Homemade Cardamom Ice Cream

All the ice cream you could possibly want

cardamom icecream

Photo: Kristi Bissell
Cardamom Ice Cream will bring a taste of Norway to your Syttende Mai celebration.

Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

The 17th of May is “Barnas dag,” the children’s day, the one day of the year when kids can eat all the ice cream they want. It’s a beloved treat for both children and adults, so if you are looking for a deliciously simple Scandinavian take on ice cream, this Homemade Cardamom Ice Cream is just the thing. It’s creamy, luxurious and has just the right amount of cardamom flavor.

The simple ice cream base allows the cardamom to shine, bringing forth its subtle floral and citrus notes and creating an intoxicating new ice cream flavor.

The recipe begins with a very basic custard ice cream base, and I’ve included step-by-step instructions to ensure that it is really easy to follow and produces excellent results every time.

Best of all it can be made in advance and keeps for 4 to 6 weeks.

Why this recipe works

The ice cream is churned in an ice cream maker which creates an extra-creamy and delicious final result.

This ice cream contains just the right amount of cardamom and a hint of vanilla for the absolute best flavor.

Expert tips

Remember to freeze the work bowl of the ice cream machine in advance. The work bowl of your ice cream maker must be thoroughly chilled before successfully churning ice cream; this may take between 24 and 48 hours (see the manufacturer’s instructions for specific details for your particular model).

Temper the egg yolks before adding them to the milk and cream mixture. There is a good reason that the recipe asks you to SLOWLY mix about a cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks before adding them back to the pan. This process is called tempering, and it helps ensure that your eggs don’t solidify once they hit the shocking heat of the cream mixture.

Strain the custard base once it has finished cooking. If you don’t strain the mixture, you run the risk of having little bits of cooked egg in your finished project.

DO NOT SKIP THE ICE BATH and cool the mixture COMPLETELY before putting it into the fridge. Ice crystals are the enemy of smooth and creamy ice cream. One of the reasons we use an ice bath to cool the custard base down quickly and completely is so that condensation doesn’t form after you cover the mixture and cause additional water to find its way back into the custard (water that will eventually freeze and become icy). I will let my custard sit in the ice bath until it is cool to the touch and then cover and transfer it to the refrigerator.

Don’t skimp on the cooling time before churning. To prevent ice crystal formation, it’s important to make sure that the mixture is good and cold before it goes into the ice cream maker. I almost always make my custard base one day and churn it the next.


Homemade cardamom ice cream


Photo: Kristi Bissell
This ice cream tastes and looks great served in traditional Norwegian krumkake cones. You can find the recipe for Kristi’s krumkaker from the Nov. 27, 2020, edition of The Norwegian American here.

Kristi Bissell


4 large egg yolks

¾ cup granulated sugar divided

1½ cups heavy cream

1½ cups whole milk

Pinch of fine sea salt

10 cardamom pods crushed or ½ tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Special equipment

Ice cream maker


Whisk egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar together in a separate medium bowl. Set aside.

Heat cream, milk, remaining ½ cup sugar, salt, and crushed cardamom pods in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming and just below a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make an ice bath: combine cold water and plenty of ice in a large bowl and set aside.

Return the cream mixture to a simmer. Slowly and pouring in a steady stream, ladle about 1 cup of the warm cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Transfer the cream and egg mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and is just beginning to bubble, about 3 minutes.

Immediately strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl leaving any cooked egg and the crushed cardamom behind. Stir in the vanilla. Carefully transfer the bowl to the ice bath. Allow the custard to cool in the bowl over the ice bath, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has come to a cool room temperature. Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.


This article originally appeared in the May 6, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.