Matcha is one of the most popular flavours for sweets in Japan and for good reason! The bitterness and earthy taste perfectly balances out the sweetness found in desserts. Enjoy this delicious, rich and creamy matcha ice cream made totally by hand, no ice cream machine required!
Disclaimer: This post contains Dokodemo affiliate links. Sudachi Recipes earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. See disclaimer for more info.
What is matcha?
Matcha is a type of green tea powder. The leaves are grown in the shade for a few weeks before harvest in order to maintain flavour and colour. The stems and veins are then removed so that when it is grounded, it's super fine.
It's pretty expensive because of the care that must go into making matcha. The leaves are hand picked and only the highest quality leaves are chosen. When it's grounded, it must be grounded slowly so that the taste isn't altered by heat.
The taste of matcha is quite strong, a little bitter and earthy. It's a well loved flavour in Japan and is commonly used for drinking, sweets and even savory dishes like matcha soba noodles.
Types of matcha
There are three main types of matcha.
- Ceremonial grade the highest quality matcha used for tea ceremonies.
- Premium grade high quality matcha best for drinking. Made with leaves from the top of the tea plant and has a refreshing flavour.
- Culinary grade a lower quality matcha best for cooking. Made with leaves from the bottom of the tea plant and has a more bitter flavour.
Similar to coffee, matcha powder can vary in taste from very bitter to light and refreshing. Where it's grown and how it's processed can significantly affect the flavor.
For matcha ice cream, I recommend using culinary grade which is great because it's the cheaper option too! You can buy good quality Japanese Tsujiri Ichi Matcha powder on Dokodemo which can be used for drinking or cooking.
Once matcha powder is opened, it should be kept in an airtight, lightproof container and then keep it in the fridge or freezer. This is the best way to maintain the taste and colour of matcha.
Matcha doesn't age well, so once it's opened, try and use it up within a month.
Other than matcha, my ice cream recipe only requires a few easy to find ingredients!
- Egg yolks
- Heavy cream
- Corn starch
I find that ice cream recipes that use egg yolks tend to have a creamier texture and don't melt so quickly, but it will still work without the egg.
Method (no ice cream machine)
As much as I love making ice cream, I have a small Japanese kitchen with no more room for random appliances! And even though it's a bit more work and care, it's easy to make this matcha ice cream by hand.
- First, I heat the milk and cream in a sauce pan until tiny bubbles appear around the edges.
- Next I turn off the heat and mix the egg yolks, sugar and corn starch in a separate bowl.
- I temper the eggs by adding a ladle of the hot milk/cream mixture to the bowl and whisk it well. This prevents the egg chunks in the mixture.
- I gradually pour the rest of the milk and cream into the bowl while whisking and then pour it back into the saucepan.
- I turn the heat on low and sift in the matcha powder, whisking until it dissolves and the mixture starts to thicken.
- Once it becomes like a matcha custard, I transfer it to a loaf tin and cover the top with plastic wrap touching the surface. (This is to prevent a skin from forming.)
- Allow the mixture to cool down, I like to speed up the process by placing the loaf tin in a bowl of ice.
- Once it's cool, put it in the freezer and whisk every 30 minutes for 3 hours. (6 times in total)
TIP: set a timer every 30 mins so you don't forget to whisk it!
- Another 2-3 hours later it should be set enough to enjoy! (After 4 hours or so, it will need 5-10 minutes on the counter top to soften before serving.)
TIP: If you make this recipe in the morning, it will be ready for the afternoon!
I do recommend doubling this recipe, it's so good! But be aware that if you make more than the recipe, it usually takes longer to freeze fully. Also try and use in 1-2 weeks for best taste/texture.
Watch our video for how to make Homemade Matcha Ice CreamPrint
Step by step recipe
Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (抹茶アイスクリーム)
- Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
Enjoy making this delicious, rich and creamy matcha ice cream totally by hand, no ice cream machine required!
- 2 egg yolks
- 75g sugar
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 200ml full fat milk
- 200ml heavy cream (36%)
- 1 ½ tbsp matcha powder
- Pour 200ml of milk and 200ml heavy cream into a saucepan and heat on medium while stirring. Once bubbles start to form around the edges (or it reaches 60°C or 140°F) turn off the heat.
- In a heatproof bowl, whisk two egg yolks with 75g sugar and 1 tsp corn starch.
- Once it's well incorporated, add 1 ladle of hot milk/cream mixture to the eggs while whisking thoroughly.
- Gradually add the rest of the hot milk/cream while still whisking.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve and back into the pan. (I recommend wiping out the pan first.)
- Turn the heat on low / medium-low and sift in the 1 ½ tbsp matcha powder.
- Whisk until the matcha powder is dissolved and the mixture has thickened.
- Once the mixture reaches a thick, custard-like consistency, turn off the heat and transfer it to a steel bowl.
- Whisk it to help release some heat and place cling film over the top of the mixture, making sure it's making contact with the surface. (This will stop a skin from forming on the top.)
- Place the bowl in a bowl of ice and allow to cool.
- Once cool, transfer to a container with a lid and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. (Tip: It will freezer faster in a wide container rather than a tall one.)
- After 30 minutes, take it out from the freezer and whisk for 1 minute. Return to the freezer and repeat 5 more times. (It will take 3 hours in total, if it gets too hard to whisk, mix with a spatula and make sure to scrape down the sides.)
- After you've finished the whisking process, it will be ready to eat in approximately 1-2 more hours. (It can take more or less time depending on the temperature of your freezer and size of your container.)
- Remove from the freezer for 10 minutes before serving. (This will soften it and make it easier to scoop.)
Prep time is cooling/freezing/whisking time.
If doubling or tripling the recipe, be aware it will take longer to freeze. You can use multiple containers to shorten the freezing time.
For best results, eat within 2 weeks. (The taste and texture of the ice cream starts to deteriorate after 2 weeks, but it is still edible.)
- Prep Time: 3 hours 20 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Sweets
- Method: Freezing
- Cuisine: Japanese
Keywords: matcha ice cream, matcha ice cream recipe, how to make matcha ice cream, how to make green tea ice cream, green tea ice cream recipe, matcha green tea ice cream, Japanese ice cream,matcha icecream, green tea icecream, matcha ice cream no machine, matcha ice cream no ice cream machine, handmade matcha ice cream, hand churned matcha ice cream
Check out my other matcha recipes!
If you loved this matcha ice cream recipe, you should check out some of my other matcha recipes!
Leave a star rating and feedback or ask a question!