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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Lychee Ice Cream

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This easy lychee ice cream recipe is creamy, delicious, and only requires 5 ingredients! With sweet and subtle floral notes, this refreshing lychee dessert makes for the perfect snack on hot summer days, but is really just a tasty treat any time of year . You can easily adjust the ingredients for a non-dairy, vegan option too!

Creamy homemade lychee ice cream served in a glass with a mint garnish.

There is nothing quite like homemade ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth! The natural flavors from the lychee fruit shine in this recipe. My family loves making this treat together and enjoying a bowl for a special dessert.

Creamy lychee ice cream, or commonly referred to as litchi ice cream, is the perfect feel-good treat. It is light and refreshing, while still giving plenty of sweetness. You could also enjoy this as a yummy lychee sorbet by omitting the dairy and just using the fresh lychee! 

Lychee is commonly used within Chinese recipes. It is a very unique looking fruit with a complex flavor – and tastes great in both sweet and savory recipes! . 

Lychee has many health benefits like being rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and other minerals. It is a great source of antioxidants, too!

Most lychee ice cream that you order in Chinese restaurants may have unnecessary ingredients and additives like locust bean gum. I prefer to make ice cream at home so I know exactly what is in it! 

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Naturally gluten-free
  • Can easily be made vegan
  • Amazing lychee flavor
  • Requires just a few simple ingredients
  • Kid friendly
  • Healthier than most ice creams

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

This homemade lychee ice cream calls for just a few simple ingredients that you may already have on hand. The star ingredient is, of course, the lychee fruit which can be canned or fresh. 

Ingredients for lychee ice cream recipe on a white background.
  • Canned Lychees: Lychee grows on a tree and has an outer pink shell and a sweet white flesh. This tropical fruit is native to China but also grows within the US. You can find canned lychee from Amazon, Walmart, Whole Foods, or Asian grocery stores. 
  • Condensed Milk: The condensed milk adds sweetness and makes for a more indulgent dessert. For less sugar, look for an unsweetened option. Swap the condensed milk for condensed coconut milk if you want this litchi ice cream recipe to be vegan. 
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream can both be used for this ice cream. Heavy cream will provide the creamiest, thickest results. You may choose to use coconut cream for this recipe as a non-dairy, vegan option.
  • Milk: You can use a variety of milks for this recipe. Whole milk is a great option for the creamiest results, but any plant-based alternative will work too. Try it out with coconut milk, almond milk, or cashew milk. When choosing a plant-based milk, look for one that is unsweetened and contains minimal ingredients. You do not need any added ingredients like guar gum.
  • Vanilla Extract: The vanilla flavor pairs perfect with the lychee, for a classic and familiar taste that we all know and love. 

🔪 Instructions

With just a few simple steps, you’ll be enjoying a perfect dessert. Here is how to make this lychee ice cream recipe:

Freeze Bowl, Blend Ingredients: Freeze the ice cream machine bowl for at least 24 hours before making ice cream. Drain the canned lychees, then add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until desired texture. A food processor should work for this, as well.

Transfer & Chill: Transfer the lychee puree mixture to a mixing bowl, cover and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours to intensify the flavors.

Ice cream base in a mixing bowl.

Pour Into Frozen Bowl: Once chilled pour lychee mixture into the frozen bowl of the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Serve: Serve immediately for a soft serve ice cream or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving for a scoopable litchi ice cream.

Homemade litchi ice cream in a glass container, scooped with a spoon.

How To Make Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Machine

If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can still make this dessert by using the “freeze and stir” method! Here’s how you do it:

  1. After the ice cream mixture has chilled, place it into an airtight container and into the freezer for 1 – 2 hours.
  2. Remove and whisk to break up any ice crystals that may have formed.
  3. Repeat this process several more times until you have thick frozen ice cream.
  4. This process can take 5-6 hours.
  5. As the ice cream becomes thicker you may need to place it into a high speed blender to break up ice crystals and to make it smoother.
  6. If you use an ice cream machine, churning time will be about 40 min – 1 hour. But if you don’t have an ice cream machine, using the freezer/stirring method will take up to 6 hours. 

💭 Expert Tips

  • For a smooth ice cream, blend until there are no lumps of lychee; however if you’d prefer it to be textured with some taste of lychee pulp, pulse several times to incorporate all ingredients, but leave it slightly chunky.
  • Churning times will vary based on the machine you’re using, or if you’re making it without a machine. A slower churn will result in denser lychee gelato.
  • Fresh or canned lychee can be used in this recipe.
  • Intensify the flavors by chilling the mixture before freezing. This makes the freezing process faster, too.
  • You can use vanilla bean. A vanilla bean can be used instead of vanilla extract, simply slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and mix into the milk mixture.
  • Serve this ice cream immediately for a soft serve option. If you prefer a scoopable ice cream, freeze for at least one hour in an airtight container before serving. If ice cream is difficult to scoop, let it sit out at room temperature for a few minutes to soften. Add chopped lychee, fresh fruits, caramelized bananas, or chocolate syrup as a yummy topping.

