Cantaloupe ice cream

Cantaloupe ice cream DSC6256

I didn’t think I liked cantaloupe.

I know, I know, how can this be? Texas is famous for its cantaloupes, especially Pecos cantaloupes, which hail from this West Texas town situated between Odessa and El Paso.

The soil around Pecos is salty and sandy. And even though cantaloupes aren’t native to Texas, in the early 1900’s farmers started planting them there and they realized that special soil produced especially juicy and sweet fruit. A Texan fruit star was born.

Cantaloupe ice cream | Homesick Texan

Pecos cantaloupe is in season right now and while they don’t often travel outside the border if you do get your hands on one you’re in for a treat. For a few years, Blue Bell even produced a limited-edition flavor in the late summer called Pecos Cantaloupe ‘N Cream. It hasn’t been made for the past two years, however, and this has made people sad.

When I first learned about the flavor, however, I shrugged. Cantaloupe had not been something I’d eaten for quite a while as one I had eaten made my mouth tingle and my lips swell; I assumed I was allergic.

My grandparents, however, used to grow these melons. And when I was in college they’d drive up to Sherman and share them with my friends and me. “I don’t like cantaloupe,” I said when my grandma recently told me her memories of these late-summer deliveries. “Yes you do,” said my grandma, “And you said that our cantaloupes were awesome.”

Cantaloupe ice cream | Homesick Texan

Having been reminded that there was a time in my life when I did eat cantaloupe and intrigued by the notion of a cantaloupe ice cream, I recently tried the fruit again. Now I can’t get Texas cantaloupe here in New York, but the one I did eat was juicy, sweet and creamy. I was again hooked.

During the final days of summer, melons are such a gift. Is there anything more satisfying then biting into a juicy wedge on a sultry day? You almost don’t need to do a thing to them, though a batch of cantaloupe ice cream is definitely a refreshing, luxurious dessert

I make my cantaloupe ice cream smooth, with a touch of lime juice, ginger and salt to bring out its delicate flavor. Though if you prefer some chunks of fruit in your ice cream you can easily change this recipe to accommodate that.

And yes, I’m happy that I’m eating cantaloupes again. Now I just need to get my hands on some Pecos cantaloupes, so I can have the best of the best.

Cantaloupe ice cream DSC6256
5 from 1 vote

Cantaloupe ice cream

Servings 1 quart
Author Lisa Fain


  • 2 cups diced ripe cantaloupe
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a blender, puree the cantaloupe with 1/2 cup half-and-half.

  2. In a pot, cook the cantaloupe puree with the cream and remaining half-and-half on medium heat until warm—do not let it come to a boil. Turn off the heat.

  3. Beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla, lime juice, ginger and salt. Stir into the eggs 1/2 cup of the warm liquid and then pour egg and cream mixture into the pot.

  4. On medium low, heat this mixture while stirring occasionally for five minutes or until it gets slightly thick. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the back of your spoon. Cool in the refrigerator for four hours.

  5. Freeze and churn according to your ice-cream maker’s instructions.

Recipe Notes

I prefer my fruit ice creams to be smooth, but if you want some cantaloupe chunks, reserve 1 cup of the diced fruit and mix that in with the ice cream a few minutes before it’s done churning.

  1. apronless

    I was just wondering what to do with the cantaloupe in the fridge!

  2. Kelly @ Evil Shenanigans

    I don't enjoy cantaloupe except in ice cream form. Not that I'm hard to live with. 🙂

  3. I love Pecos cantaloupes, and even though we can't get them either up here in Boston, we've been enjoying quite a few "regular" cantaloupes over the past few weeks. I never dreamed of using them for ice cream though! I can't wait to try this! Thanks!

  4. We are a family of cantaloupe lovers! Even the cat…he has a small container of chopped cantaloupe in the frig.

    Attn. all Texans living in Texas: HEB has 5 cantaloupes for $5-so we all can make this cool recipe!

