IT IS Fourth of July. You’re busy. I know. Everyone has a list of jobs the length of their arm on Independence Day. Not only do you need to sort out the food, but you’ve also got to consider outfits, decorations (including flags – especially if you are one of the families with residential flagpoles) and generally organizing plans for the day. I get it. But just let me squeeze in a couple minutes of your time because if you missed this, it would be the second greatest mistake of your life. For we all know that the first in rank is always some hair cut (can’t beat that). Guys… this is your emergency Independence Day dessert. A discovery made after a kitchen-mistake of historic proportions, and in corresponding spirit of this holiday, proves again that greatness is often times a by-product of bad ideas. And this, this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened after the establishment of long weekend. What it is, is a gelato. Not any gelato, but the creamiest, virtually zero air-molecules or ice-crystals gelato, that makes itself.


It can be the base for any gelato flavour imaginable. No machine, churning, whipping cream or whatsoever! And it will look, feel, slide, melt and taste like the magic that it is. Go. Celebrate.



I used full-fat sour cream which gives the gelato an insanely rich and creamy texture. You can try using low-fat sour cream, or a combination of full-fat and low-fat. Although I am going to predict that the creaminess will reduce as the fat-content goes down…

Self-made sour cream gelato:

  • 1 1/2 cup (348 grams) of sour cream, or creme fraiche
  • 1 cup (330 grams) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

Whisk sour cream (or creme fraiche), sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract together until very smooth, and that there’s no lumps of sour cream. Pour the mixture into container and freeze for at least 6 hours to overnight. Serve with fresh or grilled fruits.

Blue and red sundae:

  • 1 cup of fresh, or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup of fresh (pitted), or frozen cherries or raspberries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 ~ 3 tbsp of granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Add the blueberries in a small pot with juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 tbsp or more granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat until the blueberries start to give out their juice and have softened, but still retain their shapes. Add freshly grated nutmeg (at least 1/4 nutmeg), mix and chill until needed. Repeat with pitted cherries, or raspberries.

Serve with self-made sour cream gelato, with more freshly grated nutmeg on top.

Pan-grilled peaches:

  • 2 ripen peaches or nectarine
  • Small nub of unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp of dark rum
  • 1 ~ 3 tbsp of light brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Cut the peaches open and remove the pit (if the peaches are too ripe/soft to do this, just slice the flesh from the pit). Heat the unsalted butter in a skillet over high heat until almost browned, then add the peaches, flesh-side down, and cook until the bottom is caramelized and the flesh has softened slightly. Add the dark rum and granulated sugar and cook until the sauce has thickened. Add freshly grated nutmeg (at least 1/4 nutmeg) and swirl to combine. (I like to wait for the peaches to cool down slightly so they don’t melt the gelato too fast) Serve with sour cream gelato, and more freshly grated nutmeg on top.


A little Fourth of July Sundae never hurts anybody.


Or just because it’s summer.


  • David

    July 3, 2014 at 7:25 PM Reply

    I love that the science behind this is that there is essentially enough fat and sugar (as well as very little water) in the base mixture to retard large water crystal (ice) formation. Hahaha!!! I want this in/on me now…

  • Kelly

    July 3, 2014 at 7:56 PM Reply

    Let’s try making a simpler ice cream recipe why don’t ya….. ;-)

  • Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

    July 3, 2014 at 9:49 PM Reply

    Awesome. I’ll be making this over the weekend (and it’s not even hot here! I just love sour cream and therefore need to eat this NOW).

    I also wonder how it’d work with full fat plain Greek yogurt? (Which I have at home more often and often substitute for sour cream…) Instant, creamy, gelato-like frozen yogurt perhaps?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 3, 2014 at 10:45 PM Reply

      ALLISON: I have every reason to believe that should work, too. Let me know how it goes!!

  • Adrian @ The Food Gays

    July 3, 2014 at 9:59 PM Reply

    okay, so trying this!! even tho i am canadian ;)

  • Mariela

    July 3, 2014 at 11:29 PM Reply

    First off, I am so happy I discovered your blog. Love your attitude, and the images are just gorgeous! Second, this recipe is amaze-balls. Love it. Will try it soon, maybe even for tomorrow’s celebrations. nom nom nom.

