Fresh Strawberry Gelato

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I’m pretty sure I could win all of you in a who-loves-gelato-more contest. With both hands tied behind my back, no less. Considering my love has been founded on gelato devoured here in the States, I’m guessing that were I to get lucky enough for a real, live trip to Italy to taste my way through authentic gelato, it would be a very, very dangerous, joyful and hip-expanding experience.

If you aren’t sure what gelato (pronounced: jel-LAH-toe) even is, it’s simply a denser, ultra-creamy form of ice cream. Originating in Italy, traditional gelato uses more milk and less cream than the ice cream we know and love (and oftentimes no eggs at all) and is churned more slowly, leaving the finished gelato less fluffy and airy (and less fattening) than ice cream (obvious thanks to The Kitchn for the explanation that I would not have been able to provide without a leeetle bit of help).

Fresh Strawberry Gelato

Brian and I got our cute little Cuisinart ice cream maker as a wedding gift exactly 12 years ago and it is still going strong. Oh, and hello 12-year anniversary! Don’t ask what we are doing to celebrate: Brian’s out of town for work and I’ll probably be eating cheese quesadillas or something else equally as exciting-with-minimal-cleanup with the kids tonight followed by a bowl full of this dreamy stuff. I made a batch to celebrate; can you blame me? We may or may not have the self-control to leave any for Brian when he gets home. Good thing it is so easy to make. He can make it for me this weekend. I’d rather have gelato than flowers any day.

Thick, creamy, lightly sweet and terribly decadent, this strawberry gelato is definitely going to hold me over until I taste the real thing. In Italy. If ever. Oh, and PS: to take this gelato over the top, serve it with a few slices of ripe, juicy strawberries. Oh my heavenly. I can’t wait to see what other flavors of gelato I can dream up!

PS: If you’ve read this far, consider yourself a true friend and super lucky! On a whim, I decided to give away two ice cream makers just in case this gelato is calling to you like it is to me and you don’t have a way to make it. Enter HERE! (Any comments left on this strawberry gelato post won’t be entered and will probably be deleted; not to be rude, just to keep this comment thread uncluttered so go to the official link to enter.)

One Year Ago: Salted Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Brownie Batter Dip
Three Years Ago: Mango and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Fresh Strawberry Gelato

Yield: Makes about 1 quart

Fresh Strawberry Gelato

Using the ripest, juiciest strawberries will give this gelato the best strawberry flavor. Also, I've doubled the gelato/strawberry base with great results - I had to process it in my ice cream maker in two batches (I have a 2nd bowl for my machine) but if you have a fairly large ice cream maker, you could probably process the entire double batch in one go. Check with your manufacturer's instructions to be sure!

Also, if the fruit you are using is ultra-ripe and really sweet, you might be able to decrease the sugar just slightly. If you want to take this gelato completely over the top, serve it with a few slices of ripe, juice strawberries. Heavenly!


  • 3/4 cup granulated or powdered sugar (I've used either with good results)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced very ripe, fresh strawberries


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the milk and whipping cream.
  2. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble and thickens, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cool completely (either by pressing plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerating or nesting the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice and stirring until it is cool to the touch).
  4. Puree the strawberries in a blender until the mixture is very smooth.
  5. Once the gelato base has cooled completely, strain the strawberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the creamy mixture. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon to press the strawberry puree through the strainer so all the pretty strawberry liquid gets strained into the gelato but the seeds are left behind. Stir well.
  6. Cover the gelato by pressing plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate 3 hours or up 24 hours.
  7. Process the gelato in your ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions. Scrape the ice cream into a container, cover and freeze for at least two hours or up to 2 days (and I'm guessing even longer than that).
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from this Epicurious recipe by way of La Divina Gelateria in New Orleans

51 Responses to Fresh Strawberry Gelato {i.e. Italian Ice Cream}

  1. […] for gelato, and where we live, there just isn’t any to be found. So when I found a recipe for fresh strawberry gelato on one of my favorite resources for delicious recipes, I got pretty […]

  2. lucy says:

    I have a question, this recipe may work also has a popsicle¿ thanks

  3. Carol says:

    I can almost taste it again, you can experience these flavors on a Delectable Destinations tour!

