Homemade ice cream recipes

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Scoops of ice cream
A summertime treat for many families, ice cream can be made by churning your cream in a homemade ice cream cylinder
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Here are some fun and tasty homemade ice cream recipes.

Few things say summer like homemade ice cream. What used to be a great deal of work through chopping ice, measuring rock-salt and cranking the handle, has been simplified by electric ice cream makers and those with freezable cylinders. Without a little labor, homemade ice cream may seem just a bit too easy.

The recipes that follow allow for a choice of appliances and methods, including one that requires you to dress for the operation. 

Churning Ice Cream

What's the churning all about, anyway? Why can't you just let the stuff freeze? Well, you can, but when you do, it becomes a large, flavored, chip-awayable ice-cube that nobody wants to eat.

Churning does three things to an ice cream mixture:

  1. Churning breaks up the large ice crystals that would form.
  2. Given the different densities of the ingredients, leaving it alone would also result in some separation as different ingredients froze at different rates. Churning keeps mixing the ingredients together.
  3. Churning incorporates a certain amount of air into the ice cream, preventing the flavored-ice-cube problem. If you doubt the air issue, take half-gallon cartons of the most and least expensive ice creams out of a supermarket freezer. Both are marked half gallon. The more expensive ice cream is likely to be heavier than the inexpensive one. That's air, and it's why some half gallons just seem to go farther than others.

What You Need

Enough about supermarket ice cream and on to making your own. For the first two recipes you need some kind of ice cream freezer, electric or hand-powered, employing ice and salt or a freezable cylinder. Ice cream freezers are sometimes available in stores, though in some places only seasonally. Catalogs tend to make them available year round and in your area may be the only way to obtain an old-fashioned hand-cranked one.

Speaking of old-fashioned, a number of heirloom recipes call for raw eggs as part of the ingredients. Given the dangers of salmonella, do not use raw eggs.

Eggless Ice Cream


2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups light or heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla


  1. Combine the ingredients, stirring until the sugar dissolves to prevent crystal formation.
  2. Put into a one-gallon freezer can and follow the manufacturer's directions.


Frozen Custard

This is a richer-tasting ice cream.


6 eggs
2 c milk
cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla


  1. In a saucepan, beat together the eggs, milk, sugar and salt.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring steadily until the mixture thickens and coats a spoon with a film.
  3. Set the pan in a bowl of ice cubes to cool them quickly and refrigerate it.
  4. Combine the custard, cream and vanilla in a tub, place it in a one-gallon ice cream freezer and follow the manufacturer's directions.

A variation: As many of you can imagine, try adding any of the following items to your ice cream: chocolate mini-chips (6-8 oz.); 1-2 cups of seasonal fruit (peaches and strawberries seem to lead the way in most recipes, with plums, cherries and bananas following; crush the fruit before adding it); crushed toffee bars, chopped nuts or melted unsweetened chocolate (2-3 squares).

Really Homemade Ice Cream


1-lb coffee can and a 3-lb. coffee can 
Crushed ice and kosher salt (6 measures of ice to one of salt)
Aluminum foil
Plastic wrap
Freezer or masking tape
Several children or one very enthusiastic one with an adult partner
Mittens for each participant
Hallway, kitchen floor, flat piece of grass, outdoor walkway

More conventional ingredients:

1 small package instant pudding, any flavor
1 cup milk
2 cups light or heavy cream
Additions: mini-chips, crushed fruit, finely-chopped candy-bars, chopped nuts, up to one cup total.


  1. Mix the pudding, milk, cream and additions and pour them into small coffee can.
  2. Cover the top of the can with foil and plastic wrap. Tape it down securely. Add the plastic can lid and more tape.
  3. Put two cups of crushed ice and one-third cup salt in the bottom of the large can. Insert the small can into the large one and pack ice and salt around the ice cream can.
  4. Cover the top with foil, plastic wrap, tape and the can lid.
  5. Put on mittens. Roll the can on your selected floor back and forth for 15 minutes.
  6. Set it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  7. Resume rolling for another 15 minutes.
  8. Freeze for one hour before you eat.
  9. Move assembled cans to the refrigerator shelf for 30 minutes.
  10. Disassemble it carefully. You don't want salt in your ice cream.
  11. Stir it.
  12. Explain to your neighbors about the hysterical laughter and crawling around. And next time make enough that they can have some, too.

This recipe improves considerably on an early-childhood teacher's recipe. The pudding was added by a very economical neighbor. No matter how silly the whole thing is, it makes good ice cream, and it's a lot more fun than cranking.

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