  5. Anonymous

    Oh my!! This is sooooo me! I can't wait to try this!
    Liz~ Perdido Key, FL

  6. Growing up in Pecos, I remember the smell of cantaloupe in the air in the summer.
    My mom's favorite way to eat the melon is to cut it in half, take the seeds out and fill the "bowl" with vanilla ice cream. Delish!

  7. DessertForTwo

    Wow, what perfect timing! I've been making cantaloupe sorbet each night with my haul from the garden. I've been wanting to add some creaminess to it. I've been debating over buttermilk, but your version looks the best! Thanks a million 🙂

  8. Kitten with a Whisk

    Cantaloupe is my Dad's favorite. He would love this!

  9. Wow…I have never once heard of using melon in ice cream, anywhere I have lived. INTERESTING!

  10. I'm more or less indifferent to canteloupe. I've never really liked the way that it tastes, for some reason.

  11. California Country

    This sounds amazing. I LOVE cantaloupe! But on a more important note: Where did you get that amazing ice cream tin? I must have one. I don't even own an ice cream maker but I would get one just to use that awesome tin.

  12. Welcome back to cantaloupe love. The ice cream would be very refreshing for those hot August afternoons in Texas.



  13. Perfect timing! The melons in our garden are just starting to ripen and I was beginning to brainstorm how to use all of them. This sounds like a great way to capture the fresh melon flavor.

  14. Thank goodness we've had a bumper crop of cantalopes in central texas. Comanche county is famous for them and that is just one county over from me; so we have had cantalopes and water melons chunked up in the fridge for almost a month. One of my best memories of summers gone by was homemade cantalope ice cream. Sometimes we would cut small cantalopes in half and scoop Gandy's vanilla ice cream in them. I thought it was just a pretty combination and so refreshing.

  15. Screwed Up Texan

    Since I have a fridge full of homegrown cantaloupes right now, I think I am going to try out this recipe! Thanks!

  16. I just bought an ice cream maker the other day, so this will definitely be on the menu soon. I -love- cantaloupe! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. I've never had cantaloupe ice cream. I feel like I'm missing out. This recipe sounds amazing with the lime and ginger. I must try this before summer is over.

  18. i much prefer cantaloupe to any ice cream, but i would give this a try!

    lisa, it may not have been the cantaloupe you reacted to, but something on the outside of the melon than transferred from the knife to the fruit when you cut it. it seems silly, but washing melons before you slice off the rind, etc, isn't a bad idea.

    • I’ve had precisely the same experience – I suspect that it’s something on the skin, or rather IN the skin, as I’ve had it happen with both homegrown organic and store bought (inorganic?) cantaloupes so it’s not due to a pesticide. I also used to get headaches from them, until I started washing them – actually SCRUBBING them – WITH SOAP, and I’ve LOVED them ever since! No more weird feelings in my mouth, and no more headaches (at least not from cantaloupes!).

  19. fotografiafoodie

    Never tried cantelope ice cream, but yours had this lovely colour that just entices me!

  20. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I adore cantaloupe — all melons, really — but I've never tasted cantaloupe ice cream. Time to remedy that!

  21. I'm sort of a cantaloupe snob. I grew up in Pecos and nothing compares to the ones grown there. I will eat others but always compare them to Pecos cantaloupes..LOL! I'm sad to see how few are being grown any more.

  22. This ice cream looks gorgeous!

  23. Wow, I live in Texas, but evidently under a rock because I didn't know about Pecos canteloupes…unless those are what I've been having all along? Anyway, this ice cream sounds delicious! My parents always sprinkle salt on melons, which I've never understood.

  24. No melon for me

    Lisa, I avoid cantaloupe and a few other raw foods because I am allergic. My self-diagnosis is "oral allergy syndrome." Perhaps you had this as well. The Wikipedia page on it was pretty decent the last time I looked.

  25. This brought back memories 🙂 My father would have cantalope ice cream but in a different way. He would buy those Texas cantalopes and cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and fill it up with vanilla ice cream…scooping out melon and ice cream together with a spoon. OoOoOoOohhhh it was yummy!

