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Vanilla Kefir Ice Cream Recipe

This is the perfect dessert for your sweet tooth cravings and it’s also great for the bacteria in your gut at the same time.

From The Cultured Club
July 2018

  • kefir-ice-cream
    Use an ice cream maker or use the freezer method as pictured here.
    Photo by GettyImages/Vadym Petrochenko
  • fermentation-recipes
    “The Cultured Club” by Dearbhla Reynolds, is filled with a variety of gut-friendly recipes.
    Courtesy of Countryman Press
  • kefir-ice-cream
  • fermentation-recipes

Yield: 1 quart

In The Cultured Club (Countryman Press, 2016) by Dearbhla Reynolds, readers will find fermentation techniques as well as recipes for sauerkrauts, kimchi, vegetable and fruit ferments, dairy and nut milk ferments and more. Dive into the unique and flavorful recipes and find something for everyone. This excerpt is located in “Vegetable Ferments.”

I thought it was worth investing in a cheap-ish ice cream maker for the sake of getting it right for my two ice cream-loving children. But what if you don’t have an ice cream maker? It can still be done. Like everything worthwhile, it just takes a little bit longer. 


Ice Cream

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 cups milk kefir (See below), yogurt, or buttermilk
  • 1 cup cultured cream (See below)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Milk Kefir

If your palate is new to fermented and cultured foods, kefir can take a little getting used to. The tang and the tart taste are strong on a tongue more accustomed to sweet, but it can develop into a taste that is soothing and enjoyable. Makes 1 x 1-quart jar

  • 4 tablespoons milk kefir grains (See note below)
  • 4 cups whole raw milk


Where can I buy kefir grains and water kefir grains?

Kefir grains are available to buy online from sites such as However, getting some surplus from a seasoned brewer who is bound to have an abundance is a much nicer way of sharing. Try sites like or link up with fermentation groups on social media.

Cultured Cream

It’s possible to ferment cream with kefir grains. The process is just as easy as making kefir with milk, but be prepared for a rather thick product after 24 hours of culturing and a little bit of extra time to pass it through a sieve to collect your kefir grains again. One bonus is that the subsequent batch of kefir made with these grains will be extra lush. To save yourself the hassle, though, you can simply add some ready-to-go fermented kefir to your cream and allow it to work its magic for you. Makes 1 x 1/2-pint jar

  • 1 cup full-fat cream
  • 1 tablespoon milk kefir (See above)


Ice Cream

  1. Beat the eggs together well, then beat in the honey. Blend in the kefir, cultured cream, and vanilla.
  2. Taste the mix, keeping in mind that the finished ice cream will be slightly less sweet than the kefir mixture before it’s frozen, and add more sweetener if necessary.
  3. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (For me, that means adding the mixture to the pre-frozen bowl of the machine while it’s running and letting it churn for 20 to 25 minutes.)
  4. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the ice cream mixture into a plastic bowl and put it in the freezer for about two hours, until frozen.
  5. Remove from the freezer and allow to soften slightly, then break it up and put it in your blender. Blend until creamy, but not too long or it will melt.
  6. You just want to break up the ice crystals that are beginning to form.
  7. Place it back in the freezer for another two hours to firm up again, then blend again. The ice cream should be thick. Return it to the freezer one last time to firm up, then enjoy.
  8. Alternatively, if you don’t have a blender either, you can check the ice cream every 45 minutes, and as it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir vigorously to break up those ice crystals.
  9. You are the churn that is otherwise part of an ice cream machine!
  10. Return it to the freezer and continue to check it every 30 minutes (you might need to set an alarm for this step to help you remember), stirring vigorously every time it’s starting to freeze.
  11. Repeat this step every 30 minutes about three more times. You’ll deserve your ice cream by then!

Milk Kefir

  1. Put the kefir grains in a clean 1-quart jar and fill almost to the top with the milk.
  2. Cover with a clean cloth and set aside on your kitchen counter for one to two days, stirring periodically with a wooden spoon—this is particularly important, as metal appears to damage the cultures.
  3. After 24 to 48 hours (the most favorable culturing time), strain out the kefir grains with a plastic strainer set over a jug.
  4. The grains are then popped back into a clean jar with some new milk and the process continues.
  5. In the jug you now have your milk kefir, which you can enjoy as is or in a variety of ways, both sweet and savory.

Cultured Cream

  1. Mix the cream with the milk kefir in a clean 1/2-pint jar and allow to culture for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature.
  2. When it’s done, transfer to the fridge, where it will keep for one month.

Reprinted with Permission from The Cultured Club and Published by Countryman Press.

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