Homemade ice cream in a glass dish

HOW TO MAKE ICE CREAM

Your seasonal ice cream shop isn’t the only place you can find rich and creamy frozen desserts. Learn how to make ice cream at home and you can enjoy your favorite flavors on demand all year long. There are many ways to make homemade ice cream, some high-tech and some nearly by hand. Find out the best way to make ice cream in your kitchen to get started.

HOW TO MAKE ICE CREAM WITH, AND WITHOUT A MACHINE

Whether your kitchen is fully stocked, or you’re just getting started, you probably already have what you need on hand to whip up a delicious and refreshing batch of homemade ice cream. You might need to use a bit more muscle if you’re going the low-tech route, but the reward will be just as sweet.

Once you’ve mixed your liquid ice cream base, follow the best homemade ice cream method for you below.

USE AN ICE CREAM MAKER MACHINE

The easiest way to make ice cream is with an ice cream machine that aerates, churns and freezes your mixture for you. If you have a KitchenAid® stand mixer, you can use it to first whisk your ice cream base, then add the Ice Cream Maker attachment1 to your stand mixer. Using the Ice Cream Maker attachment lets you churn up to 2 quarts of homemade ice cream in under 30 minutes as long as you place the bowl in the freezer 24 hours ahead of time. 

While this can be a fast and easy method for making ice cream, it requires a bit of planning ahead to make sure the freeze bowl or ice cream inserts are fully frozen before you start. One way to ensure you’re ready for whenever ice cream inspiration strikes is to store your freeze bowl in the freezer when not in use. Learn more about how to use the KitchenAid® Ice cream maker attachment.

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PLASTIC BAG ICE CREAM METHOD

If a craving for ice cream hits more spontaneously, try this low-tech method. Seal your ice cream mixture into a quart-sized freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Place the bag in a gallon-sized freezer bag filled with crushed ice plus a tablespoon of kosher salt per cup of ice. Shake the bag vigorously for 7-10 minutes until the mixture freezes.

SIMPLY FREEZE AND STIR

Another method for making homemade ice cream is to simply pour your ice cream base into an airtight container and place it in the freezer. To break up ice crystals, you’ll need to take it out and stir every 30 minutes or so until frozen solid, which can take 2-3 hours. You can cut some labor from this process by using a hand mixer or immersion blender to do the mixing for you.

BLENDER OR FOOD PROCESSOR ICE CREAM

Mix your ice cream base in the appliance of your choice. Then seal your mixture inside a freezer bag and lay flat in the freezer. Once frozen, break it up into chunks and blend or process in the appliance of your choice. A blender can usually create smoother results than a food processor. Select KitchenAid® blenders feature a special Ice Crush or Icy Drinks setting that can help process tough ingredients like ice. 

You can also simply pour the mixture into an airtight container and freeze, but you might have a slightly less smooth texture if you skip the post-freeze blending.

Learn how to make ice cream with a blender or food processor from start to finish with our guides.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE ICE CREAM: INGREDIENTS

Ice cream recipes can vary widely from traditional to custard to dairy-free, vegan varieties. For most dairy-based ice cream, you’ll find a fairly similar list of ingredients. You can customize and tweak a basic ice cream recipe to fit your personal taste or dietary needs. Once you get started though, you’ll find it hard to stop dreaming up new flavor combinations.

COMMON ICE CREAM RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

  • Heavy whipping cream

  • Whole milk

  • Egg yolks

  • Sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup or other sweetener

  • Vanilla extract or whole beans

  • Add-ins: chocolate chunks, fruit or jam, toasted coconut, herbs or nearly anything else you desire

HOW TO MAKE ICE CREAM: 3 STEPS

Before getting started, prepare whatever supplies you need for your chosen method. If you choose an ice cream maker or the KitchenAid® attachment, make sure to freeze and chill parts per your owner’s manual. For the KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker attachment, we recommend freezing the bowl for 24 hours before use. Leave the freeze bowl in the freezer until you have completed step 1.

