Learn How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag in just 10 minutes! All you need is milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla — plus salt and ice to make the magic happen. Even the kids can help make rich and creamy homemade ice cream when there’s no machine required!
How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag
Have you ever wondered how to make ice cream in a bag? It’s as easy as it sounds!
You simply put ice and salt in a large freezer bag. Then, you fill a smaller sandwich bag with all of the ingredients.
A little while later, you have ice cream!
Kids will enjoy seeing how easy it is to make ice cream in a bag. And, it’s a fairly mess free way to get them interested in helping in the kitchen.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Heavy Cream and Milk – These make up the dairy base for your homemade ice cream in a bag.
You could use all cream for an extra rich dessert, or use all milk for a lighter version. Opt for whole milk for the right amount of fat.
- Vanilla – Use more or less extract to achieve just the right flavor. You could also use vanilla bean paste if you prefer, as long as it’s whisked into the milk really well.
- Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is best for this ice cream in a bag recipe.
- Ice and Salt – These two ingredients make the magic happen! You will need whole ice cubes, not crushed ice.
Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag
- Let everyone make their own.
Keep in mind that this recipe makes enough for one person. So, if more than one person wants ice cream, they can each work on their own bag.
- Put the salt in the outer bag.
The salt goes with the ice, while the ice cream ingredients go in the inner bag.
You want the contents of each bag to remain separate — otherwise, you’ll have salty ice cream!
Make sure you buy name-brand locking freezer and sandwich bags to be safe.
Generic bags may not seal as tightly, which will allow everything to mix together in the worst way.
- Avoid frozen hands.
Smaller hands are more sensitive to cold, and things can get pretty frosty when you’re shaking everything up!
Winter gloves are an easy solution, though oven mitts will work in a pinch.
- Don’t forget toppings!
Fresh fruit or chocolate chips are always a favorite with no-churn vanilla ice cream. In fact, you can toss them right in the bag if you’d like!
While you’re at it, add some mint extract and green food coloring with the chocolate chips for mint chip ice cream.
Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe FAQ
Basically, the salt lowers the melting point of the ice just like it does when we put salt on the roads in the winter.
In order for the ice to melt, it has to pull the heat from somewhere. In this case, it’s the cream.
The salt pulls the heat away from the cream to melt the ice, which turns the ice, cream, and sugar into homemade ice cream in a bag!
There’s a very easy way to transform this no-churn vanilla ice cream into chocolate.
Simply add two tablespoons of cocoa powder or chocolate milk powder to the ingredients before you put them in the bag.
You will want to use a whisk to make sure the mixture is well blended before you start. Then, proceed with the ice cream in a bag recipe.
When you’re done, you can also add chocolate syrup or sprinkles for extra chocolatey goodness!
Yes, you can use regular salt to make ice cream in a bag. Or, if you have it, sea salt or kosher salt will work as well.
While many traditional recipes call for rock salt, you don’t have to have rock salt for this project to work.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Frozen Dessert Recipes
How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag + Video
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup ice cream salt, or kosher
- rainbow sprinkles (jimmies), crushed cookies, fruit, little candies, crushed candy canes, hot fudge, marshmallows, crushed cereal, caramel.
- Combine cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a quart size freezer bag. Press the air out as you seal the bag.
- Put that bag into another quart size freezer bag and again, press the air out as you seal the bag. This will help keep the salt from accidentally seeping into the ice cream.
- Fill a one-gallon freezer bag halfway with ice and the salt. Place the quart size freezer bag on top of the ice and then add more ice on top.
- Now here is where the fun starts. Grab that bag and shake the living tar out of it. It will take about 7-10 minutes to become ice cream and believe me when I tell you the ice gets really cold, so you may want to wear gloves.
- When the mixture is frozen and looks like ice cream, remove the quart bags from the large bag of ice and take the inner quart bag out.
- You can snip off the corner of the bag or scoop the ice cream out with a scoop. If you feel like it still needs to be frozen you can pop it in the freezer until it is a little firmer.
2 tablespoons cocoa powder Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips, rough chopped
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
4 drops green food coloring, optional Strawberry Ice Cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2020, updated and republished August 2023
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