Dulce le Leche Ice Cream

Salted caramel ice cream with a dulce le leche ribbon makes this Dulce le Leche Ice Cream doubly indulgent. Whether you make homemade dulce le leche, or use a good commercially prepared dulce le leche, this frozen custard-base ice cream is creamy, dreamy, and muy delicioso!

2 waffle cones with dulce le leche ice cream and a loaf pan with ice cream and scoop.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Recipe Inspiration

Living with year ’round summer in deep south Texas, frozen desserts are my favorite desserts to play with. Given my focus on Latin-inspired cuisine, many of our favorites have a distinctly Mexican or Peruvian flair. Last summer, I did coconut tamarind ice cream, and like this ice cream recipe, it has a Mexican flavor profile. I included a sticky ribbon of reduced tamarind syrup, and they both share a custard base.

What is dulce le leche?

Dulce de leche is a rich and creamy caramel-like spread or sauce that originates from Latin America. It’s made by slowly cooking sweetened condensed milk until it thickens and develops a caramel flavor. It’s incredibly versatile and can be used as a spread on bread or pastries, as a topping for ice cream or pancakes, or as a filling for cakes and pastries. It’s a popular sweet treat enjoyed in many countries, including Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and others. The manjar blanco I use in Peruvian alfajores is quite similar.

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Ingredients for Dulce le Leche Ice Cream - Half and half, sugar, salt, dulce le leche, and eggs.
  • dulce le leche – I make both dulce le leche and manjar blanco, and either will work in this custard recipe. This easy dulce le leche recipe makes it pretty simple. As a time saver, I will buy a jar of dulce le leche; we prefer a “no added sugar” version like this no added sugar dulce le leche sauce.
  • sugar – My preference when I make caramel is turbinado sugar. It adds a hint of molasses that we really like. You can use white sugar if you prefer.
  • half and half – I rarely use heavy cream in my ice cream, and I don’t miss it with a custard base. The egg yolks add both fat and richness. You can certainly use a combination of half and half, heavy cream, and milk. Alternatively, you can make your ice cream dairy free by substituting a plant-based cream like one of these plant-based creams.
  • egg yolks
  • fine sea salt
  • flake salt – Flake salt is optional, and will be added in the last 2 minutes of churning.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Prepare your dulce le leche – If you’re using a commercially prepared product, you get to skip this step! If you’re going to make your dulce le leche, I recommend this recipe. Make sure your dulce le leche is well-chilled before layering with the ice cream.
Step 1 - Sugar and water bubbling in a saucepan making caramel for the dulce le leche ice cream.
  • Make the caramel – In a medium pot over medium heat, melt ¾ cup sugar with 3 tablespoons water, swirling skillet frequently, until sugar turns medium brown in color. NOTE: Be aware that caramelizing the sugar takes quite a while. It melts, bubbles, then gets hard and crumbly and then when those pebbles melt, it’s getting to the right stage.
Step 2 - Add the half and half, additional sugar, and salt to the caramel.
  • Heat the half and half mixture – Add the half and half, 1/2 cup of sugar, and salt to a saucepan (large enough to also hold the tempered egg yolks). DO NOT BOIL, but get it hot.
Step 3 - Mixing hot half and half mixture a ladle full at a time into the beaten eggs - a process called tempering.
  • The liquid should be hot, but not boiling. Slowly add the hot half and half mixture to the beaten egg yolks. NOTE: I use a ladle to add 2 tablespoons (+/-) to the beaten egg yolks which gradually raises the temperature.
Step 4 - The eggs have been warmed with several additions of hot half and half.
  • When the egg/half and half mixture is warm (around 160℉), add it back into the saucepan.
Step 5 - Add the tempered eggs into the saucepan, and gently heat to a simmer. Simmer until slightly thickened.
  • Heat the custard – Reheat slowly to avoid curdling. NOTE: If you do get some curdling, you can put it (carefully) into the blender then strain it. Heat to about 170℉ until slightly thickened. The mixture should thicken and coat the back of a spoon. If you run your finger along the back of the spoon and the line stays clear, the mixture is properly thickened.
Step 6 - Pour the ice cream base into a container, and thoroughly chill.
  • Thoroughly chill the base – Pour mixture into a container, cover, and chill thoroughly.
Step 7 - Freeze ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. Ice cream is fully churned.
  • Freeze the custard according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the flake salt 1-2 minutes before the cycle finishes. NOTE: I have not tried not churning this ice cream recipe. I think it would work. If you try it, let me know!
Step 8 - Spoon half of the ice cream into a loaf pan or similar. Scoop dulce le leche throughout.
  • Add the dulce le leche – Add 1/2 of the custard to a loaf pan or ice cream storage container. Dulce le leche is quite thick. Drop dulce le leche by spoonfuls as shown in the photo. Cover with the remaining custard. Freeze until ready to serve. YUM!
A metal loaf pan with ice cream scoop full of dulce le leche custard ice cream and 2 waffle cones.

