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Easy Not-Fried “Fried” Ice Cream

This Easy Not-Fried “Fried” Ice Cream is a fun and fabulous dessert that’s just as delicious as the real thing but without all the fuss, mess, and extra calories of frying!

What is fried ice cream? It’s a ball of creamy vanilla ice cream coated in cinnamon sugar and crunchy cornflake crumbs that’s quickly deep-fried and then drizzled with honey and topped off with whipped cream and a cherry. Sounds awesome, right?

Although there is some debate about its origin, I always think of this yummy sweet treat as Mexican fried ice cream because the only place I ever had it was at Chi-Chi’s, a Mexican restaurant chain which is (sadly) no longer here in the U.S.

Since tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo – a holiday that celebrates Mexican heritage and Mexico’s freedom from France – I thought it would be a perfect time to share my version of this dessert. It may or may not actually be Mexican (Asian cuisines have versions too), but it’s definitely worthy of a celebration!

In fact, birthday celebrations are exactly how I got to know and love fried ice cream. Back in the day when I had a fancy corporate job, my friends at the office would take me to Chi-Chi’s for my birthday every year.

I’d endure the required embarrassment of the restaurant staff marching out and singing Happy Birthday while I sat there in a massive sombrero (somewhere there are pictures of this…yikes!), all so I could get to the finale: the fried ice cream. Worth it!

When I decided to make my own homemade fried ice cream, I knew I wasn’t going to be deep-frying anything (love fried food, but not a fan of deep-frying). The more I thought about it, I figured that corn flakes are plenty crunchy already, so why would you need to fry them anyway?

And guess what? You totally don’t. This “fried” ice cream made without frying is absolutely scrumptious and isn’t missing a thing when it comes to flavor or texture!

close-up of a ball of not-fried-fried ice cream on a plate with a spoon on the side

Ingredients you need:

  • Vanilla bean ice cream
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Corn flakes
  • Honey
  • Whipped cream
  • Maraschino cherries

Here’s a look at how to make Easy Not-Fried “Fried” Ice Cream:

two images, one of two balls of vanilla ice cream on a plate with an ice cream scooper with text that says form the ice cream into balls, place on a plate on wax paper, the other of a refrigerator with text that says place the balls in the freezer for 1 hour or longer
two images, one of a bowl of cinnamon sugar with text that says combine the sugar and cinnamon, the other of cornflake crumbs in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin on the side with text that says crush the cornflakes
two images, one of an ice cream ball in a dish coated with cinnamon sugar with text that says roll each ice cream ball in the cinnamon sugar, the other of the ice cream ball in a dish coated with cornflakes with text that says then coat with the crushed cornflakes
two images, one with the coated ball of ice cream on a dish being drizzled with honey with text that says put on a serving dish, drizzle with honey, the other of the finished dessert with text that says top with whipped cream and a cherry, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • Vanilla ice cream is classic in this dessert. I love vanilla bean, but you can use regular vanilla or French vanilla.
    • Feel like changing things up? Use any flavor ice cream you want!
  • For the topping, honey is the classic and the winner in my book. Chi-Chi’s also offered chocolate and strawberry toppings, which are also very good. My husband loves real maple syrup on his, and caramel sauce is fantastic too. Yep, I’ve tried them all!
  • If you want to make these ahead of time, you can leave the uncoated ice cream balls in the freezer for longer than an hour. If it’s going to be several hours, I would cover them so they don’t pick up any off flavors from the freezer.
    • I don’t recommend freezing them after they have been coated because the cornflakes can lose some of their crunch.
  • If you have a hankering for some fried ice cream and want to take a super shortcut, just put a big scoop of vanilla ice cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the cinnamon sugar and crushed cornflakes. Drizzle with honey (or your preferred sauce), and top with whipped cream and a cherry. Maybe not as pretty, but definitely still as tasty!
  • If you wanted to get a little more indulgent, you could cook the cornflake crumbs in a little butter until they get toasty and let them cool completely before coating the balls.
  • Serving more than 2 people? This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, etc. so you can make as many as you need!
close-up of a ball of fried ice cream on a plate with a spoonful taken out

Just think, you might have all the ingredients you need to make this right now!!!

I hope you try this Easy Not-Fried “Fried” Ice Cream recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Easy Not-Fried “Fried” Ice Cream

This Easy Not-Fried "Fried" Ice Cream is a fun and fabulous dessert that's just as delicious as the real thing but without all the fuss, mess, and extra calories of frying!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Freezer Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 2
Estimated Calories: 337

Ingredients

  • 2 large scoops vanilla bean ice cream, about ⅔ cup each, or your favorite vanilla ice cream
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cornflakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons whipped cream
  • 2 maraschino cherries

Instructions

  • Shape each scoop of ice cream into a ball. Place the ice cream balls onto a freezer-safe plate covered with wax paper. Freeze for 1 hour or until firm (longer is okay).
  • Meanwhile, stir together the sugar and cinnamon until well-combined; place in a shallow bowl or on a plate.
  • Place the cornflakes in a zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into coarse crumbs (not super fine; leave them a little larger so they have more of a crunch); place in a shallow bowl or on a plate.
  • Working quickly, roll the ice cream balls in the cinnamon sugar until well-coated (I like to get in there with my hands and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the ice cream ball). You might not use all of the cinnamon sugar.
  • Again working quickly, roll the ice cream balls in the cornflake crumbs until well-coated, gently pressing the crumbs into the ice cream with your hands so they adhere. You might not use all of the cornflakes.
  • Place the coated ice cream balls onto serving plates. Drizzle each with honey and top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Instead of honey, you can use any topping you’d like, such as chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, caramel syrup, maple syrup, etc.
  • If you want to make these ahead of time, you can leave the uncoated ice cream balls in the freezer for longer than an hour. If it’s going to be several hours, I would cover them so they don’t pick up any off flavors from the freezer.
    • I don’t recommend freezing them after they have been coated because the cornflakes can lose some of their crunch.
  • Serving more than 2 people? This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, etc. so you can make as many as you need!
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

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