fried ice cream
fried ice cream

Bona Fide Fried Ice Cream

5/5
Vanilla ice cream with a crunchy corn flake and cinnamon coating! This fried dessert will totally bring back fun memories of Mexican food and warm and cold, honey smothered bliss.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

As a child, I used to beg my parents to let me get the fried ice cream at my local Mexican joint.

fried ice cream with a cornflake and cinnamon coating, rolled in egg whites and topped with honey and whipped cream

It was served swimming in whipped cream and honey and the vanilla and cinnamon had this warming, cooling effect that I enjoyed.

There was such intrigue for me in the concept of frying something wet and ice cold. Eventually, the mystery was shattered by my waiter who informed me that the ice cream isn’t actually fried.

It was like finding out there’s no Santa.

I was miffed. Why call it fried ice cream, if it isn’t really fried?

For years, I puzzled over this apparent untruth and sort of abandoned the dessert. That is, until my inner child got a hankering for it a few days ago.

I did a little recon, and I’m pleased to report that you can, indeed, fry the ice cream!

In my quest to restore my faith in the dessert, I started rolling ice cream in corn flakes and dipping it in hot oil. My husband told me to wear a face shield, but nothing dramatic happened. It was all very civilized and took about 7 seconds per side.

deep fried vanilla ice cream with cornflake crust coating, whipped cream, and honey

In the process of adapting this recipe, I came across so much commentary and confusion that I was inspired to test several theories (which I’ll share with you).

More importantly, I’m sharing how you can make bona fide fried ice cream with honey, cinnamon, the works!

Deep Fried Ice Cream Demystified

Fried ice cream is all about pairing warm and cold, creamy and crunchy. It’s about vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, and honey meeting the malted savory flavor of corn flakes and fat.

Lucky for us, we can pull this off in any number of ways.

We can, in fact, deep fry frozen solid balls of ice cream (coated thoroughly in corn flakes) or we can top our ice cream with the corn flake mixture after it’s been crisped up in some butter (see recipe notes).

corn flakes cereal crushed in a bag

Either way, you want to start by really crushing the corn flakes cereal. To accomplish this, you can use a plastic bag or food processor. They even sell corn flakes crumbs now, so you could just use those.

Dipping the Ice Cream in Egg Whites vs. Honey

The next topic of considerable debate is whether the corn flake crumbs will stick best to egg whites or honey. Naturally, I tried both (this is the frayed apron).

Honey {Pros and Cons}: Great flavor. Not so great adhesion; There’s a lot of ice cream break-through, which caused these to fry slightly differently (i.e. quicker to burn due to the sugar).

Egg Whites {Pros and Cons}: Great adhesion (especially when dipping and rolling twice). Presentation is really consistent and frying is easy. Slightly less flavor, but not a major con because it can be served with honey.

All in all, I’d say the egg whites are most reliable, and I recommend you go this route.

Variations to Try

There were a few suggestions that I thought sounded interesting, if not 100% authentic to the Mexican fried ice cream that I am used to:

  • Some people swear by a mix of crushed vanilla wafers added to or in place of the corn flakes. Who knew?
  • As others have suggested, I chose to fry in a neutral peanut oil, but you could just as easily choose any high-heat fry oil, such as canola oil or refined coconut oil.
  • While I love the combo of honey and whipped cream, chocolate or caramel drizzle would be even more decadent.

Have I missed anything? By all means, please share your favorite toppings so we can all benefit!

How Long to Fry

My first attempt, I counted about 15 seconds, and ended up getting a little too much brown color. The oil may have been a tad too hot, so I suggest going by the color, rather than exact number of seconds.

Aim for a dark, golden color when frying the cornflakes; this could take as few as 7 seconds or as long as 15, depending on the oil you use and the temperature.

For reference, I usually fry over medium heat with most refined oils and look for bubbles to form right away around the food (as soon as it touches the oil).

Technique Tip: Before attempting to fry the ice cream, it’s really important that the ice cream be super cold and solid. Don’t skip the 4 hours of freezing time.

Make Ahead and Storage

You can coat and freeze the ice cream ahead of time, up to 2 days, and simply fry it when you’re ready to serve. On the flip side, you could fry all 6 scoops and store them in a sealed container in the freezer for up to a month (provided you don’t get freezer burn).

scoops of vanilla ice cream frozen with a corn flake coating

If serving the ice cream straight from the freezer, I recommend warming the honey and drizzling it on hot, so you can have more of the hot n’ cold thing going on.

vanilla ice cream with a fried corn flake cereal coating with honey and whipped cream

Ready to rock and roll that ice cream?

You’ll need your biggest ice cream scoop and about 20 minutes to prep everything. I like to do this the night before and then it’s just 15 minutes of active time to fry the ice cream. Easy enough?

More Dessert Recipes

Fried Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream with a crunchy corn flake and cinnamon coating! This fried dessert will totally bring back fun memories of Mexican food and warm and cold, honey smothered bliss.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: corn flake, fried, frozen, honey, ice cream
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 453kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini

Ingredients

  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream for 6 large scoops
  • 4 cups unfrosted corn flakes crushed
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 quart peanut oil for frying
  • 6 tbsp honey for serving
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream for serving

Instructions

  • Prepare a tray to hold the ice cream balls with a sheet of wax (or parchment) paper. Using a large ice cream scoop, dish the ice cream balls onto the tray and freeze for at least 1 hour.
  • Place the crushed corn flakes, cinnamon, and salt in a shallow dish. Separately, put the egg whites in a small bowl. Dip the ice cream balls into the egg whites, rolling to coat and immediately roll in the corn flake mixture. You can repeat this to get a thicker coating; pressing firmly as you roll is the best way to get the corn flake mixture to stick. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oil in a small Dutch oven or in a medium pot over medium heat until it reaches about 350° to 365°F, about 10 minutes. Set a plate lined with paper towel off to the side (for straining). Use a slotted skimmer to lower the ice cream into the hot oil (working with 1-2 scoops at a time). Fry for between 7 to 12 seconds each side, turning to prevent burning. Strain and serve immediately with honey and whipped cream.

Notes

Honey (No Egg White) Method: You can dip the ice cream in honey, instead of egg whites, then roll in the corn flake mixture. Press firmly to get a good coating. Please see post for more about this technique.
Short on Time?
If you don’t have time to freeze the ice cream for the required time, you can still enjoy the spirit of this dessert.
  1. Make the corn flake mixture (skip the egg whites).
  2. Warm 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the corn flake mixture and cook until you see some browning. Add 1/4 cup honey and stir together. Use this “fried” topping for the ice cream. Serve while the honey-corn flake mixture is still hot for best results.
*For nutrition information in this recipe, I have calculated the oil retention of 1 tsp per ball of ice cream based on a 1/2 cup scoop.

Nutrition

Serving: 1scoop with honey and whipped cream | Calories: 453kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 228mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 1191IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 6mg

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