You too can cook washoku / Make your own perfect matcha ice cream

Courtesy of Mari Nameshida

Matcha ice cream

By Mari Nameshida / Special to The Japan NewsMatcha ice cream is a delicious frozen treat you can enjoy all by itself. It tastes refreshing on a hot summer’s day and soothing on a cool autumn evening. My recipe uses a custard base that includes egg yolks and heavy cream for a luxurious texture, and matcha, which is an ingredient that I always love adding to sweet dishes.

When I moved to the United States, I missed so many Japanese foods. One thing that’s easy to find here is delicious ice cream.

However, I usually make matcha ice cream at home because I give it a richer flavor and add more matcha than in the ones you typically find in shops.

Store-bought matcha ice cream tastes good, but I always feel it either doesn’t include enough matcha or it’s made with low-quality tea. You’ll be amazed how great it tastes when you make it yourself. If you can get hold of good-quality matcha, the preparation is pretty simple.

Matcha is a powdered, whole-leaf green tea, and has an amazing flavor with so many health benefits, such as being high in antioxidants that detoxify the body, boosting metabolism and fortifying the immune system. When baking or making pastries you can use matcha as you would cocoa powder.

However, because matcha is very bitter even in small portions, matcha-based desserts may not taste as sweet as traditional desserts. If you use matcha in your baking, it’s best to add a little more sugar than usual.

Many people who say they aren’t big fans of tea-flavored desserts become addicted to matcha ice cream once they’ve tried it. Coffee lovers especially often like the taste. Perhaps this is because of matcha’s high caffeine content — but I’m sure the delicious flavor has something to do with it, too.

If you love ice cream, then spending $50 (about ¥5,500) on an ice cream maker is a good investment, but you can make it without a machine. Freeze a freezer-safe bowl or pan (I usually use a Pyrex glass container), transfer the mixture into the bowl and put it back in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Once the edges start to freeze, whip the mixture to add air and return to the freezer. Repeat until it becomes firm and has the texture of ice cream — which usually takes two to three hours.

Mari’s recipe for matcha ice cream

Ingredients (serves 6):

200 milliliters soy milk or milk

200 milliliters heavy cream

2 tbsp pure matcha green tea powder

75 grams sugar

3 egg yolks


1. Place milk and heavy cream in a small pot then simmer for a few minutes. Do not boil.

2. Mix matcha and sugar in a bowl.

3. Add the milk mixture to the bowl 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk well. When the green tea powder has completely dissolved, add the egg yolks and mix.

4. Add the remaining milk mixture to the bowl and mix. Cool down to room temperature and store the mixture in the fridge.

5. Churn in an ice cream machine for about 20 minutes. If you don’t have one, put the mixture in a container and store in the freezer. Mix it every 20 to 30 minutes until it has the texture of ice cream.

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