Sometimes, you have to wake up at 2AM to taste test the ice cream that you put in the freezer to chill at 10.

Even if it’s Friday.  And you’re tired.  And you have to wake up at 5:30 the next morning to beat the heat on your 10 mile run.

Set an alarm.

Sleep with a spoon next to your pillow.

That’s what I’d do.  (Did.)


And then you should probably taste test some more the day that you decide to take photos.

I mean…you can’t put it back in the container after you scooped it out into a bowl and let it sit on your desk photography platform for all of five minutes.  Right?


Health code violation?

FDA regulations?

Eats Well With Others apartment sanctions?


And then maybe…that first batch of photos isn’t quite right.  Maybe you need to try again.

Shrugs.  Yeah.  It happens.


If, after all of this photographizing, there’s even a smidgen of ice cream left.  You might want to serve it at the end of your sweet potato fry taste testing party.

Exactly two minutes before everyone’s bedtime.  Just enough time for a spoonful per person.

Sharing is caring, after all.

Just, um.  Don’t tell anyone what “that green stuff” is until after they taste it.

No one needs skepticism right before bed.

And they’ll be so floored after eating it that they won’t question your herb usage ever again.  Pinky swear.


Thai Basil Ice Cream
Makes 3 cups, adapted from 17 and Baking


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped Thai basil
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream


  1. Bring the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and basil to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling, remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until basil is ground up.
  2. Beat the egg yolks using an electric mixer. Add in the remaining sugar and continue beating until the yolk is thick and pale, about 1 minute. Add the milk mixture and beat until combined. Pour back into the saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the custard starts to thicken and coat the back of a wooden spoon or spatula and/or reaches 175 degrees. Strain into a metal bowl and chill until cold.
  3. Stir in the cream and pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn for about 20-30 minutes.  Freeze in an airtight container for at least two hours.

I am submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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118 Responses to Thai Basil Ice Cream

  1. I’d only trust you for a recipe like this! If for no other reason than loving the color, I need to try this recipe. And how can you not taste it when scooping for photos?!

  2. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Basil in ice cream!! Joanne you will make me go crazy with all your innovative food combos 🙂 Lovey creamy texture for the ice cream.

  3. Corina says:

    It sounds and looks yummy. I love the little green specks in it.

  4. Pam says:

    I love herb ice cream!!!! I can’t wait to try this!!

  5. Looks so good, and so creamy. I’ll have to trust you on the basil. I’d love to try it.

  6. What a fabulous flavor for ice cream!! I would love to try your version after having this delicious, refreshing flavor at Ten Tables in Boston! I am sure it is amaaaazing 🙂 Well done!

  7. Sounds like a tough job but someones gotta do it. Hats off for the dedication!

  8. This has certainly perked up my taste buds this morning! I just happen to have a pot of Thai basil by my kitchen door. It will be happy to have a purpose other than performing in Thai basil chicken or a soup pot.


  9. No you did not! You did not just add these flavors to my beloved ice cream and make me wish I had it right now! I am a fruit or chocolate fan with ice cream but Now you have me craving thai and basil? What! You ROCK!

  10. Candace says:

    I need an ice cream freezer!

  11. Caitlin says:

    Looks great! I made some strawberry basil ice cream, which I tried last night. I thought it was…interesting. Maybe in a good way? Haven’t decided yet, but I did eat the whole bowl :-).

  12. Rachana says:

    Basil Ice cream looks so creamy and yumm.

  13. Patsyk says:

    Wow, wow and WOW! That is some beautiful ice cream… and well, I won’t tell anyone that you had to taste test it a few times… just to make sure it was good enough to share! 😉

  14. Sam says:

    This is why I need to actually buy an ice cream maker insead of making no-churn sorbet all the time. It looks delicious.

  15. Claudie says:

    Your ice cream looks so perfect and smooth! 🙂 And very tasty too – despite “the green stuff” 😉

  16. bellini says:

    I have read a lot about basil ice cream lately and am very intrigued.

