Freezer Week

Is the 2-Ingredient Trader Joe’s Ice Cream Hack Actually Good? I Tried It to Find Out.

published Aug 13, 2020
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Credit: Kelli Foster

The internet is filled with hacks for making recipes easier and faster, and with fewer ingredients. Ice cream is no exception. I love ice cream and enjoy the process of making it from scratch, but when I saw a hack for making blueberry ice cream with just two ingredients, I couldn’t resist giving it a try. Here’s how it went and what I thought about the results.

Credit: Kelli Foster

How to Make 2-Ingredient “Ice Cream”

This “ice cream” hack was popularized by Trader Joe’s List, a Trader Joe’s fan account with over a million followers, but iterations of the recipe have been around for much longer. Some commenters claim they’ve been making it for years — even since the ’70s!

The ice cream comes together with just two ingredients: 1 cup frozen blueberries (the original recipe uses Trader Joes’ wild frozen blueberries) and your choice of milk. All you do is add the blueberries to a glass and then cover them with milk. Stir it all up, let sit for a minute or two, then stir again, and you’ve got a slushy “ice cream” treat.

My Honest Review of 2-Ingredient “Ice Cream”

To call this two-ingredient treat “ice cream” is a real stretch in my book. It has a slushy frozen texture, but tastes nothing like ice cream or even nice cream. The “ice cream” doesn’t actually pick up any flavor from the berries or any sweetness, and simply tastes like partially frozen milk with chewy, once-frozen blueberries. Frankly, I didn’t find it at all enjoyable and thought it was a waste of ingredients.

On my first try, I used low-fat oat milk because it’s what I had in the fridge (and oat milk is also what’s used in the original recipe), and the taste was thin, watery, and bland. Fat is a key component of good ice cream, so I thought working more fat into the equation might help matters. So, I tried several more iterations of the “ice cream” using whole milk, half-and-half, and a mix of whole milk and heavy cream. The added richness was a delight, but unfortunately not enough to make this a worthwhile dessert.

Credit: Kelli Foster

A Few Tips for Making 2-Ingredient “Ice Cream” at Home

If you’re still curious, though, and want to try this out for yourself, here are a few tips that will help you when you head into the kitchen.

  1. Start with any amount of berries. The instructions indicate using 1 cup of frozen blueberries, but you can actually start with any amount. Just be sure to cover the berries completely with milk.
  2. Choose a milk product with a high fat percentage. This lends a rich creaminess that’s closer to what you might expect from actual ice cream.
  3. Be patient. Trader Joe’s List actually posted a follow-up video where she emphasizes that the key to the best “ice cream” is patience and stirring. If you rush the process, the ingredients don’t have time to meld into a slushy or “ice cream”-like texture.
  4. Add some mix-ins. Many of the Trader Joe’s fans who enjoy this ice cream have mentioned that they add a few ingredients, including yogurt, a sweetener, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and, my personal favorite, a scoop of peanut butter. Adding more flavor in the form of mix-ins would definitely improve this ice cream.

Your turn: Have you tried making 2-ingredient ice cream at home? Let us know in the comments!