Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream

I know what you’re thinking… buttermilk ice cream? Is that even good? YES! It’s ridiculously, wonderfully amazing.

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream | The Little Epicurean

While buttermilk is best known for making fluffy and tasty waffles, pancakes and biscuits– it also does wonders in a wide array of other foods.

It makes ranch tangy, it’s a perfect marinade for fried chicken, and it makes for delicious pies. And now, you know that it makes great ice cream.

Despite its name, buttermilk is actually healthier than whole milk. Crazy, right? Buttermilk is surprisingly lower in calories and grams of fat than whole milk.

With this new found knowledge, I set out to make buttermilk ice cream. But not just some plain old buttermilk ice cream, I wanted to make espresso buttermilk ice cream with caramel and cacao nibs. (It sounds fancy, but it’s quite simple to make.)

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream | The Little Epicurean

I love coffee ice cream. It’s rich, luscious, and oh so decadent. However, I can only eat a scoop and then I’m stuffed.

During the warmer months, I want something a little fresher, a little more tart, a bit more lively. That’s where espresso buttermilk ice cream comes in.

This espresso buttermilk ice cream is so cooling and refreshing.  It’s smooth, creamy, and full of flavor.  The combination of the tart buttermilk, sweet milk, acidic espresso, and the richness of the egg yolks creates this addicting ice cream that’s hard to stop eating.

After churning the ice cream, I drizzled caramel to add another dimension of flavor.

Any caramel with do, even the store-bought ones found near the ice cream. Pop it in the microwave for a couple seconds to make it liquid and runny before using. But if you are feeling adventurous (and have some extra time on your hands), I suggest making this homemade sea salt caramel.

Because I’m such a big fan of crunch, I serve this ice cream with a sprinkling of cacao nibs. If you like super dark chocolate, you’ll love cacao nibs. Nowadays, they are widely available at supermarkets and health food stores, and of course, online.

I was surprised at how much I ended up loving this espresso buttermilk ice cream. I let Alex taste it before telling him what it was. After a sample of it, he was hooked and ready for a double scoop on a sugar cone.

Espresso buttermilk ice cream may sound like an unusual combination, but it tastes so great together!

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream with Caramel

Buttermilk isn't just for baked goods. It works magic in ice cream as well! With a little espresso powder and a touch of caramel, this tart and fresh espresso buttermilk ice cream is a perfect sweet treat.

Yield: about 1 quart

Author Maryanne Cabrera


  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cup low-fat buttermilk (reduced-fat)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoon store-bought caramel sauce, or homemade caramel
  • cacao nibs, for topping
  • additional caramel sauce, for topping


  1. Combine heavy cream, buttermilk, and half of sugar in a medium sized sauce pot.  Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together remaining sugar and egg yolks. Slowly pour the hot liquid mixture over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to distribute the heat. Mix well, then pour mixture back into sauce pot.

  3. Set pot over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, gently stir the mixture making sure to pay attention to the bottom and sides of the pan as to not burn the yolks. Continue to stir and heat the mixture until it reaches nappe consistency (thickens and coats the back of a spoon), or until it reaches a temperature of 180 degrees F on a thermometer. Remove from heat and add in espresso powder and salt. Stir until dissolved.

  4. Cool mixture over an ice bath. Alternatively, pour mixture into a plastic wrap lined sheet tray. Spread over the sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until mixture has cooled to room temperature. Transfer cooled mixture into an airtight container and let mature in the fridge overnight.

  5. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to your unit's instructions. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 and mixture has reached a soft-serve consistency, about 20-25 minutes, turn off machine. Transfer 1/3 of ice cream into an airtight, freezer-safe container. Drizzle a heaping tablespoon of melted caramel sauce over ice cream. Spread another 1/3 of ice cream into container and drizzle with caramel. Add remaining ice cream on top and drizzle with remaining caramel. Cover container and let rest in the freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

  6. Let ice cream sit out for 5 minutes before scooping. Serve with additional caramel sauce and a sprinkling of cacao nibs for crunch.

· · · ·
Never Miss a Recipe!

Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

Daily Blog Posts
Weekly Updates

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Judy Freedman

OMG! I have an ice cream maker and I think I am going to have to make this ice cream this summer.

Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)

I think I saw this ice cream in my dreams!! Amazing!

Amanda - A Cookie Named Desire

Oh my gosh. I’ve always had a special love for cofee-based ice cream. Even as a young child, I would always request the coffee ice cream. This, with the buttermilk and caramel just sounds absolutely heavenly!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Amanda! I was afraid to coffee ice cream as a kid… for some reason I thought it was only for adults! lol


it looks delicious!

Raquel @ My California Roots

WOW! That looks so fantastic. I’m so excited it’s ice cream season agan! PS. I love how your little wooden spoond say “spoon” on them. Just in case you forget :)

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Raquel! I thought the spoons were so cute, I had to also buy the matching forks. ;)

Ace (@toastedsprinkle)

Oh I have been meaning to make buttermilk ice cream for ages! Maybe this will finally be the push I need. PS I have the same ice cream dishes! I bought them at a yard sale when I was about 8 for my mom thinking they were vases. Best accidental purchase ever.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Aw, that’s so cute! Yes, I agree BEST accidental purchase. Plus, I’d probably choose ice cream over flowers any day!

Never Miss a Recipe!

Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

Daily Blog Posts
Weekly Updates