  17. Danielle says:

    Sounds great – too bad our ice cream maker broke just in time for summer 🙁

  18. Kalyn says:

    I can only say wow! I wish I had some to taste test for you!

  19. Ok, that does it. I’m going to have to try basil in my ice cream. I keep seeing it and now yours look sooo tempting!

  20. teresa says:

    joanne! i’ve missed your delightful posts! this looks fantastic. basil has got to be one of my favorite herbs, i bet it’s glorious in ice cream!

  21. Hannah says:

    I don’t blame you for being so eager to taste your newly churned treat- This looks incredible! Forget pesto, I know where my surplus basil is going this year…

  22. Kristin says:

    I love homemade ice cream. I don’t think that there is anything better. I love the crazy flavor too. I have never had anything out of the norm, the closest I got was green tea.

  23. sleep with a spoon..a sign of a true food love this creamy ice cream..perfect for the end of a fry tasting party!! of to MS blog!

  24. I promised my husband I would make some “normal” ice cream flavors for him before I make more “weird” ones. It looks like I’m about to break a promise.

  25. Amy says:

    I bet the first batch of pictures were fine and your inner self sabotaged them just so you could make this again! I make chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas and never tell anyone 😀 Holy shit, I need to get me an ice creamer maker. I want this. Waaaa.

  26. I have not tried an herb ice cream as of yet. This one looks pretty amazing though! And I totally feel you for getting up at 2AM for a taste test

  27. You really really are truly amazing! This actually looks very delicious!!

  28. My basil is dying in this extreme heat we’re having. I’m so sad. And I really need an ice cream maker. Like, today!

  29. I’m adding this to the reasons to present to my husband when I make my plea for one more kitchen gadget–an ice cream maker.

  30. Veronica says:

    Joanne, out of curiosity, are you aware of how funny and brilliant you are? Of course you are, right? Doesn’t hurt for me to reaffirm that though, does it. So here goes. You kill me. Every time. Sometimes I wonder why you’re doing anything else when you do food, photos, and blogging so well. But that just proves how smart you are. That you are kicking butt in medical school and running your tail off WHILE doing amazing things on this blog. Shut up, Joanne, you know it’s true as a whole. You’re brill. 🙂 Anyway. The ice cream sounds really good and I have to tell you about the last time I heard of basil ice cream. Do they have the Kidd Kraddick in the morning show there? Well, the last tiem I heard of it Kidd Kraddick was having a boys vs. girls competition and since he’s a good cook, he won the cooking part of it for the boys. For dessert, he served jalapeno apple pie with basil ice cream. Sounds inriguing, no?

  31. I have never tried herb ice cream before…it looks thoroughly intriguing with your photography.

  32. Mary says:

    This sounds wonderful. I haven’t done much with herb-flavored ice cream. I think I’ll have to remedy that after seeing what you were able to do. Have a great day, Joanne. Blessings…Mary

  33. Elizabeth says:

    I love less sweet herbal ice creams, I’ve never had a thai basil one before. It’s not an herb but JP Licks has a cucumber flavor only available this month and it is delightfully refreshing.

  34. Woww.. I have never had this kind of ice cream before. I have to try this out.. Looks so inviting 😀

  35. Kim says:

    Okay, I have tons of thai basil and not enough uses for it. This sounds like a fun way to use some of it up..and it looks so pretty.

  36. Victoria says:

    ooooh, what a great ice cream creation! I’m a mint girl, but basil… basil I could do for sure. Love the green specks 🙂 Fun and colorful!

  37. daphne says:

    hey that is a herb inside so therefore- it has veges!!!!surely that is great for you!

  38. I’m positive it tastes phenomenal. You don’t need to convince me?

  39. Anonymous says:

    convince me! ooops:)

  40. That Girl says:

    I’ve done a basil granita, so I can totally get behind this.

  41. Pam says:

    This is a must try! It sounds really good!

