Kirbie's Cravings

3 Ingredient No Churn Whole Lemon Ice Cream

This creamy lemon ice cream uses just 3 ingredients. It’s super easy to prepare and you’ll have no-churn ice cream the next day.

close-up photo of a scoop of No Churn Whole Lemon Ice Cream

I’m really excited for summer so I’m breaking out all the ice cream recipes. There’s no better way to cool off and every year I can’t wait to try new summer desserts.

This lemon ice cream is one I’ll be making it all summer. It’s refreshing, light, and creamy plus it’s made with a whole lemon which makes it extra lemony. This is a no-churn recipe so you don’t need an ice cream maker.

Last week I shared with you my recipe for whole lemon ice pops. I went through several failed attempts before coming up with the winning formula but while I was eating through all the failed ones, it occurred to me that I should make an ice cream version as well.

No Churn Lemon Ice Cream

I really love the recipe uses an entire lemon (minus the seeds) instead of just lemon juice because it means less waste to feel guilty about and it really brings out the lemon flavor in this ice cream. When you use the whole lemon, you get all of the lemon zest and every drop of fresh lemon juice.

This recipe also uses a no-churn technique I learned last year with full-fat sour cream and condensed milk. Unlike classic ice cream recipes, you don’t need to make a custard base or do any cooking. It literally is a blend and freeze process that is so easy. I found that the lemon did make the ice cream texture slightly icier, but still tasty. Plus it’s so easy!

overhead photo of lemon ice cream in a container garnished with lemon slices

Ingredients

  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Sour cream
  • Small lemon thinly sliced with the seeds removed

Be sure to use full-fat sweetened condensed milk and sour cream so your ice cream is rich and creamy. For the lemon, I recommend using a Meyer lemon for the best flavor.

For this lemon ice cream recipe, you will need a high-speed blender in order to break down the lemon. If you don’t have one, you should try my lemon ice cream with heavy cream instead. You don’t need a blender to make it.

Recipe Steps

Place the milk, sour cream and whole lemon in the blender. Blend at high speed until the lemon is completely broken down and pureed into the other ingredients.

Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container. I like to use loaf pans. Lightly thump the pan on the counter to settle the ice cream.

Freeze the ice cream overnight in the freezer.

overhead photo of a scoop of lemon ice cream

No-Churn Ice Cream Tips

If you want to double this recipe you can, but store the ice cream in two separate containers. Ice cream freezes better in smaller containers rather than big ones.

Keep your ice cream in the coldest part of the freezer, which is usually in the back. If it’s stored in the door, the exposure to warm air (when the door is open) will melt it and then it will develop ice crystals when it refreezes. This makes it grainy.

Lemon ice cream will keep well for a few weeks in the freezer, but I think it tastes best within a week.

photo of scoops of lemon ice cream in a bowl

A scoop of this lemon ice cream on a hot day is so good. I love the citrus flavor and how easy it is to make. We ate the first batch pretty quick and I’m already looking forward to making another batch.

More Ice Cream Recipes

No Churn Whole Lemon Ice Cream

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
This creamy lemon ice cream uses just 3 ingredients. It's super easy to prepare and you'll have no-churn ice cream the next day.
5 from 7 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cup full fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 small whole lemon thinly sliced and seeds removed (use ripe meyer lemon for best results)

Instructions

  • Add all three ingredients into a blender. Blend on high speed until lemon is fully dissolved (about 30 seconds on the smoothie setting for my Blendtec).
  • Pour into container (metal loaf pans work great). Thump bottom of container against the counter a few times to let the ice cream settle and smooth out. You can also use a spatula to help smooth it out. Freeze overnight.

Notes

Adapted from Lady and Pups

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating




65 comments on “3 Ingredient No Churn Whole Lemon Ice Cream”

  1. I love lemon ice cream …this was simple and delicious …….my lemon had an unusually thick pith so I shaved the peel off, then cut the white pith off the lemon because I knew it would make the dish bitter….I decided that I should do two lemons that way because there was not much inside…
    it came out so good!!!

  2. Do you peel the lemons or use skin and all?

  3. Thanks for sharing. My lemon tree have produced lots of lemons and I always bake my favorite lemon cakes… Now I can make this ice cream with your simple recipe. Much thanks. Have a pleasant week ahead.

  4. Could other fruit be used in place of the lemon?

  5. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this to freeze. Not owning an ice cream machine, I’m a no-churn ice cream fan and have tried at least five different recipes around the web in the past year (key lime w/ graham crackers and Nigel’s coffee recipes were top two repeat offenders to my waist line).

    I happened to have Meyer lemons and a can of condensed milk so I looked up eleven recipes for lemon ice cream today – and happened upon yours.

    Because my can of condensed milk was 14 oz instead of the 9 oz in your recipe, I multiplied everything in the recipe by 1.5x – and I didn’t have sour cream but had lowfat vanilla yogurt (Activia) and heavy cream, so I used 12 oz and 6 oz of each, respectively, to total 18 oz (1.5 x 12 oz sour cream equivalent). And because I love tart lemon flavors and the yogurt added to the sweetness, I squeezed in the rest of the half lemon, although I left out its peel/pulp. This yielded 2 2/3 pint (I reuse Talenti gelato containers) – and after filling the first pint, I blended in 2 Stroopwaffels (caramel waffles) into the remaining ice cream “batter” to see if I would like that one better. I imagine graham cracker, Nilla, gingerbread, or any other type of cookie would yield similarly happy results.

    The pints are sitting in the freezer now, but after tasting the mixture and chewing through the peel, I already know this is going to be my favorite ice cream ever. The two things I may tweak depending on the turnout are:
    1) I may reduce to 8oz (two containers) of vanilla yogurt to cut out the fake sugar sweetness – better yet, I will just buy full fat vanilla yogurt or sour cream (which I didn’t have the patience to wait to buy today) – and
    2) I may, accordingly, adjust the cream content.