❓FAQ

Why is ice cream from the freezer so hard to scoop?

Most people keep their freezers at zero or below, and that is actually too low for scooping ice cream. The high fat content, and low volume of air in good quality ice cream makes it really hard to scoop.

What is the best way to store ice cream, and for how long?

I like these double-walled ice cream storage containers. Shelf life is pretty subjective. I find the ice cream develops ice crystals and graininess after a few days. We try to finish it with a week or two. The colder the freezer is, the longer it will last. See Ice Cream Science for more information.

What does it mean to “temper” the eggs?

Tempering eggs is a culinary technique used to gradually raise the temperature of eggs to prevent them from curdling or scrambling when they are added to a hot mixture. This process is particularly important in recipes that require the eggs to thicken sauces, custards, or other mixtures without forming lumps.

💭 Top Tips

If you’ve ever pulled ice cream from the freezer only to find it far too hard to scoop, you know how frustrating this is. Since making homemade ice creams, frozen custards, sorbets, and sherbets requires an investment of your time, it is worth having some tools to deal with rock-hard ice cream! 3 Tricks for Softening Rock-Hard Ice Cream in a Hurry has great information.

  • Thaw the ice cream in the refrigerator. 30 to 45 minutes in the refrigerator should bring it to about 8 degrees (good for scooping). I prefer this method.
  • Slice it into pieces. Using a sharp knife run through hot water to cut the ice cream into slices. Then run an ice cream scoop under hot water before scooping.
  • Thaw the ice cream in the microwave. This is my desperation method when I have guests and can’t scoop the ice cream. It can result in a melted mess if you’re not really careful. Try 20% power for 30 seconds. Check before proceeding another 30 seconds. My microwave is high power, and 30% will melt it.

Dip your ice cream scoop in cold water before each scoop. Ice cream is likely to stick to a dry scoop, but it will slide off of a wet scoop.

If your half and half and egg tempering doesn’t go well, and the mixture “breaks,” blend it on high in a blender, and it should be okay.

2 custard ice cream cones in glass on a wood tray.

It’s May 14 as I’m writing this post, and we’ve already had a high of 109℉ with a “real feel” of 116℉!🥵 Nothing beats ice cream on a day like that… I hope you’ll give this creamy, custard ice cream a try.

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

2 frozen custard ice cream cones in glass jars on a rustic wood tray.

Dulce le Leche Ice Cream Recipe

A salted caramel custard ice cream base with swirls of dulce le leche throughout!
5 from 1 vote

Click to rate!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling and Freezing 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 389 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 10 ounces dulce le leche - purchased or homemade
  • ¾ cup turbinado sugar - see Ingredients Notes in post
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups half and half
  • ½ cup turbinado or white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon flake salt

Instructions

  • In a medium pot over medium heat, melt ¾ cup sugar with 3 tablespoons water, swirling skillet frequently, until sugar turns medium brown in color.
  • Add the half and half, ½ cup of sugar, and salt to a saucepan (large enough to also hold the tempered egg yolks). DO NOT BOIL, but get it hot.
  • Slowly add the hot half and half mixture to the beaten egg yolks. See post for additional information.
  • When the egg/half and half mixture is warm (around 160℉), add it back into the saucepan.
  • Reheat slowly to avoid curdling. The mixture should thicken and coat the back of a spoon. If you run your finger along the back of the spoon and the line stays clear, the mixture is properly thickened.
  • Pour mixture into a container, cover, and chill thoroughly.
  • Freeze the custard according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the flake salt in at the last 1-2 minutes of churning.
  • Add ½ of the custard to a loaf pan or ice cream storage container. Drop dulce le leche by spoonfuls. Cover with the remaining custard. Freeze until ready to serve.

Notes

Yield is approximately 1.5 quarts.

Nutrition

Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 15g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🍨More Ice Cream Favorites

A tub of coconut tamarind ice cream and a waffle cone with 2 scoops.

Coconut Tamarind Ice Cream

A white ceramic tray with 2 servings of prickly pear ice cream.

Prickly Pear Ice Cream

A silver tray filled with ice and 2 glass bowls of Mexican chocolate frozen custard ice cream.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

White ceramic bowls with a scoop of lucuma custard ice cream, spoons, and napkin.

Coconut Lucuma Ice Cream

Share this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments

  1. This is a wonderful dessert on a hot day! It’s great either in a cone or in a bowl. I highly recommend using the optional flake salt so that you have salted caramel ice cream.