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Hand holding cone topped with dark grey colored ice cream scoop.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

This ice cream is flavored with plenty of ground black sesame seeds for an ice cream that’s rich and nutty!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Japanese
Keyword black sesame, gluten-free, grain-free, ice cream, nut-free, vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill/Freeze Time 16 hours
Total Time 16 hours 50 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 255 kcal


  • ½ cup black sesame seeds
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vodka


  1. In a small pan, toast sesame seeds over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes or until fragrant. Make sure to stir occasionally so that they toast evenly. Let cool completely.

  2. Using an immersion blender, blend the sugar and black sesame seeds together until the sugar looks like grey, damp sand and there are no visible whole sesame seeds.

  3. Combine the sesame and sugar mixture, salt, cream and milk in a medium pot. Place the pot over medium to medium-low heat. Let the dairy warm up until it’s steaming but not bubbling and the sugar is dissolved. You probably shouldn’t leave the room while this is happening.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until they’re broken up. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170F on an instant-read thermometer if you’re an exact and/or nervous person).
  5. Cool the ice cream base to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard any scrambled egg bits that get caught in the sieve. Stir in the vodka.
  6. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturers’ instructions; it'll look like really thick whipped cream when it's done churning. Transfer to a container (I like to use a long, shallow container because it helps me get better scoops than a pint container), smooth the top and cover. Freeze until solid.

Recipe Notes

If you don’t have an immersion blender, a small food processor/stand blender or a spice grinder work instead. You can also try to find black sesame powder or ground black sesame seeds (they’re the same thing) in a Chinese grocery store.

The vodka is to help with the texture of the ice cream and not the flavor. You can omit if you need to.