Recipe Review

I Tried Ina Garten’s 3-Ingredient Dessert, and It’s the Boozy Treat I’m Making All Summer

published Jun 8, 2023
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di Amori limoncello, Krasdale ice cream, biscotti and an empty glass on cutting board
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

In a world where hundreds of ice cream flavors are available at your fingertips, how do you make plain vanilla ice cream stand out from the bunch? When you have dinner guests arriving in less than an hour and all you have prepared for dessert is that leftover tub of ice cream, what do you do? Well, I imagine Ina Garten’s response would be “hold my glass,” and she would then proceed to whip up an elegant dessert using next to no ingredients. And that’s exactly what she did with her 3-Ingredient Limoncello recipe that is seriously a game-changer for those moments when you have limited options available to you and are crunched for time.

Ina Garten’s 3-Ingredient Limoncello first caught my attention due to my love of ice cream and (in a close second) because of my love of sipping on some fine alcohol. Normally, I’m not one to mix the two, but anything Ina suggests is an instant green light in my book. So, I was more than ready to indulge. 

I really made this out in my head to be a dessert suited for any time of the afternoon or evening. Plus, any excuse I can make to bust out a tub of ice cream, I’m totally in. So I set out to give this extra classy (and boozy) dessert a try for myself (responsibly of course) and here’s how it went.  

How to Make Ina Garten’s 3-Ingredient Limoncello

Start by adding 2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream to your dish of choice. For a high-class recipe such as this one, feel free to bust out the nice china. Personally, I used one of my whiskey glasses because in the end, I like to drink the last of the melted ice cream anyway, so it became like a boozy ice cream shot in this scenario. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

It is important to keep in mind that if you aren’t serving this dessert immediately, you’ll want to keep your dishes of ice cream in the freezer until you’re ready to serve. When ready, remove the ice cream from the freezer, add a splash of limoncello, and garnish with a stick of biscotti. I decided to take the recipe a step further, and created a chocolate drizzle to layer on top of my scoops of ice cream, which turned out to be a fantastic idea in the end. Finally, it’s time to grab a spoon and enjoy, because now you’re eating like the upper class. 

My Honest Opinion of Ina Garten’s 3-Ingredient Limoncello

I was truly skeptical going into this recipe, mainly due to the fact that I was unsure if I would really like the taste of lemon-flavored alcohol with vanilla ice cream. I did, however, have an epiphany and flashback to when I tried Buttermilk by Sam’s Chocolate Lemon Curd Bars, realizing that lemon has a unique way of pairing with unsuspecting ingredients. So I, of course, went into this with an open mind. 

As Ina says herself, dressing up store-bought ice cream is the easiest way to serve an impressive dessert on the fly, as well as elevate the simplest of ice cream flavors. The addition of the splash of chilled lemon liqueur brought a freshness to each bite that I was not at all expecting. The added crunch of the biscotti was the proverbial icing on the cake, and the joy I felt with each bite solidified this recipe’s capabilities. While I can admit that my presentation may have lacked the class with which Ina brings to the table, the end result, however, was as rich and impressive as she had promised. The Barefoot Contessa strikes again with yet another out-of-this-world recommendation.  

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

3 Tips for Making Ina Garten’s 3-Ingredient Limoncello

  1. Have fun with it. While this recipe specifically uses vanilla ice cream, feel free to try it out with other ice cream flavors that you like. Alternatively, you can get extra creative with this version of the recipe and make a chocolate sauce to drizzle on top, or cover your biscotti in. The world is your ice cream bowl. 
  2. Presentation goes a long way. If you are making this for dinner guests, you can prep by adding the scoops of ice cream to the dishes first, then placing the dishes back in the freezer until ready to serve. This way, when you add the splash of lemon liqueur and biscotti, the ice cream will still appear unmelted and presentable. As a result, your guests will not only love the taste, but the presentation as well. 
  3. Store the lemon liqueur in the freezer. Limoncello is best served chilled, so to ensure it pairs perfectly with the ice cream, keep the bottle stored in the freezer until you’re ready to assemble dessert.