You really can make ice cream without an ice cream machine. Skeptical? Read on to learn four easy ways to make rich and creamy homemade ice cream using kitchen items you already have.

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1. Use a Food Processor or Blender

strawberry ice cream topped with a mint leaf in a glass bowl
Credit: Kim's Cooking Now!

Try this recipe: Five-Minute Ice Cream

Here's what you'll need:

Directions:

With the food processor (this one has over 3,000 5-star reviews on Amazon) or blender running, slowly pour the cream over the pureed frozen fruit. The fruit quickly freezes the cream, making an almost instant ice cream dessert.

Variations:

2. Use a Mason Jar

Here's what you'll need:

  • Mason jar or other large glass canning jar with screw-on lid
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Flavorings and toppings of your choice

Directions:

  • Add cream, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt to the jar. Screw on the lid.
  • Shake until mixture has thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add flavorings such as jam, chocolate chips, mint, candy sprinkles, or cereal.
  • Freeze to firm up the mixture, about 2 hours.

3. Use a Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer

Folding flavored condensed milk into whipped cream
Credit: Erin Vasicek

Try this recipe: Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

Here's what you'll need:

Directions:

Sweetened condensed milk acts as the ice cream base, and keeps the mixture smooth and creamy when you fold it into whipped cream and freeze it. Here's how to do it. Click on the recipe for ingredient amounts (there are only 3, plus optional nuts).

  1. In a large bowl add sweetened condensed milk (and any liquid/powdered flavoring).
  2. In another large bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  3. Using a spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream until fully combined. (Fold in any solids, such as nuts.)
  4. Pour mixture into a 9x5 loaf pan lined with foil or plastic wrap. Cover and freeze until firm, about 6 hours.

4. Use a Plastic Bag

This hands-on method is especially fun for kids, and it teaches them some cool science at the same time. Salt lowers the freezing point of the ice and creates an extra-cold brine that absorbs heat from the cream mixture, causing it to freeze. The consistency will come out as soft serve, but you can put it in the freezer to firm it up if you wish.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or whatever flavoring you choose)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh strawberries (or other fruit)
  • ¼ cup kosher or rock salt
  • 4 cups ice cubes, crushed
  • Quart-size resealable plastic bag
  • Gallon-size resealable plastic bag
  • Towel

Directions:

  1. Combine half-and-half, sugar, vanilla extract, and strawberries in a quart-size resealable bag. Press the air out of the bag, seal, and shake bag to combine ingredients.
  2. Fill the gallon-size plastic bag with crushed ice. Pour salt into the bag. Close the bag and shake it up.
  3. Place the quart-size bag inside the gallon-size bag and seal.
  4. Protecting your hands with a towel, shake the bag for about 10 minutes. Remove the quart-size bag, rinse it off to remove any salt water. Scoop ice cream out of the bag and serve!

Related: Discover how easy it is to make delicious homemade ice cream.