Caramel Macchiato Gelato – No Churn

Imagine an easy dessert recipe that’s so rich, creamy, and bursting with flavor, you’ll never want to eat store-bought gelato again.  Impossible? Not with this recipe. 

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With only six ingredients, a spatula, a mixer, and 2 bowls, you can whip up this creamy Italian style dessert in minutes.  The hardest part is waiting for it to freeze!

Scoops of homemade no churn caramel macchiato gelato in a white bowl

I may have to admit that not only do I love food, but I’m also a self-admitted carboholic.  

I came face to face with my demon on a trip to Italy.  For two glorious weeks, I ate amazing pasta, gorgeous bread, the freshest vegetables, the sweetest and juiciest fruits, and drank luscious wine.  I ended each evening with a scoop of sweet, creamy, gelato.  

When I looked back on what I consumed on my vacation, I noticed that there was very little meat.  But there was a lot of cheese, bread, vegetables, pasta, and sugar.

Most nutritionists would have cringed at my food journal, but I was in heaven.  Not only did I realize that I love carbs more than anything else, but when the quality of the food was impeccable, I ate a much smaller portion and was completely satisfied.

My takeaway from this lesson?  Bring on the gelato!

Scoops of homemade no churn caramel macchiato gelato in a white bowl

I love ending an evening – any evening – with a little something sweet.  Gelato is my favorite. I thought nothing of spending $8 or more for a pint of high-quality gelato.  Then, being the geek that I am, I did the math…and choked. How could I have spent that much on gelato?

It was obvious that I could go cold turkey and give it up altogether.  Or, like the carb addict that I am, I could save some cash and make it myself.  

I had control over the quality of ingredients and I could make any flavor that I wanted.  Plus, it was WAY more economical and I am a sucker for an easy dessert recipe.

This easy dessert recipe is the culmination of many trials and errors.  I used the best vanilla extract that I could find, fresh heavy whipping cream, espresso, and just a bit of coffee liqueur.  

It’s so rich and creamy and a little bit goes a long way.  Even with the best of ingredients, it’s still much cheaper than my favorite store-bought brand.  It also tastes so much better!


  • Gelato is creamier, smoother, and denser than ice cream.
  • Gelato has less air whipped into it, which is also what makes it denser than ice cream.
  • Typically, ice cream is made from cream, milk, sugar, and sometimes egg yolks.  It is churned at a high speed to incorporate air into the mixture. Gelato is made with a larger amount of milk and less cream.  It seldom has egg yolks. Then the mixture is mixed together gently.
  • Finally, gelato is served at a temperature that is 10 – 15 degrees warmer than ice cream.  This allows you to taste the flavors better since your mouth isn’t as numb from the cold.


  • If you are a gelato fan, you’re going to want the mouthfeel of a rich dessert.  Let’s rule out milk completely. Even whole milk doesn’t have the fat content to achieve the luscious mouth feel of rich gelato.
  • Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are both 36% milk fat.  Whipping cream has about 30% milkfat. They can be used interchangeably, but higher fat cream will whip up and hold its shape better.
  • A vegan alternative that is surprisingly delicious is to use full-fat coconut milk instead of heavy whipping cream.  Eliminate whipping the coconut milk and stir all the ingredients together. You may have a small number of ice crystals, but your gelato will still be wonderful.

Still confused?  The What’s Cooking America website has a great article on cream types.  Check it out here.


The coffee liqueur adds flavor to the gelato and the alcohol in it prevents the gelato from freezing to a rock-solid block.

But you can use any alcohol in the gelato.  Flavored liqueur of any kind will work. Want a peach gelato?  Use peach schnapps. If you want a flavorless alternative, ⅓ cup of vodka will do the trick.

You can also make the gelato without any alcohol at all.  Just know that your final product will be frozen more solid.  It will still be amazing. Just allow the dessert to sit out for a few minutes to soften slightly so that you can easily scoop it into your dish or cone.

Are you a carboholic like me?  Check out a few of my other recipes:

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An easy dessert recipe that brings the taste of your coffeehouse favorite to a no churn gelato. With only six ingredients,this gelato recipe is so good you’ll never want store-bought gelato again.


  • 1 (14-ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water
  • ⅓ cup coffee liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup caramel syrup (I used Starbucks caramel syrup)


  1. Place your mixing bowl, beaters and the heavy cream into the freezer. Allow to chill for at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, espresso, coffee liqueur, and vanilla. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Remove the chilled bowl, beaters and whipping cream from the freezer. Pour the 2 ½ cups of whipping cream into the chilled bowl and begin beating the cream on low speed. Gradually increase speed until you are at high speed. Beat the cream until it begins to hold its shape when you lift the beaters – about 5 minutes. Take care not to over beat the cream or you will have butter.
  4. Pour the sweetened condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream.
  5. Using a spatula, gently fold the condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream until it is completely mixed.
  6. Cover the bowl and place in the freezer for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the bowl from the freezer and mix the gelato for 1 minute. Pour the gelato into a container with a tight fitting lid.
  8. Pour the caramel syrup on top of the gelato. Using a knife, swirl the caramel into the gelato. Don’t completely mix in the caramel. You want to see the swirls of caramel.
  9. Freeze the gelato for about 6 hours before serving.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1
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