How to Make Your Own Ice Cream

Have you ever had a really bad craving for ice cream? Who hasn’t? You check your freezer. There are five ice cream containers, but they are all empty save the corners where the spoon couldn’t reach. Do you panic? Do you puree cauliflower and syrup and then freeze it? No! You just follow these simple steps and find yourself eating homemade ice cream in no time flat. If you have access to things like salt, ice, milk, and plastic bags, consider yourself in business.


  1. Mix 1/4 cup sugar, ½ cup milk, ½ cup whipping cream, and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla flavoring in a quart-sized plastic bag.
  2. Secure the plastic bag, making sure that it is sufficiently sealed. A Ziploc© type bag that seals and unseals works best.
  3. Take roughly two cups of ice (crushed if possible) and place it into the gallon-sized bag. Ideally, the gallon bag will be roughly half full with ice.
  4. Add ½ to ¾ cup of salt/rock salt/sodium choloride into the gallon-sized bag of ice. Most ice cream makers use rock salt, and it can be purchased in nearly any grocery store. It may be labeled as cubed sodium chloride, which is just a fancy way of saying rock salt.
  5. Take the quart-sized bag that is filled with the sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla and place it in the gallon-sized bag. MAKE SURE THE BAG IS STILL SEALED! Do not empty the contents of the smaller bag into the larger.
  6. Gently agitate the bags for about five minutes. It is important that you are mixing the contents of the inner bag, but you don’t want to be so aggressive that you burst the inner bag or cut it on the ice.
  7. Use a towel or an old t-shirt to hold the bags as you agitate them; they will be quite cold and might become slippery with accumulated condensation. Consider using gloves or agitating while holding onto the top seal if a towel or similar cloth is not available.
  8. Agitate for about 10-15 minutes—in this amount of time the contents of the quart (smaller) bag should start to turn into solid ice cream.
  9. Remove the smaller bag, open it up, and grab a couple of spoons! You are ready to eat some home-made ice cream. Making ice cream is so easy that you can even do it in a total brain freeze. Dig in!


  • If you can, use larger salt crystals (e.g. rock salt). Larger salt crystals take more time to dissolve in the water around the ice, which allows for even cooling of the ice cream.
  • If you prefer a lower calorie ice cream that is not as rich, use milk instead of heavy cream and artificial sweetener instead of sugar.
  • The described method will make a small amount of ice cream, about enough for two people to enjoy. Experimenting with other methods can allow you to make a larger quantity. Try using two coffee cans of different sizes instead of plastic bags.
  • One can now buy a ball that doubles as an ice cream maker, allowing you to make ice cream while playing catch.
  • Flavor combinations are almost limitless. Chocolate syrup is a basic option. Don’t be afraid to add your favorite fruits or nuts! Various flavor extracts that are available in your grocery store’s baking section can lead to more exotic variations. Try combining mint extract with chocolate, or adding small chocolate chips.
  • If you use blueberries, crush them first. Whole blueberries will become little rocks rather than mixing nicely with the ice cream.


  • The reaction between the salt and the ice will cause the bag to become extremely cold. Make sure not to handle the bag for extended periods of time with bare skin.
  • Homemade ice cream is so good and so fun to make that you might find yourself eating sundae and sundae, cone after cone.

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