You can make creamy gelato, an Italian treat similar to ice cream, in a variety of flavors from a basic base of sweetened dairy and eggs. Gelato recipes that call for milk, half-and-half and powdered milk instead of heavy cream result in a frozen dessert with a lower butterfat and sugar content than standard ice cream varieties. Gelato also contains less air than commercial ice creams, which are whipped to increase volume, concentrating gelato’s rich flavor on your tongue.

Things You'll Need

Combine the milk, sugar and dehydrated milk in the saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat when all the sugar and milk powder have dissolved completely.

Pour the egg yolks into a chilled mixing bowl and whip them on low speed until they just begin to thicken, about two minutes with an electric mixer.

Temper the yolks by slowly drizzling a cup of the hot milk and sugar mixture into the eggs as you continue to mix at low speed. Pour the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan with the remainder of the sweet milk and return the pan to medium heat.

Stir the milk and egg base over medium heat continuously until it reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove it from the heat and stir in chilled light whipping cream or half-and-half to cool the mixture quickly and create the gelato base. Real vanilla extract can also be added at this point.

Pour the gelato base into a food-grade plastic container and seal it with the lid before placing it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Allow the mix to chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or a maximum of 48 hours before using.

Add 2 cups of fruit puree or 1 cup of flavored syrup to the gelato base about 45 minutes before you freeze it. Stir the flavorings into the base and return it to the refrigerator to blend while you prepare the ice cream maker.

Prepare the ice cream machine for use by putting the core into the freezer, packing it with ice and salt or plugging it in to get cold. Review the owner’s manual for the model you are using to see if there are any special instructions for making gelato. Gelato is slow-churned as it freezes to avoid incorporating air.

Pour the liquid mix into the ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions and allow it to freeze to just about 30 degrees. This will take from about 15 to 30 minutes for most machines, and you will often hear the motor strain as the cream freezes and thickens.

Serve fresh gelato immediately or store it at just below freezing. If it gets too hard to scoop, take it out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving it. Garnish flavored gelato with a piece of fruit or something that represents the flavored syrup.


  • Real vanilla extract is often added to the base when making flavors like chocolate, coffee and pistachio. The vanilla works in the background to make the flavored syrup more noticeable.

  • Gelato is served 10 to 15 degrees warmer than ice cream.

  • Tempering the uncooked eggs by slowing mixing them with a small amount of the hot cream will prevent them from scrambling or curdling.