Creamy smooth ice cream bursting with buttery popcorn flavor? Is that too crazy an idea? Absolutely not. One taste is all it will take to make a believer out of you too.
Oh. My. Word. When I had the initial idea for this flavor, it was loosely inspired by my love for this Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream Sundae. I had no clue at the time just how fantastic that ice cream idea would turn out to be.
Ice Cream with Popcorn
Crunchy caramel popcorn and ice cream, topped with hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, the first time I tried that ice cream sundae it left me speechless. And, it also left me wanting to try an actual ice cream that might taste like popcorn.
If you’ve known me long, you might know that I often enough make dinner out of a bowl of popcorn. Or an afternoon snack. Or a post-breakfast snack. I will happily handful as a snack any time of the day.
So, the idea of making ice cream with popcorn had me intrigued. Why not turn one of my favorite snacks into my favorite kind of dessert?
The first method I tried was to simply soak the popcorn in milk and then strain it, much the same way that I make cereal milk ice cream flavors. Well, that resulted in very little popcorn flavor.
Next up, I soaked the popped kernels in the ice cream mixture after warming it on the stovetop. Then, when it was soft, I blended it until completely smooth. This result? Mind-blowing. Actual popcorn flavored ice cream.
I can’t get enough of it. There’s nothing better than serving it topped with a handful of popped kernels (and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce if I have it on hand).
I’m happy to tell you that every single person who has tasted this ice cream has had a jaw-dropping response. If you’re a fellow cook, then you’ll know how good that feels to receive after you’ve worked hard on something.
Popcorn Ice Cream
These are my favorite inexpensive containers for storing ice cream. They’re perfect for gifting (who doesn’t love homemade ice cream?) storage, re-using, etc. I write the flavors on the lids with a sharpie and it washes off with dish soap.
I have more ice cream scoops than I can keep track of at this point and I definitely play favorites. This ice cream scoop does the best job ever of cutting through firm ice cream and still delivers a pretty scoop. It gets bonus points for being one of the least expensive scoops I own as well.
Don’t miss our Ice Cream Maker Review for all the information you need to find the BEST Ice Cream Maker for your needs! Spoiler alert – our top-rated machine under $50 just might surprise you. It sure surprised me!
Popcorn Flavored Ice Cream
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:
- heavy cream
- kosher salt
- vanilla extract
- microwave popcorn
The most popular question I get is whether it’s possible to make ice cream without a machine. The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine. Find the full directions here!
To begin this recipe, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Next, bring to a simmer and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Then, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
While the ice cream base is warming, pop the popcorn in the microwave. Then, transfer 6 cups of popped corn to the pitcher of a blender, taking care that no unpopped kernels go in with the popcorn.
Pour the warm ice cream base over the popcorn in the blender and let it soak in the mixture for a few minutes. Then, blend until smooth, and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a container with a lid.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until completely cold. When ready to churn, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once finished, transfer to an airtight container and place it in the freezer until ready to serve. Serve topped with remaining popcorn and homemade caramel sauce, if desired.
I prefer to use a “tender white, butter flavored” variety of microwave popcorn to make this recipe. I don’t recommend using “movie theater butter” or “plain” varieties.
I’ve also tried to make this ice cream with plain and buttered air-popped popcorn. And, it simply isn’t the same. The microwave bags add far more flavor, so that the end result tastes like buttered popcorn ice cream.
Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream
You’d imagine correctly, if you imagined that it would be hard to think of other recipes to suggest when starting with an ice cream like this one. But, if you like an odd combination with great flavor, check out Grape Nut Ice Cream next.
If you want to surprise the littles at your table, a little blue food coloring makes Cookie Monster Ice Cream a delightful treat. It’s not ice cream, but I’ve also been thinking about playing with these Popcorn Balls for a fun dessert.
Irresistibly rich Coffee Ice Cream is a dessert that captures the morning joy of a freshly brewed cup of your favorite java. Perfect at any time of day!
Rhubarb holds a special place in my heart. The season may have already come and gone this year, but not before I whipped up a batch of Roasted Rhubarb Ice Cream. It is tart and sweet and the perfect dessert for a large gathering.
Popcorn Ice Cream
- 1¾ cups heavy cream
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ounce bag of microwave popcorn
- Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- While the ice cream base is warming, pop the popcorn in the microwave. Transfer 6 cups of popped corn to the pitcher of a blender, taking care that no unpopped kernels are in the pitcher with the popcorn.
- Pour the warm ice cream base over the popcorn in the blender and let the popcorn soak in the mixture for a few minutes.
- Blend the mixture until smooth and then pour through a fine mesh sieve into a container with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until completely cold.
- When ready to churn, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and place it in the freezer until ready to serve. Serve topped with remaining popcorn and/or caramel sauce, if desired.