Rooibos Tea

How to Make Delicious Rooibos Ice Cream: A Step-by-Step Guide

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in cool, refreshing treats, and what could be more unique and delightful than homemade rooibos ice cream? Rooibos, also known as red bush, is a South African herbal tea that has gained popularity worldwide due to its rich, earthy flavor and numerous health benefits. Infusing this unique tea into ice cream creates a deliciously creamy, subtly sweet dessert that’s perfect for hot days. In this blog post, we’ll take you through a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to make rooibos ice cream that will impress your family and friends.

Why Rooibos?

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s talk a little about why rooibos makes an excellent ingredient for ice cream. Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free, making it a great choice for those who are sensitive to caffeine or want to enjoy a dessert without the stimulating effects. It’s also packed with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and support overall health. The tea’s distinctive flavor—nutty, slightly sweet, and with hints of vanilla and honey—pairs beautifully with the creamy base of ice cream.


To make rooibos ice cream, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4-5 rooibos tea bags (or 4 tablespoons of loose rooibos tea)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


You’ll also need some essential kitchen equipment:

  • Medium saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Ice cream maker
  • Ice bath (large bowl filled with ice and water)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Infuse the Cream with Rooibos

  1. Heat the cream and milk: In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and whole milk. Place over medium heat and warm until it’s just about to simmer—do not let it boil.
  2. Add the rooibos tea: Remove the saucepan from heat and add the rooibos tea bags (or loose tea if you prefer). Cover the pan and let the tea steep in the warm milk mixture for about 15-20 minutes. This will allow the rich flavors of the rooibos to infuse into the cream.
  3. Strain the mixture: After steeping, remove the tea bags (or strain out the loose tea using a fine mesh strainer). Press the tea bags gently to extract as much liquid as possible. Set the infused cream aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Custard Base

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar: In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt until the mixture becomes pale and slightly thickened.
  2. Temper the eggs: Slowly add the warm, infused cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. This process, known as tempering, ensures that the eggs do not curdle when heated.
  3. Cook the custard: Pour the egg and cream mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture boil, as this can cause the custard to curdle.
  4. Check for doneness: You can check if the custard is ready by running your finger across the back of the spoon. If the line holds and does not run, your custard is done.

Step 3: Chill the Custard

  1. Cool the custard quickly: Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a clean mixing bowl to remove any lumps or bits of cooked egg. Place this bowl into an ice bath to cool the custard quickly, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add vanilla extract: Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Refrigerate: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the custard to chill thoroughly.

Step 4: Churn the Ice Cream

  1. Prepare your ice cream maker: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream maker. Some machines require the bowl to be frozen in advance.
  2. Churn the ice cream: Pour the chilled custard into the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes about 20-25 minutes. The mixture will thicken and become creamy.
  3. Freeze until firm: Transfer the churned ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours, or until it reaches your desired consistency.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

  1. Scoop and serve: When you’re ready to enjoy your rooibos ice cream, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly, making it easier to scoop. Serve in bowls or cones, and enjoy the unique and refreshing flavor of rooibos-infused ice cream.

Tips and Variations

  • Add-ins: For added texture and flavor, consider mixing in some chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruit during the last few minutes of churning.
  • Swirls: Create a beautiful swirl effect by folding in some caramel or fruit compote after churning but before the final freeze.
  • Vegan option: Substitute the heavy cream and milk with coconut milk or almond milk, and use a vegan egg substitute to create a dairy-free version of this ice cream.
  • Extra flavor: Enhance the rooibos flavor by adding a tablespoon of honey or a splash of bourbon to the custard before chilling.

Health Benefits of Rooibos

Rooibos is not just delicious but also packed with health benefits:

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Rooibos is high in antioxidants, including aspalathin and quercetin, which can help protect your cells from damage by free radicals.
  • Heart Health: Some studies suggest that rooibos tea can help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: The anti-inflammatory properties of rooibos can help reduce inflammation and may be beneficial for conditions like arthritis.
  • Caffeine-free: Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free, making it a great choice for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake.

Final Thoughts …

Making rooibos ice cream at home is a fun and rewarding process that results in a delicious and unique dessert. With its rich flavor and numerous health benefits, rooibos ice cream is sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re looking to impress guests at a summer gathering or simply want to enjoy a refreshing treat, this rooibos ice cream recipe is a must-try.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to create a delightful dessert that celebrates the unique flavors of rooibos. Enjoy every creamy, delicious bite!