olive oil gelato.

yup, you read that right.

olive oil gelato. sounds weird, right?

it’s totally not. it’s actually kind of amazing.

sweet, fruity, smooth, creamy deliciousness.

of all the ice creams i’ve made lately, this one just might be my very favorite.

i’m a big fan of using olive oil in sweet applications. i’ve made an olive oil cake before, which made me swoon. who knew a cake was capable of making someone swoon, especially one made with olive oil?

olive oil desserts aren’t especially popular…yet. i think the idea of using olive oil in desserts is a little strange, and maybe a bit off-putting to some. after all, olive oil is made from olives, and olives don’t exactly sound scrumptious in a cookie or a cheesecake.

but olive oil is magical stuff. it manages somehow to taste nothing like olives, and the flavor of the oil depends on where in the world it comes from. olive oil from Italy, for instance, tastes much different than olive oil from Spain or Israel.

when you’re using olive oil for a dessert, i highly recommend using a good olive oil. this is no time for the cheap supermarket olive oil, most of which tastes bland, old, or even a little soapy. yuck.

a nice starter bottle of olive oil will set you back about $15, but you’ll use it in such small amounts that it’ll last you quite a long time! i never cook or saute with a nice olive oil; instead i use it to lightly dress a salad, or drizzle a small amount over fresh tomatoes, or i’ll pour a little over a fresh pasta dish to finish it.

for this gelato, i used a nice olive oil that i bought while traveling in Israel last summer. it’s fruity, floral and bright, with just a hint of grassiness. the texture is incredibly smooth, and almost a bit buttery. it’s pretty much to die for. i’m going to be so sad once i’ve used it all up!

luckily, there are lots of specialty food stores where you can purchase a great bottle of olive oil, and most of them will even let you taste before you buy!

i really can’t express how much i love this olive oil gelato…i was kind of surprised that i liked it so much! that’s why i think you should make it, too. you never know what you’ll love until you try it!

i served my gelato with a drizzle of olive oil on top, and sprinkled a bit of fleur de sel over that. the salt highlighted the sweet floral notes of the olive oil and really took it to the next level.

if you really want to get crazy, scatter some cocoa nibs over the top of this gelato. oooh, yes. do that! in fact, i might just have to do that real quick right now, just to make sure it’s good.

okay, i’m back. it’s good. really good.

olive oil gelato: your new favorite frozen treat that you never thought you’d want to try!

olive oil gelato

Yield: 1 pint gelato

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling and churning time


4 egg yolks
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup half & half (you can use whole milk or heavy cream if you like!)
generous pinch salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil


place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on.

turn the mixer on medium-high, and beat the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow, about 4-5 minutes. set aside.

in a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar, water, half & half and salt. stir to combine.

place saucepan over medium-high heat, and, stirring frequently, heat until steaming and small bubbles form around the edge of the pan.

slowly pour the hot half & half into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.

pour the heated yolks back into the saucepan, and place over medium-high heat.

using a rubber spatula, stir the custard constantly until it begins to thicken. when the mixture reaches 165 degrees F, remove from the heat.

pass the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container and cool completely at room temperature.

when cool, cover container and transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.

the next day, pour the custard into a medium-sized bowl. whisking constantly, slowly pour the olive oil into the custard, a very tiny amount at a time. you might find it easier to do this with your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on a low speed.

once the olive oil is incorporated into the custard, it should be slightly thicker and glossy.

transfer to your ice cream maker, and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions, or about 20 minutes.

transfer to an airtight container, and freeze for at least 30 minutes before scooping.

you can serve this olive oil gelato with a sprinkling of fleur de sel and a drizzle of olive oil, or with some cocoa nibs scattered on top.

the olive oil gelato will keep in an airtight container stored in the fridge for up to 4 months.

adapted from food 52

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9 Responses to “olive oil gelato.”

  1. #
    jessica lynn — July 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I’m saving this recipe to make when we’re in Italy. I can only imagine the delicious olive oils they have there and how great this will be.

  2. #
    fanny — July 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    ooooh the more I read your words, the more I thought to myself that you should try Pierre Herme black olive sables. they’re the best thing on earth. perfectly sweet with the satisfying saltiness of black olives.

  3. #
    Annalise — July 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Last night at a restaurant I had vanilla ice cream with olive oil and sea salt. It was one of the most amazing desserts I have ever had. I’m definitely a lover of olive oil in desserts!

  4. #
    ErinsFoodFiles — July 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Interesting! I bet it had such a unique flavor!

  5. #
    adventureswithben — July 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    You have the best recipes. First rosemary, now olive oil!

  6. #
    Mrs. Jen B — July 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Oh, I have no trouble believing that this is one delicious gelato – olive oil is so versatile, especially considering that there are so many subtle differences from one oil to the next. I would love to make this myself!

  7. #
    Danguole — July 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Oooh, fabulous… I had olive oil ice cream with dried tart cherries and a dark chocolate sauce at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago (my biggest food splurge yet). I’ve been meaning to recreate it–thanks for the reminder!

  8. #
    Anita Menon — July 23, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Never heard of this one before. But sure looks interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  9. #
    jaclyn — July 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    thanks, Ben! i like to get a little wild and crazy in the kitchen and mix it up! :)

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