Crispy Easy Fried Ice Cream (No Frying!)

Easy "Fried" Ice Cream recipe - How to make a homemade fried ice cream but unfried (no frying) for a fun Mexican dessert!

Easy Fried Ice Cream, an easy homemade fried ice cream recipe but unfried (no frying) for a fun Mexican dessert! If you have never had Fried Ice Cream, you’re really missing out, and I do mean REALLY missing out! I should probably start off by saying I LOVE ice cream. It’s probably my biggest weakness. Ummmm, on second thought there’s probably no probably about it. Forget flowers, candy, and jewelry, if you bring me ice cream, I’m yours forever, haha!  And Cinco de Mayo is coming up, so perfect excuse for this recipe!!!  Might not be completely”authentic” but they serve fried ice cream at Mexican restaurants, so that’s got to count for something, right?! And this Easy Fried Ice Cream is delicious regardless. You can even make it gluten free! Just make sure your brand of ice cream, corn flakes, and other ingredients are gluten free.

Crispy Fried Ice Cream Recipe |

Unfortunately, we don’t have many Mexican restaurants around here and I miss them terribly! I used to LOVE Chi Chi’s  (remember that restaurant?) fried ice cream growing up so wanted to come up with an easy fried ice cream I could enjoy at home. I’ve had to make my own Mexican food which has been fun, but I still miss my Mexican restaurants with Fried Ice Cream! There are lots of recipes all over for Fried Ice Cream and I actually make it a few different ways. Some of these recipes really do call for frying the ice cream, but that’s a bit of a hassle and messy for me.  This way is the quickest and easiest and no frying involved which is even better! Baking the cereal in the oven for a little while gives it a nice toasty crispy flavor.

This easy fried ice cream recipe makes a lot of ice cream balls, but you could easily cut the recipe in half or less. The cereal mixture keeps well in the freezer so what I usually do is just make a big batch of the cereal mixture, keep it in a large sealable bag in the freezer, then buy some ice cream whenever I want to make Fried Ice Cream and put the leftover cereal back in the freezer. You can use any flavor of ice cream or use frozen yogurt or lowfat ice cream.

This recipe works great for a party! Set-up a “Fried” Ice Cream Bar with all your favorite toppings. Have a wide variety of different sauces (Caramel or check out my recipe for Cajeta, Hot Fudge, Strawberry Sauce, Honey, Maple Syrup, etc), whip cream, and/or cherries. This dessert is always a favorite for my friends and family!

Start with your favorite ice cream or yogurt.  Any flavor or light version will work.  We like vanilla, but other flavors like caramel, cinnamon, etc. will also taste great!

Crispy Fried Ice Cream Recipe |

When you scoop the ice cream onto baking sheets, don’t worry if they’re not perfect balls.  Just scoop the ice cream quickly and place in the freezer for awhile.  Then take it out of the freezer and roll into balls then in the crumb mixture.

Crispy Fried Ice Cream Recipe |

I like to use plastic gloves when rolling the ice cream into balls, but you can use your hands.  Work fast because the ice cream will melt in no time!  I like to make the balls in different sizes so that everyone can choose the right size for them, or at least that’s what I tell people because the balls always seem to come out in different sizes! :)  Serve with all your favorite toppings and you have one yummy treat!  These ice cream balls keep well in the freezer for a long time in a sealable plastic bag or container.  A perfect easy fried ice cream and make-ahead dessert!

Crispy Fried Ice Cream Recipe |

Crispy "Fried" Ice Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: Makes about 36 small ice cream balls, or 18 large
"Fried" ice cream with no frying involved. Just like what they serve in some Mexican restaurants.
  • 1 (18oz.) box corn flake cereal
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3 (1½ quarts) containers vanilla ice cream (18 cups ice cream)
  • Toppings (optional): sauces (Caramel or Cajeta, Hot Fudge, Strawberry Sauce, Honey, Maple Syrup, etc), whip cream, cherries
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place cereal in a food processor and process until finely crushed (or place cereal in batches in sealable plastic bags and crush with rolling pin or pan). Place crushed cereal in a large mixing bowl and mix in butter. Stir in sugar and cinnamon until well blended.
  3. Place cereal mixture on baking sheet(s) in thin layer and bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring after every 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  4. Line some baking sheets or plates with wax paper (or parchment paper). Make about 36 (1/2 cup) or 18 (1 cup) scoops of ice cream and place on baking sheets. Don’t worry if they’re not round scoops, just divide out the ice cream and get the scoops back in the freezer fast! Freeze about 30 minutes or until hard.
  5. Working in batches (leave some of the ice cream scoops in the freezer so that it doesn’t melt), roll ice cream into balls (I like to use disposable plastic gloves), roll in crushed cereal then put balls back in freezer. Freeze another 30 minutes or until hard or ready to serve. Serve with your favorite toppings.
SNAPPY TIPS: Make sure the cereal mixture is completely cooled before rolling the ice cream in it. Work with the ice cream in batches and keep the rest in the freezer so that the ice cream doesn’t melt too much.

