Cool and creamy vanilla ice cream contrasts with crunchy fried cinnamon cereal in this tasty air fryer ice cream. Drizzling it with chocolate syrup and adding whipped cream creates the ultimate ice cream sundae!
It is easy to make refreshing and delicious air fried ice cream at home! Fried ice cream is a fun dessert, that used to be reserved only for restaurants. Now you can easily make this unique treat in the air fryer without leaving the house.
And the main skill involved in making this simple dessert is patience. The recipe mostly consists of rolling the ice cream around and then waiting for it to refreeze. But the wait is worth it, and the hands-on time is minimal.
And you can easily make the ice cream into balls ahead of time and then just quickly air fry them when you are ready to serve. This is a fun family dessert that everyone will love!
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
Ice cream – I have always made this with vanilla because that is what I’ve seen in restaurants. But you could use a different flavor if you prefer. A 48-ounce carton will yield about 6 scoops for frying.
Flour – The flour helps form a coating so that the cereal sticks and doesn’t melt as quickly when your air fry it.
Egg white – The egg whites help the cereal stick.
Cereal – I used Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal here. Some other cereals that would work well are Honey Bunches of Oats, Corn Flakes, or Rice Krispies. Or try something colorful and use Fruity Pebbles or Fruit Loops. The main thing you are looking for in a cereal is that it is crunchy and easy to crush. If you are using a “plainer” cereal like Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies, add a bit of cinnamon to the coating.
How to Make Fried Ice Cream In the Air Fryer
Ice cream can be frustrating to work with because, obviously, it melts. You need to work fast and get it back in the freezer ASAP when handling it. This recipe requires a lot of hands-off time while the balls are freezing. So plan ahead!
1. Make Balls
Take the carton out of the freezer and use an ice cream scoop out balls about 1 cup in size. Putting the balls in a muffin tray makes it easier to keep the ice cream balls separate and keep them from rolling off!
You could make the balls a little smaller and get 8 scoops out of a 48-ounce carton. Don’t go smaller than that, though, because the ice cream will melt faster in smaller balls.
Don’t worry if the balls aren’t perfectly round. You will be rolling later in the process, and they will get rounder. Just scoop out as many balls as you want to make.
Put the muffin pan or tray in the freezer and let it freeze until hard, which will be at least 1 hour.
Put the flour on a plate or cutting board. Take the balls out of the freezer and roll them in the flour. Get them thoroughly coated.
As you roll, use your hands to make them rounder. Then put them back in the freezer and let them refreeze for another hour.
3. Add Cereal
While it freezes, separate the egg whites and whisk them slightly, so they are foamy.
Put the cereal in a zippered bag and roll it with a rolling pin to crush it into crumbs. Kids love to help with the cereal crushing.
Take the balls out of the freezer a few at a time, not all at once! Roll a ball in the egg whites.
Then immediately roll the ball in the cereal. Make sure they get coated, and use your hands to press extra cereal into the ball if necessary.
Then place the coated ice cream balls back in the muffin pan and back in the freezer. This time they need to freeze for longer, about 4 hours or overnight.
4. Air Fry
For best results, air fry this one ball at a time, even though more than one will probably fit in the air fryer. It takes only a few minutes to cook each one, and you’ve already waited hours, so don’t rush this last step!
Preheat the air fryer for 3 minutes at 350 degrees F. While it preheats, get a piece of foil out to hold the ball. Lifting the foil is the easiest way to take the air fryer ice cream in and out of the air fryer basket.
Once the air fryer is preheated, put the foil in it and put one ice cream ball on top. Air fry it at 350 degrees F for 2-3 minutes. Err on the side of a shorter cooking time since you don’t want it to melt all over the place!
Use the foil to lift the ball out, then serve it immediately,
How to Serve
Serve with all your favorite toppings, like caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top. You can also just serve it as is since it is sweet and delicious enough not to need extra topping!
Once you have air fried ice cream, it can’t really be stored. So if there are leftovers – and there has never been at my house – you will just have to throw them out. Or give your dog a small treat!
Can I Make Air Fryer Ice Cream in Advance?
Yes, once you have scooped it into balls and frozen them, you can store them in an air-tight container in the freezer. They will keep for about 1 month.
Since the preparation process is time-consuming, it makes sense to scoop out the entire carton and prepare the balls, even if you aren’t going to make them all at once.
Yes, you can use any flavor you like. Just make sure whatever you pick goes with your cereal flavor.
It takes like ice cream with a crunchy topping. The frying process doesn’t change the flavor much, although it will melt a little faster in your bowl.
As long as the ice cream is frozen solid and you only cook it for 2-3 minutes, it doesn’t have enough time to melt before serving. But it will melt if you don’t carefully follow the directions.
The origins of this dessert aren’t clear, but most experts think it originated in Chinese or Japanese cooking. In the US, it was popularized by the Mexican chain Chi-Chi’s, which is why it is associated with Mexican cuisine.
Key Tips for This Recipe
Be sure to check out the step by step instructions
Do not try to shortcut the freezing process. The balls need to be frozen solid before cooking.
Use a muffin tin to hold the ice cream balls because it will be easier than a tray.
Don’t skip the preheating step for this recipe.
Put foil in the bottom of the air fryer to hold the coated balls and make it easier to lift them out.
Only cook one at a time.
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- 48 oz tub of vanilla ice cream, or your favorite flavor
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 3 cups of easy to crush cereal, such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch *see notes for other suggestions
- 3 egg whites
- Work quickly when handling the ice cream for best results.
- Scoop out about 1 cup of ice cream per ball. This will give you 6 balls from a carton. Shape it into a ball and place it in a muffin tin. Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Take them out of the freezer and roll each ball in the flour. Use your hands to make sure the balls are round. Put them back in the freezer for another hour.
- Put the cereal in a zippered bag and use a rolling pin to crush it. Or crush it in a food processor,
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks and whisk them together in a bowl.
- Take each ball out of the freezer. Roll it in the egg whites, then immediately in the cereal. Use your hands as necessary to press the cereal into the ball.
- Put them back in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 2 minutes.
- Only cook one ball at a time. Put it on a piece of aluminum foil to make it easy to take in and out of the air fryer.
- Put the ball in the air fryer and cook at 350 F for 2-3 minutes.
- Use the foil to lift it out and serve it right away with your favorite toppings.
- You could make slightly smaller balls and get 8 balls out of a 48-ounce carton of ice cream.
- Do not try to shortcut the freezing process. The balls need to be frozen solid before cooking.
- Use a muffin tin to hold the frozen ice cream balls. It will be easier than a tray.
- Don't skip the preheating step for this recipe.
- Put foil in the bottom of the air fryer to hold the coated balls and make it easier to lift them out.
- Only cook one at a time.
You could use a different ice cream flavor or different cereal. Other cereals that work well are Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Fruity Pebbles, or Fruit Loops.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 308mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 4gSugar: 50gProtein: 13g
Nutrition facts are estimates.