20 Ice Cream Maker Alternatives: Unique Ideas for Homemade Delights

Last updated on November 6, 2023

Discover 20 creative alternatives to an ice cream maker that will help you whip up delicious frozen treats in no time!

Who doesn’t love ice cream? It’s the ultimate comfort food that we all crave, especially during the hot summer months. But what if you don’t have an ice cream maker at home? Don’t worry, you don’t have to rely on store-bought ice cream anymore.

There are plenty of alternative ways to make delicious homemade ice cream without breaking the bank. In this article, we’ve compiled 20 creative and budget-friendly ideas for making your own ice cream at home without an ice cream maker.

So grab a spoon and get ready to indulge in some sweet treats!

Freezer Bags

Freezer Bags

Freezer bags are a great alternative to traditional ice cream makers. To make ice cream using freezer bags, you will need heavy-duty quart-sized freezer bags, half and half or heavy whipping cream, sugar or sweetener of your choice, vanilla extract (optional), and rock salt.

Firstly mix the ingredients in one bag until well combined then seal it tightly removing any excess air inside the bag. Then place that bag into another larger size freezer bag filled with crushed ice and rock salt mixture.

Seal this outer layer as well making sure there is no leakage of water inside while shaking it vigorously for 10-15 minutes until you get a smooth creamy texture.

Mason Jars

Mason Jar juicer

To make ice cream in a mason jar, you will need heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract or any other flavorings of your choice. Simply mix the ingredients together in the jar until well combined and then seal it tightly with its lid.

Next, fill a larger container with ice cubes and rock salt (or kosher salt) to create an icy bath for your mason jars. Place the sealed jars into this mixture and shake them vigorously every five minutes for about 20-30 minutes or until they reach desired consistency.

Coffee Cans

Coffee Cans

To use a coffee can, you will need two different sizes of cans – one large and one small. Fill the smaller can with your ice cream mixture and place it inside the larger can.

Surround the smaller can with a layer of ice and rock salt, then seal both cans tightly together using duct tape or rubber bands.

Next, roll or shake the coffee can back and forth for about 10-15 minutes until your mixture has thickened into creamy soft serve consistency. You may want to wear gloves while doing this as it gets very cold! Once done, remove the small container from inside of its larger counterpart carefully so that no saltwater enters into it.

Blender Method


The blender method involves blending all the ingredients together until they are smooth and creamy. Once blended, pour the mixture into an ice cube tray or any other container of your choice and freeze it for several hours until it’s firm enough to scoop out like regular ice cream.

To make sure that your homemade ice cream turns out perfectly using this method, use heavy whipping cream as one of the main ingredients since it helps create that rich texture we all love in our favorite frozen treats. You can also add flavors such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder to enhance its taste even further.

Food Processor

Food Processor

To make ice cream using a food processor, start by freezing the bowl and blade of the appliance for at least 24 hours. Once frozen, add your desired ingredients to the bowl and pulse until smooth and creamy.

You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure even blending.

One advantage of using a food processor is that it allows you to create custom flavors by experimenting with different combinations of ingredients such as fruits, nuts or chocolate chips. This method requires no special equipment other than what you already have in your kitchen.

Whipped Cream Technique

Whipped Cream Technique

This method involves whipping heavy cream until stiff peaks form and then folding in sweetened condensed milk and any desired flavorings. The mixture is then frozen for several hours until it reaches the desired consistency.

To make whipped cream ice cream, start by chilling your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Once chilled, pour one cup of cold heavy whipping cream into the bowl along with two tablespoons of powdered sugar (or more if you prefer sweeter).

Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Next, add a can of sweetened condensed milk to the whipped mixture along with any additional flavors such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder. Fold everything together gently using a spatula.

Pour this mixture into an air-tight container and freeze overnight or at least six hours before serving.

Ice Cube Trays

Ice Cube Tray Juices

Simply pour your mixture into the tray and freeze until solid. Once frozen, pop out the cubes and blend them in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.

You can also add mix-ins like chocolate chips or fruit chunks before freezing for added texture and flavor. This method is perfect for making small batches of ice cream or experimenting with different flavors without committing to a large quantity.

Plus, it’s easy to clean up since you only have one dish to wash!

Hand Mixer & Bowl

Hand Mixer

The process is simple; all you need to do is mix the ingredients in the mixing bowl and use your hand mixer to whip it up until it becomes thick and creamy. You will need to freeze the mixture for several hours before serving.

To make sure that your homemade ice cream turns out perfectly, use chilled heavy whipping cream as well as sweetened condensed milk or sugar. You can also add flavors such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder for added taste.

This method works best if you have an electric hand whisk since it makes whipping easier than doing so manually with a wire whisk.

Ziploc Bag & Towel

Ziploc Bag pouch

All you need is a Ziploc bag, some ice cubes, and salt. Fill the Ziploc bag with your desired ingredients and seal it tightly.

Then place the sealed bag inside another larger Ziploc filled with ice cubes and salt mixture (1/3 cup of salt to 4 cups of crushed ice). Wrap both bags in a towel to prevent them from getting too cold on your hands while shaking them vigorously for about 10-15 minutes until you get the desired consistency.

This technique works best if you use heavy cream as it will create a smoother texture than milk-based recipes that may become icy when frozen this way.

Frozen Fruit Puree

Frozen Fruit Puree

Simply blend your favorite fruits into a smooth puree and mix it with heavy cream, condensed milk, or yogurt. You can also add sugar or honey for sweetness if needed.

