Ice Cream in a Bag

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Have you ever wondered how to make homemade ice cream in a bag? Not only is it super quick and easy, but by making it yourself, you end up with a product that is free from artificial colors and flavors, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, mono-and diglycerides, and other mysterious ingredients that we know aren’t good for us. When you taste the first spoonful of your homemade ice cream, you know that every bite contains just three pure ingredients—half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla (plus any yummy toppings or mix-ins that you want to add!).

How is it possible to end up with creamy ice cream just from shaking up a few ingredients in a bag? Welcome to the tasty world of food science! The ingredients used to make ice cream need to be cooled down fast. You do this by placing the bag of ingredients into a bag filled with ice cubes that have been sprinkled with salt (the magic ingredient!). The salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes, so the ice cubes in the bag start to melt and get much colder. This works to quickly cool the ice cream ingredients as they get tossed around on the ice and transform the mixture into a more solid, creamy consistency. Because the ice cubes start to melt and get much colder, you’ll want to protect your hands with either oven mitts or towels when tossing the bags around. In just under the time it takes to make store-bought cookies in the oven, you’ll have pure, homemade ice cream that sets your taste buds on fire.

What You’ll Need (serves 1)

Ice Cream in a Bag Ingredients

Oven mitts or towels (to protect hands from the cold bags)

6 cups of ice cubes

½ C. Kosher salt

1 C. half-and-half

2 Tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 pint-sized resealable bag

1 gallon-sized resealable bag

Your favorite mix-ins or toppings (chocolate syrup, cookie pieces, candy, fruit, sprinkles, etc.)

Steps for Making Ice Cream in a Bag

  1. Fill your gallon-sized bag halfway with ice cubes. Sprinkle Kosher salt over the ice cubes.
  2. In your pint-sized bag, pour the half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Seal it tightly!
  3. Place the pint-sized bag into the gallon-sized bag so that it rests on top of the ice cubes. Seal the gallon-sized bag tightly.
  4. For 7-12 minutes, shake the large bag with the smaller bag inside of it. You’ll notice that the consistency of the milk mixture will start to thicken and harden. Check the smaller bag a few times to determine when it’s reached a desired ice cream consistency. Keep shaking until you’re happy with the consistency of your ice cream.
  5. When you’re done shaking your ice cream bags, remove the smaller one and empty the ice cream contents into a bowl. Or eat it right out of the bag! Either way, it’s delicious!
  6. If you want, you can add syrups, cookie pieces, candies, or fruit when you’re done mixing. Just be careful not to mix them in too much, or the consistency might turn more soupy than ice creamy.
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