  26. Can't wait to try this…read the comment that HEB has cantalopes 5 for $5, after nearly 10 years in the midwest, I still miss my HEB 🙁

  27. My grandparents are from Pecos and I always looked forward to the cantalopes (and onions, for that matter!). Like Mary Ann, my grandma used to half them and take out the seeds for a one-of-a-kind ice cream bowl. One of my favorite memories in the world!

    I must try this – not a fan of ginger but will try as written.

  28. Oh! This is perfect! I have TONS of cantaloupe in the garden right now and we can't eat it fast enough. I was trying to find some sort of ice thing to make with it but ice CREAM is even better! Thanks! 🙂

  29. Lisa Fain

    Apronless–And now you know!

    Kelly–Ha! It's pretty wonderful in ice cream!

    Paige–It's been a good year for melons down here in NYC as well.

    Melissa–Now doesn't that beat all–I've never heard of a cat eating cantaloupe!


    Esmer–I'll have to try that! And I can't imagine how good the air must smell in Pecos!

    dessertfortwo–You're very welcome! I bet it would be good with buttermilk, too!

    Kitten with a whisk-Hope he enjoys it!

    Celeste–It may just be a Southern thing.

    Janus–Some people don't like it.

    Heather–Yep, it's perfect for the dog days!

    Phoo-D–Nothing like freshly picked melons from the garden!

    Brneda–It's a very pretty combination, that light orange fruit with the white ice cream.

    Screwed Up Texan–Hope you enjoy it!

    Frankie–You're very welcome. And enjoy your ice cream maker–I've loved mine!

    Sarah–You've never had cantaloupe ice cream? Well, now's the time to correct that!

    Burkie–I never thought of that–though I did suspect it was some sort of pesticide that made me react that way.

    fotograpfiafoodie–It's a beautiful color, I agree!

    Lydia–Yep, time to remedy that fast indeed!

    Brenda–If you grew up in Pecos you have every right to be a cantaloupe snob! And why are the growing so few these days? It's a shame.

    Lora–Thank you!

    Jessica–Your cantaloupes have probably either come from Pecos or the Valley. Look at the sticker and it should tell you its origin. And salt on melons helps bring out the flavor and, strangely enough, makes them sweeter. I love the combination!

    No Melon for Me–So sorry to hear you're allergic, though have you tried organic melons? I find it's pesticides I'm sensitive to, not the fruit.

    MaryAnn–They do make a perfect bowl, don't they!

    Joycee–I miss my HEB as well. Central Market is one of my all-time favorite stores ever!

    Ime0045–If you're not a fan of ginger, feel free to not use it, I don't think it will affect that ice cream at all.

    Crystal–Your welcome! It's definitely ice cream season!

  30. Lisa, thanks so much for this recipe. I wondered if it would be possible to make this without an ice cream maker, and also as California Country asked where I could get a nice ice cream tin. Thanks!

  31. Amy's Ice Cream had cantaloupe ice cream when my husband went there to escape the dreadful Austin heat this week. He mixed strawberries in with the ice cream and said it was the best mix he's ever had.

  32. Anonymous

    I have only eaten canteloupe fresh, with salt. But a few years ago I picked up a cilantro bunch and there was recipe for canteloupe salsa. I was skeptical, but tried it and really like it. Have never had it with or as ice cream. May have to give it a try this weekend. Thanks.

  33. one of the main reasons so few are grown now is there is not enough people to pick them. Migrant workers used to come to town every summer to pick cantaloupes (and other crops) but they don't come any more due to lack of housing. There is one packing house open this summer so some are going out but I'm not sure to where. A friend from Victoria found some at HEB this week.

  34. Texacalny

    I made the peach buttermilk which was awesome and want to give this one a shot.

    My last batch turned out kind of hard and grainy after it spent the night in the freezer. I've heard there are some things at the health store that smooth it out, that you can put a little vodka in your mix, more sugar, etc. Any tips or have you had that problem? Thanks for your help!

