Cherry Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream

If you’re an ice cream lover  and an almond lover, you’re going to swoon for this amaretto ice cream with cherries and toasted almonds. Cherry Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream is creamy and lush with chewy bits and satisfying crunch.

dried cherries on a cutting board.

Despite the fact that it’s January and the Northeast was virtually paralyzed by a blizzard last weekend, I’m craving ice cream.  Not craving — Needing.  Lusting…  I suppose there’s a Ben & Jerry’s variety  or Graeter’s that would suffice.  Possibly even a simple visit to our local creamery for a scoop with sprinkles, nuts and whipped cream would get me past this insistent fixation.

soaking cherries in a small bowl of amaretto liquor.

Why you’ll love cherry amaretto crunch ice cream

However, I don’t do anything easy.  Ask Scott.  Besides, will those store bought varieties have dried cherries soaked in Amaretto?  I don’t think so.  Will the almonds be toasted just so  and scattered throughout?  Hmmm???  In short, I could have it their way.  Or I could do it, my way.  How very Frank Sinatra of me.

sugar and eggs in a glass bowl with a dish towel on the side.
ice cream custard being cooked in a pot with a wooden spoon.

So, I dusted off my ice cream maker, which hasn’t seen daylight since September, and got busy.

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During the summer, I was on an all-out ice-cream kick. I was making it at least once a week. At one point there was a glut of at least 3 different flavors tucked behind the frozen peas.  (Good times, good times!)

adding macerated cherries to the custard base.

However, that wasn’t the current state-of-my freezer.   There was no ice cream. And no cookies.  We had even munched through all the leftover Christmas chocolate.  With more than two weeks left before Valentine’s Day (and those cute velvet heart boxes loaded with truffles — hint, hint), we were living in a sugar-free zone.  Unintentionally, I assure you.

toasted almonds on a baking sheet.

Something had to be done, so I made a custard base for ice cream, drowned some cherries in Amaretto and toasted a handful of almonds to a deep golden brown.  When the amaretto ice cream was nearly finished, I sprinkled in the nuts so they would maintain their satisfying crunch.  Adding them when the custard is looser can affect the crunch.

scooping Cherry Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream with an ice cream scoop.

A few more hours in the freezer to firm up and it was ready. Creamy, sweet and lush with plenty of chewy cherries. I could add sprinkles and whipped cream, but why?  It was exactly what I wanted.  Now it’s your turn…

Cherry Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream in a bowl with toasted almonds and maraschino cherry.

More ice cream recipes:

Cherry Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream in a bowl with a spoonful on a marble board.

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cherry amaretto crunch ice cream | Garlic + Zest
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5 from 1 vote

Cherry Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream

Cherries and almonds are such a classic combination and when they’re blended into ice cream and doused with amaretto, it’s even better!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword amaretto, cherry, ice cream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • ¼ cup amaretto
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • ½ cup sliced almonds


  • Roughly chop the dried cherries. Combine the cherries and amaretto in a small bowl and set aside for one hour to plump.
  • In a large bowl combine the sugar and eggs. Beat for 2-3 minutes until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the flour.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half to a simmer – do not boil. With the beaters on a medium speed, add the hot half and half into the egg mixture in a steady stream. Beat until combined. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a large clean bowl. Stir in the heavy cream, cherries, amaretto and almond extract. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least two hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-7 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside and cool.
  • Stir the chilled custard then freeze according the the instructions on your ice cream maker. Just before the ice cream is finished, add the almonds and continue to churn until thoroughly combined. Ice cream will be soft, but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer it to a freezer safe container and freeze for 2 hours.


Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 1225IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 0.9mg

“Pin It” For Later!

If you love almond ice cream, then you'll love it even more when we add amaretto. But wait, amaretto ice cream is just the start. Macerated cherries dapple the custard and a crunchy toasted almonds add more texture. Cherry Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream is like nothing you've had before. #homemadeicecream #amarettoicecream #almondicecream #cherryalmondicecream #cherryicecream #icecreammaker #frozendessert #cherries #almond #amaretto #eggs #custardbase

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  1. 5 stars
    Ice cream is one of the few things I’ve never tried to make – this recipe may just be my inspiration to give it a go!

    1. Homemade ice cream is the best – and you can find these super-simple Cuisinart machines for $40-$50.

  2. I have never made ice cream before…but this looks awesome. All along I thought you need an ice cream maker. Guess I was wrong.

    1. Actually, I did use an ice cream maker for this.

  3. I totally feel you on those winter ice cream cravings. The best part about making your own is you don’t have to venture out into winter weather to get some. This looks really good.

    1. Thanks, Tracy! Glad I’m not the only one craving the cold stuff!

  4. This looks great for any season; we love the warmth added by the amaretto; great ice cream idea here!!!

  5. foodhuntersguide says:

    I love making homemade ice cream and this flavor sounds yummy

    1. Glad you like – it’s one of my favorites!

  6. This looks great! Just curious… what does the flour do? That isn’t a typical ingredient in ice cream. Does it help it to stay thick and creamy?