Luxurious, rich and velvety smooth homemade Japanese toasted black sesame ice cream. Packed with roasted notes, this luscious ice cream is a wonderful combination of nuttiness and creaminess.
There’s nothing quite like a perfectly cooled scoop of delicious ice cream to take the edge off on a hot summer day. Although let’s be honest, not that we need a reason to enjoy good ice cream anyway!
This homemade Japanese toasted black sesame ice cream (黒ごまアイスクリーム) is the perfect combination of roasted nuttiness and milky creaminess. Paired with a glass of iced Okinawa Milk Tea, this ice cream will definitely leave you wanting more!
Its unique and natural charcoal grey color comes from black sesame seeds, which also add an amazing nutty flavor. Made with an egg and milk base, this ice cream is incredibly rich and coats your mouth in a milky creaminess. The richness of the ice cream pairs perfectly with the slightly bitter and smoky flavor of toasted black sesame.
Looking for more amazing ice cream recipes? Black sesame pairs wonderfully with the deep and smoky Hojicha Ice Cream or the vibrant and fresh Matcha Ice Cream. Make things even more aromatic with a scoop of Thai Tea Ice Cream or Homemade Ube Ice Cream.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Roasted flavor: This Japanese black sesame ice cream recipe has the perfect balance of flavors. Intense, natural roasted flavors combine perfectly with creaminess of milk and a pinch of salt to bring it all together. By toasting the black sesame seeds, we create the most intense and nutty notes for this ice cream.
- Incredibly rich: Each scoop of this ice cream tastes like a luxurious treat. The ice cream base is made following traditional methods that use milk, cream and eggs. This combination makes for the most silky smooth texture and rich flavor ever!
- Authentic taste: In the true spirits of Japanese cuisine, this ice cream recipe is not overly sweet, allowing for the unique flavor of roasted black sesame to shine through. This Ice Cream recipe is based on traditional Japanese techniques to make the most unique and delicious ice cream flavor!
- Easy to make: Despite its luxurious taste, this Japanese ice cream is very straightforward to make. Preparation takes only a few minutes, then it’s all up to your ice cream machine!
What is Japanese black sesame ice cream?
Japanese black sesame ice cream (黒ゴマアイスクリーム), also known as Kurogoma Ice Cream, is one of the most popular ice cream flavors from Japan. It’s a popular dessert all over Japan because it has a unique and natural steel grey color and a roasted, nutty flavor.
Toasted Kurogoma ice cream is the combination of flavors, without being overly sweet. Black sesame seeds are carefully toasted, then finely grounds into a powder or paste to release the nutty flavor of the seeds.
Made with a custard base, this Japanese ice cream is incredibly rich and creamy, infused with aromatic and deeply roasted black sesame flavor. This Kurogoma ice cream recipe is an authentic Japanese culinary experience that you can make in the comfort of your home. It’s a testament to the unique nature of Japanese cooking, where simple ingredients are turned into something amazing.
This delicious flavor is often used to make mochi ice cream, a traditional Japanese dessert.
What does it taste like?
Toasted black sesame ice cream has a very unique flavor, mixing roasted nuttiness with the subtle sweet flavor of milk. Its roasted nutty aroma has a nudge of bitterness, without being overpowering. It has a sophisticated flavor, that’s made to shine with a generous pinch of salt.
This ice cream flavor is also incredibly creamy, made with a rich custard base. The milky creaminess coats your mouth, whilst the deep, roasted flavors bring a burst of smokiness. Its flavors are in perfect harmony, with just the right amount of sweetness, saltiness, richness and bitterness.
Although this ice cream recipe is authentically Japanese, all ingredients can be found in most supermarkets. Here’s what you will need:
- Black sesame seeds – the most essential ingredient in this recipe. You can use raw whole black sesame seeds and toast them yourself or buy roasted black sesame seeds.
- Sweetened condensed milk – needed to add sweetness and help make the ice cream creamier.
- Eggs – medium eggs are needed for this recipe. For extra creaminess, you can add 1-2 extra egg yolks.
- Salt – absolutely essential for bringing out the roasted flavor of sesame seeds. I recommend using fine sea salt or Himalayan salt.
- Milk – whole milk is needed for the perfect creamy consistency.
- Heavy whipping cream – needed to make the ice cream base extra rich, to yield the most creamy dessert.
Substitutions & Variations
Here are some ingredient substitutions you can make for ease:
- Black sesame seeds – can be replaced with Japanese black sesame paste, also known as Neri Goma. You can also use black tahini, although this is made from raw sesame seeds and lacks the roasted richness.
- Sweetened condensed milk – can be replaced with same quantity heavy cream + ¼ cup sugar (or brown sugar) or honey.
- Milk & Cream – can be replaced with half and half in the same quantity (1 ½ cups).