📖 Variations

  • Add Rose Flavor: Use a rose syrup or flavor for a delicious lychee rose ice cream. Top with dried rose petals if desired.
  • Make It Frozen Yogurt: Make lychee yogurt ice cream by using yogurt instead of milk and cream. 
  • Add Raspberries: Mix in fresh raspberries along with the lychee for a tasty lychee raspberry ice cream.
  • Vegan Lychee Coconut Ice Cream: Swap out the condensed milk for condensed coconut milk, heavy cream for coconut cream and milk with plant based milk  for a lovely vegan coconut lychee ice cream. These replacements will still result in a creamy litchi ice cream!

❓Recipe FAQs

What is lychee flavor?

Lychee has a sweet, juicy flavor with subtle floral notes. It can be compared to a cross between pear, strawberry, grape, and rose. With this tropical fruit, you may also notice a hint of citrus. The lychee flavor pairs perfectly with lemonades and green tea. The citrusy sweetness also makes for a delicious lychee jelly or lychee syrup.

What is lychee ice cream supposed to taste like?

Lychee ice cream combines all the lovely flavors of lychee with the creamy sweetness of condensed milk and heavy cream. If you opt for the vegan version, you can expect fresh coconut flavor.

How do you store homemade ice cream?

Lychee ice cream is best when stored in an airtight container, and can last up to 3 months in the freezer. You can also pre-portion this ice cream into smaller containers. When you’re ready to serve, let the ice cream soften at room temperature for 5 minutes before scooping and serving. If you happen to have any remaining lychees from the recipe, those can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Creamy lychee ice cream served in a glass with a mint garnish.

🍨 More Frozen Treats & Ice Cream Recipes!

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🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/dIuJIb7kRVE
Creamy homemade lychee ice cream served in a glass with a mint garnish.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Lychee Ice Cream

This easy lychee ice cream recipe is creamy, delicious, and only requires 5 ingredients! With sweet and subtle floral notes, this refreshing lychee dessert makes for the perfect snack on hot summer days, but is really just a tasty treat any time of year. You can easily adjust the ingredients for a non-dairy, vegan option too!
Prep Time3 hours 10 minutes
Churning Time40 minutes
Total Time3 hours 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Asian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 328kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Equipment

Instructions

  • First, freeze the ice cream machine bowl for at least 24 hours before making ice cream.
  • Drain the canned lychees.
  • Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until desired texture.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours to intensify the flavors.
  • Once chilled, pour the lychee mixture into the frozen bowl of the ice cream machine, and follow the manufacturer's directions. Churn time is approximately 40 minutes – 90 minutes depending on your ice cream maker (look at the manual to determine the right churn time).
  • Serve immediately for a soft serve ice cream or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving for a delicious, scoopable ice cream.
  • Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes

How to freeze without an ice cream machine:
  • After the mixture has chilled place it into an airtight container and into the freezer for 1 – 2 hours.
  • Remove and whisk to break up any ice crystals that may have formed.
  • Repeat this process several more times until you have thick frozen ice cream.
  • This process can take 5-6 hours.
  • As the ice cream becomes thicker you may need to place it into a high speed blender to break up ice crystals and to make it smoother.
  • If you use an ice cream machine, churning time will be about 40 min – 1 hour. But if you don’t have an ice cream machine, using the freezer/stirring method will take up to 6 hours. 
Other Tips
  • If you’d like your ice cream to be smooth, blend until there are no lumps of lychee; however if you’d prefer it to be textured pulse several times to incorporate all ingredients, but leave it slightly chunky.
  • Churning times will vary based on the machine you’re using or if you’re making it without a machine.
  • Fresh or canned lychee can be used in this recipe.
  • Chilling the mixture before freezing intensifies the flavors and makes the freezing process faster.
  • To make this vegan friendly, swap out the condensed milk for condensed coconut milk, heavy cream for coconut cream and milk with any plant based milk.
  • A vanilla bean can be used instead of vanilla extract, simply slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and mix into the milk mixture.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g

6 responses to “Lychee Ice Cream”

  1. Enjoyed this for dessert tonight and it was a sweet success! So creamy and delicious; easily, the best way to end an evening!5 stars

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