Recipe: Chilean Crema de Limon (Chilean Lemon Ice Cream)

I once bought an industrial ice cream maker at a church sale for $2.00. It had a built in freezer. It made a quart of ice cream at a time. It was dingy, off white, and from the eighties. It made the best “cookies and cream” ice cream ever.

At the time, I had no idea what the value of a built in freezer on an ice cream maker is. (For those that don’t know, they normally cost a couple hundred dollars)

Well. In my blissful state of ignorance, I decided the ice cream maker was too heavy to keep lugging around with me, so it took a trip to the thrift store, instead of to Tulsa, with me.

Oh. If I could take that decision back. I could have professionally churned ice cream any time I wanted to.

Lucky for me, I don’t have to turn back the hands of time.

Why? Because Chileans make a lovely ice cream that does not require an ice cream maker. Huzzah!

Although the thought of making ice cream with cans of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk scared me at first, a little research quickly comforted me.

Evaporated milk is simply milk with 60% less water. The thicker mixture makes for a rich final product, while the sweetened condensed milk provides all the sugar required for ice cream, even if tart lemon juice is added.

Makes a half gallon

This is an easy way to make ice cream without a machine. The lemon flavor is bright and refreshing, especially after a heavy meal.


1 can evaporated milk (standard 12 ounces)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (standard 14 ounces)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained


1. Place can of evaporated milk in the freezer. Two hours later, add can of sweetened condensed milk to the freezer. Leave them both there for one more hour.

NOTE: Shake the cans every thirty minutes or so to prevent crystallization. This is a good job for kiddos.

2. Remove the two cans from the freezer. Open the evaporated milk and pour into a large bowl. Beat for 5-10 minutes, or until doubled in volume and “soft peaks” form.

Here’s what it looks like straight out of the freezer:

Here’s what it looks like after whipping until doubled in volume:

3. Add sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice to the whipped mixture.

I used about four lemons for this recipe.

Whip for a few minutes, until full combined.

Look how full the bowl is getting… that’s some frothy goodness!

4. Spoon into freezer safe containers and freeze overnight, or for at least three hours.

5. Serve directly out of freezer with some tea and laughter. You may want to let the ice cream soften a little before scooping, although I find it softens very quickly.

P.S.  If you have the time, add a few strands of lemon rind. It’s like topping your dessert with a little Chilean sunshine.

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  1. Holy cow! That looks so good… do you think it would work with fat free condensed milk and evaporated milk?

    • globaltable says:

      Thanks – I’m eating some now! 8O
      Regarding fat free condensed milk – I think it would make it more icey… so I guess it depends if you are okay with that. You definitely need the “sweetened” part or there’ll be no sugary ice cream goodness in it. Good luck! Let me know how it goes. :)

  2. I made this! I don’t think I really expected it to work so I was chuffed when the evaporated milk whipped up just as you said.

    The final product is a bit too sweet for me and taste a little too much like condensed milk but I think a little bit of experimenting could fix that.

    At step 4, it doesn’t say you must mix in the condensed milk or lemon juice, or more importantly, how long for – in the end I blended them until I thought they were incorporated – but it would be good to know.

    Will definitely make again, and see if I can adapt the recipe to other flavours.

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