Learning & Activities


How to Make Ice Cream in Six Easy Steps


How to Make Ice Cream in Six Easy Steps

Before you can say “summer vacation”, the kids will be home and the days will have become long, lazy, and hot! A surefire way to beat the heat this summer is to learn how to make ice cream. Home-made ice cream always tastes better than store-bought, and this homemade ice cream is no exception.

When you make ice cream yourself, you control what goes into the final product. You can make it super decadent, or low-fat and diet-friendly.  Add your favorite ingredients, fruit, and nuts, chocolate chips, flavored extracts, crushed-up cookies; the sky's the limit when you make it yourself. 

The best part about learning how to make ice cream is that it can be a family project, and the children can be involved from start to finish. It can go way beyond just scooping store-bought ice cream into bowls. When the weather is hot and sticky, and everyone is cranky and tired, there's nothing like fresh, cold, ice cream to cheer everyone up.

Variety of ice cream scoops in cones with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry

©Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.com

To go low-tech, gather the following supplies for a basic vanilla or chocolate ice cream:

  • 1 cup of milk or Half & Half (whole milk is the best option)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring or cocoa
  • 2 quarts of ice
  • 1 container of salt
  • 2 1-quart plastic bags (with a sealable top)
  • 1 gallon plastic bags (with a sealable top)

Follow these six steps to begin your ice cream making adventure:

Step 1: Mix the sugar, milk, vanilla, vanilla flavoring, or cocoa in a bowl, then put it in a quart-sized, zip-top bag. Be sure the bag is sealed well; double bagging is the best way to go to avoid spills and messes.

Step 2: Take about 2 quarts of ice, crushed if you have it, and put it in the gallon-sized zip-top bag. The bag should be about halfway full of ice.

Step 3: Add the salt to the gallon-sized bag. Most commercial ice cream makers use rock salt, which is easy to find in most grocery stores.

Step 4: Place the SEALED quart-sized bag with the milk mixture into the gallon-sized bag. Be sure the bags are sealed! Don’t empty the smaller bag into the larger one.

Step 5: Gently massage the bags for about fifteen minutes. It should take about that long for the mixture to turn to ice cream. Use a towel or old shirt to hold the bags as you’re massaging, they will become extremely cold and slippery.

Step 6: Take out the smaller bag, open it up, and serve up your ice cream!

A bowl of French vanilla ice cream with gourmet caramel butter toffee wafers


For those of you who are watching your weight, you can substitute low-fat milk for the whole and artificial sweetener for the sugar.  Making the substitutions will result in less rich and creamy ice cream, but it will still be delicious! Learning how to make ice cream is a great activity for a play date, scout group, or preschool.

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