Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream | What Is It? + Recipe

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  September 27, 2020
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If you are looking to enjoy a cool, delicious treat, matcha green tea ice cream is the way to go.

This popular Japanese dessert is made from matcha green tea powder, an even healthier form of green tea. It is a terrific way to cool down on a hot summer day.

Admittedly, green tea ice cream may seem a bit odd to those who aren’t used to it. However, once you taste it, it will all begin to make sense.

How to make your own matcha green tea ice cream

Matcha ice cream & its delicious flavors

This article will review matcha ice cream, so you can better understand what it’s all about.

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream Recipe

One way to get a better understanding of matcha ice cream is to find out how to make it. Here is a simple recipe that is guaranteed to get you great results.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword ice cream
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Freeze 6 hours
Servings 4 people
Author Joost Nusselder
Cost $2

Equipment

  • Ice-cream maker

Ingredients

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3 tbsp. matcha green tea powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher or sea salt

Instructions

  • Freeze ice cream bowl for 24 hours.
  • Whisk together half and half, sugar and salt in medium saucepan.
  • Start cooking over medium heat, then add green tea powder. Stir often allowing mixture to heat until it’s very hot but not boiling.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to the iced bowl. When it is cool, cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
  • Once mixture is thoroughly chilled, transfer to a pre-chilled ice cream maker. Process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then transfer to an airtight container and place it in the freezer. Allow it so chill at least 3 hours before serving.

I would recommend getting a good organic Matcha powder like this one since it is the base of your recipe:

Organic matcha powder

What is the Difference Between Matcha and Other Forms of Green Tea?

Matcha and green tea both come from the same plant, the camellia sinesis plant.

However, matcha is grown differently than regular green tea.

Matcha tea bushes are shielded from sunlight 20 -30 days before harvest. The shade increases the plant’s chlorophyll levels which turns the leaves a darker shade of green and increases the production of amino acids.

Once the plant is harvested, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves and they are ground into matcha powder.

Because the whole leaf is ingested, people can benefit from the added caffeine and antioxidants.

make your own matcha green tea ice cream

What Does Matcha Ice Cream Taste Like?

Matcha ice cream is not as creamy as other types of ice cream. The sugar and cream give it a sweet taste but this is countered by the slightly bitter flavor of the matcha.

Overall, it produces a perfect balance.

Is Matcha Ice Cream Good for You?

As far as desserts go, matcha is pretty healthy.

It is made with simple, all-natural ingredients and green tea is known for providing several health benefits.

It is packed with antioxidants, so it reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. It can also promote weight loss.

However, the ice cream does have a considerable amount of sugar, and half and half is a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream that can be quite fattening.

Therefore, like all desserts, you will want to eat matcha ice cream in moderation.

If you are really set on enjoying a healthy dessert, you can substitute the half and half with almond and coconut milk and add honey instead of sugar. This will make a paleo-friendly, lower fat, and all-around healthy dessert that can be enjoyed more often.

Does Matcha Ice Cream Come in Flavors?

Even though matcha is its own flavor, it can be flavored with different fruits. For instance, there are strawberry, banana and raspberry flavored matcha ice creams.

To achieve this mixture, the fruit is usually mashed with a food processor and then added to the ice cream.

What Do You Eat with Matcha Ice Cream?

Because matcha ice cream has an unusual flavor, unlike most ice creams, it may not taste great with chocolate sauce, caramel or whipped cream.

However, you can add toppings like nuts and berries. Ginger, mint and white milk and dark chocolate candies will also complement the flavor well.

Does Matcha Tea Contain Caffeine?

Yes. As mentioned earlier, matcha has high levels of caffeine, higher than those found in regular green tea.

Eating it in ice cream form does not reduce the caffeine content.

Japan and Green Tea: What’s the Connection?

Today green tea ice cream is becoming more popular and we can often find it on grocery store shelves in the United States.

But there are still many Americans that find it an unlikely treat. And this is not without reason.

Green tea has a slightly bitter taste and therefore, it might not be the first thing to come to mind when people think of ice cream flavors.

However, if you consider the green tea and Japanese connection, it seems inevitable for matcha powder to eventually be incorporated into their cultural sweet treats.

Tea was introduced to Japan in the 9th century and it quickly became an integral part of cultural life.

Green tea has become a favorite due to the many health benefits it offers so it makes sense that this is a drink enjoyed by many Japanese people during breakfast and throughout the day.

In fact, green tea is so popular in Japan that the country has devoted an entire day to green tea. Green Tea Day is on the 88th day after the first day of spring (typically May 1 or 2).

Green tea is very vulnerable to frost. Therefore, harvesting should take place as soon as there is no sign of frost.

The 88th day after the beginning of spring is typically frost free.

What’s more, the leaves picked at this time of year are usually the freshest and believed to be good luck.

