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Food & Recipes

Food Lovers’ Most Surprising Ice Cream Secret: Nothing Beats a Drizzle of Olive Oil

Plus, the new, delicious olive oil ice creams available in stores

When it comes to summer treats, a few scoops of ice cream always hits the spot. Plain vanilla and chocolate are classics for a reason — they’re undeniably delicious. But we have news for you: That rich and creamy treat can be even better. The secret to taking your dessert to your next level is probably sitting in your pantry at this moment — olive oil. Whether used as an ingredient or a topping, olive oil is a shockingly simple yet luxurious addition. Here, what kind of oil to use — and how to use it — to get a heavenly taste that will make you swoon.

What is olive oil ice cream?

What are your favorite ice cream ingredients? Chocolate chips, strawberry chunks, caramel swirl… you probably didn’t list olive oil. It isn’t exactly the first thing most of us think of when considering ice cream mix-ins or toppings — but maybe it should be.

Olive oil is a fat that’s often combined with dairy (usually cheese) to add smooth richness, and pairing it with ice cream is no different. It adds a creamy, buttery texture and slightly savory flavor that complements ice cream’s sweetness. You can enjoy olive oil ice cream in multiple ways: You can make ice cream with olive oil as an ingredient, or you can drizzle it over your treat as a topping.

How to use olive oil on ice cream as a topping

“A drizzle of olive oil over your scoop of ice cream may sound strange, but it adds a surprisingly rich, buttery note that perfectly complements the sweetness,” says First for Women food editor Charles Grayauskie. And it’s actually a trick food lovers in the know have been doing for years.

“For the tastier pairing, I stick with a light fruity oil instead of a bold, peppery variety,” Charles adds. “And while it’s great on vanilla ice cream, I also like to pair it with nutty flavors like pistachio, butter pecan or praline.”

The key to doing it right is using a high-quality oil. These tend to have a more potent, aromatic flavor. Generally, high-quality oils will cost a little more at the grocery store, and they typically come in a dark bottle, which prevents the oil from oxidizing and changing flavor. You can also purchase extra virgin olive oil online. We love this one from Oilala (Buy on Amazon, $24.99).

How to make olive oil ice cream

vanilla olive oil ice cream cone in a glass with lavender sprig
Courtesy of Tieghan Gerard/

Want scratch-made olive oil flavored ice cream? You don’t have to hunt down a gourmet dessert cafe in order to try it. You can make it yourself, and it’s easier than you might think. This recipe from Tieghan Gerard of Half-Baked Harvest has all the decadence of an ice cream shop treat, but it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. All you need are five ingredients and a mixer!

No Churn Vanilla Bean Olive Oil Ice Cream

Servings: 8 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 6 hours 10 minutes


  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup honey, using more or less to taste
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bean powder, or 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. flaky salt
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the cream until soft peaks form, 1-3 minutes.
  2. Add honey, vanilla and salt, and gently whip to combine.
  3. Gradually add in olive oil, being careful not to overmix.
  4. Spoon mixture into 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cover and freeze until firm, about 6 hours.

Where to buy olive oil ice cream

Good news: You can still enjoy the deliciousness of olive oil ice cream, even if you’re out of EVOO or don’t have time to make ice cream from scratch. Check out some of our favorite store-bought version of olive oil ice cream.


pint of chocolate plant based olive oil ice cream from wildgood
Courtesy of

The founder of Wildgood, Sotiris Tsichlopoulos, wanted to make the best ice cream in his home country of Greece. So he turned to one of the ingredients Greeks know best — olive oil. This plant-based olive oil ice cream comes in flavors like vanilla bean, chocolate, coffee, triple berry and caramelized fig. You can find it at ShopRite, Publix, Sprouts and Whole Foods, or you can buy it online.

Buy from Wildgood, $9 for one pint.

Arbequina Olive Oil from Salt & Straw

This olive oil ice cream is so beloved by visitors to this ice cream shop franchise that they made it available for sale nationwide. It’s made with Oregon olive oil and is described as having a “rich, buttery texture.” Grab a fresh scoop at a Salt & Straw location in cities across California, Oregon, Nevada or Florida, or buy a pint online.

Buy from Salt & Straw, $75 for 5 pints.

So the next time you’re enjoying some ice cream or making it at home, turn things up a notch by adding a drizzle of olive oil, plus a sprinkle of sea salt if you’re feeling adventurous. Little did you know you could enhance your favorite dessert with such a simple tweak.

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