Duck Fat Tamari Ice Cream with Cherries

Last year, I went through Santa Fe on my way to Colorado and made a pit stop at Joseph’s. Sometimes we save money by camping or driving places just so that we can put it towards really good food, and Joseph’s is a perfect example of that. For dessert, I ordered Duck Fat Caramel Tamari Ice Cream. Yeah, one piece at a time: Duck Fat. Caramel. Tamari.

Duck Fat Caramel Tamari Ice Cream from Joseph's of Santa Fe
Yes, I have a secret folder in my phone for all the sexy, dimly lit ice cream pics. Also pictured: ginger beer ice cream float.

It was incredible. Sweet and salty, umami and creamy.

I had to research it so that I could re-create it at home, and was surprised that for such a unique combination of three things in ice cream (duck fat, caramel, soy), I found a recipe for it on Serious Eats.

Regardless, I wanted to create my own version with a few changes: use my preferred base, remove the caramel (which I found a bit too rich), and use Tamari instead of soy sauce, unlike the Serious Eats recipe.


Tia and Tamari?

Tamari is very similar to soy sauce. The three main differences are:

  • Tamari is made with little to no wheat (which can make it a gluten-free option)
  • Tamari is from Japan made as a by-product of miso paste, whereas soy sauce is historically a Chinese condiment
  • Tamari is darker, richer and sweeter in flavor, if that’s possible

I recommend doing a little taste test with each on a slice of sashimi to see for yourself. You can get some in the international section of your grocery store or online.

Rendered duck fat, store bought at Central Market in Texas

Why duck fat? 

Because why not.

But honestly, you could probably use many different types of animal fat (if that’s your thing). I hope to try them out in my ice creams, in a scientific way ensuring that every other ingredient stays constant while the fat type rotates in as the sole change. Although, I might set off the psycho alarms walking out of the grocery store with buckets of animal fat.

You can render your own duck fat, which will definitely produce a better duck flavor. I’d love to, but felt like this recipe is already bougie enough. As Ina Garten says:

Photo of Ina Garten, superimposed with a fake quote
Me and Ina, two peas in a pod

In the end, I loved how this turned out and I would definitely make it again. It ended up tasting similar to sea salt caramel, despite not including caramel in it!


I topped it with David Lebovitz’s Sour Cherry sauce recipe. You can eat the ice cream without the topping, but it goes from “Wow, this is damn good” to “OMG I’M BRILLIANT.” Anyway, I highly recommend David’s book, The Perfect Scoop, where you can find the simple cherry recipe.




  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp duck fat
  • 3 tbsp Tamari
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • a batch of David Lebovitz’s Sour Cherry Sauce from The Perfect Scoop


  1. Heat the milk, cream, and milk powder over medium-low heat and stir until the powder is dissolved. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, duck fat, tamari, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl until combined.
  3. Temper this egg mixture with about 1/2 cup (no need to be precise) of the milk mixture to warm up the eggs gradually without scrambling them. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture on the stovetop. Turn the heat back to medium. Cook, stirring occassionally, until it reaches between 74-78 degrees C on a candy thermometer. Take off the heat. Pour this into a sealed container and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
  4. Take it out of the fridge and churn it according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Then place it in safe storage like these in the freezer.
  5. After it’s properly frozen (I usually wait overnight, or at least 4 hours), enjoy a scoop with a dollop of the Sour Cherry Sauce on top.