How to Make Ice Cream: The Ultimate Guide


Ah, ice cream. There’s nothing like this delectable, creamy, delicious dessert that’s loved all over the world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a chocolate and caramel lover, vanilla connoisseur, or the adult flavors only kind of person — making your own is one of those unique projects that you’ll get hooked on from the first batch. If making it isn’t for you, though, you can order ice cream, too!

The idea of making your own can be a little intimidating for some, though, so we’ve pulled together our ultimate guide on how to make ice cream. Explore flavors, recipes, and mix-ins, as well as a few methods for making delicious ice cream at home.

The Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors

There are what seems like a million flavors out there. In fact, they really are kind of infinite, if you choose to get creative. However, the most popular ice cream flavor choices are probably the route most people will go when making their own.

12. Butter Pecan

This buttery, rich, and nutty flavor is adored by many for the smoothness and that satisfying crunch.

11. Chocolate Chip

Vanilla laced with chocolate chips or chunks – how could you go wrong?

10. Neapolitan

This tri-flavored ice cream flavor is a versatile option for those just can’t decide between chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.

9. Moose Tracks

For a decadent vanilla ice cream laced with the rich flavors of peanut butter cups and chocolate fudge swirls, Moose Tracks is your comforting flavor of choice.

8. Coffee

You can get coffee ice cream in a variety of options from straight-up coffee to caramel macchiato or Irish coffee-flavored infused with real Irish whiskey.

7. Rocky Road

For those who love chocolate ice cream but want some satisfying gooeyness and crunch, Rocky Road is the winner. The chocolate ice cream is loaded up with marshmallows and nuts for a nutty, sugary taste.

6. Strawberry

One of the classics, strawberry ice cream is one of the most popular choices. It’s no wonder nearly every restaurant has strawberry as one of the trio flavors they offer.

5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Little in life is more comforting than a roll of frozen cookie dough – except a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

4. Mint Chocolate Chip

Combining the cool, soothing flavor of peppermint with the rich goodness of chocolate can’t be beat.

3. Cookies ‘N Cream

If you love Oreos, you probably love cookies ‘n cream ice cream, the goodness that combines vanilla with delectable chocolate cookie bits will make your night better.

2. Chocolate

The second most popular flavor of ice cream that will last forever is chocolate. There’s really no arguing with the goodness of this flavor.

1. Vanilla

The universal choice for best ice cream flavor is vanilla. Whether it’s because the smooth taste is warming while cooling you at the same time, or because it’s a solid base for any mix-ins, vanilla is the number one choice in the world.

Amazing Ice Cream Recipes

how to make your own ice cream photo of chocolate and vanilla in waffle cones

Before you decide which type of homemade ice cream you’ll make, let’s take a look at a few awesome recipes that just might get you excited.

Huckleberry Ice Cream

For a tasty, fruity treat, try this delicious huckleberry ice cream from Country Living.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups huckleberries

Directions:

1. In a saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and half and half.
2. Put the pan over medium-high heat and whisk the mixture together until it bubbles.
3. Strain into a large bowl and then cool.
4. Once the mix is cool, whisk in the cream, vanilla, and berries.
5. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours until thoroughly cooled.
6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to the instructions given with your machine.

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

how to make sweet corn ice cream

It might sound a bit different, even a little odd, but this sweet corn ice cream recipe from Country Living will change your mind about standard flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of sweet corn – shucked, kernels removed, and cobs halved
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 91 grams egg yolk – about 4.75 egg yolks

Directions

1. Cook the corn kernels in a dry cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Stir until the kernels are browned in spots. This should take about four or five minutes.
2. Transfer the kernels into a large, heavy saucepan.
3. Add the cobs, milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat and discard of the cobs.
5. In your blender, puree the mixture.
6. Return the blended mixture back into the saucepan.
7. Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl.
8. Bring the corn mixture to a low simmer, then remove from the heat.
9. Slowly whisk one cup of hot corn mixture into the yolk mixture.
10. Return the yolk mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat. Keep whisking until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. This should take five to seven minutes.
11. Pass the custard through a sieve, pressing hard to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
12. Discard the solids.
13. Chill completely, then transfer to an ice cream maker and process it according to the manufacturer’s instructions

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Another recipe from Country Living, this Raspberry Cheesecake ice cream is awesome.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed, strained raspberries
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add sugar to the cream cheese and continue whisking until fully combined.
3. Now, whisk in the raspberries, then the cream and milk, until everything is incorporated.
4. Finally, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Peach Ice Cream

Our final flavor suggestion from Country Living is this sweet, creamy Peach Ice Cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups fresh peaches
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, sugar, egg yolks, and salt.
2. Place the pan over medium-high heat and whisk together until it reaches a simmer.
3. Lower the heat to medium and whisk the mixture for another five minutes, or until it starts to thicken.
4. Strain the mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the peaches, cream, vanilla, and half and half.
5. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about two hours to chill it.
6. Once the mixture is chilled, pour it into your ice cream maker and process it according to the instructions from the manufacturer.

How to Make Ice Cream Using an Ice Cream Maker

Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt Ice cream maker, Qt, White

Click picture for price

If you’re ready to make ice cream with an ice cream maker, this basic guide will give you the information you’ll need. Once you buy your ice cream maker, you’ll want to thoroughly read the instructions and get together your supplies.

