How to Make Italian Gelato

Italy’s world-famous frozen dessert, gelato is a richer, denser, and more intense version of ice cream, available in a wide range of flavours, with everything from chocolate to raspberries to pistachio. While many claim the gelato available in Rome can’t be beat, a home-made version can be equally indulgent, if prepared properly.

Prep time: 15 min
Refrigeration time: 12-48 hours.
Shaking time: 15 to 30 min
Total time: Around 2 days and 30 min
Yield: 1 medium-sized tub of gelato
Utensils: Saucepan, wooden spoon, mixing bowl, refrigerator or ice cream machine, mixer or egg beater, kitchen thermometer, plastic container and lid

Milk (1%, 2% or whole): 2 cups
Granulated white sugar: 1 cup
Non-fat dehydrated milk: 1/4 cup
Egg yolks: 8 medium
Light whipping cream or half-and-half: 1 cup
Real vanilla extract (optional): 1 tsp.
Seedless/skinless fruit puree (optional): 2 cups
Flavoured syrup (optional): 1 cup


  • 1

    Mix the milk, sugar and dehydrated milk together in the saucepan, and warm it on the stove over medium-high heat, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon. Once the sugar and dehydrated milk are completely dissolved, take the pan off the heat.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, pour the egg yolks into your chilled mixing bowl, and beat them with the electric mixer on low speed. Continue until the yolks begin to thicken – this should take roughly 2 minutes.

  • 3

    Slowly add a cup of the milk and sugar mixture in to the eggs, in order to temper the yolks, as you continue to beat at low speed. Once the egg yolk mixture has warmed up, add it to the remainder of the sweet milk and put the saucepan back on the heat.

  • 4

    Continue to stir the mixture on medium heat with your wooden spoon, and keep checking it with your kitchen thermometer. Once the mixture reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit, take it off the heat.

  • 5

    At this point, you add the cup of chilled whipping cream or half-and-half – this will bring down the temperature of the mix. You can also add the real vanilla extract, and your gelato base is now ready.

  • 6

    Next, the gelato base has to be poured in to the plastic container. Seal it with the lid, and place it in the refrigerator, where it now needs to be chilled for at least 12 and at most 48 hours.

  • 7

    45 minutes before you begin to freeze the mix in the ice cream maker, take the gelato base out, add in your preferred flavour of fruit puree or flavoured syrup, and put it back in the refrigerator to chill as you set up your ice cream machine.

  • 8

    It is essential to keep the machine’s owner’s manual with you at this stage. Consult the instructions to see if any specific guidelines have been provided for making gelato – as opposed to ice cream, gelato is slow-churned, in order to avoid the incorporation of air into the mix, and ensure a denser, more intense texture. Meanwhile, you will need to pack the core with ice and salt and place it in the freezer, or plug the machine in so that it gets cold.

  • 9

    Following the instructions provided in the manual carefully, pour the gelato mixture into the machine, and allow it to freeze until is it roughly 30 degrees. This ought to take around 15 to 30 minutes.

  • 10

    If you plan on serving immediately, keep in mind that gelato is generally eaten at a temperature that is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than ice cream. If you plan to store it, make sure that it is kept at just below freezing. Either way, delectable Italian gelato is now yours to enjoy.

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