How is tempura ice cream made? A Delicious recipe

Written by Peter Allen on . Posted in food

If you are craving for something crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside then the Japanese fried ice cream might just be what you are looking for. It is not only extremely sweet but also has all the perks and features of a super delicious ice cream.

I’ve had the tempura fried ice cream a couple of times but I wasn’t so crazy about it as I am now. The first time I enjoyed the ice cream was when I had to prepare it for my wife and we had it together and instantly fell in love with this delicious ice cream.

My family are huge fans of ice cream in general, not a week goes by that we do not have ice cream. However, when my wife was heavily pregnant with our second child baby T, she was so obsessed with ice cream that I had to restrict it.

A few weeks into the ice cream ban season, I could notice how unhappy and grumpy my wife had become. I had to suspend the ban, but I also wanted to do it in style and what better way to this than making the one and only tempura fried ice cream.

Off to Walmart, I went to get ice cream after which I made one hell of a tempura fried ice cream. Boy! You need to have seen the joy and happiness on her face when I served it to her. Back to tempura ice cream, it is something you should try especially if you are a huge fan of ice cream.

What is tempura ice cream?

For better understanding, I would like us to take a brief look at what the word tempura means before explaining what tempura ice means.

Tempura is a Japanese dish that comprises of fish or any other form of seafood and vegetables that has been battered and deep-fried. The dish actually came about by waste cooking methods presented by Portuguese living in Nagasaki in the sixteenth century. It is said that the name “tempura” originates from the Latin expression quatuor anni tempora, which alludes to the Ember Days, during which no meat is eaten.

Tempura ice cream, therefore, is a type of fried ice cream that uses Japanese tempura technique or Asian style batter called tempura. It is a dessert produced from coating scoop of regular fried ice cream with bread. Then, rapidly deep-frying to create a sort of warm, crunchy shell on the outside that surrounds the ice cream on the inside.

Tempura ice cream–Origin story

There are clashing tales as to the origin of this super tasty tempura dessert. There have been claims that the ice cream was first served during the well-known 1893 Chicago worlds flair, which also happens to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae.

However, in 1894 an unknown Philadelphian organization was given acknowledgment for its creation as at then it was described as a little, strong cake of the dessert wrapped in a meager sheet of pie covering, plunged into bubbling fat or margarine to cook the outside to a crisp. A third case sprung up during the 1960s claiming that the ice cream was created by Japanese tempura restaurants.

Fried ice cream has for long been related to Asian food in the United States, showing up in surveys of Japanese and Chinese cafés in some section of the New York Times around the year 1970. It likewise became related with Mexican food, in huge part because of mainstream store Chi-Chi’s embracing a fried ice cream made with tortillas and cinnamon as its “signature dessert” when it opened in the mid-1980s.

The difference between the Asian recipe and the Mexicans was that the Asian recipe uses tempura batter hence the name tempura ice cream while Mexican recipe made use of stuff like corn flakes, nuts, cookie crumbs, etc. for coating. Popular flavors in the Asian cafés were green tea, vanilla, and red bean.

The association with Asian cooking is also reflected in Australia where they are referred to as Australian Chinese cuisine.

How is tempura ice cream made?

I could remember how confused I was the first time I heard the word fried ice cream, how on earth can you possibly fry ice cream I thought? Having tried it myself I now perfectly understand what it is and how it is made.

Tempura ice cream or fried ice cream is made by simply deep-frying balls of ice cream coated by thin bread. The tempura ice cream is actually something you can make at home as it is not difficult to make. It is also found in many Japanese restaurants. Vanilla is a flavor that is very common with this ice cream although it can be substituted with any other flavor.

It is very important for the ice cream to be extremely cold at all times so it is strong enough to maintain its shape after it has been dipped in batter and fried. To achieve this, ensure scooped ball of ice cream are always returned to the freezer for usually a couple of hours or probably overnight.

In some cases, though you can choose to place the ice cream in between two slices of cake such that they form a sandwich-like shape, after which they are wrapped in a saran wrap and immediately returned to the freezer for a few hours to become rock solid.

