5 Tips for Making Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

published Jul 22, 2015
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Just about every recipe for homemade ice cream calls for an ice cream maker, but what if you don’t have one?

Well, it certainly doesn’t mean that homemade ice cream is out of the question for you! You don’t actually need an ice cream maker to make a cool and creamy treat at home. Here are five ways to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

1. Homemade ice cream can be as simple as freezer bags, salt, and ice.

This method does have the potential to get a little messy, but that’s a small price to pay for soft and creamy homemade ice cream. One freezer bag gets filled with the ice cream base and placed inside a larger freezer bag with ice and salt. Shake those sealed bags around for about 10 minutes, and you’ve got homemade soft serve.

2. All it takes is a large bowl of ice and a hand mixer.

Slightly tidier than the freezer-bag method, this one nests a bowl with the ice cream base inside a bowl of ice cubes and rock salt to keep everything cold. Freeze and “churn” the ice cream by blending and aerating with a hand mixer.

3. It doesn’t get easier than one ingredient and a food processor.

So not exactly the real deal, but whipped frozen bananas can totally fulfill a need for homemade ice cream when you need a minimalist solution. Use the frozen bananas you keep stashed in the freezer to make this mock ice cream in a food processor.

4. Try the freeze-and-blend method with a food processor.

This method also uses a food processor, but in a much different way. Once the ice cream base has been frozen in a large freezer bag, it gets blended in a food processor and transformed into a smooth, creamy treat.

5. The simplest method of all uses just heavy cream and condensed milk.

Just two ingredients — that’s it. Use a mixer or a whisk to whip the cream, fold in sweetened condensed milk, and freeze. Really, that’s it. No mixing and no churning.