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How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

One of the stories my dad tells me most often about his childhood memories at Tulipwood, is the sound of his grandmother’s ice cream being churned in the kitchen. It was a loud sort of affair, perhaps the first invention on the way to today’s modern ice cream makers. I like to think of her, my great grandmother, making a custard on her stove and then deciding what she was going to put in it — some lemon and basil perhaps? Or maybe mint that grows everywhere on the property. Or maybe she was feeling decadent one day and decided to add chocolate. My great grandmother didn’t have electricity for most of her life. She used oil lamps, even though electricity was available. While bother with such luxury? She was a prudent woman. People have been making ice cream since long before the invention of electricity. How did they do it? Well today, in her honor, I thought I’d tell you how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker:

How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

Below is a basic custard recipe to which you can add flavorings such as vanilla, mint leaves, strawberries, chocolate chips, etc.

How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

If adding herbs or fruit pieces, let them infuse in the milk as it cools. If incorporating chocolate chips, wait until the mixture is going into the freezer.

How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

Start with a creamy, rich base for the smoothest texture possible. Then simply break up the ice crystals over a period of time by hand, as the mixture is freezing in the freezer.

How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Mine is mint chocolate chip!

“How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker”

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 1 quart


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar


  • Put a 2-quart bowl made of plastic or stainless steel in the freezer. Alternatively, you can use a deep 11 × 7-inch or similar-sized baking dish.
  • Heat the milk and cream along with a pinch of salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring gently so it doesn’t scorch. Bring it up to a gentle boil, then remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they are light in color from the air that you have incorporated. Temper the yolks by adding a bit of the warm milk to the yolk mixture gradually. Keep stirring constantly, scraping down the sides to avoid scrambled eggs.
  • Add the tempered yolks to the saucepan and stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon over low heat until it thickens to the point where you can leave a track with your finger on the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid into the chilled bowl and set it back into the freezer for 45 minutes. Remove the bowl from the freezer and use a spatula or whisk to mix in the frozen edge of the custard, then return it to the freezer. Repeat this process every 30 minutes until the custard is uniformly frozen and creamy.
  • Transfer the mixture to a sealable container and store it for up to 5 days. This type of ice cream should be eaten fairly quickly after it is made.

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