Love and Olive Oil

Rainier Cherry and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Rainier Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

We’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Colorado.

The magical land where the fruit stands line the mountain roads like mile markers; ramshackle shacks and buildings with hand-painted signs, heralding the juicy treasures within.

I’m not knocking Tennessee or anything, but being surrounded by such a bounty of fruit that is often expensive and hard to come by at home, my eyes go wide and my head starts spinning.

Colorado Rainier Cherries

I’ve been known to “smuggle” fruit home from Colorado before. Last time, it was apricots, which found their way into cookies, jam, and even pizza. This year, however, it was all about the cherries.

I was too late for the pie cherries, but we just so happened to be visiting during the peak of sweet cherry season. Driving the back roads through the orchards, I couldn’t help but oogle the ripe red fruit hanging from the trees.

All the while stuffing my face with as many as my stomach could take, I was scheming. Figuring out how I could get the most fruit possible home with me, and crossing my fingers that TSA wouldn’t decide that cherries too closely resemble a “gel.”

Rainier Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Before I get to this ice cream recipe, a quick disclaimer: I hereby renounce any responsibility for dental expenses accrued as a result of consuming this ice cream, which may or may not contain pits.

Rewind. I made a batch of this super quick ice cream (I’m talking zero to ice cream in less than 30 minutes) at my mom’s earlier this week, trying to use up some bruised cherries and a carton of cream.

I threw the cherries and cream into the food processor and flipped the switch. And there it was, the unmistakable sound of a pit. In the food processor.


Out came the sieve, where I then attempted to strain out the chunks and ferret out the lone pit that had made it into my ice cream.

I strained. I searched. I stressed.

No pit to be found.

I left two containers of this ice cream back home, and (as far as I know) no one has broken a tooth. Maybe I was imagining things, and there really wasn’t a pit after all.

Pit or no pit, this whim of a recipe turned out so good that I knew I had to recreate it as soon as I got home, if only to share with you (but really, I just wanted more for myself.) Think Cherry Garcia but with fresh Rainier cherries.

Now fast forward to last night. About 4 pounds of cherries (half Rainier and half Bing) had successfully navigated airport security with nary a bruise, tucked away in a cooler bag cleverly disguised as my purse.

Once again, I threw the (PITTED! I swear I pitted them) cherries into the food processor, hit the switch, and…

There it was. The unmistakable rattling of a PIT.

Shit. I did it again. Two batches in a row.

If you didn’t know, I have a tainted history with stone fruit. I once made a Peach Gazpacho (infamously known as peach-pit soup) where a peach pit made its way into the blender. A true testament to the VitaMix, the pit was practically pulverized. But not enough so that it wasn’t noticeable, in the form of tiny, rock-hard chunks that could very well have broken a tooth.


Maybe I should stick to stone-less fruit from now on, before someone gets hurt.

Rainier Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup almond milk
8 ounces sweet cherries (such as Rainier or Bing), pitted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pinch salt
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped


Combine cream, almond milk, 6 ounces of cherries, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until cherries are finely chopped. Add remaining cherries and pulse briefly until coarsely chopped.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. At the very end, mix in chopped chocolate. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. This ice cream was fantastic. I had bought a bunch of bing cherries and used them to make your recipe. I’ve linked back to you here:

  2. I made this tonight and I couldn’t believe how easy it is! It’s very tasty too.
    I just had a few questions after making it. Did you use 6oz cherries by weight or volume? Is the almond milk just for flavor? Would normal or soy work ok?

    • Yes, cherries is by weight. And the almond milk could most definitely be substituted with soy or even just plain milk. Since we already had some almond flavor going I thought it’d be a nice touch, but not necessary by any means. :)

  3. oh this recipe looks and sounds amazing. Your story is priceless and one many of us can relate too!

  4. Oh man, this ice cream looks and sounds so good! Love cherries, almond and chocolate together, and ice cream is just the thing for this warm weather. (I bet a splash of bourbon wouldn’t hurt, either!) Your photos are exquisite, and I envy you your surplus of cherries – I’ve been doling mine out in cherry manhattans, (which luckily don’t require any pitting!): Cheers!

  5. Thanks a bunch for this! My hubby loves cherry chip anything so I featured this recipe on my blog today with a tutorial on making ice cream without an ice cream maker. It turned out perfectly! Thanks!!!

  6. I love cherries. This looks amazing. Nothing beats chocolate, ice-cream and beautiful cherries. yum!

  7. Loooove the first picture!

  8. Made this yesterday and it turned out great. Since I used dark cherries, the color of my ice cream was dark pink. Very pretty, and very easy to make. This recipe is a keeper.

  9. Looks amazing. Your photos are gorgeous as well :)

  10. Yummy! Those cherries are beautiful and the ice cream looks wonderful!

  11. Yummmmmy! Pinned and going to make! (without pits because well…that’s the pits)

  12. I just made a cherry pie today because I felt like I don’t bake with cherries enough. Now I have another ice cream recipe to try, love the combination of cherries and chocolate!

  13. I ran out at lunch and bought a pound of Rainier cherries (and an irresistible case of peaches). Starting the ice cream as soon as I get home!