Pour the mixture into a container and freeze it until solid, stirring every 30 minutes to prevent crystallization. Once fully frozen, let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before scooping out your homemade fruity ice cream! This method works best with soft fruits like berries or mangoes but you can experiment with any fruit of your choice!

Slushy Maker Machine

Slushy Maker Machine

These machines are designed specifically for making frozen drinks like slushies and margaritas. They work by blending ice with your favorite drink mix or syrup to create a deliciously refreshing treat.

To use the machine, simply fill the reservoir with ice and add your desired liquid flavoring. Turn on the machine, and within minutes you’ll have perfectly blended slushie ready to enjoy! Some models even come equipped with multiple chambers so that you can make different flavors at once.

While these machines may be more expensive than some of the other alternatives on this list, they are worth it if you plan on making lots of frozen drinks regularly.

Electric Hand Whisk


It can be used to make creamy and smooth ice cream in no time. To use this method, start by mixing the ingredients for your desired flavor in a bowl until they are well combined.

Then, transfer the mixture into a large ziplock bag and seal it tightly. Place the bag into another larger plastic bag filled with ice cubes and rock salt or coarse salt (about 1:3 ratio).

Shake vigorously for about 10-15 minutes or until you achieve your desired consistency.

Alternatively, you can also use an electric hand whisk directly on the mixture while it’s still in its bowl before transferring it to bags with ice cubes/salt mixtures as mentioned above.

Yogurt Ice Cream Base

Yogurt Ice Cream Base

To make this, you will need plain yogurt, sweetener of your choice (honey or maple syrup), vanilla extract, and any mix-ins you desire. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker or freeze it for 30 minutes before stirring with a fork to break up any crystals that may have formed. Repeat this process every 30 minutes until desired consistency is achieved.

This method not only saves money but also provides health benefits as yogurt contains probiotics that are good for gut health and digestion. Plus, it’s perfect for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan as non-dairy yogurts can be used instead of regular ones!

Ice Cream Ball

This method involves using a special ball-shaped container that you fill with your favorite ingredients, then roll around for about 20 minutes until the mixture turns into creamy ice cream. The process is simple: mix together heavy whipping cream, sugar, vanilla extract and any other flavorings or mix-ins of your choice in one half of the ball; fill the other half with rock salt and ice cubes; close both halves tightly together; then toss it back-and-forth between friends or family members for some outdoor fun while making dessert! The result is delicious homemade soft-serve style treat that everyone will love.

Ice Cream Balls are available online or at most kitchen stores at affordable prices so you can enjoy this unique experience anytime!

Rolling Pin Crush

Rolling Pin

This technique involves placing your ingredients in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin until they are smooth and creamy. You can then freeze the mixture for several hours until it reaches your desired consistency.

To make this type of ice cream, start by mixing together heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract or any other flavorings you prefer in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a resealable plastic bag and seal it tightly before placing it on top of some towels on your kitchen counter.

Use a rolling pin to gently crush all of the ingredients inside the bag until they are well combined and have reached an even texture throughout. Once done crushing everything up nicely pour out into another container that is freezer safe.

Transfer this mixture back into its original container or another freezer-safe dish before freezing for at least 4-6 hours or overnight if possible so that it sets properly.

Banana-based Recipes

Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Here are some banana-based recipes to try:.

1. Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: Blend frozen bananas, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips in a food processor until smooth.

2. Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream: Blend frozen bananas with peanut butter and honey in a blender or food processor until creamy.

3. Strawberry Banana Sorbet: Puree frozen strawberries with ripe bananas in a blender or food processor until smooth.

4. Cinnamon Roll Nice Cream: Blend frozen bananas with cinnamon, vanilla extract, almond milk, and maple syrup for an indulgent treat that tastes like cinnamon rolls.

5. Blueberry Banana Soft Serve: Combine fresh blueberries with ripe banana slices in the freezer overnight before blending them together into soft serve consistency the next day.

Frozen Yogurt Popsicles

Frozen Yogurt Popsicles

They’re easy to make, and you can customize them with your favorite fruits or toppings. To make frozen yogurt popsicles, start by blending together plain Greek yogurt, honey or agave syrup for sweetness, and your choice of fruit (such as strawberries or blueberries).

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. You can also add in chunks of fresh fruit for added texture.

These refreshing treats are perfect for hot summer days when you want something cool but not too heavy!

Creamy Sorbet

Creamy Sorbet

But what if you want something creamier? You can make creamy sorbets without an ice cream maker by using coconut milk or heavy cream as the base. Simply blend your fruit of choice with the liquid and freeze it in a container until firm, stirring every 30 minutes to prevent ice crystals from forming.

The result is a smooth and creamy sorbet that’s sure to impress your guests! Try making strawberry-coconut or raspberry-cream sorbets for a delicious twist on classic flavors.

No-churn Gelato

No-churn Gelato

It’s easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. To make no-churn gelato, you’ll need heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract or any other flavorings of your choice.

Simply whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks then fold in the sweetened condensed milk and flavorings until well combined. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Popsicle Molds

Popsicle Molds

They come in various shapes and sizes, making it easy to create fun and unique frozen treats. Simply mix your favorite ingredients together, pour them into the mold, insert the stick, and freeze until solid.

Popsicle molds can be found at most kitchen supply stores or online retailers for an affordable price. Plus, they’re easy to clean and reusable so you can make endless batches of homemade popsicles all summer long!


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