Cranberry Orange Ice Cream cranberry-orange vanilla base, reminiscent of a classic creamsicle, with generous swirls of luscious cranberry for a sweet-tart cranberry dessert like no other.
This beautiful, super creamy homemade ice cream recipe made with or without a machine is perfect for serving all year long.
Cape Cod Select Recipe Challenge
Created as my entry in Cape Cod Select’s 2020 Recipe Challenge this truly is a wow-worthy homemade ice cream recipe.
A frozen custard base flavored with mandarin orange juice and vanilla lend a timeless creamsicle appeal. While a hint of cranberry puree gives it a pale pink color and sweet tartness that pops even more with another generous swirl of cranberry after churning.
One stunning (and easy!) frozen dessert that’s both nostalgic and innovative.
Cape Cod Select sent a complimentary bag of their frozen cranberries to me so that I could develop a winning entry recipe. And when they arrive, I was so impressed! Cape Cod Select Frozen Cranberries are like none I’ve ever seen before!
Each one is perfectly plump, round and HUGE. It’s obvious they don’t save their ‘second rate’ berries for frozen and instead select the very best.
The rules for contest entry were simple. Highlight the amazing qualities of Cape Cod Select Cranberries in a new recipe that’s either “Healthy on the go”,. “Cran-You-Believe-It”, or “Family Dinner”. How fun is that?!
- Cape Cod Select premium frozen cranberries – find Cape Cod Select at a store near you
- Milk and cream – a rich combination of heavy cream and whole milk makes this dairy-fat-rich custard super creamy. Feel free to use whichever mix of dairy or even-non dairy milks you have. But homemade ice cream made with lower fat or dairy free options, like 2% or almond milk, will be less creamy and more crumbly.
- Egg yolks – lend even more creamy texture to this gelato-like ice cream. If using a lower fat milk in the custard, add additional egg yolks to counteract the lack of creaminess.
- Mandarin orange – or any other orange you have – even refrigerated orange juice or a dollop of frozen orange juice concentrate 😉
- Vanilla extract – or paste or fresh vanilla bean if you’re feeling fancy.
Step by step instructions
- Make a cranberry orange puree and chill in the same airtight container you will later use to store the ice cream.
- Make custard base, add orange zest to infuse and chill at least 4 to 5 hours but ideally overnight.
- When ready to churn, remove orange zest from base, add a bit of cranberry puree and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions, swirling in more cranberry puree as you churn for streaks of cranberry.
- Pour churned ice cream back into airtight container directly over any remaining cranberry puree and pop in the freezer to harden for at 4-5 hours, ideally overnight.
- Scoop into individual servings (or turn into ice cream floats or champagne floats) and enjoy!
Make ahead of time
Refrigerate the custard base and cranberry swirl a minimum of 3 hours, up to 3 days, before churning.
Once churned freeze ice cream up to 1 month in an airtight container.
Make it your own
- Want more cranberry and less orange? Simply substitute water for the ½ cup of orange juice to make straight-up Cranberry Swirl Ice Cream.
- Adjust the sweetness of both the cranberry swirl and the custard base by reducing or increasing sugar to your liking. Or substitute with your favorite alternative sweetener.
- Substitute the whole milk and cream with whatever mix of dairy or non-dairy milk you have! But be aware that the amount of fat in the mix effects the texture. High fat ice creams will be more dense and creamy while lower fat versions will be more crumbly and icy. To help compensate you can add additional egg yolk.
Did this recipe inspire your own version? If so, come back here and leave a comment to let us know about it!
How to make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker
An ice cream maker attachment or electric ice cream machine will make the job easier but it’s not necessary.
- No churn versions fold whipped cream into a custard base then freeze.
- Or hand churn ice cream by stirring the freezing custard at even intervals until set. If hand churning try mixing in the fresh fruit puree at different times for ribbons of contrasting flavor and texture.
- Make single servings using a frozen ice cream tray.
- Shoot, you can even make ice cream in a freezer bag (one of our favorite family camping activities!).
- 2 cups Cape Cod Select premium frozen cranberries
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- If you haven't already, place ice cream maker freezer bowl attachment in the freezer.
- Combine cranberries, 1 cup sugar and orange juice in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Stirring frequently and squishing with the back of a spoon simmer until most cranberries pop, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. When cool to the touch, puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour cranberry orange puree into the same medium airtight container you will later store the churned ice cream in and refrigerate to chill until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, make the custard base. Whisk egg yolk and remaining ¾ cups sugar in a large saucepan until well combined and ribbony. Then add milk, cream, and salt and whisk just to combine.
- Place over medium heat and whisking frequently cook until mixture reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and add orange zest to steep while the custard cools. Pour into large bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cool at least 4-5 hours but ideally overnight.
- When ready to churn, strain to remove orange zest and stir in ½ cup of cranberry puree. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions, typically for about 20 minutes churning on low in a completely frozen ice cream bowl. Slowly pour cranberry puree in during the last few minutes of churning to create contrasting ribbons of color. Ice cream is done when a spoon drug through the top leaves a lasting impression.
- Do not rinse any remaining cranberry puree from freezer container instead pour churned ice cream directly over to create even more cranberry swirls. Place parchment paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface and freeze until hardened, at least 4-5 hours. Best consumed within 2 days but will freeze for up to a month.
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