Roobios Tea Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for... rooibos? It may not be summer quite yet, but the temperature is slowly starting to rise, and there’s no better way to stay cool than with a delicious cold concoction. What if we told you it was easy to make an ice cream that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, right in the comfort of your own home? Flavored with South African rooibos tea, this frozen treat will become your favorite way to beat the heat.

Rooibos tea has only started gaining popularity in the United States in the past few years, but it has been a staple in South Africa for centuries. The name itself means “red bush,” and refers to both the broom-like plant the leaves come from and the beverage they yield. After the leaves of the rooibos plant are harvested, they typically undergo oxidation, which produces the rich red color the tea is known for, and also enhances the flavor.

One reason rooibos has garnered so much attention in recent years is that it boasts an array of possible health benefits. Studies have shown rooibos may do everything from help lower cholesterol to regulate blood sugar to treat allergies. It’s rich in antioxidants, which may help fight off cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. We like to think the potential health boost is just an added bonus, though, as the unique flavor of rooibos is the only selling point we need.

What does rooibos taste like? That’s where things get even more interesting. It has a rich, sweet, earthy aroma that’s almost reminiscent of pipe tobacco. Its flavor is a little subtler, but no less complex. Ask twelve people to describe their rooibos experience, and you will likely get a dozen different answers. Descriptions often include fruity, floral, smoky, or spicy, with hints of honey and caramel. Rooibos tea is often served with milk and sugar, which help temper some of its bolder notes and enhance its natural sweetness. We thought it might be fun to take this balancing act a step further by making a rooibos tea ice cream. The result is refreshing, refined, and guaranteed to keep you coming back for more.

Rooibos Tea Ice Cream Recipe

Yields 1 quart


  • 2 cups half-and-half

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey powder
  • 4 Tablespoons Rooibos Tea

  • 1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split and scraped


In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, heavy cream, sugar, and honey powder. Bring to a low simmer. Whisk until the sugars have dissolved. Remove from heat and add the rooibos. Let steep for 4 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard the tea. Whisk in the vanilla bean scrapings.
Let cool to room temperature and place in the fridge overnight. Place the chilled ice cream into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and seal. Freeze until hard.