Good news: You can make homemade ice cream without any fancy equipment. We'll show you how to make the creamy frozen dessert in simple containers you've already got at home.

By Katlyn Moncada
May 21, 2020
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Project Joy is a weekly column about the projects we’re doing at home that bring us a little piece of happiness.

My favorite kid-friendly science experiment growing up involved making ice cream in a bag. Basically, you combine some milk, sugar, and vanilla in one resealable bag and put it into a larger bag filled with ice cubes and salt. After a few (okay, several minutes worth of) good shakes, you magically had delicious vanilla ice cream made right before your eyes. The science here is even more fascinating to me as an adult. Kind of like salting the roads in winter, the salt lowers the melting point of ice while the ice pulls the heat away from the ice cream, allowing it to freeze. Anyway, enough with the science. This isn't the only way to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. There's a trendy hack using a Mason jar to make ice cream ready in just a few hours. We also have some amazing no-churn ice cream recipes that will rival anything you can buy.

How to Make Ice Cream in a Mason Jar

In a quart-size Mason jar, combine 1 cup heavy cream, 1½ Tbsp. sugar, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Shake vigorously (let the kids help!) for 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture is doubled in size. Dip a spoon in and the liquid should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but not thick or buttery. Leave it plain or feel free to drop in some flavorings. Berries, chopped candy, chocolate chips, or even some peanut butter would be tasty. Just give it another shake. Pop the lid back on and freeze for at least 3 hours. Enjoy!

Credit: Carson Downing

Make No-Churn Ice Cream in a Loaf Pan

If you want to take a break from baking banana bread, try making ice cream in your loaf pan instead! In our master no-churn ice cream recipe, all you have to do is combine sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and vanilla before freezing. The flavor variations are endless here. Check out our suggestions with the recipe for coffee, lavender, birthday cake, and more. No loaf pan? Any freezer-safe container ($12, Bed Bath & Beyond) will do the trick.

Try Our Pick-a-Flavor No-Churn Ice Cream

How to Make Dairy-Free No-Churn Ice Cream

Yes, it is possible to make delicious frozen treats without any dairy products. One of our favorite unexpected mashups is making vegan ice cream with hummus. Using canned chickpeas or black beans and blending them hummus-style with some sweet ingredients creates a surprisingly creamy dessert once frozen. Not sure you're that adventurous? Try a "nice cream" recipe by blending frozen bananas to make an incredible soft-serve texture. You can also make a sorbet, which blends fruit with water and sugar. For an icy adults-only treat perfect for summer, make this boozy mojito sorbet.

The simple process of making homemade ice cream is sure to make your summer even cooler. Keep trying out new flavor combinations like raspberry-chocolate or lemon-avocado sherbet.

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