A bowl with two scoops of Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream.

Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream

This homemade Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream is made with a rich custard swirled with a Vanilla Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce–a festive seasonal treat.

A bowl with two scoops of Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream.
Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream

If you love cranberries, give this Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream a try. It’s homemade ice cream churned from a rich custard base and swirled with a colorful Vanilla Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce.

A bowl of homemade ice cream topped with slivered almonds with the words, "Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream".

This post first appeared on January 28, 2013 as well as on Wayfair.com. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen!

“If all the books were across the sea, what a great swimmer Liren would be.”

Scribbled in the back pages of my 8th grade yearbook, I remember my cheeks burning as I read this autograph. Most of the girls had a similar quote in theirs, but “books” was replaced with the word “boys.” And while I certainly wasn’t boy crazy at the time, I also understood the underlying meaning behind this sentence. After eight years with the same 18 classmates in my tiny Catholic grade school, I was ready to move on. I moved on to a world where the freshman class was over 700 students strong, most of whom enjoyed to read.

I was a voracious reader as a child, and my love for literature grew with me. There were many nights that I could not bear to put a book down, and I would burn the midnight oil, turning the pages until sleep finally took over. I read outdoors, I read on the train, I read when I drove (if audio books count), I read when I nursed. I read to my children, and now they read to me. My daughter has become like me, but more so. She juggles three books at a time, and polishes each off with gusto.

But I realized something. I don’t read anymore. Real books, that is. It’s been about three years. I realized that I stopped reading when I started writing this blog.

A scoop of homemade ice cream on a marble surface.

I went from consumer to creator, and the more I wrote, the less time I had to open a book. I thought the iPad would help. I started to read a digital book, but never finished it.

On my way to Salt Lake City, there was no Wi-fi on the two hour flight. I couldn’t work. I opened my iPad and swiped through the apps when the iBooks icon caught my eye. I remembered my unfinished book and picked up where I left off. As I immersed myself into that world, I noticed something. My love for reading had returned and I was unable to put the novel down. And then I started another one. I feel as though I have been reunited with my old best friend.

In some ways, I think the same could be said for cooking. I go through phases where I cook the same things over and over again, only to abandon them for stretches of time. That happened with ice cream. I made this Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream and even though it may be winter sometimes you just can’t stop. It is ice cream, after all.

More Ice Cream Recipes

S’mores Ice Cream Pie
Vanilla Raspberry Ice Cream Bombe
Baked Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches (Non-Dairy)
Blueberry Crisp Ice Cream
Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream

If you love cranberries, give this Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream a try. It’s homemade ice cream churned from a rich custard base and swirled with a colorful Vanilla Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill & Churn Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 1 quart
Calories 3474kcal


Cranberry Almond Swirl Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups Vanilla Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce recipe below

Vanilla Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice of one clementine or tangerine
  • 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • In a medium sauce pan, combine the heavy cream, skim milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, and salt, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to stir, dissolving the sugar, and bring the cream mixture to about 175 degrees (about 8 minutes). Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and allow the spice infused cream steep for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl, and slowly add the remaining sugar, whisking for about 4 minutes, or until the eggs are light in color and thick. When the cream finishes steeping, ladle 1 cup of the hot cream in a drizzle into the eggs while whisking to temper. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and gently cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 8-10 minutes. You will know the custard is ready when you are able to coat the back of your wooden spoon and run your finger down, leaving a line.
  • Prepare an ice bath. Strain the mixture into the prepared bowl of the ice bath. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract into custard. Let the ice cream custard cool for 1 hour in the ice bath, stirring periodically, and ideally, chill the custard overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Place custard into the chilled bowl of your ice cream maker and churn for about 30 minutes. Towards the end of the churning, drizzle in the cranberry sauce and churn for just a few minutes more. It may be served immediately or stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Vanilla Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

  • Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it come to a boil and once the first cranberry pops, simmer for about 5 minutes until all the cranberries pop open. Pour the sauce into a heatproof jar and let it cool and thicken.


Ice cream base based on Tyler Florence’s Vanilla Ice Cream Base, via Food Network.
The Vanilla Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce recipe makes about 2 cups.


