The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Freeze: 6 hrs
  • Servings: 8 servings

Semifreddo—Italian for "half-cold"—got its name because of its unique texture. Even though it's technically frozen, the Italian dessert stays soft and creamy. Unlike ice cream, semifreddo isn't churned. Whereas ice cream is scooped, semifreddo is molded and sliced, usually in a metal loaf pan.

When using a loaf pan, the key is to line the pan with overhanging plastic wrap and add the semifreddo ingredients as directed. This will make removing the semifreddo from the pan a breeze. When ready to serve, just lift up the plastic and place the dessert on a work surface to slice.

Also, because semifreddo can melt easily, all ingredients and utensils must be very cold during the preparation. Since semifreddo sets in the freezer for at least six hours but preferably overnight, or even up to a day or two, this is a great make-ahead treat for a party or celebration. This professional looking and delicious dessert will dazzle your guests.


  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 amaretti cookies (finely crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Semifreddo ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. Line a 9 x 5 x 3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of several inches on the ends. Chill the pan in the freezer. At least 20 minutes before you are ready to whip the cream, place the large bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer in the refrigerator. 

    Lined pan and bowl
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. When ready, remove the bowl and beaters from the refrigerator. Pour the chilled heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract into the bowl and whip the cream at high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.

    Return the bowl to the refrigerator while proceeding with the next steps. 

    Cream and vanilla in a bowl
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

    Sugar and water in a pan
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. In a large mixer bowl, beat the eggs with the mixer on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Slowly beat the hot sugar syrup into the eggs in a thin stream. Continue beating until the mixture is very light and fluffy and feels cool to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. 

    Sugar syrup and beaten eggs
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Gently fold the chilled whipped cream into the cooled egg mixture. 

    Egg whites and egg mixture
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs and chopped almonds.

    Nuts and cookie crumbs with batter
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. Remove the prepared loaf pan from the freezer. Spoon the mixture into the pan. Cover securely with the plastic wrap and return to the freezer. Freeze until set, at least 6 hours or overnight. 

    Semifreddo in a pan
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  9. Unwrap the top of the loaf pan. Invert onto a serving plate, lift off the pan and remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Cut into slices and serve immediately. 

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  10. Store remaining semifreddo slices in the freezer.