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring spoons
  • Colander
  • Freezer-safe container(s)
  • Spoon
  • Ice cream maker

You’ll also need to gather your ice cream ingredients. The basic vanilla custard recipe that makes a great starter ice cream project includes:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions for Making Basic Vanilla in Your Maker

1. Place your freezer bowl into the freezer.
2. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk them together with the salt and the sugar.
3. Continue whisking them together until the mixture becomes frothy and lemony yellow.
4. In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it just starts to simmer.
5. Gradually add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time, to the eggs in the bowl, and whisk them together constantly.
6. Once the cream has all been added, pour the cream/egg mixture into the saucepan.
7. Cook the mixture over low heat to avoid scrambling the eggs. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.
8. Run your finger across the back of the spoon. If the egg stays on the place, the mixture is ready. This will take between five and eight minutes.

9. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh colander into a bowl. Remove any scrambled egg bits to preserve only the custard.

10. Cool the mixture slightly, and then stir in the vanilla and the half and half.
11. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. This will take several hours.
12. Once the mixture has cooled thoroughly and you’re ready to make the ice cream, remove the bowl from the freezer and put together your ice cream maker per the instructions.
13. Turn the machine on and pour in your ice cream base.
14. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker’s layering process of rock salt and ice.
15. Now, add your chilled custard to the canister and attach the dasher and turn on the automatic ice maker. If you’re using a manual ice cream maker, begin cranking.
16. Once the ice cream is finished churning, you’ll know it’s ready because it will hold its shape when you scoop it with a spoon.
17. Freeze the ice cream to keep the ice cream firm.
18. Add in your flavors or mix-ins, if desired.

How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag

For those who don’t have an ice cream maker, but still want to make their own, check out this method that uses a zipper-seal bag.

Supplies and Ingredients

  • Ice cubes
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint-sized zipper seal bag
  • 1 gallon-sized zipper seal bag

Directions for Making Vanilla Ice Cream in a Bag

1. Into the pint-sized zipper seal bag, combine the half and half, vanilla extract, and sugar.
2. Seal the bag tightly to avoid leakage.
3. Next, fill the gallon-sized zipper seal bag about halfway with ice cubes.
4. Sprinkle the Kosher salt over the ice cubes.
5. Insert the pint-sized bag of the ingredients into the bag with ice and salt. Seal the gallon-sized bag with the ingredients bag inside.
6. Double bag the gallon-sized bag, if necessary, to prevent leaks.
7. Shake the bag for between five and ten minutes until the ice cream mixture starts to harden.
8. Feel the smaller bag to check the consistency of the ice cream. Once it’s satisfactory, take it out of the gallon-sized bag.
9. Open the smaller bag containing the ice cream and add in your favorite mix-ins and enjoy.

How to Make Ice Cream in a Mason Jar

For a similar method that takes a bit longer, you can make this Mason jar ice cream recipe.

Ingredients for Mason Jar Ice Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions for Making Mason Jar Ice Cream:

1. Pour the sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt into the Mason jar. Secure the lid tightly.
2. Shake the Mason jar for four to five minutes until the cream thickens and comes close to doubling in size. It will be opaque and coat the back of a wooden spoon.
3. Freeze your ice cream mix for about three hours, or until hard.
4. Mix-in your ice cream mix-in choices and enjoy.

The Best Ice Cream Mix-Ins

Finally, let’s take a look at the best mix-ins for your ice cream. These will add texture and flavor, or they can be the actual flavoring that changes vanilla to mint chocolate cookie dough ice cream.

Your Favorite Nuts

For a sweet crunch to your ice cream, you can mix in your favorite nuts. These add some protein, as well as healthy fats, giving you a good excuse to claim your ice cream is “healthy.”

Chocolate Chips

For a chocolatey crunch, add some chocolate chips that freeze and add extra crunch to your already incredible ice cream.

Marshmallows

Love Rocky Road or S’mores? Toss some marshmallows into your ice cream for a gooey treat.

Cookie Bits

Buy come Oreos or gluten-free Glutinos to make your own cookies ‘n cream ice cream.

Candy Bits and Pieces

Whether you love Heath, Snickers, M&Ms, Skittles, or Charleston Chew candy, break up the candy bar or toss in the bits and pieces.

Fresh Fruit

You can use just about any fresh fruit to make your ice cream amazingly fresh and delightful. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bananas, apples, strawberries, passion fruit, dragon fruit, or anything else will make a great ice cream flavor.

Cookie Dough

Grab that roll of frozen cookie dough you were saving and make your vanilla bean into one of the most popular ice cream flavors.

Shredded Coconut

If you love coconut, add in some shredded coconut. If you love Almond Joy candy, toss in some almonds and swirl in some chocolate syrup to create your own Almond Joy ice cream.

Peppermint

Adding in some broke peppermint bits or peppermint extract will give you a fantastic ice cream flavor.

Maple Syrup

For a sweeter, seasonal flavor, pour in a bit of maple syrup for some delightful ice cream unlike any other. If possible, add in some nuts for a richer flavor.

Natural Extracts

One of the best ways to change the flavor of your ice cream is by adding in some extracts. Some of the options include:

  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Almond
  • Orange
  • Blackberry
  • Peach
  • Blueberry
  • Raspberry
  • Mango
  • Maple
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  • Rosemary
  • Hazelnut

The Best Ways to Enjoy Your Homemade Ice Cream

how to make ice cream fresh ice cream being served

Now you know pretty much everything you know about how to make ice cream at home. The flavor options, delicious recipes, best mix-ins and more all make your home-made ice cream one of kind, every time.

If you’ve got a picky family or you’re planning to throw an ice cream social, remember to focus on making vanilla ice cream and making the mix-ins, especially syrups and extracts, for the most flavor options to please the crowd.

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