Summer is the perfect time to indulge in this homemade Pineapple Ice Cream, where tropical flavors meet creamy perfection. This recipe is made with just a few simple ingredients that really let the fresh pineapple flavor shine.
If I see anything pineapple flavored on a menu, I have to get it. For whatever reason, pineapple isn't often a flavor option unless you're in Hawaii or another tropical locale. And in my opinion, that's a major missed opportunity.
Though I enjoy pineapple year-round, the fruit really screams summer an tropical weather. That's why I wanted to put it in an ice cream.
Pineapple ice cream is incredibly refreshing, creamy, and fruit forward. It's perfect for a hot summer day. You do need to follow a special technique to make it, so be sure to follow this recipe!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
I think you're going to love this homemade pineapple ice cream recipe because it's simple (just 6 basic ingredients) and easy to make.
It's an incredibly unique ice cream flavor, but one that's so perfect for summer. It's also pretty versatile and there's a lot you can do to jazz it up and make it your own.
Like I mentioned, this recipe is made up of just a few simple ingredients. Below is everything you need, but be sure to view the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions:
- Diced pineapple: I recommend using fresh ripe pineapple, but you can use canned if you don't have it
- Heavy cream
- Whole milk
- Granulated sugar
- Egg yolks
Note that this isn't a no-churn ice cream recipe and you will need an ice cream maker for it. I recommend the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment if you already have a KitchenAid mixer.
🍍 Is pineapple ice cream bitter?
Most of us know pineapple to be a super sweet and juicy fruit. But it actually contains an enzyme called bromelain (a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins) that can make it quite bitter.
You usually wouldn't taste this, but when pineapple is combined with dairy, the bromelain interacts with the proteins in the dairy and causes a bitter taste.
I experimented with this ice cream by making it the typical way I make fruit-based ice creams; heating the milk, cream, and sugar, adding the egg yolks and then mixing in the pineapple.
And guess what? The ice cream was super bitter... I wouldn't have served it to anyone!
So, the next time I made it, I decided to heat the pineapple first. When you apply heat to pineapple, it essentially deactivates the bromelain and neutralizes the bitterness.
It worked and the pineapple ice cream was sweet and delicious!
🍦 How to make pineapple ice cream
You'll need about 1 ½ cups of pineapple, which is about ½ of a fresh pineapple for this ice cream.
I recommend dicing it into small, bite-sized pieces.
Now comes the very important step that will get rid of any bitterness in your ice cream... heating the pineapple!
Add diced pineapple to a medium nonstick saucepan (this should be the same saucepan you'll make the ice cream in) over medium heat and stirring frequently, let heat for about 5-7 minutes, until pineapple is softening and starting to turn slightly translucent.
This will take away the bitter flavor reaction between the pineapple and milk.
Now, add the cream, milk, sugar, and salt to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Let the mixture reach just the point of simmer before removing from heat.
While milk/cream mixture is coming to a simmer, lightly whisk egg yolks in a separate heat-proof medium bowl.
Slowly pour about half of the warm cream/milk mixture into the bowl with the yolks, whisking continuously.
This step tempers the eggs- the slow addition of heated milk makes it so they don't scramble from the shock of the heat.
Then pour egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream mixture.
Continue to cook over low heat, while whisking. When the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, after about 4-6 minutes, remove the saucepan from heat.
Pour cream mixture into a large bowl. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap so that plastic is touching top of cream mixture (this will prevent a skin from forming). This is your ice cream base. Put it in the refrigerator until chilled, at least 4 hours.
And you're ready to process the pineapple ice cream!
Process according to the manufacturer's instructions that come with your ice cream machine. It took about 20 minutes for the ice cream to freeze for me.
It will still be pretty soft, so be sure to put the ice cream in airtight containers and place in freezer for at least 4 hours to continue to harden.
I love how it's naturally a pretty pale yellow color!
Scoop it into a bowl and enjoy it because it honestly doesn't require any toppings. It's simple and perfect and a creamy ice cream that's packed with fresh pineapple flavor.
Chris said this is his favorite ice cream he's ever had and I'm taking that as a huge compliment and endorsement.