  • Jo

    July 4, 2014 at 12:06 AM Reply

    Do you think adding some melted chocolate to this before the big freeze would compromise the creaminess/integrity of the gelato?
    Also win for you and for science!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 4, 2014 at 2:06 AM Reply

      JO, I really think this could be a great base for anything, as long as you don’t significantly increase the water content of the mixture. Since chocolate is low in moisture, I think it would be fantastic!

  • steph

    July 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM Reply

    considering i sometimes eat sour cream by the spoonful (in secret shame in the middle of the night) i would totally be down with eating this ice cream!!

  • Eileen

    July 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM Reply

    This gelato sounds SO GOOD. And I love that you don’t need any fancy equipment to make a delicious dessert!

  • Tamsin | A Certain Adventure

    July 4, 2014 at 4:06 AM Reply

    That last photo had me drooling on the floor. Genius combo.

  • Chrissy

    July 4, 2014 at 7:43 AM Reply

    Whhhhaaaat?! Yes. YES.

  • ines

    July 4, 2014 at 9:31 AM Reply

    I accidentally grabbed a can of dulce de leche instead of sweetened condensed milk. I used it anyways. So good.

  • Ruth

    July 4, 2014 at 10:06 AM Reply

    And using my frozen Donvier ice dream maker means I won’t have to wait 6 longggg hours! Ha!

    PS I almost miss living in China these days. We spent 10 months in Changsha, 10 months outside of Kunmimg and 4 years south of Guangzhou in Panyu. We’ve been back home in Victoria BC Canada for 8 years!

  • Pang

    July 4, 2014 at 10:28 AM Reply

    Since I don’t have any ice cream maker, and have been envy people who do for a very long time, I am LOVING this post of yours SO MUCH. Thank youuuuuuu :)

  • Nik@ABrownTable

    July 4, 2014 at 11:48 AM Reply

    Since I have a thing for all frozen desserts, I need to add this to my list. I’ve never tried a sour cream gelato and this looks so good, Mandy!

  • Em | the pig & quill

    July 4, 2014 at 12:31 PM Reply

    YOU > ME. That’s just math, dude. <3 <3 <3

  • Millie l Add A Little

    July 4, 2014 at 3:05 PM Reply

    Mandy these shots are so amazing! Love your photography beyond belief!

  • Ami@NaiveCookCooks

    July 5, 2014 at 8:47 AM Reply

    Mandy, I am loving this dessert!! Turning sour cream into gelato. Now that’s genius and only you can think of something this creative!!

  • Anne

    July 6, 2014 at 5:21 AM Reply

    Lovely!!! I don’t have a ice cream maker, but looking at this I don’t think I will ever need one!!!

  • Reana Louise

    July 7, 2014 at 11:30 AM Reply

    I made some last night with the addition of blackberries. Creamy, sweet, delish. Thank you for the recipe! x

  • Howdy I am so happy I found your site, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Bing for something else, Regardless I am here now and
    would just like to say cheers for a marvelous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t
    have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal
    more, Please do keep up the superb jo.

  • DessertForTwo

    July 7, 2014 at 8:48 PM Reply

    I’m such a gelato lover, but I’ve never tried making it myself! Love this recipe!

  • Story

    July 9, 2014 at 12:35 AM Reply

    I made this a couple of days ago. I used full fat Greek yogurt and felt that the finished product was way too hard. I recommend allowing the gelato to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before scooping. I also felt the gelato was too sweet for my preferences, but I tend to like my cold desserts less sweet.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 9, 2014 at 1:24 PM Reply

      STORY: the creaminess needs to come from enough fat/sugar content if it was to be done without churning, so it kind of needs the sweetness. And I guess sour cream probably has a higher fat content than full fat greek yogurt. Perhaps next time I will try with a low fat sour cream and see the difference ;)

  • Amelia Woodward

    July 30, 2014 at 2:02 PM Reply

    Sounds so yummy! I would like to try this with homemade dulce de leche and with equal part ricotta to sour cream. Any advice on if it would set correctly or if the fat/sugar content would be right?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 30, 2014 at 2:10 PM Reply

      AMELIA: I think dulce de leche probably has the same – if not higher – sugar content than sweetened condensed milk, so it’ll do. Someone commented saying she used Greek yogurt and the result was too hard, so maybe try substituting 1/3 of sour cream with ricotta first and see how it freezes, then if it works, increase the ricotta from there?

