Caramel popcorn ice cream

Posted on March 31, 2015


One of the greatest pleasures of owning an ice cream maker is making up flavour combinations and trying them out. So what do you get when you cross 2 carnival favourites? Caramel popcorn ice cream! MmmmMmmm… _MG_9812 I used the ratios of a basic vanilla custard recipe, steeped the milk with popcorn to extract the flavour and swirled some caramel sauce through. And bingo, 2 childhood loves packaged in the one dessert: caramel popcorn ice cream. The only thing I would change in future remakes is steeping both the milk and cream in popcorn and upping the amount of popcorn used for that purpose to get a bigger popcorn flavour payoff. Otherwise I’m pretty pleased with myself. The recipe below reflects what I actually did this time round, but since hindsight is 20/20, I would recommend you to double the amount of popcorn for steeping, and steeping it in both the milk and cream. _MG_9797 The caramel sauce recipe I’ve included below will yield 400mL, which is more than what you will need for the ice cream recipe. But who on earth would complain about having excess caramel sauce?! Just store the remainder in an airtight container and refrigerate. The caramel sauce will solidify a little in the fridge, but it’s an easy fix, simply warm up for use. It should keep for up to 2 week if you have restraint… _MG_9807 RECIPE – Caramel popcorn ice cream (makes ~900mL)


Popcorn milk

  • 1 cup unsalted popcorn
  • 300mL milk

Caramel sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (or 60mL) water
  • 3/4 cup (or 180mL) thickened cream
  • 50g unsalted butter

Ice cream:

  • 300mL popcorn milk
  • 300mL thickened cream
  • 85g sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted popcorn
  • 40mL caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted popcorn



  1. To make popcorn milk, soak popcorn in milk. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain and discard the pulp. Reserve milk._MG_9803
  2. To make the caramel sauce, heat sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat until dissolved into an amber liquid. Turn the heat down to low and as soon as the liquid takes on a dark shade of amber, remove from heat add butter. Once butter has melted, return pan to low heat and stir in thickened cream until it comes to a boil. The caramel will thicken into a gooey consistency once it cools. Allow to cool completely before storing/using. (As I mentioned earlier, the sauce should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The caramel sauce will solidify a little in the fridge, so you will need to warm it up for use.)

Ice cream

  1. Combine popcorn milk, thickened cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan and heat gently until just simmering. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk egg yolks together and continue whisking as you slowly pour in the warmed milk mixture.
  3. Transfer mixture back into the saucepan and return to low/medium heat. Continue stirring custard mixture as it is gently heating for ~10 minutes. The custard will thicken a little, but not enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Cover custard with cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap touches the surface of the custard (this is to prevent the custard from developing a skin). Chill overnight in refrigerator.
  5. Once the custard has chilled through, churn it in your ice cream maker according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. A 15-20 minute churn should be sufficient for this amount of custard using most domestic grade ice cream maker models.
  6. Swirl in 40mL of caramel sauce and scatter popcorn pieces through the ice cream.
  7. Place ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours prior to serving. Garnish with popcorn and extra caramel sauce._MG_9811_MG_9819

Creamy with a hint of popcorn flavour, sticky swirls of caramel and textural contrast from the popcorn pieces. I would say this experimental recipe of mine has worked out rather well. In fact, it has rocketed up to a house favourite. That aside, I’ve satisfied my inner child, which was the most important goal!