You can customize this Kurogoma ice cream recipe further to suit your taste. Here are some extra ingredients you can add:
- Vanilla – add ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract to bring a little floral sweetness
- Cinnamon – add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon into the ice cream base for a spicy kick. Although this is not traditional in Japan, it’s still a wonderful flavor addition.
- Chocolate – dark chocolate goes so well with this black sesame ice cream flavor. You can mix in 1 teaspoon of dark cocoa powder (this will change the color of the ice cream). For a little crunch, add in ¼ cup dark chocolate chips after churning.
How to make
Describe briefly how to make the recipe, keep it concise.
1. Toast the seeds in a pan until they smell nutty and roasted.
2. Grind them using a small food processor or spice grinder until pulverized into a fine black sesame powder.
3. In a medium bowl, combing the eggs, sugar and condensed milk, whisking well.
4. Separately, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat up the milk and cream until bubbling.
5. Pour the hot cream into the egg mixture, then return to heat and cook until thickened.
6. Add the black sesame seeds into the ice cream base, then use an immersion blender or whisk to combine well.
7. Let mixture cool down, then refrigerate for a few hours. Churn ice cream, then freeze until hardened.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Roast the seeds: It’s important to roast the black sesame seeds for the most authentic and deep flavor. Toasting them in a pan for only 1-2 minutes helps release the most nutty and aromatic flavor ever, so please don’t skip this step. Alternatively buy already roasted black sesame seeds.
- Don’t make too sweet: Authentic Japanese desserts are never too sweet, as the focus is always on the flavor. Even if you have a sweet tooth, trust me on this one and let the flavor shine through without being overloaded by sugar.
- Add salt: Salt is essential for bringing out the subtle bitterness and nuttiness of roasted sesame seeds. Taste the mixture after cooking and add more salt if needed, but don’t go overboard!
- Texture: When grinding the black sesame seeds, don’t pulverize them all the way. If you leave some chunks of sesame seeds, they add a lovely crunchy texture. Also, I like to add my ground sesame seeds after cooking the ice cream base, as this doesn’t fully soften the seeds and they retain a little crunch.
- Chill before churning: It’s important to properly chill the ice cream custard after cooking and refrigerate it for a few hours, or even overnight. This allows the flavors to mature and makes it easier to churn.
- Churn well: Make sure you follow your ice cream maker manufacturer’s directions when churning, so you get the best texture. Some machines require pre-freezing the bowl, so make sure you don’t skip that step.
- Freeze in shallow container: After churning, transfer the ice cream to a shallow container for freezing. This allows the Kurogoma ice cream to freeze faster and prevent ice crystals from forming.
Serving & Storing
Like most homemade ice cream, this Japanese Ice Cream requires careful storing to maintain its texture and consistency. Once the ice cream has been churned, transfer it to a shallow, freezer-safe airtight container. Don’t forget to smooth and level out the top with a spatula for easier scooping.
Pro tip: add a layer of plastic wrap (saran wrap) on the surface of the ice cream before sealing the container. This prevents ice crystals from forming, retaining the best texture.
You can freeze this ice cream for up to 2-3 weeks, but I recommend consuming it as soon as possible for the best texture. Should the ice cream get too hard, leave it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before scooping out, so it can soften a little.
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Japanese Black Sesame Ice Cream (黒ごまアイスクリーム)
- medium pan, for toasting seeds
- spice grinder / food processor
- ice cream maker
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds (25 grams)
- ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk (80 grams)
- 1 medium egg
- 1 medium egg yolk
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup whole milk (100 grams)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (220 grams)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- Place the sesame seeds in a clean frying pan and cook over low heat until they start smelling toasted and nutty, for about 2-3 minutes. Don’t toast them for too long, as this can make the sesame taste bitter.
- Add the toasted sesame seeds to a blender or food processor and grind until pulverised into a texture similar to wet sand. Scrape the sides with a spatula if needed.
- In a medium bowl, add the egg, salt, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste (optional). Mix everything with a spatula or whisk until combined.
- Pour the milk and heavy cream into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to gently bubble on the sides.
- Remove from heat and slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whilst whisking continuously.
- Place the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat whilst mixing continuously until slightly thickened. This should take about 5-6 minutes or if using a food thermometer, the temperature should read maximum 180°F (80°C).
- Pour the hot custard into a bowl to prevent overcooking. Add the black sesame paste into the custard, then using an immersion blender or whisk, mix well until smoothly combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let it cool down to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before churning.
- Once chilled, add the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn as indicated on the manufacturer’s instructions. This typically takes between 30-45 minutes.
- After churning, transfer to a freezer-safe container and smooth out the top with a spatula. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours or until firmly set.
- Nutritional value is estimative only and is calculated per serving, without any additional toppings. This recipe makes 6 servings (2 small scoops per serving).
- Storing: keep in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2-3 weeks. Consume within a few days for the best texture.