Wondering how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker? It’s easier than you think! All you need are 2 ice cream base ingredients and 1 simple recipe for countless, delicious homemade ice cream possibilities.
Making homemade ice cream was something I never thought I’d do.
First, I don’t have an ice cream maker. And second, there’s 101 ice cream flavours out there already. Why make our own?
In my case, I was craving for very specific ice cream flavours like ube, cherry or strawberry that I couldn’t always find in-store, was ridiculously expensive, too sweet for my taste, or tasted extremely artificial (think: cough syrup).
So I googled how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker and never looked back. If I had known it was this easy, I would have started sooner!
Let’s get to it.
What is no-churn ice cream
No-churn ice cream simply means ice cream made without an ice cream machine. It also means you don’t need to bother with egg yolks and finicky custard, which a lot of churned ice cream recipes have.
No-churn ice cream has 2 basic ingredients: heavy cream whipped to medium-stiff peaks and condensed milk.
Whipping the cream introduces air and lightness into your ice cream mixture, much the same way churning in an ice cream machine does.
Sweetened condensed milk, on the other hand, results to smooth and creamy ice cream because of its high sugar content, which helps lower the mixture’s freezing point.
And since condensed milk is essentially milk that’s been cooked down with its water content drastically reduced, it helps reduce the formation of ice crystals in your ice cream as well.
How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker
Now that we’re done being all science-y, we can start making ice cream.
Like I mentioned, no-churn ice cream starts with heavy cream/whipped cream and condensed milk.
Then the world is your oyster! You can add whatever you want to make that perfect scoop of ice cream you’re craving for.
Add chocolate chips and cocoa powder for chocolate chip ice cream.
Or add bits of Reese’s chocolate and swirls of your favourite brand of peanut butter. Throw in some chopped peanuts while you’re at it.
Salted caramel sauce also makes a delicious ice cream flavour.
I like adding a pinch of salt to my ice cream recipes as well.
Instead of an ice cream maker, you’ll need an electric mixer when making no-churn ice cream. A stand mixer is ideal but a handheld electric mixer works too.
Other than that, all you’ll need are bowls, measuring cups and measuring spoons.
I’ve also invested in some nice ice cream tubs because I make ice cream so often but whatever freezer-safe container you have with a lid will work fine.
Vanilla ice cream is usually the jumping off point for many ice cream flavours. And it’s very easy to make.
1 COMBINE. In a large bowl, stir condensed milk, vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste until fully combined. Set aside.
2 WHIP. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using a handheld electric mixer, whip heavy cream to medium-stiff peaks.
3 LIGHTEN. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into your condensed milk and stir to lighten the mixture.
4 FOLD. Proceed to gradually fold the rest of your whipped cream into your condensed milk until smooth and fully incorporated.
5 CHILL. Transfer into a freezer-safe container, smoothen the top with a spatula, place plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream, and cover. Freeze overnight.
Tips and FAQs
Simple, right? Here are some tips and tricks to make the best homemade ice cream ever.
There’s really just one basic recipe you need to remember when making vanilla ice cream:
To make 1.5 quarts (or 1.4 litres) of ice cream, you need 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 10-oz (300-ml) can of condensed milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste (for those pretty vanilla specks) or vanilla extract.
If you’re adding flavouring and extracts, you’ll want to add that at the beginning, combined with the condensed milk. This gives you a chance to taste and adjust your recipe before adding anything else.
If you’re adding mix-ins like chocolate chips and nuts, you can fold it into your ice cream mixture at the last step, just before transferring the ice cream to a freezer-safe container.
Making ice cream without an ice cream machine takes no time at all.
Whipping your heavy cream, folding your ice cream mixture or condensed milk mixture, and adding your mix-ins should take 15 minutes max.
Waiting takes longer — I usually freeze my ice cream overnight (6-8 hours) — but is totally worth it.
To make whipping easier and quicker, make sure to chill your heavy cream, bowl and whisk at least 15 minutes before using.
Half & half can’t be substituted for heavy cream in no-churn ice cream recipes because it just doesn’t have enough fat content for whipping (10 to 18 percent).
You want heavy cream, which has 36 to 40 percent milk fat, because it results to firmer, more stable whipped cream with stiff peaks that hold their shape longer. This is what gives homemade ice cream that smooth texture and creamy taste.
In a pinch, you can use whipping cream (30 to 36 percent milk fat) but it will result to a lighter, softer texture.
To prevent your ice cream from getting freezer burn or forming ice crystals:
(1) Place a piece of plastic wrap (wax paper and parchment paper can work too) directly on the ice cream’s surface before placing the lid. This also helps prevent freezer smells from seeping into your ice cream.
(2) Make sure you use a freezer-safe container with a proper, tight-fitting lid.
It’s still safe to eat ice cream with a few ice crystals. It’s going to affect the texture and the taste though so you really want to protect it from air (its main enemy) and eat it within 2 weeks of making it.
Homemade ice cream lasts about 2 weeks in the freezer. Because it doesn’t have the same preservatives as store-bought ice cream, when it comes to homemade ice cream, the fresher the better.
Some tips to keep it fresh for longer:
– Cover the top with plastic wrap (see above)
– Store in a relatively shallow and flat container vs. a deep tub
– Store towards the back of your freezer so that its temperature can remain fairly constant
Homemade ice cream recipes
From this basic vanilla ice cream recipe, you can go crazy with the flavour combinations.
Explore and try the following:
- Homemade ube ice cream
- Lemon curd ice cream
- Blackberry lavender ice cream
- Roasted cherry choco chip ice cream
- Matcha ice cream
- Pistachio chocolate chip ice cream
- Bourbon peach ice cream
- Strawberry chocolate ice cream
- Coffee chocolate chip ice cream
As you can see, like store-bought ice cream, there 101 possibilities for your no-churn ice cream flavours too. Enjoy!
How to Make Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker
- Chill your bowl and whisk for at least 15 minutes in the fridge before using. While waiting, using a large bowl, stir 1 can condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla paste and a pinch of salt until fully combined. Set aside.
- When your bowl and whisk are properly chilled, whip 2 cups heavy cream to medium-stiff peaks.
- Spoon about ¼ cup of the whipped cream into your condensed milk and stir to lighten the mixture.
- Then proceed to gradually fold the rest of your whipped cream into your condensed milk until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Transfer into a freezer-safe container, smoothen the top with a spatula, place plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream, and cover. Freeze overnight.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Happy ice cream making!
Have you made ice cream without an ice cream maker? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.