Extra-Creamy Matcha Ice Cream

published Jun 16, 2023
Matcha Ice Cream Recipe

This Philadelphia-style matcha ice cream skips eggs for heavy cream and milk, which lets the earthy flavors of the finely ground Japanese tea take center stage.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 1 quart

Prep30 minutes

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A scooper in a tub of matcha ice cream
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

This matcha ice cream recipe uses a Philadelphia-style ice cream base instead of a cooked custard. Here, whole milk and heavy cream make up the base; it skips the richness of eggs and egg yolks. This allows the flavor of matcha to take center stage in this ice cream, where it’s supported by a bit of honey and vanilla extract. The sweetness of the dairy and honey are natural complements to the tea’s intensity. Matcha ice cream is the perfect not-too-sweet finish to a meal.

What Does Matcha Ice Cream Taste Like?

If you’ve ever had a matcha latte, this matcha ice cream tastes very similar. The tea flavor is lifted by the cool, creamy ice cream base. If you’re not familiar with matcha, it’s distinctly green both in color and flavor. The grassy flavor is rounded out with a natural nuttiness, and finishes with the floral and bitter notes you traditionally find in many kinds of tea leaves.

Credit: Meleyna Nomura

What Is the Difference Between Green Tea and Matcha?

Both green tea and matcha come from the same plant. Green tea is grown in full sun and harvested. It’s typically sold as whole leaves or in bags. To grow matcha, the same plant is shaded for a few weeks before harvesting. This forces the plant to produce more chlorophyll, giving the tea its signature color and a different nutrient profile. The leaves are harvested and sold as a powder.

Green tea is prepared like most teas: The leaves or bags are steeped in hot water. The flavor is fresh and delicate, with grassy bitterness. When matcha is whisked into hot water or milk, those same grassy, bitter flavors are much more intense. 

If You’re Making Matcha Ice Cream, a Few Tips

  • Whisk, whisk, whisk. Matcha has a tendency to clump in large amounts of liquid. Think of it like cornstarch — add the powder to a small amount of liquid, whisk to get rid of any clumps, then proceed to add the larger volume of liquid. 
  • Keep things cold. The colder your base when you start churning, the better final texture you’ll get. Keep your milk and cream in the refrigerator until needed. You can pour the ice cream base straight into your ice cream maker without any additional chilling time.
  • Let it soften. This matcha ice cream will be quite firm after being frozen overnight. Let it soften on the counter for a few minutes before scooping.

Matcha Ice Cream Recipe

This Philadelphia-style matcha ice cream skips eggs for heavy cream and milk, which lets the earthy flavors of the finely ground Japanese tea take center stage.

Prep time 30 minutes

Makes about 1 quart

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 3 tablespoons

    matcha powder

  • 1 cup

    cold whole milk, divided

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2 cups

    cold heavy cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. If your ice cream machine has a bowl that needs to be frozen before churning, put it in the freezer the night before you plan to make ice cream. (If you forget, you can make the base and refrigerate it overnight while the bowl is freezing, and churn the ice cream the next day.)

  2. Place 3 tablespoons matcha powder in a large bowl. Microwave 1/4 cup of the whole milk in a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or small bowl until warm to the touch, about 30 seconds. (Alternatively, warm on the stovetop.) While whisking continuously, pour the milk into the matcha and continue whisking until smooth.

  3. Add 1/4 cup honey and whisk until the honey is dissolved. Add the remaining 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Switch to a flexible spatula and stir, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until the mixture does not feel grainy and the sugar completely dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Add 2 cups cold heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir until combined.

  5. Transfer the ice cream base to the bowl of your ice cream machine. Churn until it has thickened to a soft-serve consistency. This typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes—check the instructions for your ice cream machine. Transfer to an airtight container. Press a sheet of parchment or wax paper directly onto the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze until solid, at least 3 hours.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The ice cream is best within a week, but can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.