How To Make Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker

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You don't need to run to the supermarket when you want some sweet, creamy ice cream. Making ice cream at home is easy, and an ice cream machine isn't even necessary. If you're interested in ice cream making, you've got a number of methods to choose from.

Why Make Your Own Ice Cream?

Picking up a quart of ice cream at the supermarket is quick and convenient, and the ice cream tastes fine. So why bother to make your own? Here are a few reasons:

  • Wholesome ingredients: When you make your own ice cream you have control over the ingredients and the peace of mind that you're not feeding your family artificial, unhealthy additives.
  • Fresh taste: Home made ice cream tastes so much better and fresher than store bought varieties.
  • Savings: Designer ice creams and even some store brands are much more expensive than purchasing the ingredients yourself.
  • Family fun: Ice cream making is a project the whole family can enjoy together.
  • Creativity: Express yourself by coming up with your own signature flavors.

Easy Ice Cream in a Bag

Even if the only containers you have in the house are plastic bags, you can still make your own ice cream with this simple recipe:

Baggie Ice Cream

Yield: 2 servings

Calories: 333

  • 1 3/4 tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • ½ cup of rock or Kosher salt
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 pint-size zip closure plastic bag
  • 1 gallon-size zip closure plastic bag
  1. Combine sugar, half and half, cream and vanilla in a pint-size plastic bag and seal tightly.
  2. Pour salt and ice cubes into gallon sized plastic bag until about half full.
  3. Put the cream-filled smaller bag into the gallon sized bag.
  4. Shake bags vigorously for about five minutes, until the mixture hardens.
  5. You can eat the ice cream right out of the baggie for an easy cleanup.

how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker

Pan & Stir Method

With a little time and patience, any sturdy baking dish or durable mixing bowl can double as an ice cream maker. With this method, you can use any ice cream recipe that fits the size of your container and follow these basic steps:

  1. Mix up your ice cream ingredients and chill mixture over an ice bath.
  2. Pour mixture into baking dish or sturdy bowl, and place in your freezer for about 45 minutes.
  3. Take dish out of the freezer to check your mixture. You'll see that it's starting to freeze around the edges. Stir it vigorously with a whisk or spatula to break up the frozen areas and then return mixture to freezer.
  4. Repeat step 3 every half hours or so for the next two or three hours. Your ice cream should then be ready to enjoy.

Coffee Can Method

Don't throw away those old coffee cans so fast! Give them a second life making ice cream and keep your kids entertained in the process. Here's how to do it with a simple healthy recipe:

Coffee Can Ice Cherry Ice Cream

Yield: 4 Servings

Calories: 217

  • 1 1-pound coffee can with lid
  • 1 3-pound coffee can with lid
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla,
  • ¼ cup sweet dark cherries, pitted and finely diced
  • Rock salt or coarse Kosher salt
  • Crushed ice
  • Duct tape
  1. Mix all food ingredients together in the one-pound coffee can.
  2. Cover with lid and duct tape securely.
  3. Put the one-pound coffee can into the three-pound can.
  4. Surround the one-pound can with crushed ice and salt.
  5. Cover with lid and duct tape securely.
  6. Now comes the fun part. Let your kids sit about three feet apart and make a game of rolling or kicking the coffee can back and forth between them. Continue this for about 10 minutes.
  7. Check the ice cream to make sure it hardened. If it hasn't, add more ice and salt, replace the lids and play a few minutes more.

Other Ice Cream Making Techniques

If you're feeling like trying something different, you may enjoy one of these other ice cream making methods:

  • Ice cube tray: Freeze your ice cream mixture in ice cube trays until solid and then process ice cream cubes in food processor until smooth.
  • Ice cream balls: These are balls you can purchase that work much like the coffee can method, allowing you and your kids to play catch while the ice cream mixture freezes.

Fun Variations

Once you've got a basic ice cream recipe you like, have some fun by adding ingredients that will make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Pecans or other nuts
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Coffee
  • Peaches, strawberries or other fresh fruits.

Don't settle for expensive designer ice creams or budget varieties filled with artificial additives. When you make your own ice cream, you'll be able to feed your family all-natural, original flavors without spending a fortune.

Last Updated: June 14, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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