How To Make Ice Cream Without A Machine

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The most popular question I’ve ever received on this website is whether you can make ice cream without a machine.

The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine.

How To Make Ice Cream Without A Machine

With 70+ ice cream recipes to choose from, that question comes up a few times a week, if not daily through the warmer months.

While I’ve described this method repeatedly in comments and emails through the years, it was past time to shoot some step-by-step photos and explain in detail in one post that can be easily referred back to.

Homemade Ice Cream Made Without An Ice Cream Maker

Besides, who would ever turn down the chance to make some more ice cream, right?

There are a LOT of photos provided here to illustrate what the ice cream should look like at each step of the process. If you aren’t here for the full tutorial, make use of that handy “Jump To Recipe” button at the top of the page.

How To Make Ice Cream Without A Machine

Stir together your ice cream mixture and chill it if it isn’t cold already. Pour it into an 8-10 inch square baking dish.

I typically use this metal pan (because it freezes so quickly) however a glass pan will also work.

First freeze - ice cream without a machine

Place it in the freezer for 90 minutes. Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture, scraping the sides of the pan and breaking up any frozen chunks.

Return the pan to the freezer.

Second freeze - ice cream without a machine

Continue freezing the mixture, checking it again after 45 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture again, scraping the sides of the pan well. Use a sturdy whisk to whip the mixture a bit as it begins to freeze.

Make sure you’re scraping the edges completely every time. Return to the freezer as quickly as possible after whisking the mixture.

Third freeze - ice cream without a machine

Continue freezing the mixture, checking it again after 30 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture, scraping the sides of the pan well. I use a sturdy whisk to whip the mixture a bit as it begins to freeze.

Make sure you’re scraping the edges completely every time. Return to the freezer as quickly as possible after whisking the mixture.

Repeat this process 2 more times, every 30 minutes.

After a couple of hours, it should begin thickening to a slushy soft-serve consistency.

You can continue breaking it up and stirring for as long as you like.

The longer that you whisk the ice cream and continue breaking it up as it freezes, it will create an airier or fluffier final product.

Ice cream without a machine typically takes 3-4 hours to freeze to a soft-serve consistency.

Once it reaches that stage, you can serve it or cover it with a lid and return to the freeze until firm and scoopable.

You can make amazing homemade ice cream without an ice cream machine!

Just a note: Ice cream made without a machine will freeze to a very firm consistency after a day or so in the freezer. However, it will thaw nicely at room temperature after 10-15 minutes and will be perfectly scoop-able.

Once you’ve made ice cream without a machine a few times, you’ll have a feel for how long it should take and how often it needs to be stirred.

All you need is a whisk and a baking pan to make homemade ice cream without an ice cream machine!

I’ve provided the best and easiest ice cream recipe in this post. This is the recipe that gets solid five-star reviews from everyone who tries it. It’s as easy as can be and absolutely delicious.

However, there are countless variations you can make and additional ice cream recipes to try once you’ve mastered the freezer method for making ice cream.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Adding in a generous pile of chopped Oreos and some warm Chocolate Sauce will deliver the best Cookies and Cream Ice Cream you’ve ever tasted.

If you’re a fan of Reese’s peanut butter cups, this Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream might be your new favorite.

Are you a fan of fruit-filled ice cream? Mixed Berry Ice Cream is incredible and it’s made even more fantastic with warm Berry Sauce poured on top.

Homemade Berry Sauce

If after making your first batch of homemade ice cream without a machine, you love the ice cream but don’t want to spend your time whisking it in the future, check out the Ultimate Ice Cream Maker Review.

Some of the best machines I tested might be less pricey than you think!

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How To Make Ice Cream Without A Machine

4.7 from 10 votes
The most popular question I've ever received on this website is whether you can make ice cream without a machine. The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine.
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 5 mins
Freezer Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Stir together your ice cream mixture and pour it into an 8-10 inch square baking pan.
  • FIRST FREEZE: Place it in the freezer for 90 minutes. Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture, scraping the sides of the pan and breaking up any frozen chunks. Return the pan to the freezer and continue freezing.
  • SECOND FREEZE: Check it again after 45 minutes. Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture, scraping the sides of the pan well. Use a sturdy whisk to whip the mixture a bit as it begins to freeze. Make sure you're scraping the edges completely every time. Return to the freezer as quickly as possible after whisking the mixture each time.
  • ADDITIONAL FREEZING STEPS: Continue freezing the mixture, checking it again after 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture, scraping the sides of the pan well. Use a sturdy whisk to whip the mixture a bit as it begins to freeze. Make sure you're scraping the edges completely every time. Return to the freezer as quickly as possible after whisking the mixture. Repeat this process 2 more times, every 30 minutes. After a couple of hours, it should be thickening to a slushy soft-serve consistency.
  • Continue breaking the ice cream up and stirring it for as long as you like. The longer that you whisk the ice cream and continue breaking it up as it freezes, it will create an airier or fluffier final product. Ice cream without a machine typically takes 3-4 hours to freeze to a soft-serve consistency.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal · Carbohydrates: 27g · Protein: 3g · Fat: 24g · Saturated Fat: 15g · Cholesterol: 88mg · Sodium: 98mg · Potassium: 125mg · Sugar: 26g · Vitamin A: 973IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 108mg
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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Crystal says

    Hi! Would it work to make the ice cream in a ZIPLOCK bag? I’d still whisk it as instructed. I want to put the ice cream into the ice pop ZIPLOCK (like go gurt pouches) bags once it is firm enough

  2. Groovy says

    If ya want without make and not have one,do the whisking in freezer,I never had a nice cream maker but I figure it to be turned like a whisk out of a guess!! Would melt outside of freezer so that doesn’t make sense to to take out of freezer!!!

  3. Jasmine Millner says

    i haven’t tried this recipe before but looks super promising just wondering do i actually just put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them up because wouldn’t the sugar just stay granulated considering there not getting whipped thanks in advance 🙂5 stars

  4. Salma says

    Thank you for the recipe! I used vanilla flavoring instead of vanilla extract and didn’t really measure the vanilla flavoring. It was good with ground cinnamon or chai powder.

  5. Lizzie says

    I am so excited to try this!
    Nearly every recipe I’ve looked at needs an ice cream maker! Sooo excited!!!4 stars

  6. Sophie M. says

    The recipe turned out great. My boyfriend came home from a business trip and I made it as a treat for when he came home. He almost ate the whole pan! 🙂 Thank you.5 stars

  7. Sivan says

    This time I decided to try something simple.
    And here it is.
    Whoever wants to try making this Recipe I highly Recommend it.
    Just a question, could I use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
    Thanks.5 stars

  8. Brandy Taylor says

    Just curious, why put this in a square pan? Wouldn’t it be much easier if it were in a glass or stainless mixing bowl so there aren’t any edges to worry about? Then for the last freeze, transfer it to a tub?

    • Mary Younkin says

      You can certainly do this however works best for you, Brandy. A bowl won’t freeze as evenly, and it will likely take longer. A round pie plate could work though, provided it is deep enough. You’re going to stir it so much, the edges aren’t an issue for me.