was kind of a blob, I was able to crumble it into the ice cream and mix everything together. May I just say, yum. Absolutely no need for mint extract or God forbid, green food coloring. I used mint I grow outside my door and got a very faint greenish hue. The flavor is just amazing. Gotta get your ice cream book. My cousin has it and loves it. Thank you for sharing.

  • You have now given my rampantly overgrown backyard mint patch a renewed sense of purpose. Thanks.

  • I made this a week ago. Was really good.
    However, I find the taste of cooked mint to be not so bright as when it’s “raw”, so I added lemon zest and squeezed some lemon juice on the prepared ice cream when just before I served it. Lemon adds soooo much.

  • I love cooking with melted chocolate and I look forward to making your minty ice cream — thank you for sharing. I always melt choc in the oven on low heat — it’s so easy I don’t understand why everyone uses a double boiler or microwave.

  • hey david,
    i tried this recipe out (loved it) and i was inspired by the idea of infusing milk. i tried making carrot ice cream (i know it sounds strange) with the same method and it turned out so well. you should think about it sometime.


  • MMMM-so excited to find this recipe. Mint choc ice cream is my favourite and I’ve just bought an ice cream maker, have hens merrily producing eggs, and a small forest of peppermint growing in my garden, that I was wondering what to do with.
    Can’t wait to try the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it.