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Nieve de Garrafa

How to Make Nieve de Garrafa

Nieve de Garrafa is a traditional Mexican handcrafted ice cream made using an ice cream-making technique that involves a large barrel or container known as a “garrafa.” The process typically doesn’t involve an ice cream maker; instead, it relies on hand churning and freezing methods.

The preparation involves a mixture of fresh fruits, cream, sugar, and sometimes additional flavorings or ingredients. This mixture is placed in the garrafa, which is usually a metal barrel surrounded by ice and salt to freeze the ice cream mixture.

To make Nieve de Garrafa, the mixture is hand-churned and stirred continuously, allowing it to freeze gradually while incorporating air to create a smooth and creamy texture. This method of freezing and churning results in a deliciously creamy and rich ice cream.

Nieve de Garrafa comes in various flavors, often utilizing local fruits and ingredients, and it’s a beloved dessert enjoyed in Mexico, especially during hot weather or as a treat from street vendors or artisanal ice cream shops.

Why Make this Recipe?

  • Unforgettable Taste: Handmade always tastes better.
  • Cultural Experience: Dive into Mexican culinary history.
  • Easy to Master: Simplicity is key here.

What Does Nieve de Garrafa Taste Like?

Tangy, sweet, and fruit-forward, it captures the essence of its natural ingredients.

Taste Profile:

  • Tanginess: High
  • Sweetness: Moderate
  • Fruitiness: Yes

Equipment Required for this Recipe

  • Garrafa (traditional wooden barrel)
  • Spatula
  • Mixing bowls


  • 3 cups fresh fruit juice (e.g., mango, tamarind)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Crushed ice


  1. In a bowl, combine fruit juice and sugar.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Fill the garrafa with crushed ice.
  4. Pour the fruit mixture over the ice.
  5. Hand churn with a spatula until icy.

How to Serve Nieve de Garrafa

Serve immediately in cups or cones. Simple and pure!

Serving Suggestions:

  • With a squeeze of lime
  • A pinch of chili powder
  • A dollop of whipped cream

What to Serve Nieve de Garrafa With

  • Churros
  • Street tacos
  • Freshly squeezed juice

My Recommendations and Tips

  • Opt for ripe fruits for natural sweetness.
  • Hand churn to get the traditional texture.
  • Don’t over-sweeten; let the fruit shine.

Nieve de Garrafa Storage Ideas

  • Freezer: Good for 1 week in an airtight container.

Potential Ingredients Substitutes

Mango JuicePineapple Juice
TamarindLemon Juice

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: Approx 100 per scoop
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Fat: 0g

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use an ice cream maker?
    • Yes, but hand-churning is traditional.
  • How long does it keep?
    • Best consumed immediately, but can last up to a week in the freezer.


Nieve de Garrafa is more than a dessert; it’s a piece of Mexican history. Its handmade nature and natural flavors make it a summer must-try. So why not churn up some memories today? 🍨