  • Mary P.

    August 3, 2014 at 11:27 PM Reply

    something is wrong with your website, the formatting is messed up, just wanted you to know – your recipes is fantastic though!

  • Rob

    August 9, 2014 at 4:03 PM Reply

    Certainly simple (I added about a half cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to mine) and good creamy consistency once left to thaw, but far too sweet with a pronounced tang from the sour cream. Might try creme fraiche next time.

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen

    October 4, 2014 at 9:53 PM Reply

    I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and it just blew. my. mind. Perfect.

  • Amanda

    May 15, 2015 at 2:19 AM Reply

    I made this a few days ago using about 1/2 c more of sour cream to make it a little less sweet and added cinnamon. Let me tell you, it was so tasty that my kids and I finished it off in less than 2 days. Delicious!

  • Caitlin

    June 27, 2015 at 6:38 AM Reply

    Any idea how it might be affected by using just sugar instead of sweetened condensed milk? Btw I’ve made fro-yo with full fat Greek yogurt and regular yogurt with raw sugar and a pinch of salt and I prefer the texture of Greek. If you allow the sugar to fully dissolve as well the texture is vastly improved. I want to try this one and see how it compares!

  • Jen

    September 2, 2015 at 11:00 PM Reply

    I tried out this recipe a couple days ago, and it was fantastic! The flavor of the gelato reminded me of cheesecake, so I added crumbled graham crackers, swirled in blueberry sauce and turned it into “blueberry cheesecake gelato.” It satisfied my craving for cheesecake without the hassle of baking and heating up my kitchen in the dry Arizona heat. Thanks for sharing a perfect summer recipe!

  • David W Bullanday

    October 13, 2015 at 12:19 PM Reply

    1. THANK YOU for this beautiful and inspiring blog. I’m a huge new fan.
    2. I made this gelato earlier today and I added the zest of a lemon. It’s fantastic. I might try cutting some of the sweetness by mixing some regular condensed milk into the batch.
    3. I’ll need bigger pants if I keep making this…

  • Helen Marshall

    February 25, 2016 at 1:17 AM Reply

    This might be a stupid question, but can you use an ice cream freezer for this recipe?

  • Eileen

    August 25, 2016 at 9:52 AM Reply

    I muddled some raspberries, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg then folded it in before freezing! This is amazing.

  • Alison

    October 24, 2016 at 8:26 AM Reply

    Made exactly as written but it was kind of icy. I was also hoping for more tang from the sour cream. I have had better luck with no churn ice creams where you fold in whipped cream.

  • Abdul-Aleem Amien

    March 24, 2018 at 5:56 PM Reply

    Hi there, in this recipe, can you taste the sour-cream? or is it masked by the condensed milk? Also, can one add a bit of cocoa powder to make this chocolate flavor? and lastly, does one need to cover the mixture when freezing it? Thanks, I will definitely try this recipe out as its simple as eating pie :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      March 26, 2018 at 12:29 PM Reply

      Abdul Aleem, you can’t really taste the sourness that much. It’s just mainly very rich and creamy. I’ve never added coconut powder or chocolate to this before. I don’t know if the coconut powder will melt well or not. Anyhow, it’s worth a try. Cover the mixture when freezing :)

  • Jasmine

    March 5, 2021 at 6:42 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy! I’ve been making this recipe on a regular basis for years now, and as I was whipping up a bowl of it just now I thought I would share my gratitude as well as my favourite twist: add an avocado or two! I wanted to recreate the delicious Vietnamese avocado smoothies in the form of an ice cream and your recipe was the perfect base for it. Since avocado is so high in fat, it doesn’t crystallize in the mixture at all. Anyways, thank you for your recipes and all the best to you and yours.

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