That's right, snow ice cream does exist and it's exactly what you think it is—ice cream made from freshly fallen snow. The key words there are "freshly fallen." Don't go scooping anything your neighbors (or pets!) have been tromping through to make snow cream.
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Fresh snow creating a beautiful winter wonderland in our yard is magical. So when we heard you can make ice cream out of snow, our Test Kitchen had to find out if it really worked. The one thing we couldn't ignore are the safety risks. Even snow falling through the air to your untouched yard could have pollutants from the atmosphere. Think coal-fired plants, vehicle emissions, and wood-burning stoves to name a few sources. There's no way you can ever escape all of those, but if you're comfortable with this minimal risk (we tried it and didn't get sick), you can enjoy homemade snow ice cream after the next big snowfall. Here's the four-ingredient (that's including the snow) snow cream recipe our pros came up with.

How to Make Snow Cream (aka Snow Ice Cream)

Sorry, snowbirds, this snow cream recipe isn't for you. Only fresh snow will do. Before we get started, collect fresh snow in a very large mixing bowl ($22, Sur La Table). You need about a gallon of clean snow.

  • Test Kitchen Tip: We found glass bowls worked best. Stainless bowls warmed too quickly, so the snow started melting faster after bringing it inside.
The 4 ingredients to make snow cream set out on a dark wooden surface: Glass bowl of snow, 1 cup measuring cup of sugar, 2 cups half and half in glass liquid measuring cup, and opened bottle of vanilla extract.
The four ingredients needed to make snow cream: snow, sugar, vanilla, and half-and-half.
| Credit: Lynn Blanchard

Step 1: Combine Snow Cream Ingredients

All of these ingredients will go into your bowl of collected snow. Start by sprinkling the sugar over your snow in the bowl, then add vanilla and half-and-half.

  • 1 gallon clean snow
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups half-and-half or light cream

Step 2: Beat Snow Cream Ingredients

Use a hand mixer ($23, Target) to beat the snow cream until the mixture comes together. Note: The mixture will be crumbly at first, but continue beating. As it warms, the mixture will start to look more like soft-serve ice cream.

Step 3: Enjoy Your Snow Cream!

Scoop and serve snow ice cream as you would regular ice cream. Try fun ice cream toppers, serve it in a cone, or eat it straight out of the bowl. Any leftover snow cream can be stored in the freezer for up to one week. We found the texture after holding a few days to be a bit more icy, not quite a granita, but not smooth ice cream either. While it wasn't exactly like the ice cream recipes or products we usually buy, our snow-day experiment proved to be a fun and worthwhile effort.

Keep your winter fun going by adding even more fun activities to your bucket list. Or if you're in the mood for more homemade ice cream, give these delicious (and easy) no-churn recipes a try.

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