How to Make Ice Cream *Without* an Ice Cream Machine

Want homemade ice cream but don't have an ice cream machine and no plans to purchase one anytime soon? Your stifled screams for ice cream were heard.
Before some of us bought our machines devoted to this dreamy frozen dairy dessert, we suffered years, years, (oh, the agony!) of drooling over ice cream recipes, only to have our hearts sink at the end of the instructions, which say "add to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer instructions." So unfair.

Chin up. You can beat the system that wants you to buy more stuff. Got enough stuff? No room on your kitchen counter amid the KitchenAid stand mixer, toaster, blender, scale, and coffee maker? No available areas in the cupboards? No budget for buying yet another single-purpose kitchen gadget-machine? Yeah, we feel you.

Join the cause for easier, cheaper ice cream and stick it to The Man (In this case, The Man: those gadget manufacturers/merchants and recipe developer/writer types who expect you to have all these tools…oh, wait…) Let us redeem ourselves after years of tempting you, inciting envy and self-pity with our more complicated ice cream ideas — which are wonderful if you happen to have an ice cream maker. Just saying.

Enough moaning. You still have a few basic ways to make ice cream.

1. Go Bananas

Chowhound

The first no-machine method is so simple it's ridiculuous: Blending frozen bananas with add-ins. No planning required. Eat it immediately, if you want. Mixing the bananas in a food processor is better, but you can still make perfectly wonderful banana ice cream in a blender if you don't have a processer. Technically, there is no ice or cream here. But try telling yourself you care after you make this in 10 minutes and experience the sensation of it gliding across your tongue. Our Two-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream could really be a 1-ingredient recipe if you want to be as basic as possible. Bananas are a wonderfruit for lazy ice cream makers (human). And they're a dream also for vegans and people with lactose intolerance. Add some caramel, Nutella, cinnamon, ginger, peanut butter, cocoa, or whatever might float your banana boat. Get our Two-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream recipe.

2. Freeze-Stir Method

David Lebovitz

You can try freezing your creamy, sweet mixture for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring, freezing another 30 to 45 minutes, stirring, freezing … until you create your desired (almost) ice-crystal-free consistency. This takes a bit more patience and vigilance. Ice cream guru David Lebovitz says the freeze-stir technique does make good ice cream possible, and he wrote the book, The Perfect Scoop. Go with a custard ice cream mix to get the creamiest texture, Lebovitz says, and you'll do the freeze-stir-freeze-stir method for two to three hours. Get his recipe.

3. Creamy Ice Pops

Chowhound

Some of us don't want to wait that long or be accountable for all those freeze-and-stir intervals. That's what creamy popsicles and fro-yo pops are for. Yogurt, fruit, sweetener, done. We have many tips and recipes for this one. Grab that blender again for these peachy babies, reminiscent of those Creamsicles from your days of chasing the ice cream truck. But these are just blended fresh peaches, heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar, and a touch of salt. So easy. And natural. Get our Peaches 'n' Cream Ice Pops recipe.

We really like this ice pop method for its ease, so here are a few more recipes under the same category:

Honeydew Melon Ice Pops

Chowhound

Whip out this recipe when you spot a perfect honeydew at the farmers market or grocery store. All you need is the pastel-green melon, heavy cream, sugar, and salt. So you can taste the fresh, cool melon.  Get our Honeydew Melon Ice Pops recipe.

Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles

Using plain Greek yogurt as the key dairy ingredient, these creamy and just-sweet-enough pops from Smitten Kitchen totally rock and are adaptable as well. Get the recipe.

Chocolate Pudding Pops

Chowhound

Sometimes you have a chocolate craving that can't be satisfied until you get the real thing in. your. mouth. This recipe delivers: It uses bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, half-and-half, butter, sugar, and gelatin powder. Get our Chocolate Pudding Pops recipe.

4. Add Alcohol

Chowhound

OK, we got that out of our system. Onto the next: Hard liquor doesn't freeze, so adding it to your frozen treat can be a good way to reduce or eliminate ice crystals. A few tablespoons of vodka will disappear into the flavor profile, while kirsch can enhance the taste of peaches, berries, plums, and nectarines. Even though it's not hard liquor, a bit of Champagne or rosé can make a sorbet even better. Most sorbets require an ice cream maker, but not this one. Yay! All you do is toss the ingredients in the blender, and then freeze the mixture for about eight hours. Get our Pineapple Rum Sorbet recipe.

5. Sweetened Condensed Milk Method

Dishin with Di

Fat doesn't freeze either. "Heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk are key, as they have very little water, which means there won’t be any crystallization, so the ice cream won’t be icy," says Diane Kometa of Dishin with Di. She offers a decadent Oreo ice cream recipe, which you can also consider it the classic cookies 'n' cream flavor.  The ice cream will be super rich and creamy, she promises. She does use a mixer with a whisk attachment, but you can use a handheld electric mixer or just whisk it by hand and give your arms a pre-indulgence workout. Get the recipe.

6. Plastic Bag Method

Handle the Heat

This method also requires some muscle. Place the ice cream mixture in two quart-sized bags, squeezing out all the air and sealing securely. Then you put it in a gallon-sized bag filled with about 4 cups of crushed ice and 4 tablespoons coarse salt. The salt lowers the freezing point of the ice and creates an extra cold environment that aborbs heat, causing the ice cream base to freeze. Protecting your hands while you massage the bag, you then shake it for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the ice cream is frozen, says Tessa Arias, a professional cook, author and blogger of Handle the Heat. "The more vigorously you shake, the smoother your ice cream will be," she says. Get the recipe.

7. Smoothies and Milkshakes

Chowhound

Then there's the smoothie. It's not as solid as ice cream of course, but it can be cool, creamy, and sweet enough to satisfy the urge. Most milkshake recipes call for store-bought ice cream, so you can do that if you want, but then what's the point of this whole exercise? If you stay true to the homemade goal, the smoothie is highly adaptable as far as what fruit you use. The silken tofu, banana, and vanilla yogurt provide the creaminess you crave. Blended ice cubes add more chilly texture. Get our Fruity Smoothie recipe.

Head Image: Gemma's Bigger, Bolder Baking

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