How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker

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I make a lot of ice cream, that is obvious, but have you ever wondered what I do with all of the ice cream I make?  Eat it, you say?  Not all of it, unless I want to gain 50 pounds.  An entire quart of ice cream made every week is too much for just my husband and I, so I give it away.  And I am lucky enough to receive a lot of great feedback and compliments.  Among those accolades, I often here comments such as “I wish I could make ice cream myself, but I don’t have an ice cream maker,” which are followed by my comment, “Yes you can!” as I launch into a discussion of making ice cream.

make ice cream without an ice cream maker

Given that many of you who read this blog may not own an ice cream maker of your own, the time has come to share some helpful information about making ice cream without an ice cream maker.  Before I start, let me say that if you are interested in making ice cream on a regular basis, I would still recommend purchasing an ice cream machine.  As far as kitchen gadgets go, ice cream makers are relatively cheap these days.  A Cuisinart® Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker Model ICE-20 will run you about $50. Well worth it.

make ice cream without an ice cream maker 2

But if you do not want to spend the money or make ice cream regularly, you will find that it is not that difficult to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

Steps for making ice cream without an ice cream maker:

1) Prepare ice cream base and thoroughly chill.  Today I made Sinful Chocolate Ice Cream.  A simple yet delicious Vanilla Bean Ice Cream would also be a good starter recipe.

2) Pour ice cream base into a shallow freezer safe dish.  I used a small Pyrex dish.

3) Place ice cream base in the freezer for approximately 45 minutes.  Remove from freezer and use a spatula to pull ice cream away from the sides of the dish.  At this point you have two options – 1) whisk ice cream vigorously, or 2) use a hand mixer or stick/immersion blender.  I used the later.  Mixing is essential for breaking up ice crystals and adding air to the mixture (which will make the ice cream fluffy and creamy).

**Side Note: Bases that are higher in fat will result in a creamier ice cream.  I have only used this technique to make ice cream, not sorbet.  I imagine the technique would still work with sorbet, but I would suggest reducing the time between churning to 20 minutes to avoid overfreezing. 

4) Return ice cream base to freezer again for 45 minutes.  Remove from freezer and mix again.  Continue freezing at 30 to 45 minute intervals until ice cream base is thick and becomes difficult to mix (about the consistency of soft serve ice cream).  The whole process will probably take 2 to 3 hours to complete.

5) Freeze completed base for 2 to 4 hours, or until firm.  Enjoy!

Here are some additional references:

David Lebovitz – How to make ice cream without a machine

The Food Lab: Real Ice Cream without an ice cream machine


  1. says

    I am so glad I found your post on foodgawker! I have been wanting to make my own homemade ice cream for a long time. The only thing keeping me from doing it was a machine. Can't wait to try this out. This is a great post!

  2. says

    I LOVE making my own ice cream at home and I also don;t have an ice cream maker! That said, decent recipes for churning ice cream without a machine are few and far between. Thanks for sharing this one ;0)

  3. says

    This is amazing!! Thank you so much for putting this post together, I can't wait to try it!! :)

    And I still don't know how you resist eating all of that deliciousness in your freezer! That is some serious willpower my friend.


  4. says

    Seriously? Why have you made it sound so easy? Now my husband is going to expect me to make some homemade ice cream! Must say though, this is the best recipe I've seen in awhile for it so going to have to give it a try. Thinking I'll just put it into ice cream containers so he doesn't know I made it myself.

    Thanks for the great recipe!


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