Duomo Gelato

How to Make Authentic Italian Gelato at Home

There’s nothing quite like the smooth, creamy texture and rich flavor of authentic Italian gelato. While enjoying gelato at an Italian gelateria is a special treat, making it at home can be equally rewarding. With the right ingredients and techniques, you can recreate this beloved dessert in your own kitchen. Follow this guide to learn how to make authentic Italian gelato at home.


To make authentic Italian gelato, you’ll need high-quality ingredients. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:

  • Base Ingredients:

    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Flavor Variations (choose one or mix and match):

    • Chocolate Gelato: 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 3 oz dark chocolate, melted
    • Pistachio Gelato: 1 cup pistachio paste
    • Fruit Gelato: 1 cup pureed fresh fruit (e.g., strawberries, mango, or raspberries)


  • Ice cream maker (a must for achieving the right texture)
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Saucepan
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Airtight container for storage


  1. Prepare the Base:

    • In a saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Heat over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Do not let it boil.
    • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes pale and thick.
  2. Temper the Eggs:

    • Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.
    • Gradually add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and cream, whisking continuously.
  3. Cook the Base:

    • Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil.
  4. Add Flavors:

    • Once the base has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
    • If you’re making a flavored gelato, now is the time to add your chosen ingredients (e.g., cocoa powder and melted chocolate for chocolate gelato, pistachio paste, or fruit puree).
  5. Strain and Chill:

    • Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl to remove any lumps or cooked egg bits.
    • Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. This chilling step is crucial for developing the gelato’s flavor and texture.
  6. Churn the Gelato:

    • Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
    • The gelato should be thick and creamy but slightly softer than traditional ice cream.
  7. Freeze and Serve:

    • Transfer the gelato to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours to firm up.
    • Before serving, let the gelato sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. This will enhance the creamy texture and flavor.

Tips for Perfect Gelato:

  • Use Fresh, High-Quality Ingredients: The quality of your ingredients directly impacts the flavor of your gelato. Use fresh milk, cream, and eggs, and opt for real vanilla extract.
  • Maintain the Right Temperature: Gelato is best served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream. Allow it to soften before serving to enjoy its creamy texture fully.
  • Experiment with Flavors: Once you master the base recipe, don’t hesitate to experiment with different flavors and ingredients. Fresh herbs, spices, nuts, and various fruits can create unique and delicious gelato varieties.
  • Patience is Key: The chilling and churning processes are crucial for achieving the right texture. Don’t rush these steps.


Making authentic Italian gelato at home is a delightful and rewarding experience. With the right ingredients and a bit of patience, you can create a rich, creamy dessert that rivals the best gelaterias in Italy. Whether you prefer classic vanilla, indulgent chocolate, or fruity flavors, homemade gelato is sure to impress family and friends. Enjoy the process, and buon appetito!