I know so many people love Disney's Dole Whip (that they serve in Disney parks) and while this version isn't a soft serve ice cream, it definitely has Dole Whip flavor vibes. And is basically a tropical vacation in a bowl. Or a cone. However you decide to serve it.
⏲️ How to store
When stored properly in an airtight container, this homemade pineapple ice cream should stay fresh in your freezer for about a month. If it lasts that long!
You can store it in any airtight container, but if you make ice cream often, I recommend special quart-sized ice cream storage containers. These ice cream containers are my favorites!
Make sure the temperature of your freezer is well-regulated as fluctuations can cause freezer burn.
🥫 Can you use canned pineapple?
If you can't get fresh pineapple for this ice cream, you can substitute with canned (be sure to drain it first), but in my opinion, it's not quite as delicious tasting as I think the flavor in canned pineapple is a little more muted.
Canned pineapple will have less bromelain in it, but it does still have some, so I still recommend heating it before adding to milk and cream.
🎉 Flavor add-ins
While I think this pineapple ice cream is perfect in its simplest form, it's also an incredible awesome blank palate for so many other flavors. If you're looking for some add-ins or toppings for this ice cream, here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Coconut: Add to the tropical flavors of this ice cream by mixing in some shredded coconut or coconut flakes. It will also give the pineapple coconut ice cream big piña colada vibes! If you don't want to add actual coconut, you can replace the milk with coconut milk.
- Chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or white chocolate chips: You know those Edible Arrangements that come with chocolate-covered pineapple? It's not the most common combination, but pineapple and chocolate go so well together! If you prefer white chocolate, it would add some extra sweetness here.
- Nuts: Mix in some nuts as you're processing this ice cream for a little bit of crunch. I think macadamia nuts, pistachios, or cashews would be the best options.
- Citrus: You can add a little fresh citrus for an extra burst of bright flavor. I like lime juice best with pineapple, but lemon juice works well, too.
- Vanilla extract: You might notice I didn't include any vanilla extract in my ice cream because I just wanted to let the pineapple flavor shine. But you can certainly add a little for a more layered flavor. Or you can add a lot for a pineapple vanilla ice cream.
- Candied pineapple: I added some candied pineapple to these photos, but you can also mix some into the ice cream for even more pineapple flavor and sweetness!
- Marshmallow sauce or chocolate sauce: Top this frozen treat with the dessert topping of your choice, but I like marshmallow and chocolate best.
And don't forget, once you have this pineapple ice cream made, you can easily turn it into a pineapple milkshake!
🍨 More summer ice cream recipes
Of course, any flavor ice cream can be enjoyed at any time of year. But some just scream summertime more than others. Here are some of my favorite homemade summer flavored ice creams:
I also love this gorgeous Mixed Berry Ice Cream from Barefeet in the Kitchen.
But like I said, I'm always going to choose pineapple when given the chance!
If you're a fan of making homemade ice cream, you need to try this delicious dessert with a tropical twist! It's a simple recipe that I guarantee you'll want to make again and again all summer long.
Please let me know if you make it and what you add to it!
- 1 ½ cups diced pineapple (from about ½ pineapple)
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- Add diced pineapple to a medium nonstick saucepan (the same one you'll make the ice cream base in) over medium heat and stirring frequently, let heat for about 5-7 minutes, until pineapple is softening and starting to turn slightly translucent. This will take away the bitter flavor reaction between the pineapple and milk.
- Add cream, milk, sugar, and salt to the saucepan with the pineapple and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let mixture reach just the point of simmer before removing from heat.
- While milk/cream mixture is coming to a simmer, lightly whisk egg yolks in a separate heat-proof medium bowl.
- Slowly pour about half of the warm cream/milk mixture into the bowl with the yolks, whisking continuously. Then pour egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream mixture.
- Continue to cook over low heat, while whisking. When the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, after about 4-6 minutes, remove the saucepan from heat. If you're using a thermometer, the mixture should be at about 170 degrees F.
- Pour cream mixture into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap so that plastic is touching top of cream mixture (this will prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
- Once mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.