  42. Sippity Sup says:

    I can remember when Thai basil was my own private secret ingredient. Now all the cool kids like it too. GREG

  43. Thai basil in ice cream? So interesting and looks fabulous!

  44. Ha ha ha , i know exactly what u mean , all the things we do to get those pics right , and u sure are successful every single time:-)
    ME , i love to blame my camera , every single time , lol….
    Ahh , i do all these things when wanting to bake bread for breakfast , first rise , sleep , 2nd rise sleep , shape bread , sleep , bake bread sleepppp….
    Fun , aint it and in ur apartment , sure v v fun and super cool!
    Ofcourse the ice cream is gorgeous , infact id be all for it even if u mentioned about Basil before i dug in ( if u knew how famous i am for ”disappearing” food):-))
    Now i feel like going ice cream maker shopping Jo !

  45. first batch not so good?
    who got it? please tell me it went to a good home?
    i’m a foodie but never had to set my alarm to taste-test ice cream. LOL Although I give you mad props for it; go on now.

  46. Pam says:

    I’d wake up at 2 am to taste test this ice cream! YUM.

  47. I just had lemon basil ice cream and it was the best thing I have eaten all summer……this looks to die for! YUM!

  48. Love, love, love. I was just telling my sister the other day that I plan on making basil (the regular kind) ice cream. Too delicious not to be tempting!

  49. I would have never thought of basil in ice cream, but it sounds really good! Your pictures are making my mouth water! 🙂 And by the way, I thought I was the only one getting up in the middle of the night to taste test my ice cream! 🙂

  50. You crack me up!! Thank God I’m not really into ice cream, this is beautiful.

  51. Raina says:

    Wow..really unusual! I have never had basil ice cream. It sounds very, very yummy:)

  52. Have you studied this in medical school yet: some people just have more creativity-producing brain tissue than others. You are exhibit “A.”


  53. Simply Life says:

    you are so creative! oh I’d be eating this at all hours of the day if I had the chance!

  54. This looks great. Worth waking up for. 🙂
    I’ve never seen that technique – blending in cream right before churning. Bookmarking this to try soon.

  55. OohLookBel says:

    Good girl, you did the right thing. Though I don’t know how you resisted eating the whole tub, it looks so delicious.

  56. Megan says:

    Pair this with a chocolate terrine or flourless chocolate cake… I promise you, you will not be disappointed! There’s a restaurant in Cambridge that does that — it’s one of my favorite desserts ever!

  57. Haha perfect! I’d def give this one a go. Love putting random things in ice-cream. I did eggplant once and it was fab 🙂

  58. Girl…I think you know that I m “trying” to watch my diet..I just licked the corners of my mouth just by looking at the first picture..okay I will scroll back again..hmm….YUMMO!

  59. Kelly says:

    Oh, Stop it, You’re Killing Me (AGAIN!!) Beyond, gorgeous flavour.

  60. Oh my goodness this looks great! I will have to try this soon because I have a lot of wonderful Basil growing in the garden!

  61. Cara says:

    Finally, I use for that thai basil I plant had to have… and completely ignored ever since? (gosh, I hope I don’t treat my future children that way!)

  62. Jeanette says:

    I like how you tried Thai basil in this ice cream recipe. Just got a huge bunch of basil in my CSA Box and would love to try making this. Gorgeous photos!

  63. tigerfish says:

    You are tempting me to get an ice-cream maker! Can I make this without an ice-cream maker?

    Have I just had a cooking code violation? ;p

  64. Cate says:

    Dude, taste-testing ice cream at 2 am is DEDICATION! Brava!

  65. Reeni says:

    I have yet to use herbs in my ice cream but I really need to! You have all the best ideas! This is divine.

  66. Kelsey says:

    its never something i thought i would like and it still seems strange basil + ice cream… but if it tastes as good as it looks then it must be wonderful!

    xoxo <3

  67. Julie says:

    I’ve been wanting to make basil ice cream. This looks so delicious. I love the container you have the ice cream in. Reminds me of gelato at the store.

