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Cute little girl preparing homemade strawberry ice cream at the kitchen.
Courtesy of iStock

The tantalizing aroma of fresh-baked cookies or the sizzle of a steak cooking on the grill is two of life’s greatest food-related pleasures. But nothing beats a delicious scoop of creamy, rich ice cream. Unfortunately, not everyone has an ice cream maker lying around the house to prepare a fresh homemade batch. But don’t worry — there’s still hope of satisfying your craving! In this post, we’ll show you how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

No matter what type of ice cream you’re in the mood for — be it classic vanilla, decadent chocolate, or something more creative — you’re sure to find the perfect recipe here. We’ll also discuss the different methods you can use, so you can find one that suits your skill level and desired level of effort. So, grab your ingredients, and let’s get started!


Ice cream is a frozen dessert made from dairy products, sweeteners, flavoring agents, and other ingredients that are mixed together and cooled. There are many variations in flavor, texture, and consistency, but it is typically served cold and creamy.

Making ice cream at home has many benefits. Not only is it a great activity for the entire family, but it also allows you to customize flavors, adjust sweetness levels, add mix-ins, and control the quality of the ingredients used to make it. Plus, it’s often more affordable than buying pre-made ice cream.

Necessary ingredients

Dairy products

The base of homemade ice cream is typically dairy products such as milk, heavy cream, or a combination of both. For those looking to go dairy-free, coconut milk or soy milk can be used as substitutes for these creamy ingredients.


The most common sweeteners used in making ice cream include white or brown sugar, honey, sweetened condensed milk, maple syrup, and agave nectar. You can adjust the sweetness level by using more or less of any of these sweeteners. You can also elevate the flavor of the sweetness with a few drops of vanilla extract.


When making homemade ice cream, the sky's the limit when it comes to trying out different flavors. Extracts such as vanilla or almond can be added for more conventional takes on this cold dessert. Other flavors like chocolate or coffee and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg can add an unexpected depth of flavor. Fruit chunks or purees like raspberry or mango are popular choices for an extra kick of sweet, tangy flavor.

Miscellaneous add-ins

Adding mix-ins like nuts, candy pieces, marshmallows, chocolate chips, dried fruits, and more can take your homemade ice cream to the next level! Be sure to chop up larger items like nuts and dried fruit before adding them to the mixture, so they don't negatively impact your desired texture in the finished product.



Before getting started on your ice cream, it's important to prepare all your ingredients by measuring out exactly what you need and prepping them to be mixed together in a bowl. It's also important to have a container ready that you can use for freezing your ice cream once it's finished mixing. This could be anything from a shallow baking dish to an ice cube tray or even molds specifically designed for making homemade ice cream!

Mixing ingredients

Once all the ingredients have been prepared, it's time to mix them together in a large bowl until they are well blended; use a spatula or whisk to do this! After everything is blended together, pour the mixture into your chosen container and place it in your freezer until it begins to harden around the edges. About one to two hours should do the trick.


Now comes the fun part: removing your frozen mixture from its container and blending it! Scrape it into a chilled bowl and mix it using an electric mixer set on low speed until everything is evenly blended together. This should take about four to five minutes, depending on how hard your mixture has frozen. Once everything looks smooth and creamy, transfer it back into your original container and freeze overnight before serving!

Common mistakes and tips

Using too much sugar

It can be easy to go overboard with how much sugar you use when making homemade ice cream. Too much sugar will make it difficult for your mixture to freeze properly, so make sure you stick with just enough! Start with a half cup of sugar per quart (4 cups) of the liquid base, then adjust from there if necessary after tasting your final product.

Not adding air

When you're preparing your mixture make sure that you're fluffing up as much air as possible so that your finished product will have an even consistency without being too dense. This will also help make sure that nothing gets too solid during freezing!

Not freezing long enough

It's important not to rush through freezing when making ice cream. If you don't give it enough time in the freezer then it won't achieve its ideal consistency, resulting in something more akin to sorbet or soft serve than traditional ice cream. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time — at least 12 hours should do the trick!

Other important tips

When making homemade ice cream, always make sure that all utensils used are clean beforehand so there isn't any bacteria transfer between ingredients, as this could cause spoilage down the line. It's best practice not to double dip either when adding various flavors — this will help keep flavors from blending together too much!


Has the sweet aroma of fresh-churned ice cream tickled your senses yet? With the right ingredients and some patience, you can make delicious homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker. Whether you’re looking for a classic scoop of vanilla or a unique blend of flavors, homemade ice cream is the perfect warm-weather treat. Now that you know the basic process behind it, all that’s left is to get creative and start making your own amazing recipes. So go ahead and grab your ingredients, and let the summer fun begin!