Black Sesame Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Maker Needed)

One of my neighbors occasionally gives some Chinese bread buns to my family. In addition to black sesame filling, the buns sometimes contain walnuts or dried cranberries. The flavor is so addicting that I wanted to capture it in something else that I could eat whenever I felt like it. Black sesame ice cream with walnuts and cranberries came to mind as a way to pay homage to my love for the black-sesame-seed-treats.

I was considering buying an ice cream maker so that I could make this unique flavor. However, I found out that there’s another super easy way to make ice cream that doesn’t need any special equipment. All it is is making a custard and leaving it in the freezer, stirring every thirty minutes or so.

Custards all require egg yolks and hot milk, which means something called “tempering” is involved. One must temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring in the hot milk-mixture a bit at a time, whisking vigorously the whole time. This gradually raises the temperature of the eggs so they don’t scramble.

Then, pour the custard in to a large dish with tall rims. I used a 9×13 pan, and it just fit in my freezer once I took the ice maker out.


Wait 40 minutes to an hour, when some of the custard looks like slush. Then take the pan out of the freezer and stir the contents vigorously with a hand-mixer or spoon. Keep repeating this until your ice cream feels like ice cream.


Then, you can eat your ice cream from the pan or store it in any old ice cream container. To keep with the Asian-inspired-ness, I garnished mine with Pocky!


I adapted this recipe from My Second Breakfast ( I love the blog name!), adding cranberries and walnuts, reducing the sugar, and changing the method.

I hope you enjoy!

Black Sesame Ice Cream

adapted from My Second Breakfast


Black Sesame Paste

  • 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Ice Cream

  • Black sesame paste (above)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (1 or 2%)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (preferably unrefined)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks


  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. To make the black sesame paste, place the sesame seeds in a wide pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Once the seeds start popping pour them in a bowl and let them cool a bit. Then, grind them in a blender/ food processor until a paste starts to form. Add the honey and continue processing until you have a shiny black paste.
  2. To make the ice cream base, heat up the milk, cream, sesame paste, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks well. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly.
  4. Pour this through a strainer into the saucepan, and continue cooking over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard coats the back of the spoon and does not drip.
  5.  Put the custard over an ice bath and wait for it to cool. Meanwhile, put a wide baking dish with rims in the freezer.
  6. Pour the cool custard into the dish and put this in the freezer.
  7. Check the mixture every 30-45 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing (with a hand mixer, for best results).
  8. Once the ice cream has the consistency of soft serve (around 2 hours later), stir in the add-ins. Then start stirring the ice cream with a spoon rather than a hand mixer.
  9. Continue stirring the ice cream every hour or so, waiting for it to harden (this will probably take 2 hours). Then, it’s ready to eat or store in an ice cream container.

2 thoughts on “Black Sesame Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Maker Needed)

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