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Easy Homemade Ice Cream and Other Frozen Treats

easy homemade ice cream

Ice cream is one of the simple pleasures of summer. Vanilla or flavored, in a cup or a cone, with sprinkles or without – on a hot day, nothing cools you down and lifts you up like a frozen dessert.

And while it’s never too hard to get your hands on ice cream when a craving strikes, whether it’s from a favorite local shop or franchise, stocking up at the grocery store or answering the song of a neighborhood truck, you’ll have a lot of fun trying out these easy homemade ice cream recipes. No ice cream machine or special tools required!

When you make your own ice cream you can use the freshest ingredients of the season straight from the farmers market or get creative with whatever you have on hand. Best of all, you can have all the free samples your heart desires.

Easy Ice Cream Recipes

Since vanilla is used as a base for many other flavors, it’s the best place to start. Try this easy homemade ice cream from Taste of Home. If you want more of a frozen custard-style ice cream, go for an egg-based recipe, like this one by David Lebovitz. And if you can’t resist a good scoop of chocolate, well, we’re right there with you. When’s dessert?

If You Have an Ice Cream Machine

One of the most popular ice cream machines on the market is the 1- to 2-quart frozen yogurt, ice cream and sorbet makers by Cuisinart. It is affordable, fully automatic and super user-friendly. All you have to do is freeze the freezer bowl, add your ingredients and press a button to start the churning.

A good tip is to freeze the freezer bowl at least a day ahead. Some recipes or manuals may say that you only need several hours, but if you want to ensure that it’s cold enough to freeze your ice cream, the longer it stays in the freezer the better.

Before you make your own ice cream, avoid these five common mistakes.

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Without a Machine

No ice cream maker? No problem! If you want to dip your toe into ice cream making before diving in, there are plenty of methods you can try that won’t cost you much more than the ingredients.


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Mason Jar Ice Cream

The latest ice cream craze to hit the internet is Mason jar ice cream. The New York Times has a recipe for basic vanilla and a few other delicious-sounding flavors that come together in a literal shake, plus there’s the cool illustration above to help you along.

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Food Processor

Not everyone has an ice cream maker in their kitchen, but a lot of people do have a food processor. Bring out the old slicer and dicer for something a bit sweeter and smoother. As explained here, making ice cream in a food processor starts with freezing your base in a zip-close bag, then blending to a smooth consistency.

Nice Cream

Keep out the food processor for nice cream – a healthier, vegan and dairy-free alternative to traditional ice cream. A one-ingredient marvel at its most basic, a frozen ripe banana is all you need to blend up the perfect treat. Add peanut butter or cocoa powder if you’d like. If not the star, a frozen banana is still used as the base for other fruit flavors like strawberry or mango, which also require a splash of regular or non-dairy milk to smooth it out.

Plastic Bag Method

Add all your ingredients to a small plastic bag, place it inside of larger plastic bag filled with ice and get shaking!


If a refreshing Italian ice or Del’s Lemonade is more your style, you’ll love granita. Whether made from coffee, lemon or fresh fruit puree, it’s an excellent palate cleanser after a meal. After freezing, simply scrape with a fork for a coarse icy texture that’s like a snow cone. The Kitchn has a great tutorial on how to make granita out of any fruit.

And that’s how easy homemade ice cream can be. Serve in a waffle cone, with a warm slice of your favorite pie or as a sundae with all your favorite toppings and a cherry on top.

Find all the things you’ll need to make ice cream at home below in our curated shopping list.

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Have you ever tried to make your own ice cream? Tell us your favorite flavor in the comments.


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5 Thoughts on “Easy Homemade Ice Cream and Other Frozen Treats

  1. Before I retired, I worked on a mental health unit in a hospital with geriatric patients. We did the the plastic bag method as an activity with them and they loved it! Everyone’s ice cream turned out great and it was truly delicious. Our patients kept asking to do it again and again.

  2. For another frosty dessert to beat the heat, try this super-fast (and delicious) sorbet. Keep a bag of fruit chunks in your freezer (chunks should be about 1″ square). When the craving hits, put a handful of the fruit chunks in a blender or food processor and pulse for at least 30 seconds, until the fruit is pureed. Add 2 tablespoons of fruit juice or coconut milk, and stir well. That’s it! You can also use a couple of tablespoons of milk instead of the juice for a creamy texture. For a more adult treat, add 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur, or one tablespoon juice and one tablespoon liqueur. So easy, so delicious and low calorie to boot…you can’t beat this!

  3. Zoku has a nice device for making single serve ice cream very fast. Just put in the ingredients and stir for about 5 minutes and you have ice cream flavored as you like. They also have a mold for quickly making popsicles.

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