  14. I’m DYING over this recipe! I need to get an ice cream maker, since ice cream is my true weakness… But I saw “Rainier Cherries” and I was sold. I’m from Seattle and Washington is famous for those babies. A true summer staple! Now, I live in North Carolina and I actually bought a Rainier and a Bing Cherry tree for my orchard. We occasionally have winters with enough chill hours for those babies to actually produce, so I’m crossing my fingers!

    I seriously can not WAIT to try this recipe. Thanks!

  15. These recipes make me sad because I have no ice cream maker! I looove the flavors though :)

  16. I want to make this, but do you think using a little less sugar will be ok? Also after you freeze it, is it scoopable? I have just starting makig ice cream and I have so many issues with the freezing part, it always comes out hard as a rock!!

    • I wouldn’t reduce it too much, as the sugar is one thing that keeps the ice cream from freezing rock hard. It’s not overly sweet as is.

      Homemade ice cream is going to be harder than the commercial stuff because there aren’t any additives or chemicals to keep it soft when frozen. I find mine is the best the day after I churn it – when it firms up but is still scoopable. If it’s been in the freezer longer than that I just let it sit at room temperature for a bit until I can scoop it again. :)

  17. Hi Lindsay! I am your newest fan – I have your cookbook and recently made the ccc fudge. :) I have to compliment not only this ice cream, but also your photos. Whatever camera + lens you are using.. wow! Plus your talent… these pictures are so perfectly clear and gorgeous. I’m blown away by the clarity! Love everything about today’s post. :)

  18. I’d break all my dang teeth for one bite of this, HOLY gosh.

  19. Ah, this food looks so incredibly delicious!
    Your photography is beautiful too.

    I made a blueberry ice cream the other day using a similar recipe to this, it’s great using fruits less commonly associated to ice cream.

    Keep it up!

  20. I neeed to try this! Yum!

  21. Looks so yummy. Have never tried to make an ice cream before…but the recipe does not look so hard:) Thanks for posting!

  22. That looks delicious! I love cherries at the moment!

  23. Hello Lindsay! :)
    I came across your blog today morning and I haven’t moved for the past 2 hours! I absolutely love the design, the photographs, the recipe and everything else about your blog! :)

    Lots of love,

  24. I have 3 different cherry piters and still, I seem to let a pit slip through. I recently saw the easy, cheap way to pit a cherry…Use a clean, clear beer bottle and a chop stick! The directions said to place the cherry on the mouth of the bottle and use the chop stick to push through the center. Since the bottle is tall enough, you will see the pit drop and KNOW you’ll not have any pits in your ice cream, pie, or in my case, the other day, jam!
    Great recipe, by the way…sure to be on my list to try since our Rainer cherries are so plentiful this year. XOXO

  25. A family friend of mine works for a cherry farmer, so we recently got pounds and pounds of bing and rainier cherries…As one of my girlies and I were scarfing down cherries, she swallowed a pit. Those little guys can be pesky! Love your ice cream recipe! Cherry Garcia has been a family fave for quite a while and I bet homemade cherry ice cream is ten times better!

  26. This looks amazing! I just placed an order for several pounds of cherries… I may have to give this a try. (After we stuff our faces with as many as humanly possible first…)

  27. Yummy! That looks delicious! And try not to consume any pits anymore. ;)

  28. that looks so yummy!!!!

  29. What gorgeous cherries! And glad you were able to enjoy the natural beauty of CO. I love cherries and they would never even make it into ice cream for me; just straight from the bag!

  30. What a delicious way to enjoy cherries! I would just warn guests to eat carefully. I think anyone who gets to enjoy this ice cream would be happy to make that sacrifice and risk one pit for all that flavor!

  31. You take so lovely pictures and the ice cream looks delicious!

  32. Glad you’re back home from Colorado. Our state is on fire right now! I’ve been evacuated since Saturday.

    • I know, so sad. I’ve been following the news. We were on the western slope, so farther away from the fires, but there were still a few days where the you could smell the smoke.

  33. I’m the same way with dates. Only it’s usually with things that cannot be strained, so I have to wash my hands up to my elbows and dig for the pit. It’s the worst.

    Happy you enjoyed Colorado. It’s gorgeous this time of the year!

  34. Ohh yum. Haha, I like your peach pit stories.
    I know what you mean, when I lived in Paris they had the cutest little markets full of fruit just around the corner, and now I can’t even find these cherries.
    I’ll try this as soon as I get home from California!

  35. OOPS! That’s really funny. You know when I was a kid, once I accidently swallowed some pit of something and one of my uncle got the hell out of me by saying “Now we are going to get free fruits for rest of our lives, because the pit will turn into a tree and it will grow in my tummy” I started crying like anything. I think I was just 3 or 4…lol
    I was dead scared that time. So all I can say is wait for few years :) Just kidding.
    On the other note, your ice-cream looks yumm!

  36. Oh no! But it was funny and made me laugh! Is there any chance there will be a pint of this in the freezer in October…didn’t think so but thought I would ask! :)

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