Fried Ice Cream

Fried Ice Cream

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 1 mins
Freeze: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 11 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 6 ice cream balls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
576 Calories
33g Fat
61g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 576
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 43%
Saturated Fat 16g 82%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 255mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 47g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 3mg 16%
Calcium 283mg 22%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 496mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fried ice cream is a dessert made of a scoop of ice cream that is frozen solid and covered in a crispy coating or batter before being flash-fried in hot oil to crisp the outside while keeping the ice cream cold on the inside. It's a delicious combination of creamy and crunchy.

Some say fried ice cream first debuted at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, while others claim a company in Philadelphia invented it in 1894. Some argue that fried ice cream actually traces its history to the 1960s where it was invented as a dessert in Japanese tempura restaurants. It's also a popular treat at American Mexican restaurants. Regardless of its origins, it's a delicious treat that adults and kids will love.

The secret to making fried ice cream is creating a thick coating around the frozen ice cream balls so the outside can cook in the hot oil while the ice cream remains safely frozen inside. This is achieved by not only coating with layers of crushed cereal and coconut, but also dipping the frozen ice cream balls in a mixture of egg whites and sugar. This helps the coating adhere and creates a shell that is necessary for frying without melting the ice cream. Once fried, the ice cream balls can be drizzled with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or even honey.


  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

  • 2 cups crushed cornflake cereal

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 3 large egg whites

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • Oil for frying

  • Chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, or honey for drizzling

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fried Ice Cream ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Place six scoops of ice cream, about 3 inches in diameter, on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least 2 hours or until very firm.

    Scoops of ice cream on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. In a shallow bowl, combine the cornflake cereal crumbs, coconut, and cinnamon.

    Fried Ice Cream batter ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Roll the frozen ice cream balls in the crumb mixture. Place them back on the baking sheet and freeze again for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining crumb mixture for the next steps.

    Ice cream balls coated in cornflake mixture on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. In a bowl, beat the egg whites and sugar until foamy.

    Egg white and sugar in a bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Dip the coated ice cream balls into the egg mixture, then roll again in the crumb mixture, coating completely. Freeze again for 1 hour.

    Ice cream ball being coated in egg white mixture

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. When ready to fry and serve, heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan to 375 F. Remove one ball at a time from the freezer and quickly dip into the hot oil for 8-10 seconds, until crisp and brown.

    Fried Ice Cream ball in a spoon over hot oil

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Quickly remove from the hot oil and place on a chilled plate or in a chilled serving bowl. Serve immediately with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

    Fried Ice Cream on a plate with chocolate sauce

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni


If you want to prep fried ice cream balls in advance for use later, after coating them in the first layer of cornflake mixture, wrap each rolled ball in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer bag. They can be frozen like this for up to two months before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

Is Fried Ice Cream Really Mexican?

Although we often associate fried ice cream with Mexican restaurants, the origins of the dish can be traced back to U.S. state fairs as well as Japanese tempura restaurants. Fried ice cream in the United States is often associated with the Mexican restaurant chain Chi-Chi's ,which debuted the menu item back in the 1980s; but it likely originated much earlier.

Is Fried Ice Cream Chinese?

Fried ice cream has origins in both Japanese and Mexican restaurants in the U.S., however, there is evidence of possible fried ice cream in Chinese cuisine dating back to the 1800s.

Why Doesn't Fried Ice Cream Melt?

Fried ice cream doesn't melt because the ice cream is frozen solid to a very cold temperature and then coated with a crispy shell or batter before being quickly dipped in hot oil. This allows the outside to cook and crisp before even reaching the ice cream center.