I was looking for a good recipe to make pistachio almond ice cream, but all of them needed Eggs.

My uncle used to sell home ice cream in Mexico, and I'm 100% that he never used an egg to make pistachio almond ice cream, or any other ice cream.

However, it's not the first time I see eggs listed as an ingredient for homemade ice cream.

Is there any particular reason for that? Why do you need eggs? What other thing can I use instead of eggs?


5 Answers 5


There are two main base recipes for ice cream. French style ice cream contains egg yolks, which help make it soft, rich, smooth, creamy, custardy. Philadelphia style ice cream (sometimes called American style) has no eggs, and relies on the fat in the cream to keep it soft, but will still never be as rich and smooth as French style, and will still tend to freeze harder.

You can make pretty much any ice cream in either style, including the pistachio-almond you want to make. You can look around for recipes without eggs; I wouldn't be surprised if you manage to find one one. Or you can simply use a Philadelphia style base, and look at one of the recipes you found to see how to add the pistachio and almond. Depending on how rich you want it, you'll want 2-3 cups of heavy cream for each 1 cup of milk; about 3/4 cup of sugar should work, depending on how sweet you want it. If that's not rich enough for you, you can even replace the milk with cream. (You could also just go find a recipe for Philadelphia style vanilla ice cream and use that as a base - it doesn't get much simpler than that.)

(P.S. You could also try gelato, something like this recipe - it uses corn starch as a stabilizer instead.)

  • Check this out. I bet it would make an awesome gelato If you don't mind taking out a second mortgage to pay for it. Pistachio Paste
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 12:45

Ice cream is an emulsion of air, water, and fat. As Jefromi points out you can make gelato or Philadelphia style without egg yolks.

Besides the taste and texture, egg yolk protein helps firm up the ice cream emulsion as an emulsifying agent (same way gelatin helps set Jello).

Not only you don't need the Egg Yolks to make ice cream, you don't even need the fat! As long as you can make a frozen emulsion, you're in business.

For example, Turkish ice cream (Dondurma) is made with milk, sugar, salep, and mastic (gum arabic). The mastic acts as a thickening agent and the salep (and its starch and proteins) is the hydrocolloid to set the emulsion. Mix air into this and you have ice cream without cream or eggs.

  • I wish I could find salep to make dondurma but it turns out it is only produced in Turkey and illegal to export from there. :( Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 16:05
  • 2
    @Sobachatina the orchid root is not only native to Turkey, so you can find it in many places in North America including Amazon. You may find it in your local ethnic stores as well. I have some in my kitchen, but haven't learned to mix it so it doesn't clump (it's pretty stubborn).
    – MandoMando
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 14:15

I live in India.

Most ice creams & kulfis (Indian style firm ice cream) are made without eggs here because eggs are considered non vegetarian.

Kulfi is usually made by reducing milk & cream by boiling down to about 1/4 of the original volume. Sugar, saffron, almonds & or pistachios are added & the mixture is frozen in cylindrical 'popsicle' type molds with a stick for a handle. Kulfi is a bit grainy in texture, and although creamy not as smooth as US ice creams.

The ice cream I make for my restaurant here uses whipping cream plus sweetened condensed milk as a base.

The usual ratio is 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.) + 300ml whipping cream + whatever flavor I want.

For example, in my mango ice cream first I mix the can of sweetened condensed milk with 2 cups fresh mango puree & set aside.

Then I beat 300 ml whipping cream to stiff peaks.

After that I fold the mango puree mixed with the can of sweetened condensed milk into the beaten whipped cream.

Then the mixture is frozen in a 9"x5" loaf pan covered in cling film over night.

This makes a very creamy, smooth ice cream that is quite 'scoop able' and does not melt quickly in the Indian monsoon heat.

I've never used a machine or churn to make this ice cream.

But this does remind me a lot of the Mexican ice creams I had as a child growing up in California!

Hope that helps!

  • It's interesting that they consider eggs as non vegetarian ingredient, but you still use milk to make the ice cream. Do you use any other kind of milk like almond, soy or rice milk?
    – ILikeTacos
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 15:23
  • 1
    Sorry Mr Chavez, I'm new on here & don't know how to reply properly yet. I make one ice cream that is based on fresh coconut milk & sweetened condensed milk. Yes, milk & dairy products are 'veg' in India, eggs are 'non veg'. That's part of the reason for the 'sacred cows' of India! But your question about rice & almond milk makes me think of a 'Horchata' flavored Mexican cinnamon/vanilla ice cream I've had in California before.
    – Samsara
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 15:46
  • I've never had Horchata ice cream, but Horchata flavored water it's pretty common in Mexico even though I believe Horchata is more spanish than mexican.
    – ILikeTacos
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:11
  • @AlanChavez, there is a Valencian (not generally Spanish) drink called horchata / orxata, but it is very different to the Mexican drink called horchata. Neither is much like barley water, which I understand to be the strongest hypothesis for the etymology of the name. Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 12:57
  • @AlanChavez: milk is vegetarian because you can drink it without killing an animal. Eggs, on the other hand, are potential chickens that you're eating before they've had a chance at life. (Well, OK, not really, because 99% of eggs never saw a rooster and thus have zero chance of developing into anything other than a lovely omelet, but you get the idea.)
    – Marti
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 14:25

I make delicious Italian ice-cream regularly. Eggs are not used when making Italian ice-cream (gelato). Just double cream or standard cream and condensed milk. Have a look at this link (fantastic receipes for gelato plus much more: http://scrapbook.channel4.com/programmes/made-in-italy-top-10-classic-dishes


You need protein to keep the water and fat in the ice cream together. You can also use cream cheese instead of eggs. I just started making ice cream using recipes from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. All her recipes use a whole milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup base, then mixed with a slurry and cream cheese.

  • 1
    Sorry to downvote you, I know it is unpleasant when you are a new user, but I think that your answer is factually incorrect. You don't need protein for creating an emulsion. As for the cream cheese, it is not used "instead of eggs", it is a totally different ingredient. If it has to be interpreted as a substitution for a classic ingredient, it replaces the heavy cream.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 13:24

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