As for the tempura batter, flour, eggs, and water are the principal ingredients for making it although other ingredients like baking soda may be added to the flour and vanilla extract for a sort of additional flavoring. To make the tempura, beat the eggs lightly and then mix with water after which the flour is added.

When the batter is made and the ice cream is firm enough, evenly coat the balls in the batter and fry in either hot vegetable oil or olive oil (I prefer vegetable oil). Ensure that the oil is extremely hot so each ball of ice cream fries quickly. Fry for at least thirty seconds before removing the balls from the hot oil to simply prevent the ice cream from melting.

Fried ice cream at the end of the preparation exercise usually turns out golden crispy on the outside and soft creamy on the inside. The now prepared ice cream should be allowed to drain on a paper towel for at least a minute or two to remove excess oil.

It is advised that tempura ice cream be served immediately after battering and deep-frying. This not only helps the dessert to maintain the contrast of its warm outer shell vs its cold insides, but also prevents the inside from melting.

Tempura fried ice cream recipe

Most people, especially first-timers usually have the notion that this dessert is going to be difficult to prepare and therefore prefer to buy outside, but I can assure you it’s not. Besides, homemade fried ice cream is always the best. Just simply follow the instructions and you are good to go. For this tempura fried ice cream recipe, the following tempura ice cream ingredients will be needed.


  • 1 pound of the prepared cake
  • 1 container of vanilla ice cream
  • 3 cups of vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 cup of sparkling water
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup

Equipment needed

  • Ice cream scoop
  • Frying pan
  • Food processor if you are going to grind anything like a cookie


  1. First things first, carefully cut the pound of cake into small to medium slices with a sharp knife. Then scoop a ball of the vanilla ice cream and wrap it carefully with the slices of cake ensuring all parts of the ice cream are well covered.
  2. Once this is done, wrap the cake balls with a plastic wrap tightly such that it forms a round shape and keep then in the freezer to freeze for at least 5-6 hours, or better still leave them overnight.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer or a large pan over high heat, while this is being done. Pour the chilled water into a bowl with the flour in it; whisk in the egg to create a good amount of batter.
  4. Remove the now firm ice cream balls from the freezer and dust with flour. Then dip into the batter, thoroughly coating all sides. Without wasting time, gently place the coated ice cream balls into the oil and deep fry ice cream until golden for about 30 seconds (not more than 30 seconds).
  5. Remove with a deep spoon and drain with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve with some quantity of chocolate sauce before the ice cream begins to melt and enjoy.

Other ways to enjoy tempura ice cream

Mint chocolate truffles – One amazingly tasty way to enjoy the tempura fried ice cream is to add mint chocolate truffles. Making the truffle is quite easy as all you need to do is simply add the mint chocolate cookies to a large bowl of a food processor.

Allow the processor to run until the cookie is finely ground. Then add hot fudge and mix thoroughly. Roll it into balls and put it on a plate then refrigerate until it is rock solid. Add it to the scoop of ice cream slightly in middle before returning it to the fridge.

Crush cornflakes and coconut – Coating the scooped ice cream with crushed cornflakes, coconut and cinnamon are also another to enjoy the tempura ice cream. To do this, crush the cornflakes, coconut, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl, then use the mixture to coat the ice cream. Once done, return the coated ice cream to the freezer and freeze for at least 40 minutes.

Toppings to enjoy the tempura ice cream

Toppings play quite an essential role in determining how delicious the tempura fried ice cream turns out to be. Below are a few toppings that blend perfectly well this tasty ice cream.

  • Hot fudge: The chocolatey nature of hot fudge does blends pretty well with the fried ice cream and it is my go-to topping for the tempura ice cream anytime any day.
  • Honey: Drizzling the fried ice cream with honey is another way to top the ice cream
  • Whipped cream: This also for quite an amazing tempura ice cream topping.

Final ­­­­­thoughts

Quite a lot has been written here about the tempura ice cream, and I am still wondering what exactly you are waiting for before making your very own version of this super awesome ice cream. Enjoy with the family and give your taste buds a treat.

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Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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