  68. you are the queen of brilliant flavor combos! this is definitely something that would be featured at bi-rite!

  69. Lora says:

    This looks incredible. Using theThai basil is a great idea.

  70. Holy. Cow. I dont know if you can tell from my blog, but I am completely OBSESSED with ice cream. I realized a few days ago I had eaten it every single day since June 1, so I made myself take three days off. Luckily, today would have been the fourth day, so I celebrated by going to my favorite creamery! So good! I got Nutella and Honey Vanillaaaa.
    Still thinking about med school. My aunts and uncles (but not my mom) (whom are all doctors) recommend that I go for it. I think I am leaning to it pretty heavily… But gah! Such a commitment. I need a magic genie.

  71. Lea Ann says:

    I think this ice cream sounds dreamy. 😉

  72. girlichef says:

    Mmmm…this sounds totally tasty! Those are awesome 2a.m. pix…I’d be scrambling in the dark taking shite photos if I tried that…ha ha ha. I’d take just a spoon of this gorgeous green flecked ice cream anyday 😀

  73. Looks pretty good, though not nearly as amusing as the image of you sleeping with a spoon in your hand. That’s just priceless!

  74. OK Joanne, now I will have to sleep with a spoon, if I am making this one. Your post, recipe and pics have intrigued me and I am dying to try it out. I wish I was there at that sweet potato fry tasting party, at least I would have gotten one spoonful 🙂

  75. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Just Fabulous!!!!! I would love, love, love this!!! Blessings, Catherine xoxo

  76. Gloria says:

    mmmm!! You are amazing my dear always I wanna make a bsail Ice cream and here is!! (LOL)
    bookmarke dto our summer°! gloria

  77. Faith says:

    Oooh, I’m dying to try this, Joanne! I love how pretty those green specks are…and I can just imagine how refreshing it is!

  78. Prathima Rao says:

    Tempting ice cream with a refreshingly new & innovative flavor!!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  79. Carolyn Jung says:

    You remind me of the time I had Thai basil ice cream for the first time at Heaven’s Dog restaurant in San Francisco. So intense in flavor with a subtle savory quality about it. Mmm, I was hooked from the first spoonful.

  80. I can imagine how cool and refreshing this must taste! I wonder how regular basil would taste…

  81. I just love it when people doubt you and then they try your creation and are floored by how good it is. Same thing happened when I made popsicles with basil in ’em. Ha! That’ll show ’em!

  82. What a wonderful flavor for ice cream! Never mind the violations, I’ll take it 🙂

  83. Karen says:

    I love the color with the little specks of green in there. I don’t think I’ve heard of Thai basil – does it taste the same as regular basil?

  84. Lyndsey says:

    Nice choice of ice cream flavor. Great photos too, ice cream is hard to photograph, without getting all melty.

  85. Peggy says:

    Oh I can only imagine how awesome this is! I love herbs in desserts – especially ice cream!

  86. Basil and ice cream is a great combination! Looks very yummy!

    Camila Faria

  87. wow what a cool flavor for ice cream love thai basil wow you got up and sampled hard core foodie

  88. Joan, I got my ice cream machine a few weeks ago and made vanilla ice cream for a start. I am so wanna make this Thai basil ice cream. I have basil in my garden:D This looks so refreshing and sounds soooo good for this hot weather here.

  89. Swathi says:

    I haven’t tried any herb flavored ice cream. Sure they taste great. I need to try it.

  90. polwig says:

    Shoot it is the recipes like these that make me want to put on my running shoes and run 10 miles to the store for an ice cream maker. One day I will get one.

  91. Allison says:

    You sleeping with a spoon. I can’t get that image or this ice cream out of my head.

  92. Shirley says:

    Your posts never fail to make me smile.

