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.

By Sheena Chihak
Updated February 20, 2019

We saw the snow cream trend (thanks, Polar Vortex) and 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.

Vanilla snow cream recipe scooped into a bowl

How to Make Snow Cream (aka Snow Ice Cream)

Collect Snow: Sorry, snowbirds, this ice cream recipe isn't for you. Only fresh snow will do. We started by collecting snow in a very large (about 4.5 quarts) mixing bowl. You need about a gallon of clean snow.

  • Snow collecting tip: We found glass bowls worked best. Stainless bowls warmed too quickly so the snow started melting faster after bringing it inside.

Related: Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

The four ingredients need to make snow cream: snow, sugar, vanilla, and half-and-half

Combine Ingredients: All of these ingredients will go into the bowl you collected snow

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

Start by sprinkling the sugar over your snow in the bowl, then add vanilla and half-and-half.

Beat Ingredients: Use a hand mixer to beat until the snow cream mixture comes together. Note: It 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.

Enjoy! Scoop and serve snow ice cream like you would regular ice cream. Try fun ice cream toppers, served in a cone, or eat it straight 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.

Try these other snow day activities


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