Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

If I had to pick my favorite ice cream flavor, it would be a hard choice between Mint Chip and Cinnamon. Which, admittedly, doesn’t seem like a fair fight. Mint Chip is the heavyweight, appearing absolutely everywhere, while underdog Cinnamon is criminally ignored as an ice cream flavor.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream |

I first tasted cinnamon ice cream as a child at Marianne’s in Santa Cruz, where we would stop on our way home from the beach. It was a revelation—a common flavor and a common dessert, paired together in a way I hadn’t tasted before. At the risk of picking a huge fight with Jason “Vanilla is the Finest of the Flavors” LaBau, I think of cinnamon as a much more interesting version of vanilla ice cream.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream |


I’m sure many companies make cinnamon ice cream, but it’s still not one I see often on my grocery store shelves, so it’s become one of my go-to flavors to make at home. I actually already have one recipe for cinnamon ice cream on this site—that one uses whole eggs, instead of egg yolks, so it’s a good choice if you don’t want to have extra whites left over. This version, in addition to having a different ice cream base, adds a wonderful crunchy element, to give the ice cream a textural “pop” that matches the bold flavor. Look at all these speckles of cinnamon love:

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream |

The cinnamon crunchies are what really makes this ice cream special. They’re made with just two ingredients: cinnamon chips and crispy rice cereal. Melted chips coat the cereal and keep it from getting soggy in the ice cream, while also giving the cereal pieces a strong cinnamon flavor. These little crunchies are broken into small pieces, so there’s a little bit in every single bite. This ice cream, with its combination of creamy and crunchy textures, and double dose of cinnamon flavor,  is a must-try for all serious cinnamon lovers!

In fact, I think Cinnamon Crunch might be the new Mint Chip—you heard it here first.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream |

Recipe Notes: This recipe calls for cinnamon chips, which can found found near the chocolate chips in the baking aisle. (Hershey’s is one common brand.) They can also be ordered online from Amazon, or through the King Arthur Flour website. If you can’t find cinnamon chips, you can try substituting white chocolate chips and adding a bit of ground cinnamon instead.

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Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream
yield: about 1 quart

2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/8 tsp salt
5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup cinnamon chips
1/4 tsp coconut oil or vegetable oil (optional)
1 cup crispy rice cereal

To make the ice cream, combine the cream, milk, sugars, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl nearby and whisk them gently. Bring the milk/cream mixture to a simmer, then when it just starts to come to a boil, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks while you slowly pour in about a third of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs heat up but don’t cook during the process.

Now return the saucepan to the heat and start whisking the cream while you pour in the hot egg mixture. Continue to whisk as the custard cooks, and cook it until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. If you want to use a candy thermometer, you’re shooting for 175 F (80C).

Take the pan from the heat and strain the ice cream custard through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Whisk in the vanilla extract and ground cinnamon, then continue to whisk occasionally as it cools. Once at room temperature, press a layer of cling wrap on top of the custard and refrigerate it until it’s completely chilled. (To speed up the process, you can place the bowl over an ice bath and whisk it as it cools down.)

While the custard chills, prepare the cinnamon crunch. Microwave the cinnamon chips for 25 seconds, then stir until melted, heating them again in short intervals if necessary. If your melted chips are still fairly stiff, add a little coconut oil or vegetable oil, just so that they’re smooth and fluid when melted. Pour the melted cinnamon chips over the crispy rice cereal and stir until the cereal is well-coated. Scrape the cereal out onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and spread it into a thin, even layer. Refrigerate until set, then use a knife or your fingers to crumble the cereal mixture into small pieces.

When the custard is chilled and the cinnamon crunch is ready, place a 9×5 loaf pan in the freezer. Churn the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Once finished, add the cinnamon crunch and stir it in. Scrape the ice cream into the loaf pan and smooth it into an even layer. Cover the ice cream with cling wrap, and return to the freezer to firm up completely.


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62 Responses to Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream
  1. Mona says:

    Cinnamon chips. Mmmmm. I can’t wait to order those (and try to keep those around before prepping this recipe.

    • Elizabeth says:

      You’ll love them! They’re great in oatmeal cookies and quick breads too! Oh, and scones. And muffins. Okay, they’re just great in general.

  2. Since we both live in Los Angeles, I am inviting myself over to your house to eat all your ice cream because I don’t think I can live another day without this cinnamon crunch creation.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’ve never heard of cinnamon ice cream before. But I LOVE cinnamon and ice cream, so I’m sure I’ll love this. Thanks for the recipe and your pics look amazing!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Jennifer! I hope you give it a try–it’s seriously one of the best ice cream flavors, and so under appreciated!

  4. Before I seen this I used to sprinkle heaps of cinnamon on vanilla ice cream, now I can make it at home!
    I can not wait to try it, so beautiful.

  5. Margaret says:

    I had forgotten all about Mariann’s Ice Cream -those were the good ol’ days! This sounds and looks amazing. I love cinnamon ice cream, and will have to try this soon..

    • Elizabeth says:

      Apparently it’s still around and going strong! I think we need a family trip to Santa Cruz for old time’s sake…

  6. Danguole says:

    Love the crunchy bits! And I agree–cinnamon alone is so lovely and underrated. This is shaping up to be a lovely Summer of Ice Cream!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m so glad you’re on board with the summer of ice cream! You’re definitely my partner in ice cream crime.

  7. Sharon says:

    I’m a huge fan of cinnamon ice cream, particularly when paired with hot apple pie. Love the idea of the crunchy bits!

  8. This looks AMAZING. I was just thinking this morning how I need to break out my ice cream maker which has been hibernating since last summer. This will top my recipe list!

