Popcorn and salted caramel ice cream

21 March 2012
by Phuoc

The passing Summer in Sydney has not felt like Summer at all. With only a couple of days hitting the 30C mark, it was a pathetic Summer to say the least. Yes, we’d probably still be complaining if we had our stinking hot 40+ days, but at least we’d have an excuse to go to the beach. Regardless of having a proper Summer or not, at least you are able to have ice cream during any kind of weather and nothing beats homemade ice cream as you can make any flavour you want.

I’ve had an ice cream machine many years ago and can understand the trepidation one would go through making it from scratch but it’s a rewarding experience if you get it right. Over cook the custard and you’ll find yourself with some sweet, flavoursome scrambled eggs and no one wants that.

However, I have made ice cream without a machine before and it worked a treat but have tried the same recipe with another flavour and I didn’t enjoy it so much. I found it extremely creamy and left a fatty mouth-feel when I was eating it. Don’t get me wrong, I think the recipe works well for those who are timid about making custard-base ice creams, just don’t have time, or those who don’t own an ice cream machine. The recipe was good for the Vietnamese coffee ice cream because it pretty much was the ice cream version of the drink but it’s not the ice cream I’ve been used to when it comes to homemade ice cream.

Recently, I received a Cuisinart ice cream machine to play around with, thanks to Brad from Kitchenware Direct. The machine is straight forward to use, all you need to do is chill the canister in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Then when it comes to making the ice cream, you just place the canister on the dock, mixing paddle in the canister, lid on top and pour the chilled ice cream mixture down the chute. 20 minutes later and Hey Presto! you’ll have ice cream.

I know this is a little thing and it plays no function to the ice cream making process but I really liked how there’s a cord tying thing attached to it. Hands up if you hate cords lying around due to appliances or having to tie them up with those wire cable ties things. All appliances should have this cable tying thing as it would make storing appliances less cluttered.

Feeling inspired after having a wonderful dessert from Zest last year, I had the intention of re-creating popcorn ice cream at home. And what goes with popcorn? Why caramel of course! But I thought, why not make salted caramel instead because we all know salted caramel makes everything better..

It was a simple matter of infusing the popcorn flavour into the milk and cream for the custard; which made the ice cream have a nice buttery popcorn taste. This method could be used for just about any flavour infusion you want. Oooooo.. I just thought of donut flavour ice cream! You get the idea.

I had two attempts at incorporating the salted caramel into the ice cream. The first time I used the salted butter caramel sauce from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and tried drizzling it into the freshly churned ice cream but that stuffed it up a little; it temporarily melted and retarded the chilling process of the ice cream. The second time was using (salted) dulce de leche that I made in a can by pressure cooking it and placing it into the ice cream. That seemed to work although I wasn’t too happy with it as I placed some big chunks when I should’ve placed smaller ones in instead. These caramel chunks were slightly chewy in the ice cream. I should have listened to Karen and made a praline and scattered little pieces in the ice cream for a gooey salted caramel within my ice cream; like what David Lebovitz has done on his blog.

Now thanks to the lovely people at Kitchenware Direct, one lucky reader has the chance of winning a Cuisinart 1.5L ice cream machine, with a choice of 7 colours to choose from. All you have to do is tell me what ice cream flavour you would make and what colour ice cream machine you would like (please keep in mind that this does not apply to the stainless brushed or metallic red machines). This competition is open to Australian residents only and ends at 11:59PM (AEST) on the 4th April 2012.

Congratulations to Peter on winning yourself an ice cream machine. I’m curious about how you’d incorporate ouzo into the ice cream, knowing how it would behave, but if you need a taste tester, please let me know! 🙂


Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Makes 1L (about 1 quart)


Popcorn ice cream

50g butter

1/4 cup corn kernels

(Alternatively, use 50g (buttered, optional) popcorn instead)

1 1/2 cup full cream milk

1 1/2 cup thickened cream

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

Salted caramel

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp salt


For the ice cream

  1. Melt butter in a 2L saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add popcorn and cover
  3. Shake saucepan regularly until popping ceases
  4. Remove from heat and discard any unpopped kernels or burnt popcorn
  5. Warm the milk, cream and popcorn in another saucepan over medium heat for 5-10 minutes
  6. Remove from heat and allow popcorn to infuse for at least 15 minutes
  7. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy
  8. Strain the popcorn milk mixture into the egg yolk, stirring to lighten the egg yolks
  9. Place the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly and scrapping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula (about 10 minutes)
  10. Place mixture over an ice bath, stirring constantly until the mixture cools
  11. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight
  12. Freeze the mixture in ice cream machine for about 20 minutes according to manufacturer’s instructions
  13. Drizzle or place small chunks of the salted caramel through the ice cream
  14. Freeze for at least 1 hour to firm up before serving