SNAPPY SUBSTITUTIONS: Use any flavor of ice cream or use frozen yogurt or lowfat ice cream. You could also add other things to the cereal mixture such as chopped nuts, toasted coconut, other cereals, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. For a gluten free dessert make sure your brand of ice cream, corn flakes, and other ingredients are gluten free.

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  1. These look delicious! Also, ice cream is my favorite thing, too! I mean, you can’t go wrong with ice cream?! It makes every day better!

    • Snappy Gourmet says:

      Yes, ice cream definitely makes every day better and that’s why I eat it almost every day! :)

  2. I love fried Ice cream and used to order it a lifetime ago when I was growing up in Texas. Thanks so much for this delicious looking recipe.

    • Snappy Gourmet says:

      Thanks Karen! I used to order Fried Ice Cream all the time too. Unfortunately, not many Mexican restaurants around here!

  3. Love this idea! Great picture!

  4. I love this idea! And yes, fried ice cream is to die for!

  5. I haven’t had fried ice cream since Chi Chi’s Restaurant left town and I’ve missed it. Your version looks great. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Snappy Gourmet says:

      Thanks Beth! I used to love Chi Chi’s!!!!! Wish they’d come back! Actually, I’d take any Mexican restaurants at this point. We don’t have much near us.

  6. Love the idea, and LOVE the pro photo! Go Lisa.

  7. Lindsey @ Why Just Eat says:

    My husband and daughter LOVE fried ice cream and can hardly wait to order it when we go to our favorite mexican restaurant. I’m going to give this recipe a try and see how much they like it!

  8. these are Sooooooo good like Omg I cant stop eating them they are so delicious

  9. This recipe looks fabulous! do you think it would be possible to incorporate honey into the cereal mixture? my favorite restaurant fried ice cream has honey on it or in it, I can’t tell because it just disappears so gosh darned quickly!! and it’s a shame that there are no mexican places in your area!! I don’t know what I’d do! :)

    • Hi Megan! You can definitely put some honey on it. That’s actually my husband’s favorite way to have it! I’m more of a chocolate girl. :) If it were me, I think I’d heat the honey up a bit but my husband likes it just at room temperature. Hope you enjoy!

  10. Does the “fried” coating stay on these well since it’s not actually fried? I make little fried ice cream balls for fondue nights that I have with my sisters and their families. Dipping them in chocolate and butterscotch fonues. This sounds much easier than actually making fried ice cream balls. I’m thinking I should try this.

    • Carol, the coating does stay on really well, but not sure how it would do if people are placing them upside down in a warm sauce or fondue pot. I’m guessing a lot of the coating would stay, but some would probably get in the sauce.

  11. Lori K. says:

    Thanks for this recipe. Making it for our Cinco de Mayo dessert tonite! Just might have to skip dinner :)

    • Thanks Lori! Hope you enjoyed! I love making the “fried” ice cream for big parties with lots of sauces and toppings. So easy to make ahead of time or last minute. :)

  12. This recipe takes me back! When I was 15 I had a job washing dishes at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in my hometown. One of my duties was prepping the fried ice cream.

    The recipe? Vanilla ice cream rolled in whole Corn Flakes. I had to do it in the walk-in freezer with my bare hands, and no matter how fast I tried to do it, my hands were completely numb at the end. Then I’d go melt my hands back to normal by washing more dishes. I’m sure there were some labor laws–if not health codes–being violated there.

    But anyway! This recipe is easily the most elegant fried ice cream dish I’ve seen. Looking forward to trying it.

  13. I used to order fried ice cream at a Mexican restaurant in town, too. Aren’t you clever with your no-fry method!

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