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Homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker?

I've seen instructions online for making homemade ice cream without the proper machine, but I'm wondering if anyone has actually done it this way and how it turned out. Is it chunky or different in any significant way? Are there tips or techniques for doing it successfully without an ice cream maker?

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  1. I made something like a frozen ice cream once years ago. It involved whipping the cream so it was really more like a frozen mousse. I haven't done it since, but as I recall, it turned out ok.

    1. I make a lemon ice cream that is just lemon juice and zest, sugar, and cream. The mixture is stirred very well (to dissolve the sugar) and frozen in a baking pan. It is delicious! Creamy, but not airy like a mousse. There are no crystals of ice, unless you let it sit around in the freezer for a few days.

        1. re: Rocky Road

          I just did this and it was awesome. I think a little alcohol is key. I made vanilla ice cream with a custard base and it stayed pretty creamy. I have also made granitas before with a couple shots of alcohol in it. When I've gone overboard on the booze the frozen mix will only become so solid - sort of a weird plasticky slushy consistancy - not altogether unappealing. I think with the vanilla the key would be to add a little vanilla extract even if you use a vanilla bean.

        2. I've been researching still-frozen ice creams that don't require periodic mixing as the ice cream freezes. Check out recipes for semifreddos and I've seen a recipe for a granita made with cream cheese or marscapone. The really hard one is a still-frozen ice milk with a good texture. I will be testing recipies all summer.

          1. Super, super easy. Might be better with 1 or 2 tsp of vanilla extract beaten in, but who needs it?

            2 cups whipping cream
            1 to 2 cups powdered sugar
            Salt, if desired

            Ice-cream sauce, about 1/2 to 1 cup -- not the stuff that hardens into a shell, but stuff that is a very thick liquid when refrigerated & slightly runny at room temp.

            Optional: Mini marshmallows, peanuts, peanut-butter chips, chocolate chips.

            Beat the whipping cream until stiff. Beat in the powdered sugar. Fold in the ice-cream sauce - enough so that every bite will have several layers of chocolate, but little enough so that you can still clearly see streaks and layers of darker chocolate mixed in with the whitish-tan cream. Freeze, covered, 2-4 hours or until solid.

            If desired, put into a baked meringue pie shell and freeze covered with plastic wrap. This an easy "ice-cream pie".

            1. Put your mixture in a quart bag with a zip seal, seal it, and put it in a gallon bag with 4 cups of crushed ice and one cup of regular salt. Seal the large bag and shake vigorously for several minutes until the interior bag feels firm. Take the little bag out of the big bag, open it to make sure the interior of it is firm. If so, serve. If not, seal it up and put it in the big bag again and shake for a few more minutes. The ice cream (or ice milk or sorbet) comes out very smooth and soft-serve. I even used this method with a can of fat-free evaporated milk and 3 tablespoons of sweet ground chocolate (not cocoa) and it made a nice dessert.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lori.k

                You want to be very careful when you open the inner bag so the salt water won't get into your ice cream. I usually rinse the inner bag quickly in cold water before opening.

              2. I did the vanilla recipe on Serious Eats and it was delicious. Whats the worst that can happen? It turns out bad and you don't like it... Okay so you wasted some eggs cream sugar and flavoring.. none of which are too expensive.. maybe the vanilla, but still. I haven't tried the Leibowitz version yet.

                1. the best thing to do without an ice cram maker is a parfait or a semifreddo.

                  1. I've made one sweetening the heavy cream w/ fine granulated sugar, flavoring it w/ rum flavor, whipping it stiff, then folding in chopped pecans right before freezing. Yum!

                    I've also used a cup of naturally sweet fruit juice blend, chilled to just below freezing, put in a blender w/ frozen berries of one's choice, blended until smooth, and served immediately in dishes that have been chilled in the freezer to keep the mixture from melting. It is almost indistinguishable from sorbet, but not quite as hard.

                    I'll bet chocolate-flavor Nesquik powder whipped w/ heavy cream & frozen w/ or w/o a little orange liqueur would be outrageous.

                    An even simpler frozen treat is bananas cut into bite-sized chunks. tossed w/ just a bit of ground cardamom & frozen. I serve it in sherbet dishes w/ cocktail forks. Can be garnished w/ (pre-frozen) chocolate shavings, or an orange twist.

                    1. I've made ice cream in a food processor that has a really smooth and creamy texture:


                      It does require a bit of time and effort but you can freeze your mix in a zip-lock bag and use a food processor to break down the large ice crystals that form during freezing. Small ice crystals are extremely important for smooth and creamy texture!

                      Just make sure that you freeze the mix in the zip-lock bag for no longer than 4 hours. If you leave it in the freezer for longer than 4 hours, it will require more processing in the food processor to break it down. The more processing in the machine, the more air you will whip in and the fluffier it will get.

                      Hope that helps!

                      1. I make chocolate ice cream that's nothing more than cocoa mixed into sweetened condensed milk, then whipped cream folded in, then the lot frozen. It turns out really good.

                        I'd still like to get an ice cream maker at some point so I have a wider variety of recipes I can work with, but this one works so well that the machine can wait. :)

                        1. You can make ice cream using a food processor. Heating time is extremely important though and this recipe does involve a bit of work but it will make ice cream as smooth and creamy as that made in an ice cream machine.

                          Hope it helps.