STEP 1: MIX YOUR ICE CREAM BATTER

When mixing your base, some recipes require heat to dissolve, combine and thicken ingredients. Others can simply be mixed straight from the fridge or cupboard. Either way, you’ll want to whisk when mixing in order to slightly aerate the ice cream base before freezing. You can do this by hand or use a stand mixer with the wire whisk, a hand mixer, a blender or even a food processor.

STEP 2: FREEZE AND CHURN THE ICE CREAM

Churning ice cream helps incorporate air and break up ice crystals as the mixture freezes. This is what gives ice cream the rich and smooth texture you expect. While you can periodically stir your ice cream mixture as it freezes in an airtight container, using an ice cream machine or the Ice Cream Maker attachment continuously stirs while the mixture freezes. This can help achieve even creamier, smoother results.

STEP 3: HARDEN THE ICE CREAM

If you prefer soft-serve, you can enjoy your ice cream right away using any of the methods. But if you’re looking for a scoopable, hard ice cream, place it in an airtight container in the freezer for an additional 2-4 hours either after churning with an ice cream maker, or processing the frozen mixture in a blender or food processor.

HOW LONG IS ICE CREAM GOOD FOR IN THE FREEZER?

Ice cream is best enjoyed as fresh as possible. However, you can store most ice cream recipes in the freeze for around 2 weeks if kept in an airtight container. To help prevent freezer burn, you can place a layer of wax paper over the ice cream within your container.

ICE CREAM FLAVORS

Once you’ve perfected your ice cream base technique and found the method that works best for you, it’s time to start experimenting with new flavors. Transform a basic ice cream recipe into a range of classic favorites and new blends by switching up just a few ingredients, or reinvent the recipe all together.

HOW TO MAKE VANILLA ICE CREAM

Vanilla ice cream is a comforting classic with warm, mellow flavors that can be dressed up with toppings or enjoyed on it’s own. Simply add vanilla extract to a basic ice cream mixture, or simmer whole vanilla beans in a custard base for a naturally flavored vanilla ice cream. Learn more tips and tricks for how to make vanilla ice cream at home.

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

Add cocoa powder to a basic ice cream recipe to begin building a chocolate ice cream base. Melt in your favorite type of chocolate from sweet milk chocolate to rich and bitter dark varieties along with additions like candy pieces, tart cherries and more for a satisfying custom creation. Learn more about how to make homemade chocolate ice cream with our guide.

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

Add pureed or mashed fresh strawberries to your ice cream base for a homemade frozen treat that captures the flavors of summer. Layer in bright lemon and nutty poppy seed with strawberry poppy seed ice cream using the KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker attachment, or add some sophistication with fresh herbs and wine for a refreshing basil and strawberry riesling sorbet.

HOW TO MAKE KETO ICE CREAM

To convert a basic ice cream recipe for a keto version, swap the dairy for full-fat coconut milk and remove the sugar. Coconut milk will add just a bit of sweetness, but you can also add in xylitol, erythritol or another sugar alternative. Then mix in your favorite keto-friendly flavorings and toppings such as chopped nuts, mint extract and more.

HOW TO CLEAN A KITCHENAID® ICE CREAM MAKER

If you’re using a KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker attachment for your homemade ice cream recipes, follow these steps for quick cleanup.

IMPORTANT: Before attempting to clean the freeze bowl, allow it to reach room temperature.

Illustration of dasher moving toward dishwasher

1. Wash the dasher by hand using warm, soapy water or place it in your dishwasher on the top rack.

Illustration of hand washing ice cream maker freeze bowl in sink

2. Hand wash your freeze bowl and drive assembly using mild detergent and warm water. Never wash the freeze bowl or drive assembly in the dishwasher.

3. Thoroughly dry your freeze bowl before storing it in your freezer. Do not store the drive assembly in the freezer.

 

GET STARTED MAKING ICE CREAM AT HOME

Whichever method you choose to make ice cream at home, make sure you have the right tools. Shop KitchenAid® stand mixers and the Ice Cream Maker attachment for a quick and easy way to churn out your favorite ice cream flavors at home. Or blend up your creations with KitchenAid® blenders perfect for crushing ice.

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