Three ways to make ice cream without an ice cream maker

Nothing beats the heat like delicious ice cream. If the store’s same old flavors are boring you to tears or you don’t feel like spending $6 on a pint that you’ll probably eat in one sitting, make some ice cream yourself; it isn’t that difficult. Homemade ice cream doesn’t require a fancy ice cream maker. There are three methods to make ice cream without a machine, all equally delicious. Use the ingredients of any ice cream recipe and follow these steps. 

1. The whipped cream method

This method involves turning heavy cream into whipped cream, then folding it into the remaining ice cream ingredients and freezing the mixture. [1] To start, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. [2] Fold the whipped cream into the flavoring ingredients. You will most commonly use sweetened condensed milk and some kind of extract, vanilla being the most common. Cocoa powder, pureed fruit and syrups are other common flavorings used in this method. When folding together ingredients, make sure it stays a whipped cream consistency. [3] Freeze this mixture in a frozen metal loaf pan until thick and creamy, like soft-serve, about 2 hours. [4] At this point, add in mix-ins such as caramel sauce or chocolate chips. [5] Freeze again for three or more hours. 

If you do want an ice cream machine, Cassandra Schultz, owner of Cassandra’s Kitchen, recommends the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker ICE-21P1. This machine makes delicious frozen treats in 20 minutes or less. Just add ingredients, press on, and the machine does the rest. It’s $49.95 on cuisinart.com.

2. Ice cream in a bag

This method makes ice cream that resembles the ice cream machine. That’s because it’s being churned as it freezes. The only difference is that no electricity or machine is involved: your arm muscles are the beater as you shake the container. [1] To start, make your mix. Whisk sugar, cream, buttermilk, condensed milk, vanilla and chunky flavor add-ins (literally all your ingredients) in a large bowl. Pour the mix into a 1-gallon zip-loc bag, press out all air, seal and chill until ready to use. [2] Add 2 cups of ice and 1/2 cup of coarse sea salt to a large, shakeable plastic container. Nestle the ice cream mixture bag in the ice. [3] Tightly cover the container and shake vigorously for 15 minutes or until the mixture is thick. For firmer, scoopable ice cream, freeze for at least one hour before scooping. 

Whatever method you choose, store ice cream in plastic containers like these freezer-safe containers from Cassandra’s Kitchen Store. If using an ice cream maker, freeze after completion in these containers to get firm, scoopable ice cream.

3. Fruit or cream ice cubes

Some ice cream recipes have you freeze fruit or yogurt in ice cube trays and then process the frozen cubes and the other ingredients in a food processor. [1] Combine all liquid ingredients and freeze them in ice cube trays for this method. Freeze other ingredients, like fruit mix-ins, in another tray. [2] Put all frozen ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. [3] Put the ice cream in a container and freeze at least an hour before scooping.

Pro Tip

“When making homemade ice cream, you want to ensure you have good ingredients. So a top ingredient I would make sure to have on hand is a good vanilla, and I use Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract.”  – Cassandra Schultz, owner of Cassandra’s Kitchen

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