Homemade kefir ice cream is tangy, creamy, smooth and indulgent while still being nutritious and healthy. Packed with naturally occurring probiotics and the benefits of fermented dairy, this is a treat you can enjoy without any guilt!
At the risk of sounding dramatic, being able to introduce kefir back into my diet this year has been life-changing. I had cut out cow’s milk dairy since the end of 2019 after food sensitivity testing and realizing the negative impact it had on my skin, digestive system and joints.
However, shortly after that, I figured out both sheep and goat’s milk dairy didn’t have the same effect. That was a wonderful revelation that allowed me to enjoy select cheeses and the occasional yogurt when I could find it.
Fast forward a few years and now A2 protein (the kind that’s in sheep and goat’s milk) cow’s milk products have become readily available in stores and your girl is here for it.
Finding A2 kefir (and from a local farm nonetheless) has allowed me to reap all the nutritious benefits of kefir while including it in breakfast smoothies, overnight oats and more. I love it for the added protein and the naturally occurring probiotics.
After about a month or so of these conventional uses, it finally dawned on me I should try making kefir ice cream.
After all, I saved the ice cream attachment to my KitchenAid stand mixer from the “donate” pile last year when we moved yet haven’t used it since. It’s about time to make use of this thing taking up precious cabinet space.
What does kefir ice cream taste like?
If you like frozen yogurt and its tart, tangy taste, you will love kefir ice cream. It’s tangy and tart but with a smooth creaminess that surpasses frozen yogurt.
If you want to tame the tartness, simply add more sweetener to the recipe to balance it out.
How to make strawberry kefir ice cream
The best part about using kefir to make ice cream is how simple the process is.
I’ve made plenty of traditional ice cream recipes before. When making ice cream with a custard base, like this Bailey’s chocolate chip ice cream, there’s the whole process of tempering eggs to deal with. Recipes without egg yolks, like this sweet potato cream cheese ice cream, still require heating up the mixture and juggling a lot more ingredients.
Kefir ice cream is as straightforward as it gets. The kefir and sweetener (in this case maple syrup) are blended together until frothy.
That mixture is then added to an ice cream maker and churned until it thickens to a soft-serve consistency. Kefir ice cream tends to need a little less churning time than traditional ice cream.
At that point, the diced strawberries are added and it’s churned again until fully incorporated.
The ice cream is transferred to a freezer-safe container and frozen until set which usually takes about 2-4 hours.
The best way to serve
For scoop-friendly ice cream, remove from the freezer at least 15-20 minutes before serving to let thaw a little. Use an ice cream scoop that has been run under hot water for the best results.
The subtle strawberry flavor is wonderful as is but for extra deliciousness, a strawberry ginger sauce or something similar is a great topping option.
Ingredients to make this kefir ice cream recipe
You’ll need the following for this basic recipe:
- 32 ounces vanilla kefir
- maple syrup
Kefir – If you prefer plain kefir, that can be used in place of the vanilla variety. Simply add 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the blender for flavor. Kefir can also be made at home if you want to give it a try.
Maple syrup – Most vanilla kefirs have a touch of sweetener in them so you won’t need a lot of maple syrup. One to two tablespoons will suffice. If choosing plain kefir instead, increase the maple syrup amount to at least 3 tablespoons. Honey can be used in place of maple syrup if preferred.
Strawberries – The strawberries can be fresh or frozen. If you prefer little bits of strawberry throughout the ice cream, dice the strawberries and follow the directions in the recipe. If you’d rather them blended in, making for a lovely pale pink ice cream, add the strawberries to the blender and blend until smooth and fully combined.
As with any ice cream recipe, adapt it to your liking. If you’d like some chocolate chips thrown in (like this cherry chocolate chip frozen yogurt), go for it. Crushed graham crackers would also be great in this recipe.
Another option is to roast the strawberries (like this roasted strawberry basil milkshake) for extra flavor.
If you prefer another fruit add-in altogether, that works too. Any berry or stone fruit would be great. Adapt with the seasons and use whatever’s fresh and sweet. I plan to throw in some roasted rhubarb next time using the leftovers from this rhubarb bread recipe.
Can this be made with dairy-free kefir?
Dairy-free kefirs have become popular as specialty diets have surged. There are plenty of cashew milk and coconut kefirs on the market today and you can certainly make vegan kefir ice cream with one of those if you choose.
How to make this without an ice cream maker
If you don’t have access to an ice cream maker, make no-churn kefir ice cream instead.
Blend as directed then pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container. Swirl in the strawberries and place in the freezer for about 4 hours until set.
For the creamiest result, take the container out and stir the mixture every 30 minutes. Make sure to incorporate the frozen edges with each stir.
If you love this frozen kefir recipe…
Frozen kefir’s tangy creaminess is a delicious seasonal treat. If you love the taste and texture of this recipe, try making it into ice pops for summer. I can’t wait for peaches to come into season and modify these creamy peach popsicles to use kefir instead of coconut milk.
Goat cheese frozen yogurt with honey roasted figs is another similar tasting recipe that will delight any tangy tastebuds.
And if you need dessert fast without any time to churn and set, try this 5-minute mango frozen yogurt. the pistachio crumble on top is divine!
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! I’d love to know how it goes. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Tag @runningtothekitchen on Instagram & Facebook.
Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream
- 32 ounces vanilla kefir
- 1 cup strawberries finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Pour the kefir and maple syrup into a blender. Blend until frothy and thoroughly combined.
- Pour into prepared ice cream maker and churn for about 10-15 minutes until a soft serve like consistency results. This will vary depending on type of ice cream maker.
- Add the chopped strawberries and continue churning for another 2-3 minutes until fully incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container, smooth the top and freeze until set, about 2-4 hours.
- To serve, remove from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before scooping.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Watch the web story: How to Make Kefir Ice Cream.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.