Tyler Malek's Salted Caramel Ribbon Ice Cream

If you’re an ice cream connoisseur, look no further! Co-founder and head ice cream maker, Tyler Malek, from the cult-favorite ice cream shop, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, shares his tips on making their iconic sea salt with caramel ribbon ice cream right at home.


  • Perfect Ice Cream Caramel:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Ice Cream Base:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan, and stir until all of the sugar looks wet. Cover, set the pan over medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely melted, about 3 minutes.
  2. Continue to cook, covered, without stirring, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking without stirring, but paying close attention, until the mixture turns the color of dark maple syrup, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and immediately and gradually pour in the cream, going slowly at first and then speeding up to a nice steady stream, whisking as you pour.
  4. Put the pan over medium-high heat again. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  5. Let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until it registers 230 degrees on the thermometer, about 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and salt, stirring slowly but constantly until the butter has completely melted.
  6. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then use it right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks. Separation is totally normal; just make sure to stir the caramel well before using it.
  7. Combine the sugar, dry milk, and xanthan gum in a small bowl and stir well.
  8. Pour the corn syrup into a medium pot and stir in the whole milk. Add the sugar mixture and immediately whisk vigorously until smooth.
  9. Set the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent a simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
  10. Add the cream and whisk until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours, or for even better texture and flavor, 24 hours.
  11. Stir the base back together if it separates during the resting time. The base can be further stored in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  12. Combine 1/4 cup water and the fleur de sel in a small saucepan, set it over medium heat, and cook, stirring, just until the salt has completely dissolved, less than 1 minute. Let it cool to room temperature.
  13. Put the ice cream base and the salt mixture into a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and turn on the machine. Churn just until the mixture has the texture of soft-serve.
  14. Put the caramel in a warm place or warm it in a small saucepan over very low heat just until it’s dizzleable, but not so warm that it’ll melt the ice cream.
  15. Quickly alternate spooning layers of the ice cream and drizzling on a generous spiral of caramel in freezer friendly containers.
  16. Cover with parchment paper, pressing it to the surface of the ice cream so it adheres, then cover with a lid. It’s okay if the parchment hangs over the rim. Store it in the coldest part of your freezer (farthest from the door) until firm, at least 6 hours. It will keep for up to 3 months.