Black Sesame Ice Cream

My mother has had a countertop ice cream maker for years. My kids love to visit her, which I’m sure is mostly because it’s grandma’s house. It is certainly not hurt, however, by the fact that she typically has a freezer full of different homemade ice creams and sorbets that they feel very free to raid. I’ve been a bit envious of hers for some time, but while we were living in rather cramped living conditions I had no space for non-essential kitchen gadgets. Now we’re enjoying a little more breathing room, and my mom very kindly gave me my own ice cream maker as a Christmas gift last year.

My favorite thing about having this somewhat noisy little contraption is how easy it makes to experiment. In all honesty, I’ve found I like the simple recipes the best. I’ve tried some elaborate combinations of a long list of ingredients, but a sweet cream custard base with a flavorful main ingredient or two is turning out to be my preferred approach. This particular combination of sesame seeds and honey has turned out to be an unexpected favorite. It’s almost peanut buttery in flavor, but with a little something extra.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (whole milk, not skim or 2%)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (evaporated can sugar preferred, but granulated white sugar will work)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1 tsp rum


  1. Prepare your ice cream maker according to its directions. If needed, place canister into the freezer the night before you intend to make your ice cream.

  2. Dry roast sesame seeds (black and white) on the stove top until they become fragrant and start to make small popping sounds. Stir frequently to avoid overcooking, as this will lend a not so pleasant burnt flavor to your finished ice cream. When they start popping, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool.

  3. Place cooled sesame seeds in blender or food processor. Grind until seeds form a paste, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed.

  4. Once seeds form a paste, add honey. Blend until well mixed.

  5. Add milk, sugar, and salt. Blend until well mixed again, taking care to make sure sugar is dissolved.

  6. Add egg yolks and rum, then blend one final time.

  7. Transfer mix to a sauce pan and cook on low heat, stirring regularly until mixture just starts to thicken. The difference when it starts thickening is subtle, but it should coat the back of a spoon when it's done. This is your custard for making the ice cream.

  8. When custard begins to thicken, remove from heat and add half & half, whisking it into the mixture. Once thoroughly mixed together, pour into the container of your choice, cover, and immediately move to the refrigerator. Let chill at least 8 hours (overnight).

  9. After custard has chilled, setup your ice cream maker and add custard to it. Freeze times may vary depending on what machine you're using. Mine takes around 40 minutes to reach the right consistency. Watch for solidity. It won't be as solid as finished ice cream in the center, but it should be close. When it is as a solid as it seems to be getting, remove ice cream to a freezer compatible container and transfer to freezer for a minimum of two hours. This will let the ice cream further solidify.

Recipe Notes

In addition to ingredients listed, you will also need:

  • Ice cream maker, preferably a small batch (~1L capacity) countertop one
  • High powered blender (Blendtec, Ninja, Vitamix, etc.) or food processor

After heating custard, if you notice stringy bits or odd lumps in your custard, there was likely some egg white riding along with your yolks. Not to worry. Pour custard through a mesh strainer, and continue on as instructed. After running custard through ice cream maker, do not move to freezer if ice cream still seems runny. You will get a block of flavored milk ice with a consistency that it anything but creamy.


Homemade Black Sesame Ice Cream

This ice cream is plenty good on its own, but everyone here seemed to like it even more with a little dark chocolate mixed in too. It was so loved this way that I ended up having to make a second batch to photograph because one of the kids crept out of bed overnight just to get their hands on the portion I had reserved for pictures. You may notice a lack of chocolate chunks in the photos on this post. I was out after the first batch mysteriously “disappeared” into the night.

If you’d like to add a little chocolate to your own, just toss 1-2 tablespoons of chips or chunks into the ice cream maker during the last 5 minutes of so of turning. I’m thinking about trying it with brownie chunks in the future, but haven’t tested that one yet. If you do, please let me know how it turns out!

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