  93. Ice cream can be eaten at all time, and having a spoon next to you is the wisest thing to do when you have this basil ice-cream in your kitchen. I imagine its flavour and would top it with some melting dark chocolate…

  94. I made a lemon basil sorbet once but I love that this is a creamy ice cream. It sounds very refreshing. 😉

  95. Love Ice Creams and this looks so delicious and flavorful.

  96. Chris says:

    What a weird combination, I would never have thought of using thai basil in an ice cream. I love thai flavors though so I should give this a shot.

  97. Great ice cream flavor – I am thinking we should pair it with my Thai Spiced French Fries 😉

  98. Lori says:

    Oh, the sacrafices we make for food. Good food, with good photos, that is. I have a whole bush of Thai basil that needs to be used so this is perfect!

  99. Muneeba says:

    Weeeeeeeeeeee … therez something satisfying about being comment number 100!
    As for this herbilicious ice-cream, I’ve been wanted to make basil ice-cream for ages – should I try it with regular basil u think??

  100. Lovely! I have always wanted to try basil ice cream, bet it would be great with strawberries on top. Delicious!

  101. We were just talking about ice cream flavors today, and here’s your post. There’s a faint memory of you posting a question on Twitter about how to use up Thai basil, and no doubt, that NYC heat pushed you in this direction. 🙂

  102. Kerstin says:

    I have Thai basil growing like crazy on our balcony and will have to use it for this – looks awesome!

  103. Sushi salad! How yum. This post looks awesome.

  104. Thai basil in my garden telling me to try this, especially after reading and hearing about so many savory ice cream creations this summer! Yummy!

  105. Caronae says:

    I have been thinking about basil ALL day. It’s probably my all time favorite herb. My mom has a bunch of varieties growing in her garden and she has an ice cream maker somewhere around here too. I’ll have to try this! I’m a big advocate of mixing basil in with sweet things…

  106. I L-O-V-E Thai basil, so so much. This sounds so cool and refreshing, definitely perfect for summer. And do most people NOT sleep with spoons next to their pillow? I thought that was just, you know, what folks do!

  107. grace says:

    what a lovely hue on this oh-so-curious concoction! i’ve seen basil ice cream on the tellyvision, but never near enough to taste. it sounds heavenly!

  108. Oh my goodness! How absolutely fabulous, Joanne! I love homemade ice cream…lately I’ve been trying all kinds of different flavors but Thai basil sounds great. Lucky for me, we have a whole bunch growing in the garden! 🙂


  109. Shannon says:

    ooh, yes, this looks fabulous! i did a basil ice cream last summer (fall?) to pair with a tomato tarte tatin…. i’m drooling just thinking about it 😉

  110. Elizabeth says:

    I had an olive oil and basil gelato in a restaurant once. It was fantastic. Do you think the Thai basil is key or do you think the Greek basil that’s growing abundantly in my back yard would be good, too?

  111. Kevin says:

    Thai basil ice cream sounds so good! Just look at those amazing flecks of green in it!

  112. Marisa says:

    WANT! The perfect use for my homegrown Thai basil. Yes, I *am* super smug about that fact. 😉 And yet another reason for me to acquire an ice-cream machine.

  113. I don’t think I’ve ever had basil yogurt but love the sound of it and it looks gorgeous!

  114. […] of it at every meal, including dessert! I’ve infused basil into my desserts before with this Thai basil ice cream and these chocolate cupcakes with basil buttercream. But this shortbread takes it to a whole new […]

  115. Nicole B. says:

    I plan on making this and trying this out! Quick question, though. I’ve read and read the instructions and no where does it say to add in the cream. Am I wrong? Did I miss it?

    • joanne says:

      So sorry about that! I updated the recipe, but the cream should be added in step 3, just before the custard is added to the ice cream maker. Just stir it in before you start to churn it!

  116. Micaela says:

    I used to get Thai basil ice cream at a small Thai restaurant. It seemed to have
    Thai basil seeds in it. Interesting and lovely texture. Wonder if just steeping the
    seeds in the cream would work.

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