Homemade ice cream is a classic summertime treat. From the days of hand-cranked churns to sleek modern ice cream makers and Kitchen Aid mixer attachments, homemade ice cream is made basically the same way: make a custard base of eggs, heavy cream, milk and sugar, then freeze it in the ice cream maker of your choice according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Sometimes rock salt is involved, sometimes not. But the base is the same and churning is essential to get creamy, dense homemade ice cream. Until now!
Welcome to the world of no-churn ice cream! This innovative way of making ice cream is ideal for people with limited kitchen storage space or who just don’t want to deal with the often-tricky process of cooking eggs into a custard without ending up with scrambled eggs. It’s almost ridiculously simple. The only tools required are an electric mixer (stand or hand held), 2 large bowls, a rubber spatula and a loaf pan or other glass or metal container that can hold about 8 cups comfortably.
The ingredient base for every no-churn ice cream recipe is the same: a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk!) and 2 cups heavy whipping cream. That’s it. The method couldn’t be easier. All you do is put the sweetened condensed milk in one bowl, mixing in combinations of vanilla, cocoa powder, mashed strawberries or other finely smashed fruit, sea salt, fruit or peppermint extracts, food coloring, cinnamon oil, peanut butter, citrus juice and zest, liqueurs or even browned butter. That sets your flavor base.
Once you have your homemade ice cream base ready in one large bowl, pour your heavy cream into another bowl. It’s not critical, but you will have better and faster results whipping the cream if you use a metal or glass bowl and chill your bowl and beaters for 30 minutes before starting, especially if your kitchen is exceptionally warm. Whip the cream into stiff peaks. That means that, when you pull the beaters out of the bowl, the cream will stand up on its own.
Take a big spoonful of the whipped cream and stir it into your condensed milk base to lighten the base. Using a rubber or silicone spatula, carefully fold the remaining whipped cream into the lightened base, taking care not to mix it hard enough to deflate the whipped cream.
Now comes the fun part! Get creative with mix-ins for your homemade ice cream: candy, crumbled cookies, chocolate chips or chunks, toffee bits, caramel pieces, toasted nuts, cinnamon chips, diced fruit, coconut, crushed pretzels, crumbled graham crackers, mini marshmallows, colored sprinkles, crumbled bacon, crumbled waffle cones, fruit purees and syrups (swirl them through for a pretty look!), even cereal like Cocoa Pebbles or Fruity Pebbles. Whatever your heart desires, you can add it in at this stage.
Get the whole family in on the fun with personalized flavors. Start with a vanilla or chocolate base, and instead of freezing the ice cream in one batch, portion it into smaller freezer-safe containers and let everyone mix in what they like. No more squabbling about what ice cream to buy! Bonus: eat it straight from the container!
Some great combinations to consider trying:
- Peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chunks (add bananas too!)
- Crumbled Oreos in a mint ice cream base
- Cinnamon chips and toffee bits in a vanilla base with a large pinch of kosher salt added
- Pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts
- Fresh strawberries and chocolate chips in a vanilla base
- Swirls of raspberry or blackberry syrup and chocolate syrup in a vanilla base
Once you have the mix-ins mixed in, pour your finished masterpiece into a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. If the pan doesn’t have a lid, cover it well with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. For easier scooping, let the ice cream stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
That’s it! You’ve got creamy, rich homemade ice cream without having to freeze a huge bowl or mixer attachment ahead of time, no rock salt required and no hand churning. No churn ice cream may not be the best thing since sliced bread, but we think it’s pretty cool! Yes, there are more excellent ice creams than ever available at any decent supermarket, but it’s fun to make your own too and now it’s easier than ever.