Rosemary gelato with crème fraîche

Rosemary gelato with crème fraîche

I shall never forget the first time I tasted gelato in one of Florence’s most popular gelaterias. It was so creamy, so luscious and yet so light — I was hooked!

The minute I got back home from my trip, I started experimenting. I had a bounty of recipes for ice creams, but none for their lighter Italian cousins. The thought of making gelato, without cream or eggs, was especially alluring to me, so I set about trying to duplicate some of the flavors I had tasted in Florence.

Then came the idea of infusing gelatos with fresh herbs. Not too surprising if you know me even a little: I am totally seduced by fresh herbs and use them just about every time I cook! Basil, mint, lemon balm soon became the new flavors perfuming my gelatos. But none of them was as delightful as today’s rosemary infusion.

This gelato is good enough just on its own — but it makes a perfect pairing for many of my desserts, all year long. In the spring, I love it with fresh strawberries. In the summer I pair it with cobblers, like this peach-raspberry cobbler. In the fall I find it irresistible with any apple desserts, and in the winter I serve it with a butternut squash and Cointreau tart.

Buon appetito (it won’t stick to your waistline)… And happy gelato-making!


Rosemary gelato with crème fraîche

makes 2 pints
active time: 20 min

  1. 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  2. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  3. 2/3 cup organic sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 2/3 cup crème fraîche (see cook’s note 2)

  1. Step 1: Place 3 cups of milk in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the milk reaches boiling point, add the rosemary, reduce heat and fast-simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover pan and let stand for 15 minutes to infuse the milk. Strain milk, discard the rosemary and pour milk back in the pan.
  2. Step 2: Place the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Reheat infused milk over medium-high heat. As soon as the milk comes to a boil, quickly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil again and then reduce heat to achieve a fast simmer. Continue whisking constantly for 5 to 6 minutes until the mixture has slightly thickened (it should be the consistency of heavy cream).
  3. Step 3: Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours in the refrigerator (or overnight), or 45 minutes in the freezer.
  4. Step 4: When the gelato is well chilled, whisk in the crème fraîche until well blended. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream or gelato maker and freeze according to the instructions of your machine. Transfer the gelato to a container and freeze for 2 to 3 hours before serving. (The gelato should have firmed up, but should still be a bit soft.)
  5. Cook’s note: The gelato will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, but is best eaten the day it’s made. Remove from freezer and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly softened before serving.

Rosemary gelato with crème fraîche

creme fraiche, gelato, rosemary


  1. Going to serve this for Easter dessert with a Meyer Lemon olive oil cake. Can’t wait!

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  7. WOW! This looks so yummy and also good for your hot weather here. :))

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  13. What a delightful recipe! I will definitely bookmark this. My mind is racing with the possibilities!

  14. nancy in santa rosa

    A favorite from my dessert repertoire is cornmeal cake with rosemary syrup. The syrup is just divine. So I’ve often requested rosemary ice cream at a local ice creamery, but they’ve never taken the challenge.

    And then …. your recipe!

    The ice cream maker was just delivered. Yippee! I love rhubarb, too–I make a mean rhubarb pie seasoned with ground cardamom and a dash of nutmeg. So the rhubarb gelato will be next.


    • Nancy! Thank you for your comment. I’m so glad you love rosemary so much (personally, I don’t know that I could live without rosemary) and your cake with the rosemary syrup is mouthwatering! Have fun making gelato… I have a feeling you are going to love your new machine.

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  16. Making this tonight!!

  17. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. I’m making this right now, but I also added lemon zest. Can’t wait till it’s done!

  18. Sounds wonderful! I often have ice-cream cravings when I’m busy with work; a scoop of ice-cream helps me concentrate even if it’s freezing cold outside! So I’d love to make some rosemary gelato for those long winter evenings spent at the desk! Thank you for the recipe!

  19. If only for the photo…if only

  20. This sounds delicious. I too love herbs. I have a gelato recipe that I use with lavender but I have yet to try rosemary and sage sounds divine. I tried a tarragon at The Auberge du Soleil in St. Helena, CA that was divine. The pastry chef there is amazing.

    Thanks for the inspiration.


  21. unique flavour,unique idea …thanks for share

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  23. Oh! I had rosemary ice cream a few weeks ago at craftbar in NYC. I was entirely unconvinced it was going to be any good at all, and then it turned out to be DELICIOUS. I’d eat it with anything now.

  24. This looks great and what a unique flavour too.

  25. Love the idea of using fresh herbs and rosemary and creme fraiche seem to o so well together.

  26. beautiful and creamy and NO eggs!…how divine..:)) tq

  27. Thank you all for your comments – they are heart warning to say the least!

    Ivan, I give the variations in the post – look at the bottom, just before the recipe.

    Happy gelato making everyone!

  28. I love this recipe. Real simple. Excellent. What are the variations I can make on this?

  29. That looks & sounds divine. I was the same way when I spent two weeks in italy, I think we had gelato nearly everyday I just couldn’t get enough! 🙂

  30. Getting my ice cream maker down from the top shelf now. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for great recipe.

  31. I had the most delicious chocolate-basil gelato this summer at a local restaurant and I have been wanting to try my hand at re-creating it. Thanks for your great tutorial and recipe.

  32. This looks fantastic.. I’m going to try it with fresh lavendar.

  33. Love your recipe. At Capogiro, Philadelphia’s artisan gelateria, they make rosemary gelato with goat cheese. It’s fabulous, both light and tangy.

  34. Fabulous. I have a lot of basil at home. I’ll start with that and move on to rosemary. I could imagine how it tastes and smells like.

  35. This looks unique and fantastic. I love it!

  36. this gelato has just made me hate myself more for not having an ice-cream maker!
    what comes worst is i hv tons of rosemary!

  37. Beautiful — what a lovely combination of flavors. Rosemary is so fragrant and wonderful, especially in desserts. We get so used to typical sweet flavors, so it’s refreshing to find something new!

  38. Ahh, I’ve been wanting to make a rosemary ice cream for months, but you beat me to the punch! I just made myself a honey sage ice cream recently, it was heavenly. Will have to give rosemary a try next time 🙂

  39. In my house, I’m the chef, but my husband is the king of ice cream making. We have a marvelous gelataio ice cream machine and he makes bewitching gelato. I’ll have to persuade him to try this recipe with the last of the season’s fresh rosemary from our garden.

  40. This is such an intriguing flavor – thanks for the inspiration! I’m always on the lookout for new flavors to try and rosemary is perfect. Gotta get to it soon!

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  43. Oh wow… I love all your step-by-step picture instructions! I want to make this at home!! 🙂

  44. I am drooling. But I have to say, cooking all that dairy stuff makes me shiver with fear. I’m sure mine would boil over and make a big mess in no time. Better you invite me over your house and give me a bowl of the stuff you made, OK?

  45. this makes us want to go out and buy a ice cream maker!

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