Calories: 3474kcal | Carbohydrates: 420g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 196g | Saturated Fat: 117g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 59g | Cholesterol: 1438mg | Sodium: 341mg | Potassium: 1117mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 377g | Vitamin A: 8739IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 739mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante


Recipe Rating

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  1. Cate

    I’m totally the same way! I finally took a blog break over the holidays and read pretty much every night… it was total bliss! I’m going to try and read one book (cookbooks don’t count!) every month in 2013. Next up? Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates.

    • liren

      Blog breaks are great, Cate :) I find it hard to do, but I try! I’m going to have to add Little Bird of Heaven to my to-read list, thank you!

  2. Vespa Woolf

    Similar to your experience, I also allowed writing to consume so much time that I no longer read. Now I know that was a mistake and I make an effort to set aside regular reading time. Your photos are gorgeous. I hope to try this ice cream, thanks!

  3. Sandra's Easy Cooking

    My daughter is much like you, she is juggling two or three books at the same time and takes testes in school and always pass with highest score. Reading is a beautiful thing however I started to read and get into reading later in my early 20’s…
    Oh and that ice-cream looks amazing! Wonderful pics, Liren!

    • liren

      Isn’t it amazing how they can juggle those books? It boggles my mind, because I was never that way. I am always in awe of how they can keep track of characters and story lines. I’m so glad to know that you daughter is much like mine!

  4. Becky

    What book did you pick up?! I go through seasons as well. I read a lot during the winter months or while I’m traveling. Right now I’m reading a book on midwifery as well as Unbroken, just for pleasure. There’s not much like sinking into a book while you’re on a trip or in the middle of a snowstorm :)

    • liren

      Traveling is always when I find myself looking for a good read, too. So, I finally returned to The Help, so that gives you an idea of how long it has been since I read for pleasure. And I also started Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil; the woman on the plane next to me was reading this book and it piqued my curiosity!

  5. carrian

    Liren, I’m so thrilled that we were able to meet this week at ALT. Last week. Whatever. ;) I too share your love of reading, but I’m sad to say that it’s nothing compared to when I was in school. How sad. :( Let’s start sharing fave reads. Yes?

    • liren

      I’m so so happy we met, Carrian! Are you on Goodreads? I used to love updating that with all my favorite reads, I plan on getting started again!

  6. dixya @ food, pleasure, and health

    couple years ago- i absolutely loved reading but lately i havent had much time or lost interest. I tried reading on ipad or kindle but its not the same :( on a different note- this ice cream looks soo good. i love both the combo you have used :)

    • liren

      You’re right, Dixya, nothing is better than feeling a real book in your hands, and turning its pages. I love how books smell, too :)

  7. Christy @ My Invisible Crown

    Ah! I’m so glad you posted an ice cream! I’ve been wanting to so bad lately. There’s this one that just keeps calling my name but I was trying to wait until the weather perked up just a little bit but what the heck! You gave me that little nudge I needed. This sounds so good!

    • liren

      I agree, what the heck! I can’t wait any longer for warm weather, might as well make ice cream now!

  8. Kelsey | Itsy Bitsy Foodies

    Liren, this is a beautiful post. My weakness is ice cream and the cranberry almond combo sounds unbelievably delish! And I can especially relate to your message. After starting blogging I, too, stopped reading books, spending all my time on some angle of the blog. I’ve actually made it somewhat of a new year’s resolution: to leave more time for books/movies etc. and to get more sleep! :)

    • liren

      Amen to that, Kelsey! More time for sleep for sure. I am imposing a bedtime for myself this year – it’s easy to get caught up at night, before I know it, midnight arrives…I am determined to sleep more, too :)

  9. Cassie | Bake Your Day

    I go in spurts with reading. I have always loved it but fail to make enough time for it. I would love to read and eat a bowl of this ice cream. I love the cranberry swirls!

    • liren

      Thanks, Cassie! I think I will have to make a fresh batch, just so I can indulge while reading…perhaps this weekend!

Kitchen Confidante®