What is Japanese Teppanyaki rolled ice cream? [+why you have to try it!]

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 27, 2022

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Ice cream and Teppanyaki are two words that don’t usually go well alongside one another.

Teppanyaki is a Japanese way to barbeque grill meat, seafood, and veggies over a burning hot material surface, so it is unusual to visualize someone putting a scoop of ice cream onto a barbeque grill.

But teppanyaki ice cream is not a hot dish.

Teppanyaki rolled ice cream
Favorite Asian Recipes
Favorite Asian Recipes

While one or two scoops of Breyer’s plus some sprinkles is a good choice, there is a spin on ice cream that commenced to take the US by storm last summer, and it’s going to go viral:

Rolled ice cream or Rolled Teppanyaki Ice Cream; a favorite Thai treat that’s just making its way throughout the world.

Teppanyaki Ice Cream is a dessert made over a steel dish or teppanyaki grill chilled to below freezing. It is also called rolled ice cream or Thai stir-fried ice cream. This ice cream dessert is made out of milk, poured onto an iced grill, and blended with fruits or different elements on the ice pan.

The result is small ice cream rolls that are then scooped into a cup and served with different toppings like candy or fruit.

What is rolled ice cream?

Teppanyaki rolled ice cream is a cold, delicious, and unique twist on the classic dessert.

It’s made by pouring a thin layer of ice cream onto a freezing cold teppanyaki grill and then rolling it up into a log.

The result is a light and fluffy ice cream that’s packed with flavor.

The rolled ice cream trend started in Thailand and quickly made its way to Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. It’s now starting to gain popularity in the United States as well.

If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to enjoy ice cream, then you have to try this frosty ice cream!

A selection of soy or dairy products is poured onto the frosty plate and blended with fruit, green tea extract, caffeine, or other ingredients.

The milky combination is sliced and stirred while crystallizing until creamy.

The ice cream maker keeps rolling the ice cream up, and then when it takes the form of a frozen solid log or mini burrito, it is transferred to a cup and served with your desired toppings.

In fact, there are many flavors of ice cream rolls to choose from. The most popular flavors are green tea, strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla.

A reason why people love rolled teppanyaki ice cream is that you can add all kinds of toppings like syrups, candies, nut products, whipped cream, cookies, chocolate, and fruit – you name it!

Unlike most ice creams made in advance in a digital ice cream machine, rolled ice cream–also known as stir-fried ice cream–is designed to your preference and is handmade in front of you.

According to Forbes, block distributors in Thailand and neighboring countries Malaysia, Cambodia, and the Philippines can make this iced treat in about 2 minutes.

Here is another dessert option you did not think was possible: Chocolate Takoyaki Dessert Balls Banana Castella!

Is rolled ice cream good?

Yes! It’s delicious, refreshing, and light. And because it’s made fresh, it has a unique flavor that you can’t find in store-bought ice cream.

What’s more, rolled ice cream is a great way to cool down on a hot summer day.

The texture is slightly flaky yet still rich and creamy. It can be topped with all kinds of different ingredients, so be sure to choose the ones that you like.

This is the type of food that appeals to adults and kids alike.

Why is rolled ice cream called fried ice cream?

Even though rolled ice cream is not technically fried, it gets its name from the fact that it is made by pouring a mixture onto an icy pan or griddle.

This unique ice cream-making method is similar to grilling or frying foods on a hot plate – hence the idea behind “fried ice cream.”

There’s no frying, it’s just a name!

How is Teppanyaki ice cream made?

Teppanyaki ice cream is made with a dairy base mixture coupled with various fresh substances and various toppings dished up with the ice cream.

The milk poured into the ice cream base is mixed with other ingredients and add-ins, and the liquid ice cream is put onto the frozen griddle.

The primary ingredients are the liquid bottom part flavor which is often comprised of dairy or soy products.

The ice cream is manufactured by pouring the sweet dairy on an exceptionally cool (-35 degree) metal surface that is similar to a flat top grill or griddle to Westerners.

The liquid is spread out into a thin layer and then rolled, and this process is repeated over and over again.

Japanese people know it as a hot plate or teppanyaki griddle. It has a flat surface, but when making ice cream rolls, you need the iced grill, not the hot version.

By consistently blending and stirring in the frigid skillet, a scoop of stir-fried ice cream is established.

Scrapers or metal spatulas are then used to chop toppings into the foundation and scrape it around to remove any air bubbles.

After the base is frozen solid, it is distributed thinly and scraped continuously.

As the mixture starts to freeze, it’s rolled into thin sheets. Once it’s completely frozen, it’s cut into small pieces and served.

The stir-fried process must be quick and instant, with only 5-10 seconds used to produce the consistency of ice cream.

The ice cream can be piled for scooping or smoothed even for scraping into curls and offered in paper mugs in Thailand.

What toppings are added to rolled ice cream?

Fruit, chocolate, and syrups are common, but more toppings may then be added. Of course, there are various types of flavor combinations to try.

Ice cream rolls can be topped with things like whipped cream, delicious chocolate sauce, fruit, or other alternatives such as chocolates, green tea extract, or red coffee beans.

Because of its Thai origins, we can see a variety of flavors that have risen among rolled Teppanyaki ice creams, such as lychee, dragon berry, red bean, and green tea extract.

However, the flavor and topping options at almost all of the retailers are seemingly never-ending.

Sometimes natural powders or syrups are used to generate the flavor. I use these different Torani Syrups so you can check those out.

