jalapeño strawberry ice cream


In addition to his unnerving aversion to bacon, my partner also dislikes strawberries. And popsicles (???). That, however, does not stop me from buying bacon almost weekly & fresh strawberries whenever I can procure them, and if I had the notion to make popsicles (honey-lavender-yogurt popsicles anyone?), I’d go right ahead. And eat them all myself. Luckily, I am newly enamored of making ice cream. Not popsicles.
His mean distaste for strawberries leaves me with a bit of a problem when it comes to the fresh strawberries I’ve been buying each week since they came into season. After a winter waiting for fresh berries to bake with, I buy them compulsively. I made a goat cheese and strawberry tart. He picked them off. I made a dark chocolate ganache and strawberry galette–he wouldn’t eat it. Almost ready to admit defeat (secretly I believe that I’m such a genius I can make anyone like anything…), I thought maybe he would eat them if they were puréed, that maybe it was a texture thing. I can see how a finicky eater might regard them as, well, slimy. So, in a last ditch attempt to get him to happily ingest strawberries, I decided on ice cream with a strawberry purée swirl.


berries for ice cream
jalapeno chopping

It’s not really in my nature to just make straight up strawberry ice cream. Le yawn. Addicted to counterintuitive flavor combinations that just work, it’s surprising to me that I actually hadn’t made ice cream before this week. It is a perfect blank canvas for infinite combinations. The first ice cream I made was a honey cardamom ice cream with goat cheese and candied toasted almonds. It was complex yet comforting: all at once nutty, floral, tart, creamy, and sweet. A recipe for it is forthcoming, I promise.

strawberry jalapeno close up 2

Inspired by the strawberry jalapeño soda I had from Pure Sodaworks last week, I decided on a hot/cold jalapeño strawberry ice cream. I love the mixed message of spicy, cool, and creamy at the same time.

I decided that I wanted more of a jalapeño flavor than would be imparted by merely steeping jalapeños in the base and straining them out. I considered just tossing some chopped jalapeño with sugar and adding it in like nuts at the end of churning. That seemed a little heavy handed to me at the time, but after this attempt, I think I might try it. I like the idea of a crunch that packs a lot of jalapeño flavor. I used both fresh and candied pickled jalapeño with some sugar to make a rough jalapeño sugar purée because I wanted bright green visible specks of peppers in the ice cream. Next time I will use more candied jalapeños, as I wanted more pronounced tartness. The resultant ice cream was actually quite subtle, but not without lots of flavor.

candied jalapenos

After a springy dinner of risotto with leeks, lemon, and arugula, I served him a bowl of my creation along with a piece of ridiculous (in the best possible way) bittersweet chocolate soufflé. I figured chocolate soufflé could make anything awesome to anyone. (recipe also forthcoming!)

I’ll just say, he’s not one to be effusive about much of anything. Ever. With the exceptions of Nick Cave, David Bowie, and Romantic poetry. As such, I didn’t except much of a response and was prepared to be happy if he ate it, perhaps giving me a satisfied nod. Or perhaps I was prepared to be happy if he hated it so that I could horde it all. But he loved it and he even said so… effusively! He had seconds. Taken with a bite of chocolate soufflé (also laced with cayenne…we like it hot around here), dessert doesn’t really get better.

I don’t personally consider this a “crazy” flavor combination, but I realize that some people might do some face scrunching/ eye brow raising/ other facial expression of doubt. Just trust me, when I had that soda I knew this combination made sense. Actually before I had that soda I knew it made sense, which is why I ordered said soda. It’s fresh, a little grassy, fruity, spicy, cool, and creamy…. it’s basically everything I wanted it to be. If my finicky other half will eat it, I think it’s safe to say that it’s a pretty accessible flavor despite sounding, to some, adventurous.

This recipe is wonderful as is, but I consider it a rough draft, and plan to continue experimenting. Feel free to do the same.

strawberry jalapeno ice cream natural



jalapeno sugar


strawberry ice cream

Jalapeño strawberry ice cream

Print Recipe
Course Dessert
Keyword ice cream
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


For the Base:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • healthy pinch of cayenne optional

For the Jalapeño Sugar:

  • 1 medium jalapeño seeded and chopped
  • 5 slices candied jalapeño
  • 1/8 cup sugar

For the Strawberry Purée:

  • makes about twice as much as you need, I swirled about half in and used the other half as a topping
  • 1 pint of strawberries about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/8-1/4 cup sugar depending on your preferred sweetness


  • In a bowl whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cayenne until the sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.
  • While the ice cream churns make the purées. Combine the ingredients for the jalapeño sugar in the bowl of a food processor (I use a mini for this), and pulse until the jalapeno is very finely chopped. Set aside.
  • Combine the strawberries and sugar in the food processor and pulse until puréed. Set aside.
  • In the last five minutes of churning, add in the jalapeño sugar. I also added a pinch of couse sea salt. When the ice cream is done churning pour half into the container you intend to store it in and swirl a quarter of your strawberries into it, just swirling a bit, not turning the whole thing pink. Pour the other half on top and repeat the strawberry swirl. Reserve remaining strawberry sauce to top ice cream or for another use.
  • Either eat soft serve (my preference) or chill in the freezer until hardened and scoopable.
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