Refreshing Blood Orange Sherbet

This blood orange sherbet is easy to make and incredibly refreshing to eat.

Blood Orange Sherbet |
I’ve lost count of how many sherbet recipes I’ve adapted from the original Cooks’ Illustrated sherbet recipe. It’s such a great recipe. I hope you enjoyed Friday’s Cantaloupe recipe from Amanda. My husband was drooling over it. I actually made this sherbet back when blood oranges were first appearing in the stores. I’m finally getting around to posting a bunch of recipes I’ve had sitting in my “draft” folder. So, forgive me for another sherbet post!

Blood oranges are one of the most stunning fruits! I’ve had never bought any before this year. I have no idea why. They’ve been everywhere and now they are disappearing as the season ends. Boo!

Blood Orange Sherbet | CafeJohnsonia.comI have two left in my fridge and I’ve been trying to decide how to use them. I’ve already made a ricotta cheesecake with blood orange curd, sherbet, salad, cookies, etc., etc. I even watched my husband peel one and eat it section by section, the purple juice squirting with each bite. I’m sad to see them go. I want more of this blood orange sherbet. It was so refreshing!

Blood Orange Sherbet |

The thing that gave this recipe and extra punch was the zest. I love my trusty microplane – it removes only the colored zest and none of the bitter pith. :) (affiliate link)

Blood Orange Sherbet |

Blood Orange Sherbet |
Rubbing the zest and sugar together helps to release all of the oils from the zest and yields maximum flavor. It’s a tip I learned from Cooks’ Illustrated awhile back when I first started making their recipe for Glazed Lemon Cookies  (p.s. it’s a how-to post). It really gives you a bang for your buck. I don’t think the original recipe for orange sherbet actually gives this direction. (I can’t find my magazine at the moment…) The recipe can be made entirely in a food processor, I just didn’t make it that way for this orange sherbet recipe. It’s all made by hand. Besides the chilling time, it only takes minutes to make and it’s better than any orange sherbet you’ll find in a store!
Blood Orange Sherbet |

Blood Orange Sherbet |


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Blood Orange Sherbet

I adapted this recipe from from Cooks’ Illustrated. The fresh flavor and tang of blood orange juice plus cream yields a spectacular texture.

  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated blood orange zest
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 8 blood oranges)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or triple sec, or another complimentary liqueur
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream, very cold


  1. Place the zest and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Rub the zest and sugar together with your fingers until sandy and wet. Whisk in the salt, orange juice, lemon juice, and vodka. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes to allow sugar to dissolve completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  3. Chill the mixture until very cold, about two or three hours. (45 min. in the freezer works, but don’t let it freeze or get icy. It won’t incorporate into the cream.)
  4. In a separate, large chilled mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Slowly drizzle the orange juice against the side of the bowl while whisking.
  5. Turn ice cream maker on and pour the sherbet base through the feed hole. Churn until thick. Transfer to an airtight container and let harden for a few hours until serving. Keeps well for 1 week. (It will get icier the longer it sits, but the flavor won’t suffer much.)


The vodka helps keep the sherbet from freezing too firmly. You don’t have to use the vodka, but the texture won’t be the same and you will have to let the sherbet soften a bit before scooping.

  • Author: Lindsey Johnson
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Dessert












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  1. MMMMmmm, I love coming by here. You pass along tons of info with out making me feel like a big dummy because I didn’t know it already. I haven’t made sherbet YET but will add it to my list of “must tries”!

    I’ve got my coconut mixture in chillin’ in the fridge. Mmmmm! I was thinking of adding some chocolate covered almonds to it when it’s almost done churning.

    Btw, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! :)

  2. What a great idea to make sherbet, I have blood oranges right now begging me to do something with ’em. I’m sure my boys and I would love this!

  3. What a beautiful almost victorian colour!
    I’ve been meaning to try David Lebovitz’s blood orange sorbet, but now that I see yours… I’m tempted to change my mind!

    Beautiful, Lindsey!

  4. You must get tired of hearing this Lindsey, but that looks wonderfully delicious!! I really must make some sherbet one day soon. You can’t really buy it over here and I do miss it. Blood orange sherbet sounds and looks wonderful!

  5. I was introduced to blood oranges by my US History teacher in high school. He had a tree in his yard and he would bring them to school for us to try. Blood oranges in sherbet form sounds heavenly.

  6. S E R I O U S L Y.

    picking my jaw up off the floor…

    you are amazing. Congrats on the new baby -and hope everyone gets healthy soon -especially the MAMA!

  7. I just finished mixing the ingredients together for this, and I sneaked a little taste of the mix and it is DELICIOUS! I think this will be the best ice cream I’ve made to date!

  8. Have-a-Clue, I’ll have to go dig it out and check. I’m sorry I can’t remember off-hand. I’ll get to it tomorrow. But I’m sure it was back in 2003 or 2004.

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