Peach melba is a simple yet elegant dish where the flavors of sweet peaches and raspberries shine. If you’ve never tried this classic dessert recipe, you’re in for a treat.

What is peach melba?

To make peach melba, peaches are gently cooked in sugar syrup until they become velvety and tender. They’re served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of raspberry sauce.

This dish was created in the late 1800s by renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier for a beloved opera singer of the time, Nellie Melba. The raspberry topping served with peach melba is sometimes called melba sauce.

Ingredients for Peach Melba

  • Peaches:Β For this peach melba dessert recipe, choose a fresh, ripe, unblemished peach. YouΒ can’t ripen an unripe peach, so choose one already at its peak. No need to peel it.
  • Sugar:Β The peach halves are poached with sugar to soften and sweeten them.
  • Lemon juice:Β A splash ofΒ lemon juiceΒ balances the sweetness of this dish with some acidity. The citrus also helps amplify the fruit flavors.
  • Vanilla extract:Β Choose a quality vanilla extract. It’s added to the poaching liquid for the peaches.
  • Raspberry jam:Β The jam adds luscious raspberry flavor and the color is gorgeous against the peaches and ice cream.
  • Vanilla ice cream:Β Because this dish is made with just a few ingredients, it’s important to choose vanilla ice cream with the best texture and flavor.Β Homemade vanilla ice creamΒ is delicious in this dessert, too!


Step 1: Poach the peaches

Pour water and sugar into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the water as it comes to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract, then reduce the heat to low. Slide the peach halves into the water with the cut sides facing up. Cook the peaches for five to eight minutes, or until tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave the peaches in the syrup to cool for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Chill the fruit

Remove the peaches from the syrup with a slotted spoon and place them in a shallow dish with the cut sides down. Cover the dish and refrigerate the peaches for two to four hours.

Editor’s Tip: Save the sweet, peachy syrup in a covered container for up to one week. It’s quite tasty stirred into iced tea or poured over ice cream.

Step 3: Assemble the desserts

Have two dessert plates or bowls ready. In a small microwave-safe bowl, warm the raspberry jam for 20 seconds or so and stir until it’s smooth. Place the chilled peach halves in the dessert dishes, cut sides facing up. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to each peach half. Finally, drizzle the warmed raspberry jam over the ice cream and fruit. Serve the peach melbas immediately.

Recipe Variations

  • Use fresh raspberries:Β Skip the jam and top the peaches and ice cream with a handful of fresh red raspberries. You can also macerate the berries: Stir them with a little granulated sugar and let them sit for about 30 minutes. They’ll be sweet and juicy atop this dessert.
  • Make a grilled peach melba:Β Instead of simmering the peach halves in syrup, grill them. Brush the cut surfaces lightly with olive oil, then place them cut sides down on hot grill grates. Grill the peaches until they’ve started to soften and have grill marks. The heat brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit and adds a little smokiness, too.
  • Swap the ice cream flavor:Β Pair other ice cream flavors with the ripe peaches, such as strawberry,Β butter pecanΒ or pistachio ice cream or lemon sorbet.
  • Add fresh herbs:Β Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs over your peach melbas just before serving. Crushed lavender, mint, basil and lemon thyme are all good choices.
  • Garnish with edible flowers:Β The orange and raspberry colors of this dish are beautiful, and even more so when enhanced byΒ edible bloomsΒ like pansies, nasturtiums or rose petals.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium peach, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream


  1. In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Reduce heat to low. Place peach halves cut side up in pan; cook for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat. Cool peaches in syrup for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and place cut side down in a shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 2-4 hours.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat raspberry jam for 20 seconds; stir until smooth. Place peach halves cut side up in dessert dishes. Top with ice cream; drizzle with jam.

Nutrition Facts

1 peach half with 1/2 cup ice cream and 1 tablespoon jam: 317 calories, 7g fat (5g saturated fat), 29mg cholesterol, 53mg sodium, 62g carbohydrate (57g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.