Why is My Homemade Ice Cream Waxy? (Explained!)

Ice cream is a favorite dessert of many of us, and it can also be prepared at home. However, our homemade ice cream sometimes does not achieve the perfect consistency. Instead of a light and silky ice cream, the result might be waxy, greasy, and heavy, and that shouldn’t be the case.

Homemade ice cream is most likely to leave a waxy feeling in your mouth for three reasons:

1. One of the causes of the waxy taste can be if the fat content of the ice cream is too high.
2. If you don't emulsify the ice cream base properly, the fat will clump together instead of being evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
3. If you overmix the ice cream base containing heavy cream, the fat will separate from the liquid part and cause a greasy feeling in the mouth.

How do you make homemade ice cream less greasy?

You can make homemade ice cream less greasy by:

  • using a good and proven recipe,
  • working with high-quality fresh ingredients,
  • applying the rules of ice cream-making technology
  • following the manufacturers’ instructions for the ice cream machine.
Blueberry ice cream in a bowl

How much fat should be in ice cream?

The fat content of the ice cream plays an important role, as it gives the ice cream a creamy and stable texture. The ideal fat content of ice cream is 7%, but anywhere between 4.5 and 14% is good. Ice cream with a fat content of more than 14% hardens quickly and is unpleasantly greasy, dense, and small in volume.

The fat binds the air that gets into the ice cream during mixing and freezing and makes the finished product light and fluffy. The incorporated air slows down crystallization, which makes the ice cream creamier.

Fat also plays an important role in ice cream by regulating the size of the ice crystals formed during freezing. The goal is to create tiny ice crystals, as large crystals make the ice cream grainy.

What type of fat does ice cream contain?

The fat content of ice cream can come from raw materials of animal or plant origin. The sources of animal fat are eggs, milk, and cream.


To make dairy-free ice cream, you can use vegetable milk, such as almond or coconut milk. Heavy cream of animal origin can be replaced with coconut cream. In some cases, the ice cream contains coconut fat, which solidifies below 24°C/75°F.

Why is it important to emulsify the ice cream base?

During emulsification, the fat in the ice cream base is homogenized with the liquids. The purpose of emulsification is to break up fat particles and reduce their size.

This is important because this way the fat particles will not stick together and separate from the liquid. A well-homogenized ice cream base results in a soft product.

When making homemade ice cream, emulsification is best done with an immersion blender. The ideal temperature of the ice cream base for emulsification is 50-60°C/120-140°F.

Traditional gelato making

Emulsifiers are added to industrially produced ice cream to achieve a good consistency. In the case of homemade ice cream, the lecithin in the egg yolk has an emulsifying effect.

The proteins in the egg whites and the pectin in the fruits have a stabilizing effect, which means that they bind water and thus improve the stability of the ice cream.


Related to homemade ice cream problems, you may wish to find out what causes it to be grainy.

How long should you chill ice cream before churning it?

After the ice cream base has been cooked (pasteurized) and cooled, it must sit for 4-12 hours in the refrigerator at a temperature between 0 and +8°C/32-46°F.

Aging of ice cream is necessary because during this time the proteins swell and bind to water. This reduces the free water content of the ice cream and makes it mixable, silky, and creamy.

Can you over-churn homemade ice cream?

If you churn the ice cream base for too long, the fat particles may separate from the liquid and stick together. in this case, the finished ice cream will be visibly grainy and create a buttery or waxy sensation in the mouth.

Churning is an important step in ice cream making. During churning, due to the low temperature and constant mixing, we get soft ice cream full of air bubbles and tiny ice crystals.

The best way to churn homemade ice cream is by using an ice cream machine.  There are ice cream machines that operate with a cooling compressor, and there are those that require pre-freezing the mixing bowl.


You may also wish to read whether it is worth buying an ice cream maker.

During churning, the ice cream base freezes in a thin layer on the cooler part of the ice cream machine. This layer is scraped off by the mixing blade and mixed with the rest of the ice cream base. As a result, the air is incorporated, small ice crystals form, and the volume of the ice cream increases.

Ice cream making in an ice cream machine
The ice cream will thicken and separate from the side of the bowl when it is churned sufficiently

How do you know when ice cream is churned enough?

With homemade ice cream machines, it usually takes 15-30 minutes to properly churn the ice cream.

If you see that the surface of the ice cream base is still shiny and wet, it means that there is a lot of free water in it and it has not yet churned sufficiently.

You can tell that your homemade ice cream is sufficiently churned if it is smooth, and has thickened so much that it starts to separate from the sides of the ice cream machine. Do not let the mixture become completely stiff.

Transfer the finished ice cream to a plastic container, which must then be placed in the freezer for another 3-4 hours, where it will firm up further.


Final thoughts

The waxy taste of your ice cream can be caused by too much fat content, improperly homogenized ingredients, or an overmixed ice cream base.

Making ice cream requires some knowledge of technology, a good recipe, quality ingredients, and preferably a good ice cream machine.

With these things in place, your homemade ice cream will likely turn out well. You can even make some homemade waffle cones and bowls.

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