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Strawberry Oat Ice Cream

Strawberry and oat ice cream: unexpectedly nuanced.

About 1½ quarts


45 minutes working time, plus 40 to 50 minutes to churn


Oatmeal. It’s so everyman. Strawberries. They’re so superstar. Together, they’re so fabulous! We adore the thrilling intersection where hot meets cold and soft meets firm, where neutral meets high blush. All we want is some sugar, mama. (Read more about our oatmeal and strawberry inspiration here.)

Of course, when we took these two and churned them into ice cream, the storied contrasts—hot and cold, firm and soft, neutral and high-blush—took a bath. But what remained, set in the deep, frozen luxury of egg yolks, cream, and sugar, was sweet fruit perfume in a soft, toasty palette; tiny bits of frozen berry and crackling seeds against silky, tapioca-textured oats.

Vanilla and maple syrup, each, in its own way, eclipsed the innocence of the experience. Thus, we drew back to basics. What remains is pure perfection.

Cooking Remarks

Obviously, you’ll want ripe strawberries for this ice cream. If it’s January, or April, or even May (unless you live in the South), forget it. Make something else.

Many cooks approach custard cookery with apprehension because of the C word: curdling. It makes them err on the side of caution, pulling custards from the stove before the eggs have cooked enough. A custard, properly cooked, will, however, give an ice cream a tremendously lush frozen consistency. Do use an instant-read thermometer, and let the custard climb to around 180 degrees. Just don’t stop stirring—and don’t allow it to boil!

We found that putting a touch of heat on the strawberries and sugar before puréeing them improved both the flavor and color of the purée. The idea is not to render fresh berries into cooked berries, but optimize their contribution to the cream.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan; a blender; a fine-mesh sieve; a 2-cup glass measuring cup; a large mixing bowl; at least 3 quarts of ice cubes; a fine-mesh conical strainer; a small heavy-bottomed saucepan; a medium mixing bowl; a whisk; an instant-read thermometer; a 4-cup glass measure or pitcher; and an ice cream maker.

    • pounds ripe strawberries
    • 7
      ounces (1 cup) sugar
    • Fine sea salt
    • 2
      tablespoons juice from ½ juicy lemon
    • 2.6
    • ¾
      cup whole milk
    • 2
      cups heavy cream
    • 5
      large egg yolks

    Clean, hull, and slice 1 pound of the strawberries. Turn them into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan along with 3.5 ounces (½ cup) of the sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar begins to dissolve and the strawberries are warm, about 5 minutes. Spoon the berries and their juices into a blender jar and purée. Transfer the purée to a fine-mesh conical strainer set over a 2-cup glass measuring cup and press with a spoon or small ladle to extract every drop of liquid. Discard the seeds. Stir the lemon juice into the purée. You should have 1½ cups of strawberry purée. Cover and chill until ready to use. (If you have extra, save it for another use.) Refrigerate the remaining berries.


    Place the oats in a small mixing bowl and add cold tap water to cover by a couple of inches. Swirl lightly, then allow the oats to settle. Tilt the bowl and pour off all the water along with the hulls that have risen to the surface. Heat the milk and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until the milk boils. Stir the drained oats into the boiling milk and return to a boil immediately, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, cover, and let rest while you make the custard.


    Set a large bowl in a sink or basin filled with lots (at least 3 quarts) of ice cubes and cold water. Have a fine-mesh sieve nearby. Pour the cream into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 3.5 ounces (½ cup) sugar in a medium bowl. When the cream is just shy of a simmer, pull the saucepan off the burner and pour half of the hot cream into the yolk mixture. Whisk well. Add the remaining cream and whisk well. Pour everything back into the saucepan and return the saucepan to the burner. Reduce the heat to medium and stir with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon until the custard thickens and the temperature hovers around 180 degrees, about 1 minute. Do not let the temperature exceed 180 degrees! Pour the custard immediately through the fine-mesh sieve into the bowl set in the ice bath. Whisk in the plumped oats. Let the mixture chill completely, stirring from time to time. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and stir in the strawberry purée. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to churn the ice cream, at least 4 hours or overnight.


    Clean, hull, and slice the remaining 8 ounces strawberries. Turn them into a bowl and mash them with a fork. Pour half of the chilled custard base into the canister of your ice cream maker (return the remainder to the refrigerator), then add half of the mashed strawberries and their juices. Churn until the ice cream maker indicates the mixture is frozen, about 50 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container and place it in the freezer to set. If necessary, refreeze the canister, and then churn the remaining custard base and the remaining mashed berries, and transfer it to the container holding the first batch in the freezer. Allow the ice cream to temper for 2 to 3 hours before serving.