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Lemon Gelato

On a recent trip to Italy, I became addicted to gelato. My favorite choice was lemon because Italian lemons have an intense flavor. This recipe brings back memories of our vacation. —Gail Wang, Troy, Michigan
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Lemon Gelato
Lemon Gelato Recipe photo by Taste of Home

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  • Test Kitchen Approved
  • 16 reviews
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  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Process: 20 min. + freezing

  • Makes
    1-1/2 quarts

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

  • In a small heavy saucepan, heat milk to 175°; stir in sugar until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Add lemon zest. Cook over low heat until mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and a thermometer reads at least 160°, stirring constantly. Do not allow to boil.
  • Remove immediately from heat; stir in lemon juice and cream. Place in a bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard; refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  • Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze.) Transfer ice cream to freezer containers, allowing headspace for expansion. Freeze 2-4 hours or until firm. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Nutrition Facts

2/3 cup: 361 calories, 26g fat (15g saturated fat), 213mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (27g sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.

Originally published as Refreshing Lemon Gelato in Taste of Home June/July 2008

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  • Bite
    Oct 12, 2018

    To start, this recipe produced fantastic results both ways I made it (see below), so many thanks for sharing! We really enjoyed this recipe.

    I am new to making frozen treats so I found this recipe while looking for Gelato to try in my brand new ice cream maker (Cuisinart ICE-30BC), and your proportions of milk to cream struck me as opposite to what I have just recently learned about the difference between Gelato and Ice Cream. Ive been reading that Gelato basically is double the milk to cream and ice cream is double the cream to milk.

    I get confused with the egg yolks as fat, but all things considered I wanted to find out for myself, so I made one batch as written above ("Ice Cream") and one with 2 Cups milk to 1 Cup heavy whipping cream ("Gelato"). I can definitely taste the difference and believe the labels I applied to the ingredients above bears out in the taste test.

    The only other difference in my version is that between stove and refrigerator, I strained the custard to get the lemon zest out.

    So – 1) am I on the right track with my Gelato vs. Ice Cream recipe, and 2) does retaining the lemon zest in the custard add anything special that I may have missed out on?

    Thanks for this great recipe!

  • Judy
    Mar 3, 2018

    Fantastic lemony, tart gelato. My husband is a huge fan of anything lemon, and I have to admit, I am too. Over the years I have tried many lemon gelato, sorbet, and ice cream recipes…this one is the keeper for creamy gelato. I love filling the hollowed out lemon peels with either gelato or sorbet for a beautiful presentation. This recipe in particular has a very high lemon juice content which makes it super refreshing and zesty. I am saving and sharing this recipe as the best for lemon gelato.

  • Vicki
    Sep 24, 2017

    I have made this recipe two times now. It is the best. My family stands around watching the machine and fights over who gets to lick the gelato off the paddles. Not one person says it is just so so. We all love it.

  • fotoman
    Jul 25, 2016

    Absolutely wonderful!

  • Bakelove2
    May 7, 2016

    Hi I just wanted to know if it is degree calcium or Fahrenheit when it says 175

  • ShariKay84
    May 3, 2016

    I made this for a friend because it’s her favourite dessert. I made it exactly as written, but using a commercial ice cream maker churned for 20 minutes. I personally thought it was a bit too tart, but this is her exact review “your lemon Gelato was friggen unreal! It reminded me of my Nana’s lemon tarts mixed with authentic Italian gelato. It was the closest thing I’ve had since we went to Italy, and believe me…. I’ve been looking!”Would definitely make this again!

  • sgronholz
    Aug 24, 2014

    This recipe is outstanding! Its very creamy, very refreshing and quite easy to make. My husband and I both enjoyed it and I will definitely be making it again!

  • jenngarber
    Sep 18, 2012

    This is one of the most amazing recipes I have in my recipe box. It tastes like lemons. Everyone who likes lemons LOVES it. I would call it more of a custard, though. I have had gelato and do not care for the texture. The texture of this is SUPERB!

  • mamamozzi
    Aug 7, 2012

    I have made this recipe and I am using splenda instead of sugar so that my diabetic husband can have a sweet treat! Love it!

  • mamamozzi
    Aug 7, 2012

    I have made this recipe and I am using splenda instead of sugar so that my diabetic husband can have a sweet treat! Love it!

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