Olive Oil Gelato Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Amanda Hesser



5 Ratings

  • Serves 2 to 4

Jump to Recipe

Author Notes

The apotheosis of Mario Batali's cooking and the Mediterranean diet is, in my dessert-loving view, the olive oil gelato at Otto. It's as smooth as aioli, pulsing with green olive flavor, and has sugar and salt dueling in the background.

As I fumbled through my cookbooks, I came across another version in Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelati by Robin and Caroline Weir.

The Weirs are the foremost authorities on frozen desserts, and this book is the culmination of all of their research. And yet, I was also skeptical of their recipe, which calls for water in the custard, no cream or salt, and a whole lot of olive oil.

After chilling it overnight I whisked in olive oil to taste. The custard drank the oil like a good, dense mayonnaise, getting thicker and smoother with each stroke of the whisk. But after 6 tablespoons of oil -- the Weirs call for 12 -- I called it quits, and churned the gelato as is.
Amanda Hesser

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 3/4 cupsugar
  • 1/4 cupplus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cupwhole milk
  • Large pinch salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cupplus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a medium-size saucepan stir together the sugar, water, milk, and salt and heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks until frothy. Continue beating whilst pouring in the combined liquids in a thin stream, then return the mixture to the pan. Carry on stirring with the pan over a low to moderate heat until the custard thickens to a loose custard sauce consistency or reaches 185 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (Take your time and take the pan off the heat, if needed, because you don't want to scramble the egg). Immediately pour the custard into a bowl and set the bowl in an ice water bath. Stir until the mixture is cool. Transfer to a lidded container, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil in a thin steady stream -- the mixture should thicken and turn smooth. Taste the mixture and decide if you want to add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil -- the oil flavor will become more prominent as the ice cream ages, so keep this in mind. Churn in an ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions. Eat right away, or transfer to a container and freeze until ready to eat.


  • Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts
  • Italian
  • Olive Oil
  • Milk/Cream
  • Cheese
  • Dessert

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • keg72

  • Raquel Grinnell

  • Rissako

  • Monica Little

  • RaquelG

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

Popular on Food52

39 Reviews

keg72 April 30, 2015

This recipe didn't work at all for me. I tried twice and was as patient as I usually am with the eggs, but both times they scrambled. (I know the recipe says to baby the custard -- and I thought I was doing just that.) After wasting 8 eggs, I switched to an ATK vanilla ice cream recipe that worked like a charm. I wonder if the issue could be with the lack of fat in the ice cream base having some impact on the cooking of the egg yolks.

Amanda H. April 30, 2015

I'm sorry the eggs scrambled for you. I haven't tried it with just milk and no water (which would increase the fat content), but if I have a chance, I will and will report back. Thanks for your feedback.

Raquel G. June 23, 2014

Followed Rissako's lead with less sugar (1/2 cup) and more olive oil (1/2 cup). I'd take the sugar down to her 1/3 cup next time. It solidified very quickly in my Cuisinart ice cream maker... I had the idea to grind in a little fresh back pepper, but was beyond the liquid point, so instead ground a bit atop each serving. Pretty AND delicious!!

Rissako February 25, 2014

Amanda, I love the simplicity of this recipe! So many other olive oil gelato recipes that I'd found contain vanilla, which I find detracts from the olive oil flavor. Also, so many have cream, but with the oil, the milk really is enough.

To those who worried about it being too sweet, I just wanted to comment that I made my first batch exactly as specified, and for my palate, which prefers things far less sweet, I needed to tone it down. However, I do think for most people, the sweetness will be perfect. For my second batch, I actually reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup… and just to get crazy and see what would happen, I upped the olive oil to 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) and I was thrilled with the results.

I think it's a pretty flexible recipe and would encourage others to play around.

Thanks again for this, and for Food52 in general, over the past couple of years, it's been one of my main-stays.

Amanda H. March 2, 2014

Rissako, thanks so much for your comment and thoughts -- I've been wanting to play around with this recipe to make it less sweet, and your changes sound just right. I've lent my ice cream machine to our office kitchen so I look forward to trying this out once I get it back!
Also, so glad to hear Food52 has been helpful! Take care.

Asaracoglu March 1, 2013

This would be great with a really rich, bitter brownie!

Amanda H. March 1, 2013

great idea!

Erin P. September 6, 2012

I just made the base and it's very sweet. Is the 2 parts total liquid to 1 part sugar correct? Or am I missing something? Thanks.

Amanda H. September 12, 2012

You're right -- it is quite sweet, but tastes less so once frozen. You can cut back on the sugar in the recipe, but sounds like it's too late for this batch. How did it turn out?

Monica L. January 18, 2012

What kind of olive oil did you use for this? Is there a specific type and/or brand you recommend?

