Watermelon & Coconut Ice Cream

My wife and I absolutely love watermelon. Its too bad really–you can only get your hands on it for such a short window at a reasonable price. They’ll be overpriced, small, and so-so flavor leading up to July, then, just before July 4th, they’re huge, incredible, and dirt cheap. In roughly a week, its all downhill from there again. So this year, I stocked up. As I stared at the 3 gigantic melons on my countertop, I wondered what I could possibly do with them before they go bad. Being as predictable as I am, my ice cream instinct kicked in. I was happy with the sorbet I made last year, but wanted to try something different since that particular sorbet freezes a little harder than I prefer.

Watermelon & Coconut Ice Cream

I was hesitant about this one. Watermelon, while distinct, has a very delicate flavor, and so I was concerned that heavy things (like cream) would mute it beyond recognition. I was also worried that being so loaded with water, it would freeze in a not-very-scoopable way, which would be a downer. I approached this by going light on the egg/cream components so that they could benefit the texture but not obliterate the watermelon flavor. I’d also had fantastic results with coconut milk in the past when working with delicately flavored frozen desserts, and since it seemed like a natural flavor pairing, I ran with it. Much to my delight, the end result is still very scoopable and very distinctly watermelon–bright pink, refreshing, and summer in a spoon.

Yay ice cream

Ramya was also delighted. She doesn’t know it yet, but she approves of this ice cream, too, which clearly, means you need to try it.

  • 4 cups watermelon juice (~1/4-1/2 a watermelon, depending on size)
  • 1.33 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream


Harvest the watermelon flesh and discard the rinds and any large seeds. Depending on the size of your watermelon, you may not need the entire thing for this recipe–I needed somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a melon.

Fresh watermelon juice

Puree the watermelon flesh in a blender/food processor and pour it through a strainer to remove any fibrous bits and errant seeds. What remains should be bright pink, delicious watermelon juice. Measure 4 cups for this recipe into a mixing bowl, and if you have extra, you shouldn’t have much difficulty finding a home for it–drink it, mix it with your liquor of choice, whatever.

Put 2 cups of the watermelon juice and 1 cup of sugar in a pot and simmer on low-medium heat for 10 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Pour this back into the bowl with the rest of your watermelon juice. Also mix in the vanilla extract, lime juice, and coconut milk. Put this bowl in an ice bath and set a strainer on top of it.

Mix the custard into the watermelon juice

Now, in your pot, heat up (and do not boil) the heavy cream over medium heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar until lightened in color. Temper the yolks with the hot cream and then pour it all into the pot with the cream. Stir and scrape constantly for 5-10 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Churn the watermelon & coconut ice cream

Finally, pour the cooked custard through the strainer (to remove any scrambled egg bits) into the juice bowl. Chill this mixture in the fridge for several hours before churning in your ice cream maker for 25-30 minutes. Set this in the freezer overnight and enjoy!

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14 Responses to “Watermelon & Coconut Ice Cream”

  1. Parita Says:

    Oh ramya is adorable! what a delightful combination of watermelons and coconut, m sure it must have tasted heavenly!

  2. Jan Says:

    Oooh Ramya is sooo lovely!
    I’m going to have to make this ice cream – I bet is was delish!

  3. nina Says:

    I don’t know which photo put a bigger smile on my face…..the ice-cream or the little “mushkin” at the bottom!!! Beautiful!!!

  4. Karla Says:

    What a refreshing dessert for these hot summer days! Lovely, just lovely. PS: Your Rayma is adorable. :-)

  5. Julia Says:

    Your Rayma is going to be a beauty when she grows up! I love watermelon in the summertime. It reminds me of days spent over at my grandparents’ house in the summer. My grandparents have both passed away, Grand dad went in 1989, and Granny went in 2008. We would always make a churnful of ice cream but never thought to use a watermelon to flavor it. Our flavor of choice was fresh Georgia peaches.

  6. Jeff Says:

    Damn brother Ramya is growing like a weed!! You better get her trained on the joy and joyness of weird ice cream flavors immediately!! Way to go!!!

  7. Anali Says:

    Love the combination of flavors here. And what a great picture of Ramya! ; )

  8. Jude Says:

    I always get watermelons from random pickup trucks around the city. My favorite thing about summer! As a general rule, if the truck has the black seeds painted onto it, the watermelons will be good.

  9. Ginger Spiced Peach & Praline Ice Cream from Mike's Table Says:

    […] myself. I was tempted to make a peach pie, but opted for ice cream instead. Despite having posted other ice creams recently, this is actually one of the first things I made after I moved to North Carolina–having an […]

  10. Carol Says:

    Do you mean for the recipe to have coconut milk or coconut cream? They’re two separate things…

  11. Watermelon slushy « Garden & Grub Says:

    […] If you want sorbet instead, see this recipe.¬† And if you’re looking for something more lush try this¬† watermelon-coconut ice cream. […]

  12. Magdalena Says:

    Hello.Excuse me,but 1.33 cups sugar…how grams sugar is????

  13. Magdalena Says:

    Sorry,I see it later.Thank you for the greatfull recipe!! :)

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    Watermelon & Coconut Ice Cream from Mike’s Table

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