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DIY Ice Cream In Five Minutes


One Saturday, this past spring, my friend asked me over to make ice cream after we had lunch together. She had me at ice cream. My favourite flavours are cookies and cream, green tea and Kawartha’s dairy moose tracks (vanilla base with fudge swirled through and small peanut butter cups). If given the choice between vanilla and chocolate though… I’d choose vanilla. 🙂

We made two types: vanilla and green tea. I’ve included photos from both in this post.

Matcha Green Tea Powder & Sugar

Matcha Green Tea Powder & Sugar


small bag of cream, sugar, & matcha green tea powder sitting on top of ice and salt and covered with ice and salt.

small bag of cream, sugar, & matcha green tea powder sitting on top of ice and salt and covered with ice and salt.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Voila! Green Tea Ice Cream

My favourite step after SHAKE SHAKE Shaking… is eating. :)

My favourite step after SHAKE SHAKE Shaking… is eating. 🙂

I asked her how we were going to make it and what we needed. She told me all we needed was cream or half and half, vanilla, sugar, ice, a yogurt cup, some zip lock bags and salt. I was intrigued that this didn’t involve a fancy ice cream machine.

My friend is a high school teacher and she had her grade 9 science class do this. It was a very quick and delicious DIY activity and I would definitely see this as a fun experiment to do with kids or basically anyone that likes ice cream or single serving sizes of ice cream.

DIY Ice Cream

Davies, L. (2011). Neilson Science Connections 9. Scarborough, Ont.:Thomson/Neilson


  • 1 small sealable bag
    • (optional: double up to prevent bag with cream from opening up and having salt seep in)
  • large clean empty yogurt container (or large sealable bag)
  • 1/2 cup of cream or half & half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla flavouring (or other desired flavouring)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 2 tbsp of salt (preferably large crystals)
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cup
  • timer
  • oven mitts or kitchen towel


  1. We put the sugar and the vanilla extract into the small sealable bag. Then added cream and squeeze out extra air and seal it up.
  2. Then filled the yogurt containers halfway with ice and 1 tbsp of salt.
  3. Then we put our small bag and filled up the rest of the container with ice and 1 tbsp of salt and cover with the lid.
  4. And now set a timer for 5 minutes, put on those oven mitts and start shaking the container. Stop at the 5 minute mark to check to see if your cream is becoming more solid. If your cream isn’t as solid as you’d like but you still have plenty of solid ice, add more salt. Otherwise, add more ice and salt to the container.
  5. Once your cream is looking more solid just carefully remove from the container and carefully open the small sealable bag.

How could this be?

When we add salt it lowers the freezing point of water and when the ice melts it starts to absorb heat from the ice cream which causes the ice cream to solidify. I might’ve enjoyed science class more if there were more food experiments that ended with the class eating.


The texture isn’t as hard as hard ice cream straight from the box or your neighbourhood ice cream shop it’s on the ice-y side but both were delicious. I did get a bit of salt water that seeped into one and hence my recommendation to double up on the small bags. We used the half size small bags but that’s just because it’s what she had on hand. I’m sure the regular small size bags would work fine and might have less chances of opening up during the shaking as long as as much air as possible is squeezed out.

Vanilla Extract and Sugar

Vanilla Extract and Sugar

Half & Half, Vanilla Syrup, Small sealable bag.

Half & Half, Vanilla Syrup, Small sealable bag.

Ice cream is ready

Ice cream is ready

Vanilla Ice Cream for One. :)

Vanilla Ice Cream for One. Some cream fell into the yogurt cup during shaking resulting in less ice cream 😦

Have you made ice cream before? How do you make it?

If you decide to give this a go let me know how you enjoyed the process and end result. Also, let me know if you come up with some delicious flavour combinations.