Table of Contents
  1. Why combine fruit and herbs in ice cream?
  2. How do you ensure a deep, rich flavor?
  3. Watch how to make this strawberry basil ice cream:
  4. Past Ice Cream Week favorites:
  5. Strawberry Basil Ice Cream Recipe

Another year means another week of ice cream! Let’s start this Ice Cream Week with a strawberry basil ice cream!

Growing up, we made ice cream on special occasions. Usually, it was homemade vanilla, which – don’t get me wrong – is amazing. If we wanted something different, we would blend a container of our home-frozen strawberries or peaches into the ice cream. Today, when you go into any number of specialty ice cream shops, you can find all sorts of exotic and exciting flavors.

Peppercorn-infused strawberry basil ice cream sounds like a mistake, right? Wrong! Let me assure you, this is nothing short of perfection! If you’re in the mood to try a unique ice cream outside the realm of “normal,” this is the one for you!

Top down view of pink-colored strawberry basil ice cream in a clear glass cup with basil, peppercorns, and strawberries sitting on marble

Why combine fruit and herbs in ice cream?

Berries and herbs are at their peak during the summer. I’m a strong believer that unless you taste food when it is freshly picked and ripe, you don’t really know what you’re missing. To use the best that summer has to offer, I love to mix and match flavors that seem out of the ordinary. While mixing strawberry and basil seems like a stretch, think about this: tomatoes and basil are two completely separate things, and we always tend to eat them together. Tomatoes are fruit, so why wouldn’t strawberries work too?

For quite a few years, I’ve made basil ice cream: simply steep the basil in the ice cream base and serve it with fresh fruit. For me, this strawberry basil ice cream is simply the natural next step.

Close up view of strawberry basil ice cream in a clear glass cup with strawberries sitting on marble background

How do you ensure a deep, rich flavor?

To drive home the flavors of this ice cream, I add in three main components:

  • Strawberry puree: I find it best to puree the strawberries so they evenly incorporate into the ice cream base. Personally, I don’t necessarily love the texture of pieces of fruit in ice cream. If left in small chunks, the fruit tends to become a mini ice cube once frozen. No thank you! Instead, a blended fruit puree creates even flavor throughout the ice cream with no hard bits. Win-win!
  • Peppercorns: Yeah, this one seems odd at first and it’s important to know that Szechuan peppercorns (affiliate link) definitely are unique. This variety of peppercorns are not as spicy as black peppercorns and tend to give a numbing effect to the tongue – yeah, you heard me right… numbing. It’s kind of a cool sensation. Plus, pepper and strawberries are often paired together, so the combination in this ice cream just makes sense. Peppercorns enhance the strawberry flavor and wake up the tastebuds.
  • Basil leaves: To add in that crucial basil flavor, the ice cream base is steeped with fresh basil leaves. It only takes about twenty minutes for the leaves to give just a hint of herby freshness. Just make sure to strain them before freezing the ice cream.

Once churned, this ice cream exudes a complex flavor profile due to the multiple layers of flavor. But don’t worry: it easily satisfies that ice cream craving we all feel.

Watch how to make this strawberry basil ice cream:

YouTube video

I love to use my KitchenAid stand mixer (affiliate link) with an ice cream maker attachment (affiliate link) to whip up my ice cream. After about twenty to thirty minutes, you’ll have delicious soft-serve-style ice cream.

My Tovolo ice cream containers (affiliate link) store my ice cream perfectly and have lasted for years – ever since Ice Cream Week started!

Past Ice Cream Week favorites:

Three scoops of pink-colored strawberry basil ice cream sitting in glass with peppercorns, strawberries, and ice cream scoop on background all on piece of white marble

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream

3 from 2 votes
It’s all about the perfect fruit and herb pairing and that’s just what happens in this strawberry basil ice cream! To amp up the flavor, add in some peppercorns for a fun “numbing” effect!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Freezing Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup strawberry purée
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns (affiliate link)
  • 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup basil leaves


  • In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the 2 cups milk, heavy cream, puréed strawberries, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
    2 cups + 2 tbsp whole milk, 1 ¼ cups heavy cream, 1 cup strawberry purée, ¾ cup sugar, 2 tbsp corn syrup, 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the peppercorns to slightly break up. Add the peppercorns to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine and set over medium heat.
    2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns (affiliate link)
  • As the mixture heats up, in a separate bowl, combine the reserved 2 tablespoons milk and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
    2 cups + 2 tbsp whole milk, 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • Continue whisking the heating ice cream base until it comes to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat, allowing the mixture to come to a rolling boil. Once at a boil, remove from heat.
  • Add the prepared basil leaves and stir. Steep for 20 minutes.
    1 cup basil leaves
  • Once steeped, strain the ice cream base to remove the peppercorns and basil leaves.
  • Place into an airtight container and chill for 6-8 hours. The base can be chilled for up to 48 hours before freezing.
  • When ready to churn, follow the manufacturer’s instructions with the ice cream maker. Churn 20-30 minutes then transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer for an additional 4 hours for hard serve. Alternative, enjoy immediately as soft serve ice cream.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 266kcal
Course Ice Cream
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Freezing

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. 5 stars
    This turned out perfect. The basil was perfectly balanced with the strawberry.
    One of my favorite ice creams. Thank you for the inspiration!