When it comes to ice cream, I'm what you might call a "goodie miner"-I dig out all of the chunks of yumminess and eat them first-so the more "stuff" in my ice cream, the better. Since I often feel that ice cream makers don't add quite as many treats as I'd like, I've been known to take it upon myself to get the right ratio at home. I just buy some plain light ice cream, let it soften up for a few minutes, then stir in my own combination of nuts, fruit, chocolate or whatever suits my fancy that day. If this idea piques your fancy, here are some serving-size guidelines to follow, as well as a few of my favorite combinations to get you started.

Feeling inspired? Start with our homemade chocolate and vanilla ice cream recipes.

Tips for Adding Ice Cream Stir-Ins:

  • Chop nuts, chocolate or fruit to about the size of a pea.
  • Cool toasted ingredients completely before adding them to the ice cream.
  • If you're using store-bought ice cream, let it soften for a few minutes to make it easier to add the stir-ins. (Tip: To soften ice cream quickly, microwave on Medium-Low for 30 to 60 seconds.) You may also want to freeze the ice cream after adding the stir-ins to firm it up a bit before serving.
  • If you're making your own ice cream, check your ice cream maker's instructions when it comes to judging the volume of your stir-ins. In general, we recommend 1 cup of stir-ins per quart of ice cream. Add them during the last 5 minutes of freezing.

Stir-In Combination #1: Walnut & Chocolate Cookie
Add 3/4 cup chopped chocolate sandwich (or wafer) cookies & 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts.

Stir-In Combination #2: Strawberry & Chocolate
Add 3/4 cup fresh or frozen chopped strawberries & 1/4 cup cocoa nibs or mini chocolate chips.

Stir-In Combination #3: Cherry & White Chocolate
Add 1/2 cup fresh or frozen chopped cherries & 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks.

Stir-In Combination #4: Blueberry & Cinnamon
Add 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries & 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Stir-In Combination #5: Coconut & Almond
Add 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes & 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds.