Root Beer Float Ice Creamfeatured

This Root Beer Float Ice Cream is like summertime nostalgia captured into creamy dreamy form. It brings to mind images of hot summer days with the sound of children playing in the sprinklers, and warm summer nights spent outside with grass tickling your feet. It makes me think of making ice cream floats as a kid, pouring the fizzy soda over a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream, watching the foam rise, and inevitably making a deliciously sticky mess on the kitchen counter.

When McCormick asked if I wanted to come up with a recipe using their Root Beer Extract, I knew exactly what I wanted to make: an ice cream that encapsulated all the delight of a root beer float.

When you think of it, root beer itself is such a distinctly American flavor. It’s hard to pinpoint what root beer tastes like – it’s sweet and woodsy, with hints of warm spices, vanilla, and molasses.

McCormick's Root Beer Extract //

As it turns out, root beer has been around for a long time. In fact, Root Beer Extract was one of McCormick & Company’s first products. In 1889, 25-year-old Willoughby M. McCormick went door to door selling this extract, and from there, the product quickly rose in popularity and led to a trending sensation of root beer floats and root beer home brewing in the early 1900s.

This year, McCormick is celebrating their 125th anniversary and all of the products that have brought them to where they are today, including of course, their Root Beer Extract. So, what better way to celebrate than with ice cream, I say!

Vanilla meringues //

For my root beer float flavor I knew my ice cream base would be root beer, but what about that frothy vanilla soda component? That’s when it hit me: meringues! One of the most enchanting ice creams I’ve ever had was at a little gelateria in Rome. They had a gelato with ethereal crumbles of crushed meringue cookies folded into it. Genius.

Root Beer Float Ice Cream //

It worked like a charm. I crushed up some vanilla meringues and churned them into the root beer ice cream. You end up with rich, smooth ice cream highlighted with bits of light, airy, crunchy texture. I couldn’t get enough of it.

You’ll feel like a kid again eating this.

Root Beer Float Ice Cream //

Root Beer Float Ice Cream

Yield: 1½ quart

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

All the delight of a root beer float captured into ice cream form! Crumbled vanilla meringues churned into the root beer ice cream add a fun texture. You’ll feel like a kid again eating this.


  • 3 cups cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ teaspoons root beer concentrate (McCormick)
  • 8 vanilla meringue cookies (about 3 oz)


  1. Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat, just so it gets a little frothy on top, about 10 minutes. Don’t let it come to a boil.
  2. Set up an ice bath by filling a large bowl about halfway full with ice and water. Place a smaller bowl (that holds at least 2 quarts) in the larger bowl and set a strainer over it.
  3. In another saucepan, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Temper the dairy into the egg mixture by gradually pouring some of the milk and cream into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Continue doing this until all the dairy is combined.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a flat-edged wooden spatula or heat-resistant rubber spatula. Stir in a sideways figure eight motion, drawing the spatula down the center of the pan, up around one side, down the center again, and up the other side. Do this until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula, about 10 minutes.
  5. Strain immediately over the ice bath and stir until cool. Add the vanilla and root beer concentrate. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until the mixture is very cold, about 30 minutes.
  6. Set up your ice cream maker and pour the chilled base into the frozen canister. About 10-15 minutes into the churning process, when the mixture is about the consistency of soft-serve, add in the crushed meringues so that they get evenly mixed in. Save a handful for garnishing.
  7. I usually can’t wait to eat this right away, but if you’re saving it for later, scoop the ice cream into an airtight, freezer-safe container, and press a piece of parchment paper directly against the surface. When you remove the ice cream from the freezer, let it sit and relax until it is scoopable. Once you’ve scooped it, be sure to return any remaining ice cream to the freezer. If the ice cream has melted too much at room temperature, refreezing it will result in an ice cream that is too icy. Before serving, sprinkle the remaining crushed meringue on top. Dig in!

McCormick’s is celebrating their 125th anniversary with the launch of their Flavor of Together program, a yearlong initiative to share 1.25 million stories about how flavor both unites and defines people across the globe. For every story shared on any of McCormick’s brand websites or social channels, McCormick will donate $1, up to $1.25 million, to United Way to help feed those in need.

Share your own unique flavor story by commenting on this post using the hashtag #flavorstory and be entered for a chance to win a McCormick Anniversary Pack. The pack includes exclusive McCormick Anniversary Edition product (not available in stores!), a McCormick recipe book, and a branded canvas tote – all valued at $50.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by McCormick.

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