What is Mochi Ice Cream?

When you start exploring the world of Japanese ice cream, you will surely become familiar with ‘mochi ice cream’. This is an ice cream bite surrounded by a ball of sweet rice dough.

In Japanese culture, it is a portable way to eat ice cream and it is also a sign of fortune.

While mochi ice cream is available in green tea and matcha flavors, it is also available in several other flavors. It is important to understand that the two are not one in the same.

What Type of Matcha is Recommended for Making Ice Cream?

When considering the types of matcha, you can choose between ceremonial and culinary grade.

Culinary grade is best for cooking and, it will therefore be the best choice for making matcha ice cream.

Ceremonial grade tea is made from younger leaves. It has a very delicate taste and a bright green color. It is also more expensive than culinary grade matcha.

Culinary grade tea is made with slightly older leaves. The flavor is bitter and more robust and the color is not as vibrant.

What are the Best Brands of Culinary Grade Matcha?

Great matcha ice cream starts with great matcha tea. If you are looking for a great matcha tea product, here are a few brands that are recommended.

Jade Leaf Culinary Grade Matcha

Organic matcha powder

This tea was sourced from organic Japanese farms and shade-grown. It is vegan and gluten-free and it’s a great source of antioxidants.

Aprika Life Premium Culinary Grade Matcha

Aprika Life Premium Culinary Grade Matcha

This tea was grown in Japan with great care and pride. It is 100% organic and it has a smooth taste that is never bitter. It boosts energy and it’s rich in antioxidants.

Leopard Fine Culinary Grade Matcha

Leopard Fine Culinary Grade Matcha

This tea was grown in Kagoshima Prefecture on a ninth-generation family owned estate. It is shade grown and hand-picked. It has a vibrant color and a smooth taste. It is packaged in air tight tins to protect the tea from oxidation.

Kenko Culinary Grade Matcha

Kenko Culinary Grade Matcha

Kenko tea is ordered in small batches and ground fresh. It is then put in an airtight package to preserve the freshness. It is shade grown, hand-picked, organic and non-GMO. It has a vibrant color and a terrific taste and aroma.

Things you can make with matcha powder

Match Moon Culinary Grade Matcha

Match Moon Culinary Grade Matcha

This shade grown tea is a great source of antioxidants and phytonutrients. It is organic, gluten free, vegan and keto and paleo friendly.

Kiss Me Organics Culinary Grade Matcha

Kiss Me Organics Culinary Grade Matcha

This matcha powder has an unsweetened, slightly bitter taste that lets you know it’s the good stuff. It is rich in nutrients and it is recommended for boosting energy without the caffeine crash.

What are the Best Brands of Matcha Ice Cream?

Of course, not all of us will want to make matcha ice cream. Some would rather just scoop it and eat it.

If you are looking for the best ready-made matcha ice cream, here are a few bands that are recommended.

Is Matcha Ice Cream Vegan?

Green tea ice cream is usually made with milk, so it is not vegan. However, there are vegan-friendly recipes that use non-dairy milk.

Is Matcha Ice Cream Gluten-Free?

You would think ice cream contains gluten due to its high sugar content. However, pure sugar is gluten-free. Even though it’s a distant relative to wheat, barley, and rye, it does not contain the gluten element.

However, it is possible to add other products to matcha ice cream that contain gluten. Therefore, it’s best to follow a gluten-free recipe if you are trying to avoid gluten.

Is Matcha Ice Cream Paleo?

Those on a strict paleo diet stick to eating foods that are only found naturally on the earth…and I’m pretty sure matcha ice cream would not qualify.

However, if you follow the right recipe, you can use all-natural products to make a paleo-friendly matcha ice cream. Substituting sugar with honey is a good first step.

Is Matcha Ice Cream Keto?

Those following a keto diet eat foods that are low in sugar and carbs and high in healthy fats. Ice cream tends to be high in carbs and sugar and it’s not considered keto.

However, there are low carb, low sugar recipes you can follow, including ones for matcha ice cream.

Matcha ice cream makes a cool and refreshing treat. How will you be enjoying it on a hot summer day?

What is the History of Matcha Ice Cream?

If you spend any amount of time in Japan, you will notice that many of their sweets come in green tea flavors. It is rumored that this first began when green tea ice cream was presented to the Emperor about 100 years ago.

However, it wasn’t until much more recently, in fact only about 20 years ago, that candy manufacturers started incorporating green tea into their products.

In addition to matcha ice cream, you can also enjoy treats like the Uji-Matcha flavored Choko-Ball which are ball shaped cookies coated with Matcha chocolate.

Alfort Premium is another popular treat that features cocoa cookies combined with Matcha chocolate.

Popular brands like Kit Kat and Pocky have also combined green tea elements into their Japanese products.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.