Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

It’s no secret that I have a love affair with caramel. When I swirled some into some homemade vanilla bean ice cream, the results were heavenly. Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream could be my new favorite!

Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

When we were in Denver last month, Katie and Bill would take a stroll down to the hotel lobby each evening to get their single servings of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Bill, no surprise here, purchased chocolate and Katie found delight in their dulce de leche. It was Katie’s selection that inspired me to make a rich vanilla caramel swirl ice cream. I knew she and I would be thrilled if I was successful with my recipe testing.

Ice Cream Week 2014

Welcome to day 2 of Ice Cream Week 2014! This year the event is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of  The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. We have teamed up with 25 amazing bloggers to bring you ice cream treats all week long. It’s going to be an epic week full of frozen treats!

Our sponsors for the event have provided us with some great prizes. A huge thanks to Cake Boss, Anolon, Microplane, WÜSTHOF, Page Street Publishing and Quarry Spoon. Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen have tossed in a bonus prize of a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker because they think everyone should own one!

Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

A Rich, Decadent Show Stopper

Katie and I were swooning over each bite of this silky ice cream with the sweet, gooey streams of caramel throughout. Bill took a cursory bite, but was anxiously awaiting the Oreo ice cream I made for Thursday’s post.

Chocolate trumps caramel in his book. But that’s just fine. Katie and I didn’t want to share! Thankfully, my fears that the caramel might turn to a rock-like consistency when frozen were unfounded. Whew.

Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Serves 1-quart ice cream     adjust servings

Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr

This dreamy ice cream with swirls of caramel is adapted from Epicurious


  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (may use vanilla extract if desired)

For the caramel swirl

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. In a large Pyrex measuring cup or heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks with ¼ cup of the brown sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar and put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture starts to simmer, decrease the heat.
  3. Remove about ½ cup of the hot cream mixture while constantly whisking the eggs, slowly drizzle the cream into the egg yolks. Repeat with another ½ cup of hot cream, then pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan, whisking as you pour.
  4. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, about 1-2 more minutes.
  5. Strain the custard mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container into an ice-water bath (I fill my sink with ice cubes, then adds some water). Stir occasionally, till cool. Remove the container from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate
  6. for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. While the ice cream base cools, make the caramel.
  8. Set the cream by the stove so it's at hand when you need it. Put 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. When the sugar is melted around the edges and starts turn golden, stir the mixture gently and add another 2 tablespoons sugar to the pan.
  9. Continue to add the remaining sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring frequently and allowing most of the sugar to melt before you add more. Watch carefully as the sugar darkens, stirring gently to help it melt evenly.
  10. When the bubbling slows down, stir gently in the cream to blend. If you have any hard sugar lumps, just keep on the burner on low and cook until sugar melts. Stir in salt and vanilla and allow to cool to room temperature.
  11. Put the container you'll use to store the ice cream into the freezer.
  12. When the ice cream is frozen, layer about a third of it into your container. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of caramel on top of ice cream, then repeat again two more times.You will have leftover caramel.tablespoons of the caramel. Use a knife or a chopstick to swirl the caramel. If you prefer a softer ice cream, eat right away or else freeze for about 4 hours before serving.

Yield: 1 quart of ice cream

    Total time: 6½ + hours


      Recipe Notes

      Total time does not include cooling and freezing times.
      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size
      Amount Per Serving As Served
      Calories 3609kcal Calories from fat 2196
      % Daily Value
      Total Fat 244g 375%
      Saturated Fat 147g 735%
      Cholesterol 1564mg 521%
      Sodium 1087mg 45%
      Carbohydrate 337g 112%
      Sugars 334g
      Protein 29g

      Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

      Calories 2000
      Total Fat Less than 65g
      Sat Fat Less than 25g
      Cholesterol Less than 300mg
      Sodium Less than 2,400mg
      Total Carbohydrate 300g
      Dietary Fiber 25g
      Did you make this recipe?
      Leave review!


      More Terrific Ice Cream Recipes from my Blogger Friends:

      Stop by to visit all our Day 2 Ice Cream Week Participants:

      The Giveaway:

      Ice Cream Giveaway Ice Cream GiveawayVanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

      The giveaway is CLOSED.

      Disclaimer: I did not receive any product for participating in this event. The #IceCreamWeek Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. ONE winner will receive ALL the prizes listed. Giveaway ends at midnight on August 31st.

