No-Churn Hibiscus Sherbet

published Jun 19, 2022
Juneteenth
Hibiscus Sherbert Recipe

This bright hibiscus sherbert is tart, creamy, and it absolutely screams summer.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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ice cream scoop in hibiscus sherbet
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Anyone who knows me knows that I love going all out on holidays. My birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and for the third year in a row I dyed my hair a shade of either pink or red paired with a matching outfit, matching nails, and matching make-up⁠ — the works! Juneteenth is certainly no different. In fact, I’m even more inclined to celebrate because this holiday holds a lot of weight for me as a Black American.  

If you’re unfamiliar with the holiday, Juneteenth commemorates the Union troops arriving in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to announce the abolition of chattel slavery, which freed enslaved African Americans in the United States. The most significant color for Juneteenth is red. The color red symbolizes the blood that was shed by the enslaved. Red drinks, like hibiscus punch, along with watermelon, strawberries, and red velvet cake are commonly found throughout Juneteenth celebration meals.

I like to put a personal stamp on the holiday by filling the celebration table with recipes of my own. Inspired by traditional hibiscus punch, I came up with this hibiscus sherbet. Sherbet always appeals to the little kid in me, but adding a bit of spicy ginger elevates this for the grown-ups. It’s tart, creamy, and incredibly refreshing — perfect for a hot June day and totally on-brand for Juneteenth. 

The Secret to No-Churn Sherbet Comes in a Can

This sherbet is pretty and refreshing, but it’s also easy because you don’t need an ice cream machine to make it. One issue with no-churn ice creams is that they can have an icy texture, but I’ve solved for that here by adding sweetened condensed milk to the sherbet base. The thick, creamy condensed milk helps give the sherbet a smooth texture.

The combo of the sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and coconut milk adds richness and a creamy flavor that helps balance out the tartness of the hibiscus. A few strawberries go into the mixture to bump up the red color.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Wait, What’s Sherbet Again?

I’m glad you asked. Sherbet has a little cream or milk, which means that it’s richer and creamier than dairy-free sorbet but not as creamy as dairy-full ice cream. And, yeah — there’s no “r” in sherbet.

If You Make Hibiscus Sherbet, a Few Tips

  • Protect your leftovers: If you have leftover sherbet, press a piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap against the surface to protect it from freezer burn.
  • Get creative: The sherbet is great served in a bowl and eaten straight-up, but the pretty, tart dessert would also be great in a float (top with ginger ale or even red wine!), sandwiched with soft ginger cookies for a stunning ice cream sandwich, or used as one of the layers in an ice cream pie or ice cream cake.
  • Use up that hibiscus: Dried hibiscus flowers are often sold in large packages, so you’ll likely have some left over. That’s a very good thing! Now you have what you need to make hibiscus cold-brew tea, a sparkling hibiscus mocktail, or a hibiscus mezcal pitcher cocktail (don’t forget the Tajín rim!) that’s tailor-made for summer parties.

Hibiscus Sherbert Recipe

This bright hibiscus sherbert is tart, creamy, and it absolutely screams summer.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium limes

  • 1

    (14-ounce) can regular or coconut sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 1/2 cups

    heavy cream

  • 1

    (about 15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, divided

  • 3 cups

    dried hibiscus flowers (about 4 ounces), divided

  • 1

    (1-inch) piece ginger

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    fresh or frozen strawberries

  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons

    coconut extract or vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Finely grate the zest from 2 medium limes into a small saucepan (about 1 tablespoon). Add 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream. Shake 1 can coconut milk, then open and add 1 cup of the coconut milk to the saucepan to the small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to steam and hot to the touch, 7 to 10 minutes.

  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add 2 2/3 cups of the dried hibiscus flowers and stir to combine. Let cool for 15 minutes. Refrigerate and let cool at least to room temperature, about 1 hour or up to overnight for a deeper color.

  3. Prepare the following ingredients, adding each to a blender as you complete it: Juice the zested limes (about 3 tablespoons). Peel a 1-inch piece of ginger and chop into small chunks.

  4. Add the remaining 1/3 cup hibiscus flowers, remaining coconut milk from the can, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup strawberries, and a pinch of kosher salt. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, adding 2 tablespoons of water at a time to loosen the mixture if needed.

  5. Pour the cream mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl; press down on the flowers to extract as much cream as possible. Add the strawberry mixture and 2 teaspoons coconut or vanilla extract and gently stir to combine. Pour into a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

  6. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours or overnight. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Once frozen, cover the pan with plastic to keep from getting freezer burned. Freeze for up to 3 months.