  35. OMG that sounds soooooo good!

  36. the country cook

    I tend to have allergic reactions, too, but I love cantaloupe anyway. It's soooooooo good.

  37. heather @ chiknpastry

    I can't even describe how awesome cantaloupe ice cream sounds right this second. i haven't gotten my hands on a good one yet this year, but i'm betting one or two might show up in the CSA soon. yum!!!

  38. Alright, I went to Central Market tonight and bought a Pecos cantaloupe! Just cut it up and it tastes like what I'm used to, so I guess I've had them before. As for the salt, my parents have also always said it makes them sweeter (which makes sense), but to me, it just makes them taste salty. 🙂

  39. Patrice @ Circle-B-Kitchen

    One of my favorite desserts as a kid was half a cantaloupe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center. This reminds me of that and I think I'm going to have to make this. Cantaloupe and cream are a natural pairing – SO good!

  40. Patrice @ Circle-B-Kitchen

    P.S. I just had to get to ebay and buy some Jack Frosters to keep my ice cream in! 🙂

  41. Lisa Fain

    California Country–Sorry I forgot to reply: my grandma bought the tins in 1950 in Waco–bet you can find some on ebay!

    Scott–I reckon you could put the mixture in the freezer and stir it every half hour or so. I've never done that but know people that have. Another thing you could do is freeze the cantaloupe chunks and whiz them in the blender with the sugar, spice and just heavy cream. That method should yield you ice cream, too. And the tins were purchased in 1950 by my grandma in Waco. Maybe check on ebay.

    Sara–Love that combination!

    Linda–Oh! I like that idea of cantaloupe salsa!

    Brenda–That's a shame.

    Texacainy–Alcohol doesn't freeze so lots of people put shots of vodka, rum or whatever in ice cream to keep it soft. Give it a try!

    Nanny–Thank you!

    The Country Cook–It's a taste of late summer.

    heather–They should be showing up soon, there all over the NYC farmers markets now.

    Jessica–Ha! Well then I reckon you should abstain from the salt!

    Patrice–That sounds beautiful! Their shape is perfect for a bowl! And aren't those tins great?

  42. my papa was raised in apple springs (east texas) and he eats his cantaloupe with black pepper. that means that i do too, as does my dad and the rest of the family. i'm not sure how this started, but i do think that it makes the cantaloupe sweeter.

    ever heard of this?

  43. The Bitch Stopped Cooking

    Oh my, what a brilliant idea! I can't wait to try this, even though I can't get delicious Texas melons up here in Massachusetts.

    Thanks for sharing!

  44. Tasty Eats At Home

    I love cantaloupes – and you're right, Pecos cantaloupes are the best! Although the ones I've been lugging home from the local McKinney farmers market are darn good. (And Israeli melons – which taste similar) This ice cream is genius.

  45. This post just makes me crave Texas yellow watermelon now! I forget the grower's name; haven't seen any in about two years which makes me wonder…

    Glad to see you've come back to cantaloupe – though I love to smell and serve it, I've been unable to stomach it ever since my sister and I gorged ourselves on fresh sliced cantaloupe on a road trip. The trip and cantaloupe were stimulating – getting carsick wasn't. 🙁

  46. Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy

    You have to try cantaloupe granita, too – it's my favorite flavor!

  47. The Glenns

    I have to share a treat my mom always makes (I'm from NM)–halve a cantaloupe, scoop out the insides and fill with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. It's almost like cantalope ice cream!

  48. Cookin' Mama

    I forgot completely about cantaloupe ice cream (I know, Iknow…. doesn't seem possible does it?). Thanks for the great reminder… I'm gonna have to give it a try real soon.

  49. 1. Darn it, not everyone in TX has an HEB – they stop just north of Waco! Central Market is good, but doesn't have stores on every other corner like a regular HEB. DARN I'd totally come home with 5 canteloupes…

    2. Canteloupe that tastes tingly or "spicy" is, in my estimation, gone bad, or about to go bad. It's tricky, because it looks fine, and it's not mushy, and it's only been a few days. But once it's weird like that, it's sad but I throw it out.

