Looking for an inexpensive alternative to store-bought ice cream? This is a simple recipe making the rounds on Pinterest that tastes great and entertains the kiddos. You do not need an ice cream maker, and the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen. This recipe makes the perfect single portion, so make a setup for each of the kids.

Here are some great deals on sandwich bags and other ingredients to get you started:

You Need:

  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (whole or 2% works best, no soy milk)
  • ice
  • 5 Tbs. rock salt or kosher salt
  • 1 quart-size plastic zip top bag
  • 1 gallon-size plastic zip top bag
  • favorite ice cream toppings


  • Pour the sugar, vanilla extract and milk into the quart-size plastic bag. Close securely and set aside.
  • Fill the gallon-size plastic bag half full with ice. Add the salt to the ice. This is necessary to get the ingredients cold enough to make ice cream.
  • Place the sealed, smaller bag inside the gallon bag. Close the gallon bag securely. You may want to double bag the gallon bag, especially if your kids get a little rowdy during the mixing process.
  • Give the bag to your kid and tell her to start shaking the bag. This works great for groups too, because they can pair off and take turns shaking the bag. Shake the bag continuously and vigorously for approximately five minutes.
  • Open the gallon bag and look at the small bag. It should be the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. If it is still too soft, reseal the gallon bag and keep shaking.
  • Once it reaches the desired consistency, take the ice cream bag out of the large bag. Open it and stir in your favorite ice cream toppings. We like sprinkles, M&M’s, chocolate chips or chopped fresh fruit.
  • Get a spoon and eat it right out of the bag!

Leave a Reply

8 thoughts on “We All Scream for Quick DIY Ice Cream”

  1. Dolphinlvr25 says:

    We just did this and it turned out awesome we added crumbled up oreos at the end and mixed it together mmmm tastes just like cookies n cream ice but better cuz it was a lot cheaper :) 

  2. Kamkay28 says:

    Greay recipe, love homemade I’ll try it. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds similar to the “snow ice cream” that we always made in the winter when I was a kid.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We did this, but we used cans that were duct taped shut. We did the same thing, small can of ingredients into larger can of ice and salt. Sealed them both with duct tape and took the kids into the yard for a game of kick the can.

    Also, we stock up on freezeable fruit when its on sale so we have LOTS of it. We also take a blender, mix and get the fruit to about a good consistency. Kinda liquidy but chunks are perfectly okay! Mix about a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix in some ice. Pour into a plastic container and that’s how we make our ice cream. Depending on the size of the containers, it takes anywhere from half hour to overnight to freeze. We usually pour it into those little circle Glad freezer ware containers. They’re a perfect serving size!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I just did this last week with my kids.  It works great and they had a lot of fun.  Dad even got in on the shaking as they danced around the house.  A few suggestions: 1) put the ice bag  in a plastic store bag in case of leaks 2) wrap bags in kitchen towels to keep little hands from getting to cold 3) DO NOT add chocolate syrup.  We did this to make chocolate ice cream and it would not freeze (until we put it in the freezer)  Have fun!!!

  6. cg says:

    My daughter’s second grade class did a version of this making slushies when they were studying different forms of matter. They had a blast doing this.

  7. Ashleigh says:

    I love love LOVE homemade ice cream, but it is such a chore (we have the old crank style maker).  This is a great alternative and a great way to get the kids involved!  Thanks for sharing!!