      Vanilla Caramel Swirl Ice Cream


      1. That caramel swirl is making me swoon, Lizzy! YUM!

      2. Aww look heavenly Lizzy!
        Just delicious!!!

      3. Oh yes…can’t wait to try this one.

      4. this looks like my kind of ice cream! I love it

      5. I love coconut milk ice cream (mint chocolate chip is fabulous!)

      6. Any #dairyfree frozen treat I can find 🙂

      7. Oh, this ice cream is calling my name. I’d make sure to get a scoop with lots of caramel 🙂

      8. stephanie says:

        This looks amazing! My favorite ice cream is Rocky Road or Tin Roof.

      9. My favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate … plain ‘ole chocolate.

        But I would totally eat a bowl of your vanilla caramel swirl ice cream too!

      10. This ice cream looks delicious!!! I love salted caramel swirl ice cream almost as much as I love chocolate! Yours looks fabulous and perfectly swirled!

      11. I adore caramel anything and your ice cream is making me drool!!

      12. This might be even better than Haagen-Daaz! Summer nights in Colorado with a scoop of ice cream are memorable =)

      13. Denise Hair says:

        I’m so happy to have found your website! Peanut butter cookies are my favorite. I’m anxious to try your recipe. Home made ice cream would taste pretty good alongside!

      14. I guess from the way my mouth is watering I’m going to have to make this soon. And I’m thinking it would be perfect on top of a slice of apple pie.

      15. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

        Sounds amazing! A few added pecans and I’d be in ice cream heaven:@)

      16. Cheryl svendsen says:

        Caramel forvsure

      17. This ice cream totally ROCKs Liz. I would have a very difficult time refusing a second scoop (and you know I’m not much of a sweet eater!). The contest is great too! Love the bowls, so pretty.

      18. I am in love with this recipe. I want to have it right now. I know I’ve said it before but you have some of my favorite photography skills, I feel like I can reach out and touch (or more appropriately, lick) that ice cream!!!

      19. I have a serious weakness for caramel. Add it to ice cream and swoon! The looks delicious!

      20. Mocha!

      21. Yummy! This looks awesome =)

      22. Good evening Liz,
        wow, this looks great, printed you’re recipe so I can give it a try. I have been into making a lot of ice cream lately, loving my Cuisinart ice cream maker!

      23. Love this ice cream. John isn’t fond of caramel so I feel really bad that I have to eat it all by myself. 🙂

      24. My favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate with peanut butter.

      25. You are killing me with these ice-cream posts!!! I’m “screaming for ice-cream” inside. When our daughter was young we used to get-together with our friends and their young families on Labour Day Weekend and make homemade ice-cream – do I have time to plan an ice-cream party for old times sake in just a couple of weeks??? You sure are tempting me Liz. I am bookmarking many of these recipes – keep them coming!

      26. wow thats wonderful Liz,i want a scoop from that

      27. I am for caramel, too, Liz! I’m partial 🙂

        Gourmet Getaways

      28. So THAT’S how you do the swirl! I always just put it in at the end of the churning and it never was in those cool ribbons… now I know the trick 😉

      29. Imago Dei says:

        You mean I have to choose only one flavor??? No can do, ice cream is my favorite dessert. These recipes by that Skinny Chick can bake and with the prize package, the only choice I’ll have to make is how many flavors my freezer can store until I can make the next few flavors!

      30. This ice cream looks perfect – so creamy and I love the caramel swirl!

      31. My mouth is watering terribly, Liz. Your ice cream looks awesome.

      32. The ice cream looks wonderful. I love caramel swirls with vanilla.. sounds iressistible

      33. All Chocolate! 🙂

      34. Chocolate – straight up – nothing fancy. 🙂

      35. That ice cream is screaming my name! Great give-away too 🙂

      36. Caramel tastes like childhood — so sweet!!! It could not have a better pair than vanilla… and in an ice cream. How tempting!!!

      37. homemade caramel is the best. yum!

      38. Carly Jor says:

        Coffee Oreo!

      39. That caramel swirl looks like pure heaven, love this ice cream!

      40. Lizzy,
        This ice cream looks irresistible. I can’t believe anyone would turn it down. I can’t wait to try it.

      41. My favourite ice cream is butter pecan.

      42. The caramel looks so decadent, so creamy ! Very nice presentation as well 🙂

      43. I’m a recentish caramel convert so this ice cream is totally calling to me right now! I love those ooey gooey swirls

      44. This ice cream looks great. Love the swirl!

      45. Yes Liz we are all screaming for ice cream!

      46. This looks delicious! I bought an ice cream maker recently & was going to try this recipe as my first try at making ice cream. Is this a no churn ice cream? Maybe I missed it, but it doesn’t say in the instructions to churn in an ice cream maker? Just a little confused. Thank you very much!

        • Oops, sorry about that! It does need an ice cream maker. You’ll make the ice cream after step 11 as soon as your caramel is cooled. Hope you enjoy!


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