    3. Blue bell canteloupe ice cream – how I miss thee!

  50. the fashionable traveler

    Yum! Thanks for posting! I grew up in Monahans, 40 miles from Pecos….there is nothing like Pecos cantaloupe. Can't wait to try the ice cream

  51. Amie – I don't know where you are, but my mom recently found out they are putting an HEB in Burleson. Sounds like it is to be one of their HEB Plus-type stores and the hope is to start bringing more to the metroplex depending on how well this one does. Thankfully, I'm blessed with an abundance of them here in the Austin area.

    Regarding the recipe: this looks delicious and I LOVE those tins!!

  52. I lived in Midland for 23 years prior to moving to Montana – and I MISS those Pecos melons. Thanks for sharing this.

  53. Um…I like cantelope and I like ice cream but I don't think I could handle both.

  54. Lisa Fain

    Autumn–I think that sounds fabulous!

    The Bitch Stopped Cooking–They might not be Texas melons, but there are still some flavorful melons in the Northeast, usually at the farmers markets.

    Tasty Eats at Home–I've never had an Israeli melon, I'll have to keep my eyes out for those.

    Angela–Oh, gosh! You never see that here! I was in Luling last month and there was a ton!

    Sara–Yes! I will! So cooling on these hot days.

    The Glenns–I love that idea–so simple yet so good!

    Cookin' Mama–You're very welcome. Enjoy!

    Amie–Now that's good to know that tingly melon is just bad melon. It's not me it's the melon!

    The Fashionable Traveler–Nope, there's nothing like Pecos cantaloupe!

    Dawn–Good to know about HEB expanding its base–such a great chain!

    Vickie–You're very welcome!

    Kim–No problem, more for the rest of us!

  55. WtxCowgirl

    put chunks of cantaloupe in blender with ice cream…wonderful milkshake!

  56. Evan @swEEts

    I guess Texans think alike! I hadn't been by here in a while and just saw that you made cantaloupe ice cream and I just made cantaloupe sorbet!!

  57. Stephanie

    I'm not sure I can sacrifice my beautiful new cantaloupe for ice cream, but it does look awfully good. One suggestion: Maldon sea salt – just a pinch on top with some hot fudge. You won't be sorry.

  58. Astrid @ The Lopsided House

    I'm so excited to try this recipe! I just found some super ripe melon at a local produce stand for cheap….normally I'm not a big fan of cantaloupe but the ones from this stand have been fantastic!

  59. {lovely little things}

    Wowee, cantaloupe ice cream! I had this once in Italy and it was superb, yum!!

  60. The cantaloupes were great this year…I live about 30 miles from cantaloupe country!!!

  61. What an awesome recipe! Thanks! Will totally have to try this one out.

    My dad grew up in Pecos, and every year, my cousins still ship a case to him – which I end up with most of! Yum!

    If you ever get a chance to get to TX and have Pecos cantaloupes – do it!!!

  62. Anonymous

    Hailing from Texas I was spoilt for choice in the melon department. I miss tasty melons (especially watermelons) as here they taste like cardboard and not juicy. It's so sad! boo hoo! I don't think they'll import them from Texas especially for me and the other 2,550 Americans in my city (NZ).

  63. Russell van Kraayenburg

    I tried this recipe, with a few changes because of ingredients I didn't have- the hurricane didn't really inspire me to trek out to the store in this weather- and I loved it!

    Growing up in Texas I've always loved cantaloupe and recently have been looking for recipes with it as the star. I'm eating some now and yum! Thanks for the inspiration!

  64. David Leite

    I absolutely LOVE the image of the tin with ice cream. Gorgeous light. We really do have to meet up for coffee, HST. Don't you think?

