There’s nothing quite like homemade ice cream on a hot summer day. Even better? Homemade ice cream that’s super-easy to make—no fancy equipment needed.
For this recipe, all you need are a handful of basic ingredients, plus ice, salt and resealable plastic bags. It’s simple, right? Whether you’re at a picnic or you need a way to entertain the kids, explaining how to make ice cream in a bag is a fun way to enjoy a cool treat.
Quick Tip: Don’t Skip the Salt
You’ll need ice AND salt for this recipe. The salt lowers the freezing point of water. It comes into contact with water on the ice cubes and allows that water to become colder than 32°. That’s why the bag will feel so much colder than regular ice! Together, the salt and ice cause the ingredients to quickly cool down and transform into ice cream.
Now that you know the science, let’s get started.
How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag
This recipe makes about 1 cup of ice cream, just enough for two to share.
- 1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups coarsely crushed ice
3/4 cup salt
Step 1: Combine the Ingredients
In a small resealable plastic bag (1-quart bags work well), combine the milk, sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla. Press out the air and seal. You may want to double up on bags to prevent the ice from puncturing any holes.
Pro Tip: You can add chocolate syrup or ½ cup of fruit, like raspberries or strawberries, to change up the flavor.
Step 2: Prep the Ice
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the ice and salt. Add the sealed smaller bag and then seal the large bag. Press out as much air as possible.
Step 3: Time to Shake
Place the bag in another large resealable bag and seal. Shake and knead for 5-7 minutes or until the cream mixture is thickened. If desired, wear mittens or wrap bags in a kitchen towel while shaking to protect hands from the cold ice.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Once the mixture is thick, serve immediately or freeze. Eat it straight out of the bag, use it to make ice cream sandwiches or create sundaes with your favorite toppings. Bring on the sprinkles!
Psst… Here’s another easy way to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.