  9. Yelena says:

    Wow! That looks great! It looks so refreshing. The color is very nice. Great job!

  10. Cinnamon crunch? I can see why it is your favorite! I think it’s going to become mine, too:) All over the chunks in this ice cream. Your pictures are absolutely lovely!

  11. Pete says:

    This looks great, but what really does it for me is the crunchy bits. Will have to try it out!

  12. Tahnycooks says:

    This looks so good!

  13. Liz says:

    The only one time I’ve had cinnamon ice-cream was from a Ben & Jerry’s store and it was Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream (I bet you’ll be all over that!) but I haven’t seen it since. Never have I encountered any kind of cinnamon ice-cream anywhere else which I find really strange because cinnamon is so popular. My husband is the big vanilla fan too – BORING! I’ll have to make this so I won’t have to share! :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Whaaaat?! Cinnamon bun ice cream is going on the must-make list! That’s about 10 of my favorite things together in one. I can tell you from experience that this is the perfect ice cream for making and not sharing with hubbies. :)

  14. Johlene says:

    I absolutely love the idea of cinnamon flavoured ice cream.. and these photos look amazing.. Every new post of yours makes me want to go out and try it.. well done!!


  15. The cinnamon crunchies in this are what truly proves to me that we were separated at birth. Coated in chocolate to stop sogginess? That’s sugar genius.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m so happy to have a sugar twin! One day I’mma visit your country and there will be sugar-coated madness!

  16. Cinnamon ice cream is always a favorite of mine and you can rarely find it anywhere. And love how you added the crunchy-ness to it. :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      I know, why is it so obscure? Everyone loves cinnamon! Maybe it’s time to start my own ice cream company. Thanks for visiting Meli!

  17. stephanie says:

    Oh wow…those crunchy bits open up a world of possibilities! Peanut butter, butterscotch, Biscoff oh my! Nutella? STOP! You are brilliant. I have been a fan for quite some time ( and you never disappoint!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yes, yes, and yes! I like the way your mind works! Thanks for visiting and commenting, Stephanie! Please let me know if you try any of those awesome variations!

  18. these look amazing! I love the idea of the crunch! you don’t usually get double cinnamon anything so what a brilliant idea!

  19. […] View Recipe Ingredients & Preparation Instructions […]

  20. christopher price says:

    Man let me tell ya that look yummy!! I feel fat just reading this lol.

  21. Andrey says:

    Ohhh, It looks great. I want to try it. I’ll try to cook it.

  22. If your cinnamon crunch ice cream were sold in stores I’d totally order it over mint choco chip, even though mint is my fav flavor. Such a great idea! Thanks for sharing :)

  23. ayesha says:

    yummy, i like it very much and your recipies were marvelous and right now i gonna try it, thanks for posting

  24. ajay says:

    wow…….those crunchy bits open up a world of possibilities!

    thanks for sharing this

  25. Oh yum yum yum! I would love this ice cream. Cinnamon and crunch are the perfect combination. Pinned!

  26. Andre says:

    Beautiful pictures, it makes you want to eat.

  27. This sounds crazy good! Cinnamon chips are so yummy and add fab flavor.

  28. YES! I knew I wasn’t the only one who loved cinnamon and ice cream! I’m a cinnamon nut and every time I have ice cream (mostly on vanilla or caramel) I add cinnamon. Wife thinks I’m nuts but it’s so insanely good.

    The crunch aspect to this sounds great. I’m still holding on to a bag of cinnamon chips from last holiday. I need to stock up again. It took me the better part of 3 years to find those damn things in stores.

    • Susan says:

      I went right onto the Hershey’s Website and ordered 7 bags (that was the max I could order and keep the S&H at the same price as one bag).

  29. Susan says:

    Just wondering if this can be made without the eggs? I have a family member who cannot eat eggs. If so, do I have to change the measurements of the other ingredients?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Susan, This particular recipe can’t be made without eggs. If you want to make eggless ice cream, you can search for “Philadelphia-Style Ice Cream,” which is made with just cream, no cooked custard base required. Below I’ve linked to a recipe from Williams-Sonoma. You can add some cinnamon to this ice cream base to make your own eggless cinnamon ice cream!

      • Susan says:

        Thank you so very much for your quick response and your help. I’ve made Philly style before – - have to be careful with the milk/cream ratio because of the graininess.

        Instead of plain old Vanilla – - add some Almond flavoring – - then toast some slivered almonds and use them as garnish. Wonderful and different.

        Also wanted to let you know that I made the Cinnamon Chip recipe twice – - and it was perfectly delectable both times. Company loved it too. I made some extra ‘cinnamon chips’ and kept larger pieces to stick out of the top. Gave it a very cool, professional look and appeal. Too yummy for words.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Oh gotcha–should have known you’d be familiar with Philly style. :) I love the almond variation! Another thing you can try is condensed milk ice cream. Have you made that before? It’s basically cream and condensed milk, and although the texture’s not quite the same as the custard-based ice creams, you can’t beat it for convenience!

          So glad you loved the cinnamon chips! We ate the leftover cinnamon chips with our hands at my house–too good!

  30. Susan says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I saw Nestle Cinnamon Chips in Walmart last week. Last November I went to 10 different types of store looking for these things. Everyone looked at me funny when I asked for them. I ordered them directly through Nestle and paid a fortune plus hefty S&H. Definitely worth it. But anyone looking to make this recipe can now get them at Walmart for $2.50.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Awesome, thanks for the head’s up, Susan! I agree that ordering them online is crazy expensive–hopefully most Wal-Marts are carrying them now!

  31. Susan says:

    Not Nestles – - Hershey’s

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