Guinness is a meal in a glass — and a versatile cooking ingredient. Cooks use it as a braising liquor in winter stews or blend it into homespun desserts, most notably rich, tasty Guinness ice cream.

If you want to make Guinness ice cream at home, you don’t need an ice cream machine. You will, however, need some patience and elbow grease.

All ice cream starts life as crème anglaise, a fancy French term for custard. The sweet sauce combines milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, and any flavoring you decide to use (usually vanilla).

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When you make crème anglaise, temperature control is essential. Start by bringing your milk and cream to a boil before incorporating egg yolks and sugar. Then, you gently cook the mixture to thicken it without boiling, unless you want scrambled eggs. It’s ready when it coats the back of a spoon.

After chilling the mixture overnight in the refrigerator, your crème anglaise is ready to be churned into ice cream. You can do this with a machine, which will freeze the liquid while simultaneously stirring it until it becomes a smooth, creamy texture; or you can replicate the effect by hand.

To do so, simply move your crème anglaise to the freezer and take it out every half hour or so to give it a stir. Then, return it to keep chilling. This lengthy undertaking admittedly takes a number of hours to complete, but the more you stir, the creamier the results.

Introducing Guinness to the equation comes with added complications, as the beer doesn’t contain the same fat content as cream or milk. If you add it to the liquid ingredients prior to cooking, you won’t get the same creamy texture. From personal experience, this results in a strange grainy mass that tastes delicious but doesn’t resemble ice cream.

Instead, reduce the Guinness to a syrup, and then stir it into the cooked crème anglaise once both liquids have cooled. Reduction intensifies the beer’s flavor, while simultaneously lowering its water content. The finished ice cream tastes sweet, roasty, and malty, just like a stout. Its texture is all but indistinguishable from machine-made ice cream.

Don’t believe us? Test it for yourself using the recipe below.


(Serves 4)


  • ¾ cup Guinness (½ a 12-ounce can)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 ½ ounces sugar
  • 3 egg yolks


  1. Bring the Guinness to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to one-third of its volume over a low heat, and then remove from the heat. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in two and scrape the seeds into the mixture. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and egg yolks with a whisk. Slowly pour in the cream mixture, removing the vanilla pod.
  4. Pour the mixture back into your saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Cook until it’s thick enough to coat the utensil. If you’re unsure whether the sauce is ready, you can check using a thermometer. The mixture should be cooked to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit and never exceed 180 degrees.
  5. Create an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing a second smaller bowl over it. Pour your cooked crème anglaise through a fine strainer into the smaller bowl and stir until cold. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. If you have an ice-cream maker, place the mixture into the machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, place the mixture in a small plastic container in the freezer, stirring every 30 minutes until its texture becomes creamy but solid.