No-Churn Ice Cream

No-churn ice cream recipe

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Freeze Time: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 5 to 6 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
279 Calories
18g Fat
25g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 279
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 60mg 20%
Sodium 78mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 153mg 12%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 204mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you've wanted to try making ice cream but don't have an ice cream maker, this no-churn ice cream recipe is a great place to start. This basic recipe calls for just four ingredients and an electric mixer, whisk, spatula, and a few bowls. It's a creamy, delightful ice cream that can be embellished with any swirl-ins you might like. 

There is also no cooking required, so it takes just a few minutes to put together. You can keep the ice cream plain vanilla or add chunks of chocolate, cookie crumbs, or chopped toasted nuts. The flavor possibilities are endless with this recipe, so feel free to use your imagination.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled

  • Chunks of chocolate, cookie crumbs, chopped toasted nuts, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Place a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan in the freezer.

    No-churn ice cream ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk with the vanilla extract and salt. Whisk or stir the mixture until thoroughly blended.

    Combine vanilla and sweetened condensed milk

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  3. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the chilled heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.

    Whipping the heavy cream

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  4. Add about 1 cup of the whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir gently until well blended.

    Making no-churn ice cream

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  5. Pour the condensed milk mixture into the remaining whipped cream and fold with a spatula or spoon until no streaks remain.

    Fold the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  6. Pour the ice cream mixture into the chilled loaf pan and spread it evenly. Return the pan to the freezer.

    No-churn ice cream in a loaf pan

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  7. If adding any ingredients to the ice cream, incorporate after 2 hours. Swirl to distribute the add-ins and return the pan to the freezer. Freeze for about 3 hours longer, or until very firm.

    Stir additional ingredients into the ice cream

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  8. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it stand for about 10 minutes to soften slightly.

    No-churn ice cream frozen with chocolate

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  9. Scoop the ice cream into dessert dishes and garnish with your favorite sauces and ice cream toppings, such as chucks of chocolate, cookie crumbs, and chopped toasted nuts. Enjoy.

    Serving of no-churn ice cream

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

How Does No-Churn Work?

It may seem unlikely that you can make ice cream without an ice cream maker, but there are certain ingredients and techniques that make it work. In an ice cream maker, the mixture is simultaneously churned while it freezes; the churning incorporates air into the ice cream which in turn increases the volume, making a light, airy, and smooth consistency. In a no-churn recipe, the volume is increased by whipping the heavy cream into stiff peaks, creating a light, airy mixture. The other factor that allows a no-churn recipe to work is using sweetened condensed milk. This ingredient has both a high sugar content and a low water content; the sugar lowers the freezing point, preventing the ice cream from becoming too hard, and the small amount of water prevents the formation of ice crystals. The result is a smooth, creamy ice cream that tastes and feels just like it was made in an ice cream maker.

How to Make Perfect Chocolate Chips for Ice Cream

Place a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper on a baking sheet. Melt 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread it thinly. Chill the chocolate and then use a knife to chop it into small chocolate pieces. Stir the chocolate pieces into the ice cream.

Recipe Variations

  • No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream: Whisk 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder into the sweetened condensed milk along with the vanilla and salt.
  • No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream: Dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules in 1 tablespoon of warm water. Add the coffee mixture to the sweetened condensed milk along with the vanilla and salt.
  • No-Churn Irish Cream Ice Cream: Omit the vanilla and add 2 tablespoons of Irish cream liqueur and a dash of ground cinnamon to the sweetened condensed milk along with a pinch of salt.
  • No-Churn Lemon Ice Cream: Reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest to the sweetened condensed milk along with a pinch of salt.