Blood Orange Gelato

This blood orange gelato is as refreshing as it is delicious! No blood oranges? Don't fret - it's delicious with regular oranges too.

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Blood orange gelato in a glass bowl with a halved blood orange and mint leaves around.

Blood Orange Gelato Recipe

Blood Orange Gelato is one reason why I like having an ice cream maker at home. Blood orange is not a flavor that is easy to come across when browsing the grocery aisles. It’s not even common when you go to an ice cream or gelato store. If you want a delicious and refreshing blood orange gelato, you have to make it yourself. With an ice cream maker, that is honestly no trouble.

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Ingredients on a blue counter - cream, milk, sugar, blood orange juice, cornstarch, salt, vanilla and some halved blood oranges.

What is a Blood Orange?

A blood orange is a variety of orange that looks like a regular orange from the outside, but its flesh and juice are a deep crimson red inside. They are very similar to regular oranges, but they are a little less acidic and have a sweeter flavor and of course, there’s that deep red color inside that makes them so spectacular. The season for blood oranges is December to April, but you can find them in stores outside of their regular season as well. For this recipe, while blood oranges are perfect, you can use regular oranges instead if you need to. Another alternative if you can’t find fresh blood oranges is to look for blood orange juice, which is available in many grocery stores year round and then use regular orange zest at the end.

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Blood orange gelato in a container with an ice cream scoop sticking out of it and waffle cones nearby.

Gelato vs. Ice Cream

Like blood oranges and regular oranges, gelato and ice cream are also very similar. They are both frozen dairy-based desserts. The difference is that ice cream has more cream than milk, whereas gelato has more milk than cream. Gelato also doesn’t have egg, which many ice creams do, and it can have fewer calories. 

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A hand holding a waffle cone with blood orange gelato in it above a container of gelato.

Blood Orange Gelato Ice Cream Maker

You can use any type of ice cream maker for this blood orange gelato recipe. I like to use a thermo-electric ice cream maker because it’s ready to churn ice cream whenever I think of it, without having to pre-freeze a canister, AND… it can do a second batch of ice cream right away. But, any ice cream maker you have will be fine, whether it is a hand-cranked model or an electric machine with frozen canister.

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Blood orange gelato in a glass bowl with a halved blood orange and mint leaves around and a container of more gelato in the background.

Serving Options

I think a little blood orange gelato can sound very sophisticated. You could serve it as a dessert with a slice of blood orange after an impressive dinner party and keep the level of the experience high. Or… you could absolutely serve it in a waffle cone or cup for a delicious and refreshing treat out by the BBQ.  It’s a delicious change from the usual flavors of gelato no matter how you serve it.

 

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Blood Orange Gelato

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h 30 m
  • Chilling and Freezing Time: 4 h
  • Total Time: 5 h 40 m
  • Servings:
    8
    ½ cup servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cups whole milk divided
  • 1 cup fresh blood orange juice
  • Zest of 2 blood oranges
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Combine the heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to just below boiling, whisking regularly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  2. Combine the blood orange juice with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch and then stir the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan. Return the pan to the heat and simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens.
  3. Refrigerate overnight or chill the mixture over an ice bath for 2 hours until it is very cold.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a pre-chilled ice cream maker and churn into gelato. When the gelato has finished churning, add the orange zest and let the ice cream maker turn just a few more times to stir the zest into the gelato (or use a spatula to swirl the zest into the mixture by hand).
  5. Serve soft serve style or transfer to a container and freeze for at least 2 hours for a harder, scoopable texture.
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