This Hojicha Gelato is gentle, flavorful, light, and satisfying. It’s a unique flavor that can satisfy tea and coffee drinkers alike. If I had to pick one ice cream flavor I’d have for the rest of my life, hojicha gelato would be it, because it’s THAT incredible.

Beige ice cream in a silver metal tub with glasses of ice cream nearby.

Hojicha is a Japanese roasted green tea. It has an earthy, almost coffee-like taste. It tastes nothing like the green tea we are used to drinking. It has a roasted taste that is unlike anything you’re used to.

I’m not embarrassed to share that when we visited Japan, I had ice cream at least once a day. We never had hojicha gelato, but the hojicha soft serve was incredible. After some seriously delicious recipe testing, I am excited to offer you this recipe for hojicha gelato. This is the good stuff…full of that roasted green tea coffee-like flavor, without all the extra sugar to distract you.

My favorite part about making this ice cream is how it changes from when you finish churning it to after it freezes. After churning, it has a soft-serve ice cream thickness. Delicious. Then after you freeze it, it hardens and is also delicious, yet different.

How to Make Hojicha Gelato

Place the bowl of the ice cream maker in the freezer overnight. To crack your eggs and keep the yolk intact, hit two eggs against each other. Only one will crack, and it will crack exactly where you hit it (photos 1 & 2). Whisk the yolks and sugar together until pale yellow (photos 3 & 4).

Step by step photos showing hands cracking eggs and mixing them with sugar.

Warm the milk and vanilla until it lightly simmers (photo 1). Temper the egg/sugar mixture with the milk/vanilla mixture (photos 2 & 3). Return to the saucepan and cook until thickened, stirring slowly and constantly. It should get to 170F (photo 4).

Step by step photos showing mixing ice cream base in teal pot.

Remove from heat. Add the hojicha leaves to the pan (photo 2). Stir (photo 3). Steep for 30 minutes with the lid on.

Step by step photos showing hands steeping tea in ice cream base in a teal pot.

Strain (photo 1). Add the cream and stir (photo 2). Chill in the refrigerator ideally overnight, a minimum of 4 hours.

A hand using a sieve to strain loose leaf tea from liquid into glass bowl.

The next day, add your chilled ice cream to your ice cream maker. Churn (stir setting) until it is the thickness of soft-serve ice cream, 20-25 minutes. You can enjoy it now as soft serve, or continue to the final step for ice cream consistency.

Churned beige ice cream in an ice cream maker on a marble countertop.

Transfer to a container you can freeze and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Beige ice cream in a silver metal tub with glasses of ice cream nearby.

Equipment & Tea Used

More Ice Cream & Gelato Recipes

Try these indulgent cold desserts, and check out all my dessert recipes to find what you’re craving.

Three scoops of beige ice cream in a glass cup with a metal spoon on a table.

Hojicha Gelato Recipe

5 from 19 votes
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Gentle, flavorful, light, and satisfying, this hojicha gelato is one of those flavors that can satisfy tea and coffee drinkers, alike.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Resting Time4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time5 hours 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian, Japanese
Servings: 8
Calories: 252kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 30 g loose leaf hojicha tea
  • 1.25 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer overnight.
  • Whisk the yolks and sugar together until pale yellow.
  • Warm the milk and vanilla until it just lightly simmers.
  • Temper the egg/sugar mixture with the milk/vanilla mixture.
  • Return to the sauce pan and cook until thickened, stirring slowly and constantly. It should get to 170F.
  • Remove from heat. Add the hojicha leaves to the pan. Stir. Steep for 30 minutes with the lid on.
  • Strain. Add the cream. Stir to combine.
  • Chill in the refrigerator ideally overnight, minimum 4 hours.
  • The next day, add your chilled ice cream to your ice cream maker. Churn (stir setting) until it is the thickness of soft serve ice cream, 20-25 minutes. You can enjoy it now as soft serve, or continue to final step for ice cream consistency.
  • Transfer to a container you can freeze and freeze at least 4 hours.

Notes

If you cannot wait to chill the ice cream before churning it, you can chill it quickly over a bowl filled with ice water. Just stir the ice cream to cool the base faster than your refrigerator can.

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 121mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 810IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Did you try this recipe?I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a Review to let us know how it came out, if you have a successful substitution or variation, or anything else.

25 Comments

  1. Hello, this recipe looks really good. Would it be possible to use hojicha tea bags and then press out the cream?

  2. Hello, some questions for you. Why is the metric measurement for the egg yolks 4 instead of 5? Is this recipe not too sweet or on the sweeter side? Can I reduce the amount of sugar if the latter? And if I want to use xanthum gum, how much should I add? Thank you!

    1. Hi Donna,
      Great questions.
      The metric measurements are automatically calculated, so it’s an error. Use the same amount of yolks. I’m not sure I can manually fix this, but I’ll try.
      I already use less sugar than most ice cream, so I would recommend making the recipe as-is first, then adjusting to your preference.
      You can use xanthum gum to help thicken the mixture and prevent ice crystals. 1/4 teaspoon should do great.
      Enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe last weekend and trust me it is the best ice cream I have ever eaten!
    Love this recipe!!

  4. Great recipe! Got to try it over the weekend! Would you happen to know how much ice cream there is in ml right before the churning process? I want to make this again but find better fitting containers. Thanks!

  5. I have some hojicha powder that works well in lattes and baked goods. Do you have any recommendation for substituting an amount of this instead of using loose leaf tea?

    1. Hi Eric. Great question! I have not tried this recipe with hojicha powder before, so all I can do is share my best guess. 2 tablespoons of hojicha powder should be suitable as a replacement for the loose-leaf in this hojicha ice cream recipe. I am basing it on the quantity of matcha powder I use in my matcha ice cream. I hope this helps!

  6. 5 stars
    Fantastic gelato to make – definitely for those who really like to experiment. I did. And its great. This recipe is a game changer!

  7. 5 stars
    Such a delightful recipe, just in time for Spring and Summer. I’m sure we’ll be making this on repeat!

  8. 5 stars
    I rarely bring out the ice cream machine, but for this one, I went all out. I love hojicha, so I already knew this will be an epic ice cream flavor for me and it was. 🙂

    1. Definitely a flavor worth bringing out the ice cream machine for… glad to hear it was epic for you, Anita!

  9. 5 stars
    This was an amazing recipe!! Love all the flavors, perfect treat before bed. thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed making this gelato…and definitely a great treat right before bed or even on waffles in the morning. Thank you, Noelle!

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