Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream

This recipe for Meyer Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Cream marries the chill of ice cream with summer citrus. A Meyer lemon is a hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin orange, offering a unique balance of citrus flavor.

Because the acidity of the lemon zest might curdle milk while it infuses, only cream is used in the infusion. The cream steeps overnight before making the custard, which also chills overnight, so you will need to start making the ice cream at least 2 days before serving.

Yields: Makes 1 quart  Time: 2-3 days


  • 3⁄4 cup (6 ounces) heavy whipping cream
  • 2⁄3 cup (4 2⁄3 ounces) granulated cane sugar, divided into halves
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1⁄2  ounces) fresh Meyer Lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1⁄2 Tahitian vanilla bean, split horizontally
  • 1⁄3 cup (3 ounces) whole milk
  • 6 (4 1/2 ounces) extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (10 ounces) buttermilk, chilled


        1. Stir the cream and 1⁄3 cup of the sugar together in a small saucepan. Finely grate the zest from the lemon into the pan. (The lemon can then be juiced as part of the 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.) Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean into the pan and then add the bean. Bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

        2. The next day, strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve and return to the saucepan. Add the milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

        3. While the cream mixture is heating, combine the egg yolks and the remaining 1⁄3 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale and thick and forms a ribbon when the whip is lifted from the bowl, 3 to 5 minutes.

        4. Switch the mixer to low speed. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the bowl and beat just until combined. Do not beat to a froth.

        5. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats a spoon and registers 160 F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.

        6. Pour through the fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the custard overnight.

        7. The next day, add the buttermilk and lemon juice to the custard and stir to mix. Churn the custard in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.