Cool! Easy homemade ice cream

Fudge chocolate chip toffee crunch ice cream.

Strawberry-mango sorbet.

Ginger-peach frozen yogurt.

We all have an ice cream flavor of our dreams, don’t we?

The one that pops into our head while standing in line at the ice cream stand, scanning the 45 flavors and NOT finding Strawberry Chocolate Chip.

I still lament the disappearance of Friendly’s Chocolate Marshmallow. Sounds simple, but oh, the deep-dark chocolate ice cream… the thick swirl of sticky white marshmallow, just enough to soften the chocolate’s bitter edge…

These days, gelato is everyone’s new best friend. And yes, it’s awesome stuff: thick, rich without seeming heavy, and incredibly flavorful.

But if you can even find gelato in your local supermarket (to say nothing of fresh-scooped gelato), it’s liable to be prohibitively expensive.

You thought Ben & Jerry’s was premium? Try buying real gelato.

Which is why you might want to consider making homemade ice cream. Yup, right there in your own kitchen.

Homemade ice cream can be as simple as a spoon, bowl, and your refrigerator’s freezer compartment. Or as complicated (read: expensive) as a gelato machine costing upwards of $1,200.

Thankfully, there’s lots of ground in between those extremes. And here in the King Arthur test kitchen, we make our frozen treats with Cuisinart’s simple electric ice cream maker.

Sales pitch? You bet. But unlike many smoke-and-mirrors, “don’t read the fine print” ads you probably see on a daily basis, this one is absolutely true.

You can make fabulous homemade ice cream VERY easily with a simple $59.95 electric ice cream maker.

We’ve tested other brands, and other models; and we’ve found the Cuisinart offers the best balance between performance and price.

Sure, you can spend a LOT of money on a home ice cream maker; but the possible uptick in ice cream quality just isn’t worth the huge difference in price – at least to us cheapskate frugal northern New Englanders.

Also, when you make your own, you can control the ingredients. Julie, an ice-cream-loving member of our Web team, says, “We’ve recently gotten into making our own ice cream and discovered how easy it is and how much fun. The reason we started was after reading all the unpronounceable words in the ingredients on store-bought ice cream.”

Simple is beautiful.

How easy is it to make your own Mocha Madness ice cream?

Just watch.

First, stir together milk, cream, sugar, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and vanilla.

Pour into the ice cream maker’s canister. Put on the lid, and press the power button.

Go cool your heels for 25 minutes, while the machine does its work.

When the ice cream is soft-serve consistency, add chopped-up Oreos (I like the chocolate-filled ones). Turn off the machine, scoop the ice cream out of the bucket, and enjoy.

At this point it’ll be soft-serve consistency.

Like this frozen yogurt.

For harder ice cream, stick it in the freezer compartment of your fridge for 2 to 3 hours, until it’s the consistency you like.

BTW, here’s a good tip: Most homemade ice cream becomes rock-hard when stored in the freezer longer than 6 hours or so. To keep ice cream hard but not rock-hard, stir in 1 to 4 tablespoons liquor before placing in the freezer. Use vodka, brandy, or match a liqueur to your ice cream flavor: I’ve used Kahlua in the ice cream above.

So, what’s up with that? The alcohol in the liquor acts as anti-freeze, and the ice cream stays hard, but scoopably so.

So, that’s homemade ice cream. Easy, right?

If you need more proof, check out our various “cool” blogs, where you’ll see how to make not just ice cream, but frozen yogurt, sorbet, and even American-style gelato – no $1,200 machine needed! Happy scooping –

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Sorbet Two Ways
Tart Cherry Ice Cream
Strawberries and Balsamic à la Mode
Chocolate Decadence
Coconut Ice Cream
Pineapple-Coconut Gelato
Strawberry Sorbet
Mocha Madness
Blueberry Cream Pie Ice Cream

And, to top them all off:

A Pair of Sundae Sauces

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. codysgrandparents

    Sour cherries, or Montmorency, as my mom used to call them, are a favorite. Thanks for an ice cream treat recipe! I have used my Cuisinart for about 8 years, and it’s going strong. You mentioned making frozen drinks; can you give us some directions on how to prepare those, too? Thanks for the great recipes from soup to dessert, especially breads!
    Check out these frozen drink recipes. One is chocolaty and the other is fruity. ~Amy

  2. momma_D

    Has anyone tried a sugar free or low sugar recipe for ice cream? I would love to get this machine but we need to use splenda. Thanks.
    I see no reason why you couldn’t give splenda a try in the ice cream! ~Amy

  3. Bridgid

    This is the machine I have and I LOVE it! I did have the kind that you add rock salt to the outside, and that one made more ice cream than this one, but the ice cream never froze sufficiently. This one is perfect! In the fridge right now for churning tonight is the base for Candied Bacon Ice Cream. Last week was Vanilla – the best one I have made yet. Not sure what I want to make for tomorrow. So many ice creams, so little time…

  4. gpyrocat

    We bought ours last summer and have been enjoying our favorite ice cream and sorbets. This is beyond easy to use; besides my stand mixer, the best kitchen appliance, EVER. I have chai tea ice cream firming for company tonight!