  4. Chaci fisber says:

    I’m making this in a time crunch… Do you think it would work to add the strawberries while the creamy mix is still hot, or would that mess it up? Trying to eliminate one cooling step if possible

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried doing that, but I wonder if it might cause the strawberries to lose their red color (they often darken if cooked or added to hot liquids). Good luck if you try it!

    • Wendy Hansen says:

      You can cool anything in minutes by ‘floating’ the hot pot in a sink full of cold ice water – be careful not to let the water come over the rim stir and watch the temp drop on your candy thermometer.’ I always do this and then throw it in the freezer for a few minutes while I’m prepping the fruit.

  5. Wendy Hansen says:

    I don’t know what constitutes gelato and what constitutes ice cream but my experience with this recipe has been excellent. There are only two of us (empty nest) so often a recipe yields leftovers the freezer. This is the first ice cream recipe I’ve tried that produces a beautiful creamy desert that doesn’t turn into solid ice in the freezer overnght. Even three days later it is still creamy, soft and scoopable. . . not to mention delicious! Thanks Mel!! ( I’ve been making this with fresh unprocessed milk and cream and the strained and frozen raspberries from our garden.) I will try it with strawberries this winter.

    • Wendy Hansen says:

      OK, I’m updating my post, have made this dozens of times and with raspberries, cherries, blackberries, peaches and strawberries! This recipe has never failed though sometimes it is not as soft as other times, depends on how much fruit goes in. But it is always yummy. So good!

  6. Kanani says:

    We’ve made this twice recently since our garden has been producing more strawberries than we can keep up with. It is delicous–we love the creaminess and fresh strawberry taste. My husband doesn’t usually care for strawberry ice cream or gelato, but he thinks this is amazing! Thank you!

  7. Debbie says:

    I love Gelato, but have had a hard time finding my favorite flavor–pink grapefruit. Have you ever made it with citrus? If so, post the recipe and I will certainly pin it and try it!

  8. marcie says:

    looks delicious!!

  9. Katie says:

    Great recipe!

  10. Julie says:

    I’m sharing a batch with my office right now and it’s a hit (even though I forgot to add the vanilla and my strainer wasn’t fine enough to keep out the smaller strawberry seeds)!

  11. JNE says:

    Oooh! This looks delicious! I prefer non-egg recipes for ice cream… mostly because I’m lazy and don’t want to cook the mixture to a certain temp and hold it there and yadda, yadda, yadda. This is definitely up my alley! Thanks!

  12. I am going to give you that prize!!!! You gave us a lovely recipe, so you deserve something in return. You weren’t bragging, just making mention. Ha! Something about strawberry ice cream and in this case gelato, which is even better brings up happy childhood memories in addition to just being flat out delicious. It’s a twofer.

  13. Sheila says:

    Yum! Happy Anniversary, Mel! I hope you and Brian have a wonderful time celebrating when you finally get some together time to celebrate.

  14. Kelly says:

    Happy anniversary!

  15. Eliza says:

    do I add the vanilla before cooking or after?

  16. Jenny says:

    Mel, this looks delicious! I was just wondering when you add the vanilla. Is it immediately after cooking the milk/cream, sugar and corn starch? Thank you!!!

    • Mel says:

      Jenna and Eliza – sorry about that! I just edited the recipe. I stir the vanilla in right after the gelato base thickens on the stove.

  17. nosh says:

    Happy anniversary !! The ice cream looks fab !

  18. Katy E says:

    Do you have any suggestions for adapting this recipe for a lemon gelato? Thanks and Happy Anniversary. I love your blog and every recipe I have tried has been a success with my family.

  19. Mia says:

    Ok so I admit I’m a little slow sometimes but I’ve been wondering what in the world gelato is for a while now and this post confused me…it’s creamier denser ice cream, but it uses more milk, less cream and is less fluffy and airy, how do these things make it creamier, denser and less fattening? I’m lost…not the end of the world here, just wondering.

    • Mel says:

      Mia – I’m not sure of the exact science but all the descriptions point to the fact that gelato uses less cream (just slightly) than milk and the slower churning allows it to be more dense and creamy and not as airy as ice cream. Don’t know the exact ins and outs except it’s delicious! 🙂

  20. Carolyn says:

    We had the opportunity to travel to Europe last summer. Seven countries in 16 days. Whirlwind trip! Wonderful, but way too fast! anyway, we found though we enjoyed the gelato while in Venice, we LOVED the gelato in Austria! Of course, we also found the BEST pasta dishes in London! LOL
    This looks too good to pass up. And I’m more than willing to go back to Europe to make sure you’ve got it just right 🙂

  21. Amanda C says:

    yum yum yum I can’t wait to try that.

