How to Make Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker
Here, three different easy methods.
By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen
Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.
Making homemade ice cream doesn’t require a fancy ice cream maker. In fact, there are three easy ways you can make it sans machine. Read on for all the how-to's. (And if you do have an ice cream machine? Check out our story How to Make Ice Cream In an Ice Cream Maker).
No-Churn Ice Cream Versus Churned Ice Cream
There’s just a bit of science involved when making ice cream. To create the silky-smooth creaminess of ice cream, the water droplets in the cream that turn to ice must be as tiny as possible: we’re talkin’ invisible without a microscope. When ice cream is churned in a machine, the slow, constant motion of the beater keeps the water from freezing until it’s teeny-tiny and your ice cream is smooth. Luckily, there are three no-machine techniques that also create tiny droplets.
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. It works because heavy cream is two-thirds water, and whipping it suspends the water in a scaffolding of butterfat. When the whipped cream is folded into the remaining liquid ingredients, the scaffolding keeps its structure and the water droplets remain tiny and far apart. When the ice cream freezes it’s smooth.
Ice Cream In a Bag: This method makes ice cream that most closely resembles ice cream machine ice cream. That's because it's being churned as it freezes. The difference is that no electricity or machine are involved: your arm muscles are the beater as you shake the container.
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. This works because the food processor pulverizes the ice crystals. If you’ve ever made the Internet-famous one-ingredient banana ice cream, you'll notice it leans on this process. If you haven’t tried it, our recipe for Banana Ice Cream Sundae is a great place to start.
How to Make No-Churn Ice Cream: Whipped Cream Method
1: Freeze a Metal Loaf Pan
It's important to freeze the ice cream mixture as quickly as possible to prevent ice crystals from forming. Freezing the loaf pan you'll put the mixture in helps speed up the process. Make sure you use a metal loaf pan, which will also help with quick freezing.
2: Mix the Flavoring Ingredients
Whisk together all the liquid ingredients except for the heavy cream. Many no-churn ice cream recipes lean on sweetened condensed milk for body and sweetness, a pinch of salt for balance and some sort of extract. Cocoa powder, pureed fruit and syrups are other common flavorings.
3: Whip the Heavy Cream
Use a whisk, a hand-mixer or a stand mixer to whip the cream. You need to form firm peaks in the cream/
4: Fold Together the Cream and Flavorings
Gently fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the flavor mix. Then fold this mixture you just created back into the remaining whipped cream. This method helps keep the air in the whipped cream.
5: Freeze the Ice Cream
Pour the ice cream into the chilled metal loaf pan, press platic wrap directly onto the surface, wrap the container with more plastic wrap and freeze until the mixture is thick and creamy, like soft-serve, about 2 hours.
6: Add Mix-Ins
If you’re adding anything chunky to your ice cream, gently fold them into the mix now. Bits of chocolate, crushed cookies and candied nuts are all great choices. If you’re adding a fudge or caramel sauce, stir them in gently after adding the flavor pieces.
7: Freeze Again
Put the covered loaf pan back in the freezer and freeze for 3 more hours before testing to see if it’s scoopable. If not, freeze for longer. If it’s scoopable, enjoy it!
Buttermilk-Pecan Ice Cream
Buttermilk-Pecan Ice cream is a no-churn ice cream you'll make in a bag. The recipe requires a lot of shaking, so invite friends over for dessert, then have them help with the shaking.
How to Make Ice Cream In a Bag
1: Make the Mix
Whisk sugar, cream, buttermilk, condensed milk, vanilla plus any chunky flavor add-ins (like candied pecans) in a large bowl.
2: Pour the Mix Into a Bag
Prop a 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag open in a large container; pour in the mixture. Press out the air and seal. Chill the bag until ready to make the ice cream.
3: Fill a Shakeable Container with Ice
Add 2 cups ice and 1/2 cup coarse sea salt to a large plastic storage container. Nestle the sealed bag of buttermilk mixture in the ice.
4: Start shaking!
Tightly cover the container with the lid. Shake vigorously for about 15 minutes, or until the buttermilk mixture is thick. Add more ice and salt if needed halfway through the spin cycle. How long it takes depends on your shaking! Let everyone take a turn shaking the ice cream.
5: Serve and Eat
For soft-serve, rinse the outside of the bag, snip a corner and pipe into bowls. For firmer ice cream, freeze one hour before scooping.
How to Make Ice Cube Ice Cream
This is the easiest, fastest way to make frozen treats.
1: Freeze the Ingredients In Ice Cube Trays
Combine all the liquid ingredients and freeze them in ice cube trays until solid. Freeze any other ingredients (such as fruit mix-ins) in another ice cube tray. Or, to save time, start with frozen fruit.
2: Process the Ingredients
Put all the frozen ingredients in food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
3: Freeze a Second Time
Put the ice cream in a container, cover and freeze for an hour before scooping.
Recipes for Homemade Ice Cream
Here, creamy chocolate ice cream that's frozen in a loaf pan. Feel free to add cookies, nuts or your favorite mix-in.
Once you’ve mastered this vanilla ice cream recipe, you can turn it into any flavor you’d like by adding another flavor.
This recipe starts with frozen strawberries so you can make it any time of the year.
This mango ice cream recipe uses a combo of two methods: frozen mango is processed in a food processor, mixed with sweetened condensed milk and then lightened with whipped heavy cream. Lime and jalapeno are the perfect match for the sweetness.
You actually make two little baby cheesecakes to chop up and add to the strawberry ice cream.
Peppermint puffs and chocolate chunks are layered in peppermint ice cream.
All you need are two ingredients to make this tasty treat: coffee creamer and frozen peaches. Simply freeze the coffee creamer and process it with frozen peaches.
Chocolate peppermint patties and starlight mints are chopped and stirred into this ice cream along with mini marshmallows for pizzaz.
No hot honey? No problem: use plain honey or add a few drops of chili oil to the honey you already have.
You don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving Day to have No-Churn Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. It’s so easy, any day of the year is the perfect day.
This mango ice cream is a mix of the best ingredients: coconut milk, mango, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. The lime juice and zest bring serious zip.
You start by making coffee ice cream, then layer it with dulce de leche and chopped toffee bits. When you serve the frozen result, there are swirls in every scoop.