  5. lillabit2001

    I used to have an electric maker that needed the crushed ice and rock salt, and though I usually managed to get the right combo of salt and ice to freeze the ice cream nicely, it was such a lot of work and mess. I got a Cuisinart last summer for my birthday and became an ice cream making fiend. My favorites were a mint chocolate chip, using mint from my garden, peach ice cream with the sweetest juiciest peaches from Colorado, and a Meyer lemon sorbet. The Cuisinart is so-o-o-o-o much easier than the salt and ice method! Absolutely worth the price.

    I totally agree. I used to have a hand-cranked White Mountain, an old wooden one. It was traditional, for sure, but oh, my, what a lot of work and mess… The Cuisinart ice cream maker compared to that is like going from pounding your clothes on rocks in the river to tossing them into the newest Bosch washing machine. Those ice ream flavors you make sound absolutely delicious, BTW… PJH

  6. LeeB

    pounding on rocks in a river – !! Love it! We have this ice cream maker and it is used at least once a week, sometimes more often. So easy to use my then-12-yr-old son memorized the recipe and has become the official ice cream chef at our house. Our basic go-to recipes are here

    Lee, thanks for the link – I’m always looking for new ice cream ideas. My two most recent thoughts are salty butter pecan (vanilla-caramel ice cream with toasted salted pecans), and whoopie pie: chocolate ice cream with cake pieces and a marshmallow swirl. Maybe your son can figure them out and give ’em a whirl… 🙂 Happy 4th! PJH

  7. LeeB

    Working on a chocolate peanut butter right now. Adding a peanut butter flavor swirl to our chocolate ice cream base and then stirring in chopped Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups at the end.

    Oh, YUM… let us know how it came out, Lee (though I can’t imagine the answer will be anything less than “superb”!) PJH

  8. mdlrvrmuncher

    I too have this machine but only use it occasionally or I’d be at the gym more than 5 days a week. A recent guest on NPR recommended guar gum to maintain the smooth texture. Any experience with that product and if so, how much (she stated a touch)?

    Haven’t tried guar gum, but I believe at some point someone in the test kitchen tried xanthan gum. I’ll ask around and see what the result was… PJH

    OK, here’s what Frank Tegethoff, one of our test bakers, says. I assume the same would apply to xanthan gum.

    “I’ve made a lot of ice cream. I’ve never used guar. In my opinion it is a commercial ‘cheat’ to get around commercial batch size issues of uniform smoothness during dashing. No need for this ingredient at home. Hope this helps.”

  9. Brenda

    Bowl in freezer, think I have everything to make lemon ginger ice cream tomorrow. Although strawberry sorbet is sounding awfully good, too, since tomorrow’s strawberry picking, freezer jam, & berry freezing day.

  10. sfoor

    Do you have any recipes for sugar free ice cream or even suggestions for substituting splenda. Yes I appreciate the purist point of view, but many people just can not eat sugar……

    Sure – just substitute Splenda to taste, as the sugar really has very little to do with the ice cream’s texture. PJH

  11. Momlet

    Second time in a week making the Mocha Madness, using coarsely chopped Heath bars; quoting 18-year old son: “as good as Ben and Jerry’s” !
    Looks like I need to buy more paper, my list is getting too long! The Heath addition sounds AMAZING! Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

  12. Nenegoose

    Instead of chopping Heath bars, I buy Heath English Toffee Bits. They can be found by the chocolate chips, and I use them during the last 5 minutes of churning time in Nutella icecream. Wonderful!

  13. Molly Ware

    Is it possible to substitute lactose free milk in ice cream recipes. I haven’t found lactose free cream at the store. I miss ice cream!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Molly! Yes, you definitely can use lactose-free or non-dairy milk to make delicious ice cream. You might enjoy the results better if you use a milk that’s a bit richer and creamier, like coconut milk instead of a low-fat, lactose-free version of regular milk. If you want to learn more about (delicious) dairy-free cream possibilities, you can check out the full article on our blog here. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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