    Leaving this in detail in case someone happens upon this and has the same ingredients I have today. If I don’t come back and leave a follow up, you know I’m busy enjoying what is sure to be my favorite ice cream ever. Thank you for the detailed recipe, especially the reminder to thump the container! Air bubbles are the enemy 🙂

  6. I’m going to try this with 1/2 teasp of lemon extract and lemon zest to try and retain the creaminess.

  7. OMG. This recipe is amazing and so lemony. Paired it with a lemon jello cake. Hubby liked it and he is super finicky. Thanks for sharing,

  8. OMG!!  This is an incredible recipe with such a lemony flavor. Simple…..Genuis!  Thanks for sharing. 

  9. Absolutely loved it!  I used my stick mixer, it did have tiny bits of lemon in it, but I liked that.  I usually find no churn ice creams too sweet for me so this was perfect.

  10. is this a sweeter ice cream or is it more citrus? think it looks amazing but not my whole family likes bitter flavored ice cream…

  11. Can sour cream be replaced by something like plain greek yogurt?

    • Oops sorry, I didn’t see the question asked earlier. nevermind!

    • Made this for the first time since we had a lot of Meyer lemons. It was a little hard I like other ice cream I’ve made with the mixer, but since it’s so simple and easy I can forgive that. I’m gunna try thawing it for about half an hour before dinner to see if that works

      It tastes absolutely amazing, I added extra lemons since I adore lemons a lot.

      I am definitely going to be making this again in the future and experimenting a bit with it myself. 10/10

  12. I have made a similar recipe with 600ml whipping cream (whipped), then add a can of skim milk condensed milk, beat more. Then I added raspberries. Delicious!

  13. If I use fat free condensed milk, will that make it too icy? It’s all
    I’ve got in the pantry!

  14. I like the flavor but there is so much pulp in my ice cream! If I try this again, I think I will blend up just the lemon and then strain it so that my ice cream is smoother in the end. It also does have a bit of bitter aftertaste, even though I didn’t include much pith-I zested the outside of the lemon, cut off as much white pith as I could and then used the fruit.

    • Hmm. That is strange as I didn’t have that much pulp in mine. A few things, it may be the lemon type. I used meyer lemons which tend to have more juice. Also it could be the blender? If it’s just a regular blender, it might not break down the lemon as much. I think it works best if you use a high powdered blender like one for smoothies, such as a Blentec, Vitamix, Ninja, etc.

      • Thank you so much for that additional information. That makes a big difference in the outcome of the recipe.
        Meyer lemons are sweeter, this may be why some commenters are expressing theirs was bitter. Meyer lemons have a thinner skin as well.
        Leaving the lemons on the counter for a day or 2 may contribute to their ripeness and bring out additional sweetness too, thus limiting tartness.

      • I’ve added a note to the recipe, suggesting the use of meyer lemons

      • At what store do you find miller lemons? Never heard of them.

      • Meyer lemons are found at just about any grocery store in the summer and fall. They are great for making lemonade, etc because the rind is thinner, the lemons are juicier and the juice is a little sweeter.

  15. Could  you do this with Orange?

    • I think it’s possible, but I haven’t tried it. And you may need a little tweaking. Oranges typically produce more juice than lemons and too much juice may make it icy.

  16. I made this last night for my husband, who loves lemon ice cream. I found it to be a bit bitter.. Did I do something wrong?

  17. Can I use creme fraiche instead of sour creme,thanks

  18. I love all the recipes but Do they have to give cup measures why not grams and ml for liquids so ,much easier. Thanks

  19. Is it possible to replace the sour cream with greek yogurt (2% or 0%), to make this a lighter recipe?

  20. It’s a shame that one must actually print out your recipe. Most so called “Print Recipe” programs allow you to copy and paste to your computer or Thumb drive..

    • When you click the print button, it opens the recipe up in a separate tab. You can then highlight and copy text and put it in a document if you would rather save it to the computer. Or, if you go on to click the “proceed to print” button, it should then open up in printer mode, but you should have the option to choose the printer. Instead of letting it go to printer, you can instead select “save as pdf” to save the document.

  21. It’s sounds very interesting!! A bit silly question but what is your cream? Is it curd?

    • Sorry I don’t quite understand your question. Are you asking about the sour cream listed in the recipe? Sour cream is not the same as curd. Here in the US, you can find it in the refrigerated section with the cheeses

  22. This recipe was genius!! the ice cream turned out SO good. Thank you!

  23. Love the recipe…hate my freezer!  Space is always at a premium.  Can it be frozen in something a bit more flexible like a plastic freezer bag?

    • Well it can probably be frozen in almost any type of container, but I’m not sure how you will scoop out the ice cream after if it’s in a plastic freezer bag. Perhaps you can freeze is in smaller containers?

  24. This may be a dumb question: Do I peel the lemon before I blend it? 

  25. This ice cream looks so delicious and refreshing!

  26. This looks great! I made your whole lemon bars the other day and they turned out wonderful, but I imagine adding sour cream would really compliment the flavors. I’m also kind of curious about how lemon curd could be incorporated into a recipe like this. Lemon curd swirls sound very pretty, but they may not freeze well.
    This is a funny coincidence, I am going to make Lady and Pups’s espresso flan butter-roux cake today! Her blog is very wonderful and creative. 
    I really appetite all your ice pop recipes! The lemon and mango ones turned out so well and are so good for hot summer.

    • I actually thought about lemon curd too! I think you can swirl it in and it’ll look quite nice. I haven’t explored Lady and Pup’s other recipes. I’ll have to check them out!