Homemade Ice Cream in 5 Minutes!

Let’s dive into the science of cooking with homemade vanilla ice cream. You can make it in a bag, which is what we do in this recipe, or you can put it in containers and roll them on the floor to create a makeshift ice cream maker. In the end, it’s just plain science! The same principle applies to both methods and it ends up being a fun activity for kids to get involved in cooking and making a delicious treat. Roll up your sleeves for some summer fun with some ice cream in 5 minutes!

Check out our best hot fudge sauce to take this delicious ice cream to the next level.

Why did you prescribe us?

  • A simple, fun activity for all ages that results in a delicious meal.
  • We’ll also teach you the science behind it!

Three waffle cones of ice cream with the gallon bag that the ice cream is made in.

Making homemade ice cream is a super fun activity we did growing up and is full of delicious memories. It’s great for summer activities to keep kids busy, family reunions, summer camps, holiday parties, and more.

Ingredient Notes

The ice cream ingredients were placed for 5 minutes on the table.
  • Heavy cream: This brings richness to the ice cream and the fat brings smoothness.
  • Equal: Using heavy cream will prevent the ice cream from freezing and will form crystals. If you don’t have half-and-half, you can substitute 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup milk.
  • sugar: You must have sweet!
  • Vanilla extract: That’s the flavour, of course!
  • ice Cube: If your ice cream doesn’t freeze, simply add more ice to keep the energy flowing!
  • Salt or ice cream salt: Either will work! Ice cream salt makes science a little better.


This recipe is all about science. We put the ice cream ingredients in a bowl, put that container in a bag of ice, and then add salt to the ice to freeze the ice cream. but why?

The freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature at which water turns into ice. Our ice cream ingredients have a slightly lower freezing point, closer to 27 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. So how do we use salt to freeze ice cream?

Adding salt to ice lowers the freezing point of water, causing the ice to start melting. But why would you want to melt ice to make ice cream? It’s all about energy transfer. As the ice melts, it absorbs heat from its surroundings, including the ice cream mixture. This energy absorption lowers the temperature of the ice cream mixture, allowing it to freeze.

That’s right, we can harness the cooling effect of melting ice to freeze our ice cream! It sounds like magic, but it’s really just the science of energy transfer. The technical term for this process is freezing point depression.

Pictures of the 5-minute ice cream making process showing an ice cream bag inside an ice cream bag.

a movement

In order for the ice cream to freeze evenly, we need to shake the bag. This movement is crucial because it ensures that the ice cream mixture is constantly exposed to the cold temperature of the melting ice. If the mixture remains stationary, the outer layer will freeze while the inner part remains liquid. By constantly stirring the mixture, we create a smoother texture and prevent ice crystals from forming, resulting in a creamier ice cream.

Why salt ice cream?

Ice cream salt is a large crystalline salt. The only difference between ice cream salt and table salt is the size of the crystal. Both can be used to make ice cream, but a larger crystal size will give a more consistent ice melt, so it is generally preferred.

How to make ice cream in a box

The same principle used to make ice cream in a bag can be applied to making ice cream in a can. You will need two cans, one larger and one small enough to fit into the larger can and be surrounded by ice. #10 Food storage cans, or coffee cans work well for this purpose. Simply place the ice cream liquid in the center can. Make sure it has an airtight seal and won’t leak. Surround the center with ice and salt. Place the lid on that can and shake the can for 5 minutes, or rotate it back and forth until the ice cream is frozen.

Close up view of a waffle cone of ice cream with sprinkles, chocolate candies and cherries.

Other flavors

Yes! You can use any ice cream recipe and use the same method to freeze it. Some ice cream flavor recipes may require more prep work, so keep that in mind as many other flavors take longer than 5 minutes to prepare. Any ice cream base that requires heating or cooking on the stovetop must be completely cooled to freeze using the ice pack or roller container method. You can easily make chocolate chip, strawberry, or mint chocolate.

Storage Instructions

Freeze In the bag for up to a week. Take it out of the freezer and leave it on the counter for 10 minutes to make it easier to extract.

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