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Homemade Ice Cream Recipes (Without Maker Needed)

If you do not own an ice cream maker, but want the taste of fresh homemade ice cream, never fear. Sorbets and frozen yogurt can be made easily in the freezer as described in this hub, but it takes several hours to freeze properly. Ice cream requires a little more active participation, but you can enjoy it, fresh and cold, in only 5 minutes!

There are two methods of making ice cream without an ice cream maker that work particularly well, and are fun for kids to participate in, as well. They both require a basic recipe:


Homemade Ice Cream Recipe


  • ½ cup milk or half and half
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp rock salt
  • ice cubes


  • For chocolate ice cream, add 2 tsp cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp sugar.
  • For coffee ice cream, add 1 ½ tsp instant coffee and 1 tsp sugar.
  • For mocha ice cream, add ½ tsp instant coffee and 1 tsp cocoa powder and 1 tsp sugar.
  • For low-fat ice cream, use 1% or 2% milk or low-fat half and half.
  • For sugar-free ice cream, substitute white sugar substitute, such as Splenda.

Using these ingredients, there are two methods for making ice cream, both of which require nothing more than a few household items. Both methods are kid-friendly, especially the can method, which works particularly well for two small children who can sit on the floor and roll the can back and forth between them, though the bag method takes more exertion and less time.

Bag Method


  • 1 pint-sized zippered plastic bag
  • 1 gallon-sized zippered plastic bag


Fill the larger bag half full with ice cubes and add the rock salt. Zip closed and shake briefly to distribute salt evenly. Add milk, sugar, and vanilla to smaller bag and seal, then place inside larger bag and zip that one closed as well. Shake vigorously 5 minutes, or until mixture reaches ice cream consistency. Remove smaller bag, wipe off, and enjoy!

Can Method


  • pint-sized metal can with lid
  • gallon-sized metal can with lid


Add milk, sugar, and vanilla to smaller can, seal the top, and place in the center of the larger can. Distribute ice around smaller can, then sprinkle rock salt over ice. Seal larger can, then roll across the floor for about 30 minutes, until mixture in inner can is ice cream consistency. Inner can doubles as convenient storage for left-over ice cream-not that there will be any!


Michelle on June 01, 2015:

I have tried to make this twice and it never turns to ice cream, I don't know what I am doing wrong.

Marija Arsic from Serbia on May 12, 2015:

Delicious..I just need it to be milk-free...I know, very difficult isn`t it?

Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2012:

I love ice cream, way too much. I should not even be reading this. Far too dangerous to consider making it at home.

Betty on April 06, 2012:

this was an awesome ice cream. Every one loved it and they wanted more

bub on February 03, 2012:

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it was fun making this ice cream

thanks for making ice cream easier

hu;lo;l on December 05, 2011:

fun i enjoyed making it its dilishous

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on October 11, 2011:

Yes, i can also see this being quite fun-- even for teens, who are a littl harder to entertain, but always like ice cream. Thanks , Maddie.

Sondra from Neverland on October 11, 2011:

I CANNOT wait to try this with the kiddies!! They love cooking and anything else to do with the kitchen so mix the kitchen and ice cream and it's a for sure crowd pleaser for my house. Thanks for sharing :)

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on October 11, 2011:

Oh! Thanks, Rochelle. I was very confused. @Les, that is a link to a Hub containing links to many of my recipes, including some fat-free, some low-fat, and some sugar-free. I'm sorry for the confusion.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on October 11, 2011:

That was probably a reference to the link right above your ice cream picture.

" * Free Recipe Database - Fat-Free, Sugar-Free, Low-Fat"

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on October 11, 2011:

I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say "your google site." The recipes on this page are obviously not sugar-free, and nothing in the title or summary of the page implies that they are.

Les Hendrickson on October 11, 2011:

Your google site says sugar free and.all your recipes call for sugar. What's up widest?

Andria on September 19, 2011:

Yes, you can use rock salt. Half and half means half milk, half cream.

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on September 10, 2011:

The salt doesn't go into the ice cream itself, it is used in the *making* of the the ice cream.

icecreamluver on September 09, 2011:

why so much salt and so little milk? :(

Sarah Cummings on May 05, 2011:

can you substitute rock salt for regular salt?

rana on March 29, 2011:

It is a very good idea since i like ice cream very very much also this way can help mothers that don't trust the ice cream in the shops

Beth on March 12, 2011:

You know were it says "½ cup milk or half and half"

Half and half of what?

CupCakes on November 12, 2010:

Mmm that sounds simple, easy, and very delicious to eat. Thank you for the recipe.

Ingrid on December 16, 2009:

This sounds so simple and easy, everyone should try it. Thanks!

Jennifer from Canada on August 08, 2009:

mmm I love ice cream. I never made homemade ice cream before. I bet it is good! Maybe I will tackle this recipe someday!

sabrina on June 17, 2009:

this is the way an elementary school had us make it and it was so much fun. ithink this would be great for infants learning to crawl too, it wouldgive them something to go after that would soud like a really big rattle!!

Lulu on April 06, 2009:

What a great way to make ice cream without an ice cream maker! Can't wait to try it this summer! Thanks! :)

shyam on February 23, 2009:


Cavyl on May 11, 2008:

I love ice cream! it's my only vice especially now that summer is almost here. I don't have an ice cream maker at the moment, but I intend to get one soon.

debby28 from WASHINGTON on April 19, 2008:

Sounds very good , we love ice cream

Joanie Ruppel from Texas on February 28, 2008:

We haven't had the ice cream maker out for a couple of years. It sounds like it's time to dust it off and sell it in a garage sale. One reason we didn't get it out is that we were always just making vanilla. This approach won't take up room in the garage.

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on February 27, 2008:

also I have done it a large coffee can and had the kids roll it back and forth for about an 1/2 an hour or so.. G-Ma :o)

Karen and Lesley from United Kingdom on February 23, 2008:

That looks delicious Maddy anyway I would just like to say that we have also made chocolate peppermint ice cream in a food blender - only stipulation is that you have to have a strong motor in the blender because you are using ice cubes and a weak motor would only break the blades.

But seriously you can throw everything into the blender, switch on and in 3mins you have ice cream ready to eat and it is delicious too.

flyingeagle on February 20, 2008:

Hey, I never knew you could make ice cream like that. I bought an ice cream maker several years ago and never used it as it's too big for our freezer.

jimmurdoch on February 20, 2008:

I love this idea - because I love ice cream.

manpreet on February 20, 2008:

really nice dear god bless u

Blogger Mom from Northeast, US on February 19, 2008:

Thanks for writing this! I love the idea of the bag method, and I will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing your great ideas. =)

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