How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

7 years ago

I used to be one of those people who refused to buy an ice cream maker. Why do I need one? I'd ask myself. There's plenty of perfectly good ice cream out there to buy, and I'd probably only use it once a year. That's certainly true, but at a point about two years ago, I finally saw a recipe that made me cave. Next thing I knew, I was the owner of a mid-level Cuisinart machine.

But if I had known I didn't really need a machine to make ice cream at home, I might have forgone the purchase. It's certainly true that I don't eat ice cream that often, and the appliance might very well be the least-used one in my kitchen. But I was laboring under the impression that if I ever wanted to make ice cream at home, I had to have it. There was no real alternative.

Not so, say plenty of food bloggers out there. How good can homemade ice cream be without any kind of ice cream maker (whether that's a hand-crank variety, or a fancy electric kind)? Well, according to Ashley of Not Without Salt, pretty damn utopian:

I know many of you don’t have an ice cream maker and you shouldn’t be denied the pleasure of devouring delicious frozen desserts. And I do believe that once you have a taste you won’t miss the ice cream maker you don’t have, instead, you will be whisked away into a dream where sun shines on berries bigger than butterflies and fluffy little bunnies dance in the grass where you lay, begging you for a taste of your ice cream.

Ashley's post includes recipes for Raspberry, Honey and Black Tea Sorbet and Basil Peach Ice Cream, both of which sound heavenly.

Jules Clancy of Stone Soup owns an ice cream maker, but didn't use it for her five-ingredient Creamy Lemon Ice Cream recipe:

And the brilliant news is that I’ve unlocked the secrets to making ice cream at home with just a simple whisk and your home freezer. And not only does it not need special equipment, it also isn’t based on an egg custard like most ice cream recipes. So the prep work is even more simple still.

D of Chef In You decided to make her very first batch of ice cream despite not having an ice cream maker at home. Her theory? The process would work just fine.

To test the theory out, my first ever try was this Mango and Coconut Ice cream from the Indian Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Every summer, when the markets are bursting with the sight and smell of mangoes, I make this! This is your solution to buying the store bought ice cream containers. Nothing beats the feeling when you know exactly what ingredients have gone into a dish and how fresh the fruits were.

Mari of The Kitchen Wizard doesn't own an ice cream maker, but does own a food processor, which she puts to use when making her homemade Green Team Ice Cream.

The beauty of making ice cream at home is that you can control what goes in to the ice cream, not just the quality but also change the amount of sugar and flavorings to suit your taste. You can also control the quantity, so that you can always eat freshly made ice cream. It helps with your portion control too! No more half gallon container of ice cream that takes up half of the freezer for several months with lots of ice crystals inside.

Making ice cream without a machine can also be a fun summer science project for kids who need something to do around the house. The lesson in thermodynamics includes the explanation of how it works, which would be perfect to discuss while eating the individually-frozen-by-hand servings after 15 minutes of kneading!

Here are some more ideas for ice cream without a machine:

Have you tried making homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker before? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories. She is also the Food Section Editor for BlogHer.

Image Credit: Photo by KSDigital on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license