For the salted caramel 

  1. Place the can in a saucepan and submerge completely under water
  2. Boil for 1.5 hours (covered); checking ever 30mins on the water level and top up if needed
  3. Alternatively, boil the can fully submerged in a pressure cooker for 30mins OR buy a can of ready-made caramel
  4. Heat 1/4 cup of caramel with salt over medium heat, stirring until salt dissolves completely
  5. Cool caramel slightly before incorporating into ice cream

Print this recipe


  1. Isis

    amazing!!! that looks so yummy!!!

  2. Ramen Raff

    OMG!! I wanna try this recipe!

    Salted Caramel does make everything better 🙂 Totes!

  3. Sarah

    I loveee your decorations! Too cute!

    I must have one of those ice cream makers!!
    I would love it in RED and I’d make red velvet ice cream to go with it!!!
    Only makes sense! Hahah

  4. Tina @ bitemeshowme

    Omg I absolutely LOVE salted caramel ice cream. Never would have thought to make it at home. Love your photos Phuoc. Great work!

  5. Steph

    Yummm, this is one of my fav combos! Personally, I wouldn’t mind encountering one of those big chunks of salted dulce 😉

  6. Laura Hana

    What a great idea! I have always been interested in ice cream making and now I have so many ideas going through my head!

    I would love to try to make a fair inspired ice cream with fairy floss for my little girl who went to her first fair the other day and loved it. (And a pink machine to match would be awesome!)

  7. nic@diningwithastud

    Ooh popcorn icecream has been on my list for ages. I love the addition of the salted caramel. I could devour this right now. I would def have to make my avocade ice cream again but I want to drizzle in some choc ganache next time. Im going to be boring and pick the white maker haha

  8. Jacq

    ooh this sounds like the best ice cream flavour ever! totes gonna try this at home now

  9. Rhonda (The Dainty Baker)

    Oooo that icecream maker is sooo cute!!! Love the look and sound of this icecream! Bet it’s amazing!!

  10. Cathy

    Wow! This icecream looks wonderful! Bit scared about making the
    salted caramel I have to admit.
    I think I’d make a Turkish delight flavoured icecream
    with chunks of homemade Turkish delight.
    Or maybe a pavlova icecream with fruit tossed in at the
    Or maybe dark choc with chilli?
    Yes. One of those three.

  11. Anna @The Littlest Anchovy

    YUM! This flavour combo is magic.
    The flavour I would make is probably Apple Pie – Chunks of biscuit, cinnamon and roasted apple pieces.
    Ooh you have me craving ice-cream now!

  12. Eve

    Ooooo yummy. I love the idea of this – I remember seeing something similar by Heston Blumenthal (a chef I adore) and he actually put popping candy in his popcorn ice cream to make it -really- pop hehe :D.

    As for what I would make, I have three. 🙂 I want to make miso brown sugar ice cream and to go with that, green tea and red bean ice cream. Oh and black sesame ice cream too! I was actually sketching about the three/four last night trying to figure out how I would pair them!

    And I would lovvvvve the pink one. My goodness that shade is lovely.


    – Eve

  13. Rhiannon

    Oooh this sounds soooo delicious. I only tried salted caramel icecream recently for the first time and am hooked. I also love vanilla drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt flakes.

    I would loooove to make either a really kick-arse rum and raisin, or this delicious recipe I read in Charlie Trotter’s Vegetables, ‘Butternut Pumpkin and Black Pepper’ icecream.

    OR turkish delight with pistachios and dried cranberries….

    Or cinnamon and dried apricot icecream….

    Or ruby grapefruit sorbet…

    And I would love the Strawberry or orange icecream maker!

  14. Anna @The Littlest Anchovy

    Ooh I forgot to say! I would love a silver or green machine!

  15. Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    So glad you made it, looks delicious! I think it is time I pull the ice cream maker out again. Awesome recipe 🙂

  16. Jen

    Love love love your photos, very nicely done!