  65. revisedexpectations

    Mmmmm…love a cantaloupe "bowl" filled with homemade vanilla ice cream. Delicious! ~K

  66. There's a paleteria in Round Rock (sadly, I forget the name) that makes fabulous ice cream in-store. Sometimes but not always they have cantaloupe, and occasionally even avocado. I'd have thought it would be bizarre, but avocado ice cream was incredible.

  67. I recently discovered why cantaloupe causes me to have an allergic reaction (an apparently a bunch of y'all too!), it is related to ragweed! However, if I get my hands on a good Pecos melon, I won't let the symptoms stop me, it is worth it to enjoy the taste. I'll have to try this ice cream, I wasn't too big on the Blue Bell version.

  68. textulip

    I am from that West Texas town and having had Pecos cantaloupes all of my life ruined me! I now live in Kansas and I've never had anything that has ever come close to those that come from my small hometown. I grew up putting a scoop of vanilla ice cream inside a halved melon and devouring it with a spoon. Every year I go back to my home town in April, 3 months too early for the harvest. Sad, I know. This year, my family is there now and will be bringing some back to Kansas for me. I'm most excited to share with my friends. None of them have ever had a real cantaloupe before. 🙂

  69. Anonymous

    Thanks for the recipe. Ever since I had honeydew melon icecream in Japan I've been obsessed with it. I'm sure I can just substitute the cantaloupe with some trial and error. It's huge over in asia, just not here in Canada.

  70. I followed your recipe and the result was ok but with a bitter aftertaste. Do you have any idea what went wrong in the process?

  71. Lisa Fain

    TSGX–If there was a bitter aftertaste, I reckon it's the cantaloupe as there's nothing else in the recipe that would impart a bitter flavor.

  72. Anonymous

    Thanks for the recipe. Outside of the festival in Milan Ohio, I've never seen cantaloupe ice cream….and it was the best ice cream I ever tasted. Now I'll be able to make my own.

  73. Great recipe! I love cantaloupe, and I never thought of incorporating it into ice cream! 🙂 Unfortunately, mine turned out bitter as well. It's odd, because I tasted the cantaloupe while I was cutting it up, and it tasted fine. But I'm determined to get this recipe right, so I'll try again until I do!

  74. Margaret

    I bought a Pecos cantaloupe recently at Central Market in San Antonio because it was the closet cantaloupe to local that I found there. How could I have lived in Texas all my life and not know about them? Maybe because I lived in Dallas for 25 years? I had no idea they were famous. Oh well…. It was fabulous and when I went back to CM for more, they were gone 🙁 They also make great appetizers wrapped in prosciutto.

    • Lisa Fain

      They are so sweet and good! The only place I’ve seen them in DFW this season was at Ray Pope Grocery in Fort Worth. The ones from Presidio County were more available and they’re also very good.

  75. Kristi Lester

    I am making this right now. I purchased two melons over a week ago and they were getting very ripe. So I went online searching for a recipe and found yours!
    The base is cooling now and it taste delicious!
    I knew it would be good, as I have used your recipe for West Texas Asado for years and its always a crowd pleaser!
    Excieted to add this recipe to my box!

    • Lisa Fain

      Kristi–It’s a fine way to use ripe cantaloupes. Enjoy yet another taste of West Texas!

  76. Texasgal

    My dad absolutely loved melons! I wish we had heard about scooping ice cream in the cantaloupe half. I think he would have loved that. I noticed the post about using black pepper. My dad and his mom put both black pepper and salt on cantaloupes. They put salt on watermelon, apple slices, and orange slices. The rest of our family followed their lead. I started dropping this habit as I grew up. Once in a blue moon I will salt watermelon and put salt and pepper on cantaloupe. It brings back sweet memories of childhood and loved ones who are no longer with us. By the way, I grew up in rural Texas halfway between DFW and Waco. Still live in central Texas.

    • Lisa Fain

      Texasgal–Salt is wonderful on fruit! It really brings out the sweetness, surprisingly. Thanks for sharing your memories!

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