Amanda H. January 18, 2012

I'd use a mild fruity olive oil. The one in the photo was made with a fairly robust flavored oil -- Frantoia.

Monica L. January 19, 2012

Thank you so much for your quick response! :) Can't wait to make it.

RaquelG August 26, 2011

I've been pondering the question of what would best accompany this gelato while preparing my home for the onslaught of Hurricane Irene (what better to keep one's mind from impending doom than dessert?) and came upon the idea of lemon-thyme pound cake. Apparently, Martha Stewart had already come up with it:


Amanda H. August 26, 2011

Ah! Good idea. I was going to suggest a cookie that's not too sweet, and maybe even a little salty.

boulangere August 26, 2011

Mmmm, I love the idea of something on the salty side with this. It's unbelievably fantastic, while pretty intense. Salty would be just the thing. Even salty chocolate chip cookies.

RaquelG August 26, 2011

Amanda, would you have suggestions as to what pastry or baked goods one might serve with this gelato?

June 23, 2011

I'm interested to try this recipe after the problems I had with Mario Batali's recipe. For some reason, and I assume it's my ice cream maker's fault, I just couldn't get it to freeze. Even now, weeks later, it's really just a custard sitting in the freezer. Hopefully this version will work better in my ice cream maker....

Amanda H. June 23, 2011

Have you successfully made other ice creams in your ice cream maker? If so, how interesting. Let me know how things go with this version.

Nancyjenkins April 26, 2011

Amanda, I'm curious if you've tried this recipe with other olive oils. There's so little oil in it that I don't see how you get a mild olive oil flavor to come through past all the sugar. Have you tried it with a stronger, fruitier oil? It would be really interesting to experiment with three different oils, say one from Sicily (the Frantoia Barbera you've used), maybe one from Tuscany with more aggressive flavors, and maybe an arbequina from Catalonia with its pronounced nuttiness (at least to my palate). Any time you do that, invite me to a tasting!

Amanda H. April 26, 2011

I didn't try it with other oils. And I know it seems like very little oil, but oddly enough, after this sat for a day, I thought this amount of this kind of oil was probably a little bit too strong.

aussiefoodie April 25, 2011

I just couldn't get this to go as white, or as fluffy looking as the photo. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Amanda H. April 25, 2011

Your olive oil might be darker so I wouldn't worry too much about the color. What kind of ice cream maker do you have?

KirstenW April 21, 2011

I heard you can drizzle a fruity olive oil over the top, return it to the freezer, and the oil turns into a 'magic shell' coating....sprinkle with sea salt and a few chocolate shavings and you are good to go! Am going to try it, definitely.

pauljoseph April 5, 2011

looks Beautiful

sdunleavy April 3, 2011

I'm so excited to try this. I fell in love with batali's olive oil gelato when I had it over christmas. Can't wait to experiment!

Amanda H. April 3, 2011

I think it would be great with chocolate.

Amanda H. April 3, 2011

Oops! Replied to the wrong comment. Thanks -- and hope you enjoy it!

the M. April 3, 2011

One of my favorite gelato flavors. I had black pepper olive oil gelato at Paciugo once, along with a scoop of some kind of sea salt gelato, might've been caramel sea salt. Thanks for posting this recipe! I wonder how it would fare if you added chocolate, as I've seen a chocolate extra-virgin olive oil flavor on Paciugo's gelato flavor list as well. Perhaps use a stronger extra-virgin olive oil?

Amanda H. April 3, 2011

I think it would be great with chocolate.

mrslarkin April 1, 2011

whoa, this looks fab.

Sadassa_Ulna March 31, 2011

Beautiful photo!

WinnieAb March 31, 2011

This sounds REALLY interesting. Like a sweet and yummy cold version of mayo ;)

Amanda H. March 31, 2011

Funny -- I was thinking of describing it as frozen mayo but was concerned some people would find that gross. Glad you don't!

WinnieAb March 31, 2011

No don't find it gross at all. I am a huge fan of homemade mayo with olive oil.

hardlikearmour March 31, 2011

Yum! What a crazy-good idea. Yet another fine use for good quality olive oil. Do you use extra virgin or something milder?

Amanda H. March 31, 2011

It's in my blog (coming out in the morning!) -- Frantoia, which isn't super strong but is extra virgin. I'd err on the mild side.

hardlikearmour March 31, 2011

some of us weren't born with patience!

boulangere March 31, 2011

Ohhhhhhhhh - the texture on the palate must be like silk. I'm going to fire up the IC maker this weekend!

Amanda H. March 31, 2011

It has great texture -- the oil is magical!

Olive Oil Gelato Recipe on Food52 (2024)


Do Italians put olive oil on gelato? ›

Just in case you need another excuse to love gelato, we've got your back. According to research in Italy, extra-virgin olive oil can be used as a fat substitute in Italian-style artisanal ice cream, and that's because it does not significantly change the original flavor… at all.