  17. Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul

    Wow! You’ve really outdone yourself here Phuoc! What a fantastic flavour combination…sooo goood!
    I’d make ouzo and pistacho flavoured ice cream…as an experiment. And the blue machine would work well for me too!

  18. Dumpling Love

    Omgoodness…that ice cream sounds AMAZING! Doesn’t help that I’m (A) hungry, (B) a bit cold, and (C) love eating ice cream when it’s cold..haha.

    It’s so hard to choose what ice cream I’d make…probably an awesome rum&raisin for my boyfriend since it’s his favourite, or a mango-coconut, a black sesame one or a pandan or yam one…or a chai or red date and adzuki bean one as experiments =)

    And I would love the red or orange ice cream maker! fingers cross =)

    Enjoy the rest of your day!

  19. TikTok

    Great post! My dream ice cream recipe would be creamy cashew and lime. I would love a lime green icecream maker to match!

  20. Sneh | Cook Republic

    OMG, that method of making salted caramel …. swooons! Thank YOU!

  21. Katherine

    I have always loved salty and sweet. I will be putting this ice cream recipe on my to do list. Salted caramel chunks. You just cant go wrong. I agree with you about the cord tying dooby wacky. Every kitchen appliance should have 1 or 2 with everything they sell. Cords annoy me and loose cords end up scratching electrical appliances too.

  22. Laurence Lopez

    The flavour I would make is… Mais con quezo – (Sweet Corn and Cheese), a fond memory from my childhood. The ice cream machine colour I would like is the white one please. Thank you. Cheers, Llaurence

  23. Audrey

    One word – NUTELLA! Need I say more?

    Have been eyeing the red machine for awhile just to fulfil this delicious dream..

  24. Vivian Nguyen

    One of my friend posted a photo of salted caramel popcorn icecream. I always love caramel popcorn but have never try it as icecream before. Kinda jealous. I hope I could have an icecream maker to give a go.
    I also love banana icecream using riped Asian bananas with coconut milk and crusted roasted peanuts. It brings back childhood memory plus it’s easy to make!
    I would love to have a yellow icecream maker to match it with the banana…icecream! 🙂

  25. Jo-Ann

    The icecream would have to be honeycomb with ribbons of chocolate fudge – yummo! And I would love love love a red Cuisanart icecream maker – that would be fantastic!

  26. Vivian - vxdollface

    what a delicious combination!

  27. amy

    you just combined my 2 favourite things. salted caramel and ice cream and ofcos yes to popcorn too!

  28. Morgan

    Definitely need an ice cream maker to rock this recipe. I need one to experiment with a cookies & cream & peanut butter recipe I’ve been mulling over as the weather warms…

  29. Julie

    love that ice cream combo, any left for me ;)? I might be a bit crazy and do all colours of the rainbow and combined it like that paddle pop – triple swirl :D. I would be super girly and go for the pink 😉

  30. Josie

    Oh to be back in italy eating gelato 3 times a day including breakfast. I would love to try and re create an icecream flavour I tried recently in tassie, at the Bruny Island Cheese Co, it was Rhubarb and Bay leaf and I enjoyed it at 10am, very induglent and delicious. My colour choice for the Cuisinart would be white, I’d save the colour for the icecream!

  31. Satu

    Wow, some really yummy ideas going on here, I’m yet to make ice cream but it’s def on the to do list. I was thinking a caramelised white chocolate ice cream with honeycomb flakes and served with a choc crunch top. YUM! Has anyone made waffle cones before? Strawberry red or white machine would look great on my counter top ; )

  32. Rebecca

    Wow…popcorn and caramel icecream….that sounds super delish! If I had an icecream maker I would DEFINITELY be making chocolate/peanut butter icecream…my all time favourite flavour!!!Rich chocolate with lovely chunks of salty smooth peanut butter in it. Its not an exotic combination but hubby and I both love this. If I won a Cuisinart I wouldn’t care what colour it came in I would just be super excited that I actually won!!!!

  33. Laura Hana

    Hi, I have another idea (if I am allowed two suggestions!). I have just made rhubarb and custard crumble and thought what a great ice cream this would be! Custard ice cream infused with stewed rhubarb and a roasted maple nut crumble sprinkled on top. Yum! Whoever wins this icecream maker is definitely going to have some fun with it, so many ideas!

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