Looking for a perfect St. Patty’s Day dessert? Well then, this recipe is your lucky charm! There’s nothing much easier or tastier than my Baileys Irish Cream Ice Cream with two sumptuous sidekicks made from Guinness Stout beer. Go Irish!

Where You’re Headed!
Where You’re Headed!

About 3 cups (24 oz/710 ml) ice cream base, and more volume once churned!
Plus, plenty of caramel ripple and syrup.

Prep Talk
  • Be sure to read the instructions for your particular ice cream/sorbet maker before you start. I use a Cuisinart model with a bin that must be frozen until the cooling agent inside is completely solid, typically overnight. Don’t rush this step; if the bin isn’t completely solid, your ice cream will never freeze.
  • Also thoroughly chill the ice cream base before attempting to churn it. If the base is too warm to start, it can thaw your freezer bin, again preventing the freezing of the ice cream.
  • As for the sidekicks: The caramel ripple should be made and cooled completely before churning the ice cream. This way, it will be at the right temperature when you need it. The same holds true for the syrup.

Baileys Irish Cream Ice Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups (12.0 oz/359 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (12.0 oz/359 ml) whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks (2.0 oz/56 g), chalazae (white protein globules attached to yolk) removed and yolks lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup (5.2 oz/147 g) plus 2 tablespoons up to 1 cup (6.9 oz/196 g) granulated sugar, sweeten to taste (though avoid more than 1 cup sugar, as excess sugar inhibits freezing)
  • 4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Caramel Ripple (Optional):

  • 1/3 cup (2.7 oz/80 ml) Guinness stout or other dry Irish stout beer
  • 2 cups (13.8 oz/391 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon strained lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups (12.0 oz/359 ml) heavy cream

Guinness Stout Syrup (Optional):

  • 1 1 /2 cups (12.0 oz/359 ml) Guinness stout or other dry Irish stout beer
  • 1 cup (6.3 oz/179 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
Ice Cream Method

1 | Mix and cook the base. Whisk together the cream, milk, and egg yolks in a medium bowl or, better yet, directly in a medium (3-qt/3-l) nonreactive* saucepan. (*Avoid uncoated aluminum or copper pans, as they can impart a metallic taste to the mixture. Stainless steel or enamel-coated pans are considered “nonreactive”.)

Whisk in the sugar (I usually use the lesser amount) and 2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream. Place the mixture over medium-high heat and bring to the scalding point, or about 185°F (85°C). To prevent the eggs from curdling, stir regularly in a figure-eight pattern throughout the cooking process. When done, the mixture will have thickened slightly (enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon); it should also be steaming. However, do not boil the mixture, or the eggs can cook, leaving behind chewy egg chunk-lets in your ice cream. (Yick!)

To remove any cooked egg or other particles, of which there are invariably a few, immediately strain the mixture over an ice bath (to stop the cooking process) into a large bowl. Add the remaining Baileys and the vanilla extract; then cover flush with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let the mixture come to room temperature. Set in the fridge and chill completely, at least a few hours.

2 | Freeze the ice cream base. Pour the chilled base into the frozen chamber of your ice cream/sorbet maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream will nearly double in volume (and lighten in color) as it churns, so be sure to leave spare room at the top. With my Cuisinart, I typically churn no longer than 30 minutes, after which point the ice cream rarely gets any firmer because the freezer bin starts to warm up.

Immediately after churning, the ice cream will be rather soft (photo 2 in the gallery below). For a more scoop-able consistency, wrap the bin tightly with plastic wrap and/or foil and place it in the freezer about 2 to 3 hours. But before you do, stir in any cooled caramel (method below) if you’re going for a rippled effect (photo 3). The caramel is much easier to incorporate when the ice cream is at this soft stage. In fact, it’s pretty darn impossible to do so after additional freezing. Also, don’t stir too much, as you want to leave visible streaks of caramel in the ice cream.

3 | Serve it forth. Scoop the ice cream and serve it straight up. Or for added Irish cheer, smother it with more caramel or the Guinness syrup, or both!

Caramel Ripple Method

1 | Mix and cook the caramel, partially. Whisk together the first four ingredients directly in a medium (3-qt/3-l) nonreactive saucepan. Don’t be surprised if the mixture is thick and sludgy; that’s the way it’s supposed to look. And never omit the corn syrup and lemon juice, as small as their quantities may seem. They help to keep the caramel from crystallizing while cooking, which can sometimes happen with too much stirring.

Place the pan over medium to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring only if needed to keep it from bubbling over or scorching on the bottom. (Again, it’s best to stir as little as possible to avoid crystallization.) The mixture will be quite foamy due to the addition of the beer (in lieu of the water in traditional caramel sauce), so you will likely have to reduce the heat to medium after the boiling starts to prevent boiling over. Cook about 10 to 12 minutes or until the mixture (now almost all foam) reaches about 255°F to 260°F (124°C to 127°C) in the center, and the foam has turned from a creamy white to a medium caramel color. Note: The color of the mixture can be hard to gauge since it’s so foamy, so it’s always best to test the temperature with a candy thermometer before moving on.

2 | Add the remaining ingredients and cook again. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and gradually (and I really mean gradually) add the cream. (Cream, especially if cold from the fridge, can cause sudden spattering and steaming if added too rapidly to the hot syrup.) Gently whisk until the butter is melted. Return the pan to medium to medium-high heat. Continue to boil another 12 to 15 minutes until the mixture is a light to medium caramel color once again. (I cook the mixture twice because it’s easier to gauge color once the cream has been added. After this point, the mixture won’t be as foamy when it’s boiling, but you’ll probably still need to reduce the heat to medium to prevent boiling over.)

3 | Turn the caramel into a clean bowl and cool it completely before rippling into the ice cream. As it cools, it will set up to a very thick, almost paste-like consistency (photo 4, left spoon), perfect for rippling. If you’d prefer to serve it as a sauce over the ice cream, simply warm it up in a saucepan over low heat until it starts to flow (photo 4, right spoon). Again, stir only as needed to avoid crystallization. Store at room temperature with the surface covered flush with plastic wrap.

Syrup Method

1 | Mix and cook the syrup. Whisk together the beer and sugar, again in a medium (3-qt/3-l) nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced by slightly more than half (to a volume of less than 3/4 cup) or about 25 minutes, depending upon the heat of your burner.

2 | Cool completely before lavishing on ice cream! For a slightly thicker consistency, chill thoroughly in the fridge before use.

Last but not least, if you love visuals, take a look at the finished versions of the dessert in photos 1, 5, and 6 below. And don’t overlook this video version of the recipe: