Only a few simple ingredients are needed for this easy and fresh no-churn peach ice cream, and an ice cream maker isn’t one of them!
I cannot take credit for the genius idea that is no-churn ice cream — heavy cream, whipped and combined with sweetened condensed milk and frozen until the texture of perfectly churned ice cream — but I will take credit for this version that incorporates one of my absolute favorite summer fruits: no-churn peach ice cream!
Ice cream season is fully upon us and I am here for it. You know the first time you have ice cream outside at dusk and you feel like summer is finally here? It’s the best feeling.
I think the first summer evening ice cream Brian and I had this year was in early June, when we took a long-ish walk up to Old Town after dinner one night to try out Bombobar’s gelato.
It wasn’t bad (we both got the toasted coconut flavor), but I honestly enjoyed the walk more than the ice cream itself.
Everyone was out enjoying one of the first nice evenings of the year, sitting outside at bars and restaurants and reveling in the fact that our long hibernation was finally over. The world felt full of possibility again.
As we walked home lazily eating our gelato, the sun slowly set and the air turned crisp and dewy the way it does only in the summer. I thought to myself once again: it doesn’t get better than this.
I didn’t feel that way because of the ice cream, though it helped; I felt that way because I was with my favorite person, just spending time together outdoors on a summer weeknight. A simple joy, easy to take for granted, yet wondrous to people who’d just lived through yet another Chicago winter.
I think often what we like best about food is not the actual taste, but rather the memories or feelings it evokes. It’s sight and smell and some other intangible experience that creates a sensory imprint.
Ice cream melting down your hand on a warm summer night is one of those sensory imprints. Maybe it takes you back to childhood, at state fairs or baseball games, or the parking lot of a Dairy Queen.
My best friend Catie and I used to go to a place called Maggie Moo’s in high school, probably far more often than was good for us, and sit on a bench outside slurping our ice cream and watching the world go by. It was the best, and one of my favorite memories with her.
All of those memories and feelings center around times when the world didn’t seem as hard or complex; when summer days and nights were free from all responsibility. So as Brian and I walked home in Chicago that night, it was a combination of past and present nostalgia that accompanied me along with our ice cream.
I can’t replicate that feeling every day, but I have found a shockingly simple way to make my own ice cream when I need it.
No-Churn Peach Ice Cream!
Maybe you’ve made no-churn ice cream before. If you haven’t, it’s legitimately made from two ingredients: heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. Whip the cream, fold into the condensed milk, and freeze. Seriously.
I didn’t believe it at first, but upon reflection it makes sense: the sweetened condensed milk is like the thick milk-and-egg-based custard you’d otherwise make in a traditional ice cream. It also eliminates the need for blending and melting sugar into the custard, as it’s already incorporated. That means no icy or grainy ice cream – hooray!
Of course, I had to put my own spin on it and make a no-church peach ice cream for summer.
Using fresh peaches at the height of summer cannot be beat. They’re sweet, they’re slightly tangy, and the flavor they bring to this ice cream is bright and sunny, strongly reminiscent of a summer’s day by the water. I folded fresh peach chunks into the base before freezing to intensify it even further, and I didn’t regret it one bit.
Like the original, this peach ice cream is super easy to make. Here are the steps:
- Puree fresh peaches (peeled or not, it’s your choice) and lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt and blend until combined.
- Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Combine the peach mixture with the whipped cream. Pour into a loaf pan. Add some diced peaches to the mixture if you’re feeling fancy.
- Freeze for 6 hours, and up to two weeks.
How is it possible that a no-churn peach ice cream recipe this simple to make can replicate the creamy texture and mouthfeel of a custard-based, churned ice cream? I still can’t believe the wizardry.
If you need other peach-centric recipe inspiration, check out:
I hope you give this no-churn peach ice cream a try before peach season ends! If not…I’m more than willing to bet that frozen peaches would work here too. Then, even in the depths of winter when summer evening walks with ice cream are no longer possible, we can still have our peaches and eat them too. WIN, WIN.
- 1 lb fresh peaches
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 14-oz can can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1-2 medium peaches, peeled and diced
Peel peaches if desired (the recipe works either way). Pit, slice, and add to the work bowl of a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and blend on high speed until reduced to a purée.
Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend until fully combined with the peach purée. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream on medium speed until stiff peaks form when the mixer is stopped and lifted – about 3-4 minutes.
Add the peach mixture to the whipped cream and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until combined and smooth. You don't want to deflate the whipped cream!
Scrape half the mixture into a 2-quart freezer-safe dish (a 9×5 inch loaf pan works great), scatter half the diced peaches over top, then pour in the rest of the mixture. Scatter the remaining diced peaches over top and then swirl in gently with the spatula.
Cover tightly and freeze for at least 6 hours and up to 2 weeks. For easiest scooping, remove from freezer 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Store any leftovers covered in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Adapted from The Kitchn.