Torani syrup variety pack to give flavor to your teppanyaki ice cream rolls

(view more images)

The maker will add and grind different toppings like nut products, chocolate potato chips, and fruits to improve the taste of the ice cream.

Origin of Teppanyaki ice cream

While it may seem as if stir-fried ice cream is Japanese, it’s, in fact, Thai.

The word “teppanyaki” is related to Japanese food, and that’s why people mistake it for a Japanese dish.

However, the only Japanese thing about this food is the ice plate. The method is uniquely Thai.

The rolled ice cream was invented in Thailand in 2009. There were a few distributors at that time, and it hadn’t become very popular instantly.

The idea of stir-fried ice cream was strange- even though the ice cream was not “stir-fried,” the use of a teppanyaki griddle plate to make icy treats wasn’t the norm.

Around 2011-2012, the Teppanyaki ice cream became popular in Thailand and started to expand into neighboring countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Cambodia.

The rolled ice cream trend started to gain popularity in the United States in 2015.

Thanks to the internet, viral videos, and social media, people were exposed to this unique way of eating ice cream and wanted to try it for themselves.

The big cities like NY and LA were the first to fall in love with this rolled ice cream. Now, it’s available in small towns and even in some grocery stores.

The reason why Teppanyaki ice cream dessert caught on so well is that it has a unique rolled shape, like mini burritos.

Check out one of the internet viral videos:

Where to buy rolled ice cream?

Rolling Chicago Cafe is a specialty ice cream shop in Chicago, Illinois. They are known for their rolled ice cream made with fresh ingredients.

Icicles is a small chain that sells this kind of ice cream too.

Many ice cream shop stores in America sell an identical product that involves combining ice cream with various toppings over ice. It really is now common across the world.

These days you can even find rolled ice cream cookies that taste amazing!

Not one to search for an ice cream shop near you? We have you covered with our homemade stir-fried ice cream recipe.

Yes, you read that right, you can make the rolled ice cream dessert at home (full recipe!).

How is rolled ice cream different?

Rolled ice cream is made by pouring a mixture of cream, milk, and flavorings onto an icy griddle or ice pan.

The mixture is then chopped and rolled into little cylinders using two spatulas.

Next, the rolled ice cream is scooped into a cup and topped with your favorite toppings.

This is different from traditional ice cream, which is made by churning cream, milk, and flavorings in an ice cream maker.

Teppanyaki ice cream is also different from other rolled ice creams because it uses a special teppanyaki griddle to make the ice cream.

Another difference is the texture. Rolls of ice cream have a somewhat different texture from regular ice cream since it’s spread out on the plate into a thin layer.

Less air is added to the mixture since it is hand mixed directly on the freezing pans rather than being churned by a machine.

The texture and flavor may become a little bit heavier as a result.

Despite the rolls’ thinness, they are nonetheless simple to consume and have that delicious melt-in-your-mouth quality.

Does rolled ice cream taste different from regular ice cream?

The actual flavorings are quite similar, but because of the way it’s made, rolled ice cream has a unique texture.

It’s also generally less sweet than other types of ice cream because there is less sugar added to the mixture.

Still, with all of the delicious toppings you can add, it’s just as sweet (if not sweeter) than other types of ice cream.

Teppanyaki ice cream

FAQs

How does a rolled ice cream machine work?

It’s not really a machine. Instead, the round or rectangular metal plate used in rolled ice cream machines is chilled down to below freezing using a refrigeration system.

This offers a perfectly flat, chilly, and food-safe surface on which to mix the ice cream. The system is rather basic, but it’s what allows for such quick creation of rolled ice cream.

What milk is used in an ice cream roll?

Any type of dairy or plant-based milk can be used, but condensed milk is most commonly used since it leads to a richer final product.

You can also use evaporated milk, almond milk, cashew milk, or soy milk.

Whole milk will also work, but it won’t be as rich and creamy as condensed milk.

Creamy milk is best since it will be pliable.

Is rolled ice cream healthier?

There is no definitive answer to this since it depends on the ingredients used.

If it’s made using lower-fat milk or dairy-free milk, then the final product will be lower in fat.

If tons of sweet toppings are mixed in, then it will be higher in sugar.

You can control the level of healthiness by choosing your own ingredients.

How long does rolled ice cream last?

Rolled ice cream generally lasts a couple of minutes before it starts to melt.

The ice cream should be eaten fast like a regular cone or scoop ice cream to prevent it from melting.

While it’s on the ice pan, the ice cream doesn’t melt, but once it’s in a cup, it melts and mixes with the other garnishes like berries, candies, syrups, etc.

Are ice cream rolls vegan?

Not necessarily, but they can be if made with plant-based milk and different ingredients that are also vegan.

To make vegan rolled ice cream, you’ll need to use plant-based milk like almond milk, cashew milk, or soy.

Many shops in Thailand and the US offer vegan varieties of this dessert.

Final thoughts

The verdict is clear, this is not any ordinary ice cream, it’s something beyond anything we attempted before, and we’ve tasted a great deal.

It’s all about the Teppanyaki process itself, which is a unique way to mix the ingredients while keeping them ice cold.

Using an anti-griddle (cold ice pan) is the only way to cook this dessert.

You can find teppan ice cream in local Thai marketplaces nowadays or in American specialty ice cream parlors.

Even if you aren’t a chocolate or ice cream connoisseur, this is a new experience, and even those who are not big fans of ice cream will enjoy this treat at any time.

It’s the kind of treat you want to tell your friends about, and then come back with them!

Here’s another dessert with an amazing taste: Matcha green tea ice cream

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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.