  22. Kim in MD says:

    This looks so delicious, Mel! I have never had gelato (gasp!). What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?

    • Kim in MD says:

      I forgot to say Happy Anniversary! 🙂

    • Isabelle says:

      She answered that in the post 😉
      “If you aren’t sure what gelato (pronounced: jel-LAH-toe) even is, it’s simply a denser, ultra-creamy form of ice cream. Originating in Italy, traditional gelato uses more milk and less cream than the ice cream we know and love (and oftentimes no eggs at all) and is churned more slowly, leaving the finished gelato less fluffy and airy (and less fattening) than ice cream (obvious thanks to The Kitchn for the explanation that I would not have been able to provide without a leeetle bit of help).”

      • Kim in MD says:

        Thanks, Isabelle! What a “duh” moment for me! I read the post, but was so excited about the give away that by the time I came back to comment about the gelato I must have had a brain freeze! 😉

  23. Melody Korlinchak says:

    Yum…any flavor would be great to make if I won one of the machines 😉

  24. Sarah D. says:

    This looks great. I assume I could substitute any fruit? I’m thinking I might try raspberries. Would I follow the same recipe? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Sarah D. – Sure! I think raspberry would be delicious! And yes, just follow the same recipe subbing in the raspberries for the strawberries.

  25. Constance Pickard says:

    Favorite has got to be maple bacon! Just amazing!

  26. Kris Sather says:

    I love this post! I think it’s great that you’re doing this. Happy Anniversary. 😉

  27. Eileen says:

    Stracciatella gelato available at our local bakery every summer.

    Happy Anniversary!

  28. This looks divine! Must get me an ice cream maker ASAP. Thanks for sharing!

  29. This looks so yummy! Perfect summer dessert. I had the opportunity to go to Italy when I was a teenager, and it was a wonderful experience. Museums, tours, and gelato every evening.

  30. Happy Anniversary! We spent five weeks in Italy when I was a teenager, and I ate gelato every day, sometimes three times a day. It was so incredibly good! I’ve never had anything close to it in the U.S., except for a place in CA several years ago. I am anxious to see how this recipe compares!

  31. Laurel says:

    My birthday is in 2 weeks and for the last week I’ve been gently, or not so gently, been hinting to hubby I need homemade ice cream to celebrate. Meaning he better get it together and buy me a machine.
    Guess it’s time to switch to that gorgeous picture. I need Gelato now instead! Looks divine! Might need to add a chocolate dipped waffle bowl with it. That would be perfection! Good job Mel!!

  32. Danielle says:

    Mel there is a hole in the wall gelato shop next to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. My husband read it was award winning. I are A LOT of gelato in Italy, all amazing, but that little shop was pure heaven. I’ve been blesse

    • Danielle Churchill says:

      I’ve been blessed to eat a lot of amazing food in my life, but that strawberry gelato is the epitome. I have dreams about it.
      I lived in Boston for 6 years and they have a great Little Italy. My husband and I hoped to find another great gelato place, but nothing I’ve ever had in the US compares to Italy. Get yourself there and have some!!

  33. Mel says:

    Hey everyone, just a gentle reminder not to leave entries to the giveaway here on this post. Go to the link in the post to tell me your favorite ice cream flavor (I’ve already had to delete several comments from this thread already). Thanks!

  34. Ice creams – something I can eat all the time. First it’s super hot in Berlin, then I had an operation and had too keep my mouth cold and since I’m pregnant it seems that ice creams are the food for me. Great recipe 🙂

  35. Heather M says:

    It is my wedding anniversary today too! It’s our ten year and we won’t be spending it together either! I’m out of town & he has a full work schedule! Hopefully we can celebrate this weekend! Happy anniversary! I’ve never had a bowl of gelato, but this looks yummy!

  36. Stephanie says:

    Um Yum

  37. Barbara says:

    The only regret I have about going to Italy many years ago is that I never tried the gelato! There must be something wrong with me.

  38. Ahhh…yes. The simplicity of summer. Looks delish!
    And I guess I’ll let you win since you had to write up the recipe and all. 🙂
    Pinning. Have a most wonderful day!

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