Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream

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coconut ice cream done bowl

Summer is in full swing and the 4th of July is coming up this weekend.  This is a perfect time to make homemade ice cream.  I’ve already shared several recipes with you (I’ll link them at the end of this post), but I wanted to share a few tips too.

There are two kinds of ice cream freezers – traditional, which can be hand crank or electric and counter-top models.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles.

Traditional Freezers

These freezers make 4 quarts of ice cream.  This is a definite advantage if you’re feeding a crowd.  You’ll need ice and ice cream salt.  Use plenty of both, layering them around the edge of the container that holds the ice cream.

The disadvantage to this type freezer is that it is nearly impossible to mix in ingredients toward the end of the freezing process without risking getting salty ice water in the ice cream.  Mix ins that work well are ingredients like nuts, chocolate, candy bars and firm fruits that hold up well.  I recently tried making cookies and cream ice cream in a traditional freezer.  I ended up with frozen, gray ice cream flecked with black.  The cookies just didn’t hold up well in this type of freezer.

When the motor stops running and the freezing process is complete, add extra salt and ice to the bucket.  Place a layer of newspaper over the top of the mixer, then wrap an old blanket or towels around and on top of the bucket.  Letting the ice cream sit like this for 30-60 minutes will freeze it further and keep it from melting so fast when you serve it.

Counter Top Styles

This type of freezer only makes about 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream.  It’s enough for my family of six to each have a serving, but generally we don’t have any left over.  There’s no need for ice or salt in these mixers, because the bowl is made to put in the freezer and it functions in place of the ice/salt combo used by the traditional models.

If you store the bowl in your freezer, it will always be ready when the mood for ice cream hits. Be sure to wipe the bowl out with a clean, dry towel before you add the ingredients.  Sometimes ice crystals form in the bowl and they can cause the ice cream to be icy.

It is easy to add mix in ingredients near the end of the freezing time in a counter-top style freezer.  This means you can use soft mix ins, such as cookies or bananas.

Whichever style of mixer you choose, have fun experimenting with flavors and mix in combinations.  Here are some of recipes I’ve made:

Do you have favorite ice cream flavors you like to make or tips you can share?


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  1. I have a countertop style. I will definitely try the coconut macadamia nut recipe. Looks delicious!

  2. Hubby and I enjoyed this post so much we ordered a counter top ice cream maker online today. We are looking forward to experimenting and trying different ice cream flavors.

  3. Last summer I made strawberry ice cream after my mother (who was visiting) requested it. I know it seems like a bland and VERY common ice cream flavor, but even my husband LOVED it! He’s not a strawberry ice cream sort of guy, but he went back for more and raved about it. And I have to admit, homemade strawberry ice cream (any kind, actually) is DEFINITELY better than anything store bought! I think I’ll be making some this weekend!

  4. My kids like plain ol’ vanilla. My tip would be to use full-fat milk products for the creamiest ice cream. We’ve made it with skim milk and half-and-half and the consistency is just not the same. The last batch we did substitute 1% milk for whole, but still used heavy cream. Turned out delicious.

  5. I love Chocolate icecream made with coconut milk. I just use some cocoa powder and sugar stirred together and two cans of coconut milk, 1 tbsp of vanilla and yum!

  6. Jessica says:

    First of all I love your site! I also love making ice cream, but I use my Kitchen Aid Freezer Bowl, I love it! My husbands fav is Cake batter ice cream. It is just like the flavor they have a Coldstones! If you would like the recipe here it is:

    30 min | 5 min prep | 10 1/2 cup servings

    1 cup whole milk, well chilled
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (the best quality you can get)
    2/3 cup cake mix (sifted for best consistency)

    1. Place freezer bowl of ice cream maker into the freezer. It is better to keep it in there 24/7 that way it is always ready.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
    3. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste.
    4. Stir in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps.
    5. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl and let mix until it has thickened (about 25-30 minutes).
    6. Remove ice cream from freezer bowl and place into a separate container.
    7. Place freezer bowl and the ice cream into the freezer to further harden.

    Enjoy! 🙂


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