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!
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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 how to make Creamy Homemade Matcha Ice CreamPrint
Step by step recipe
Check out my other matcha recipes!
If you loved this matcha ice cream recipe, you should check out some of my other matcha recipes!