Why are people putting olive oil on ice cream? ›

The richness of the olive oil adds a buttery texture to the ice cream, while its grassy flavor introduces a sophisticated twist. The sprinkle of sea salt enhances the overall taste profile, creating a delightful contrast between creamy and crunchy, sweet and savory.

What's the difference between gelato and ice cream? ›

Gelato has a lower milk fat content than ice cream, usually 4 to 9%, yielding a softer, denser texture and smaller ice crystals. That's a result of the base, which typically includes less cream and more milk, as well as a slower churning process that introduces less air into the final product.

What kind of ice cream do you put olive oil on? ›

The taste of Pistachio will compliment the olive oil best in the least weird way possible (If you plan to add olive oil as a topping/externally). Otherwise, if it's about mixing and blending Olive oil in the cream before it turns into ice cream; still go for pistachio.

Why is gelato so much better in Italy? ›

The key feature that really makes the difference between Italian gelato and ice cream is the use of fresh raw materials. For the ice cream, in fact, milk powder is rehydrated on the spot. The Italian gelato, instead, is made with milk and fresh cream. It therefore represents a more genuine food.

What makes gelato so creamy? ›

Gelato is churned at a much slower speed, which introduces less air into the base—think whipping cream by hand instead of with a stand mixer. That's why it tastes denser than ice cream—it is.

Why does Gordon Ramsay use so much olive oil? ›

Nearly every Ramsay recipe, from his early days on Boiling Point to Uncharted and the current critic's darling, Scrambled starts with "just a drizzle" of his beloved EVOO. Ramsay knows that "liquid gold" packs flavor and healthy fats into every bite; he does not miss an opportunity to use it liberally.

How much olive oil do you put on ice cream? ›

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Why do people drizzle olive oil on food? ›

Like a sprinkle of flaky salt or the squeeze of a good condiment, Drizzle adds a big pop of flavor right before you dig in. (That's why it's called a finishing oil!)

Why is gelato so expensive? ›

The slower, more manual and labour-intensive process of making gelato increases production costs, affecting its price. Denser with less air, offering more product by weight in each serving. Lighter and fluffier due to higher air content, resulting in less actual product by weight.

Is gelato more unhealthy than ice cream? ›

The main difference between ice cream and gelato is their fat content. With only 4-9% fat to the usual 10-25% of ice cream, gelato usually is lighter and healthier. Per portion, however, the answer is clear, gelato is typically healthier than ice cream.

What do Italians call gelato? ›

What Is Gelato? Gelato is a frozen treat that hails from Italy; the word "gelato" actually means "ice cream" in Italian.

Who makes olive oil ice cream? ›

Wildgood uses extra virgin olive oil (no dairy or alternative milks) to give you the creaminess of premium ice cream, without the cream. Perfected over the course of eight years by our founder, who turned to his family's ancient Mediterranean olive orchards to unearth the ultimate replacement for dairy.

Does olive oil ice cream taste good? ›

Though the pairing ice cream with extra virgin olive oil might sound strange at first—it is the BEST THING EVER. The olive oil makes the ice cream somehow even more creamy, smooth, and decadent. We've been singing the praises of this combo for a while now, and testing in loads of ways.

Is olive oil ice cream a thing? ›

One of Portland, Oregon–based ice cream shop Salt & Straw's classic flavors, this Olive Oil Ice Cream is a perfect beginner batch to whip up. The combination of olive oil and whole milk in this ice cream results in a perfectly creamy and silky texture, no eggs or tempering required.

How is gelato served in Italy? ›

Texture: Gelato is churned at a much slower speed, giving it a denser consistency than colder, harder and more aerated ice cream. Temperature: Gelato is served a couple of degrees warmer than ice cream, both to give it a softer consistency and to make the flavours more pronounced.

How do Italians eat gelato? ›

Italians tend to eat gelato as a late afternoon snack or an evening treat during an after-dinner stroll. In many places like Rome, you let the cashier know your general order - cup or cone? One scoop or two? After you pay for the order, you take your receipt, and decide on flavors at the gelato counter.

What do Italians put olive oil on? ›

This liquid gold becomes a thread woven into daily rituals, whether drizzled over a salad, used to sauté vegetables, or as a finishing touch on pasta. Its health benefits are extolled, aligning with the Mediterranean lifestyle and emphasizing balance and well-being.

What is authentic Italian gelato made of? ›

The ingredients for gelato

To make a good craft gelato, you can choose from a wide range of ingredients, depending on your needs and on the tastes of your customers. Very common ingredients such as milk, sugar, fruit, water, cream, eggs, powdered milk and fructose are used.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 6032

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.