No oil, no mess! Make this restaurant style dessert at home with our easy Air Fryer Fried Ice Cream recipe! Soft vanilla ice cream coated in a crispy cinnamon sugar coating — it’s a decadent treat that the whole family will love! We’ll show you how to make it the classic way AND an easy 2-ingredient shortcut recipe!
Air Fryer Fried Ice Cream
Growing up, our family had a favorite Mexican restaurant that we frequented almost weekly. Now that we live in Texas, there is awesome Mexican food on every corner, but it was much harder to find in West Virginia!
To me, no meal was complete with out a big scoop of crunchy, melty, sweet fried ice cream. It was the most amazing discovery when I tried it for the first time!
Believe it or not, you can make restaurant-quality fried ice cream at home…and you don’t need a deep fryer or a pot of messy oil! You can make legit fried ice cream using an Air Fryer and a couple of simple ingredients! (Two ingredients actually, if you use our shortcut recipe!)
Here’s the breakdown:
We took a big scoop of luxurious vanilla ice cream and rolled it in a sweet and crunchy cinnamon sugar coating. When you “fry” it in the air fryer, that coating gets warm and perfectly crispy and the ice cream center softens just enough to eat easily with a spoon. It truly is a melt-in-your-mouth dessert!
It continues to amaze me just how many things can be made in an air fryer, so if you don’t have one yet you really need one! A crisp sugary shell filled with sweet cold ice cream has to be one of the best combinations for a dessert, and this air fryer fried ice cream really delivers!
Related: For another fun air fryer recipe, try our Air Fryer Soft Pretzels too!
I’ve included shop-able ad links for your convenience in re-creating this recipe; disclosure policy available here.
- 1 tub vanilla ice cream (48oz)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups cinnamon sugar cereal, such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch
- 3 egg whites
For the “Shortcut” Recipe:
- 1 tub Vanilla Ice Cream
- 3 cups cinnamon-sugar cereal cereal
Optional Topping Ideas
- Chocolate syrup
- Whipped cream
- Maraschino Cherries
- Cinnamon sugar
- Caramel sauce
Kitchen Tools Used:
- Air Fryer
- Aluminum Foil
This recipe works best when you freeze the scoops of ice cream first, so they’ll keep their shape when you air fry them. Plan for about 4 hours for this step — most of this time is simply spent waiting for the ice cream to re-freeze, not doing actual work.
- Make scoops of ice cream that are about 1 cup each. Form each scoop of vanilla ice cream into a ball and place in a muffin tin. Put the muffin pan in the freezer for an hour to harden the ice cream balls.
- Leave the muffin pan in the freezer and one at a time, roll ice cream balls in flour. Return to the freezer for another hour.
- Crush your cereal into crumbs and whisk egg whites in a small bowl, until foamy. Dip each frozen ice cream ball into the egg whites, then roll in crushed cereal until fully coated. Place back in the muffin tin and back into the freezer for 3-4 hours, or overnight if making ahead.
TIP: I find the easiest way to crush up the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal is to place it inside a large zip-top plastic bag and go over it with a rolling pin. This keeps the mess contained!
How to Make Fried Ice Cream in the Air Fryer
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Line the air fryer basket with foil.
- When the air fryer is ready, take one of the coated ice cream scoops out of the freezer and place in the foil-lined air fryer. Cook at 350°F for 2 minutes.
- Repeat with each scoop of ice cream. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook one at a time, or you may be able to do a batch of two at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd the air fryer.
In our original recipe, we coated ice cream balls in flour and egg whites, before adding the cereal coating. This egg white bath helps the coating stick better to the ice cream.
However, if you want to save a little time, it is possible to skip this step and simply roll the ice cream balls in the cereal crumbs. Then place them in the freezer for 3-4 hours and continue the recipe as written.
This air fried ice cream is a treat you’ll want to enjoy right away! When I used to get fried ice cream at the restaurant, they topped it with honey. However, I think it is also fabulous with a drizzle of chocolate sauce!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Fried Ice Cream Melt?
Yes, fried ice cream will eventually melt. However, we take a couple steps to make it hold its shape as long as possible.
First, we freeze the scoops of ice cream to make them hard. Because of their smaller shape and greater surface area, the scoops freeze more solid than ice cream does in a large tub. Because they are frozen solid, a quick fry will soften them and crisp up the cereal coating, without melting the ice cream center.
The cereal coating also provides a layer of protection for the ice cream, in addition to adding lots of flavor and crunch.
Can You Make this Recipe Ahead of Time?
Because the ice cream scoops need a few hours in the freezer after forming and coating them, this recipe is perfect to make ahead of time. In fact, you will want to plan ahead!
You can make the ice cream scoops the night before you plan to serve them and simply keep them in the muffin tin in the freezer until the next day.
You can also keep them in the freezer longer, by moving the scoops to a large freezer bag. Then you can take out as many servings as you want, when you want to fry them.
Can You Use a Different Type of Cereal Coating?
Fried ice cream is often made with a corn flakes coating, so this is a great alternative to cinnamon sugar cereal or if you’re looking for something a little less sweet.
You can also use a different flavor of ice cream that you like, instead of the vanilla ice cream shown here.
Do You Have to Fry the Ice Cream Scoops One at a Time?
I recommend frying the ice cream scoops one at a time, for best results. You don’t want to overcrowd the air fryer. Since they cook quickly, you can fry a batch for the whole family in about 10-15 minutes.
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try:
- Air Fryer Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Air Fryer Soft Pretzels
- Cheesy Air Fryer Breadsticks
- Air Fried Lasagna Roll-Ups
- Air Fryer Strawberry Chimichangas
- Homemade Mini Air Fryer Pot Pies
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fries
Grab a free printable copy of our Air Fryer Fried Ice Cream Recipe:
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Air Fryer Fried Ice Cream
- 1 Air Fryer
- 48 oz vanilla ice cream
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
- 3 egg whites
- Form ice cream into scoops about 1 cup in size. Place scoops in a muffin tin and put pan in freezer for 1 hour.
- Roll each ice cream ball in flour and put back in freezer for additional hour.
- Crush cereal into crumbs and whisk egg whites until foamy. Dip each ice cream ball in egg whites, then roll in the cereal crumbs until fully coated. Place back in freezer for 4 hours, or overnight.
- Heat air fryer to 350°F and line the basket with foil.
- Place ice cream ball in air fryer and cook for 2 minutes, one at a time.
- Enjoy immediately.
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