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a scoop of melty orange-cardamom ice cream sits in a white ceramic ramekin. the ice cream is streaked with chocolate and flecked with chocolate chips. a silver colored spoon rests in the ramekin. the ramekin is on a marble countertop.

how to make ice cream in a bag

Rebecca Eisenberg
This DIY ice cream making process requires absolutely zero machinery and works with any ice cream base of your choosing. Remember to chill your ice cream base overnight before churning, always double-seal your inner ziplock bag, and don’t worry if it looks curdled right after churning — give it a mix and let it set up in the freezer. As it chills, it’ll reach that ice cream consistency you know and love.
5 from 1 vote
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 pint



  • lots of ice cubes
  • ice cream salt
  • 1 batch ice cream base, chilled overnight (look for a recipe with a 1 pint or ½ quart yield)
  • any additional mix-ins, chilled overnight (optional)


  • Pour your ice cream base into one of the quart-sized resealable bags. Press as much air out of it as you can and seal it tight. Insert the bag into the other quart-sized bag, again pressing as much air out of the second bag as you can and sealing it tight.
  • Open the gallon-sized bag and fill the bottom with a layer of ice cubes. Then pour in a generous layer of ice cream salt. Then another layer of ice cubes, and another layer of salt.
  • Insert the double-sealed bag of ice cream base into the middle of the gallon-sized bag, and continue layering ice cubes and ice cream salt on either side of the bag until the gallon bag is comfortable filled to the top. You should be able to easily close it without straining the seal, but you also don’t want a ton of empty space or air at the top either.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes. Lay the kitchen towel flat on the counter, place the bag of ice and ice cream mixture in the middle of it, and use the towel to vigorously shake and rock the bag for 15 minutes. Pause a few times to check that the bag with the ice cream base hasn’t opened, and to flip the bag over if the ice cream base has settled on the bottom.
  • At 15 minutes, open the bags and check the consistency of your ice cream base. It should be firm and creamy, but will probably look a little curdled or grainy.
  • Cut a large corner of the ice cream base bag off and squeeze the mixture into an airtight container. If you have any pre-frozen mix-ins to add, add them now. Use a spatula to stir it and ensure the ice cream is packed into the container.
  • Press a sheet of plastic wrap (or one of the plastic bags that wasn’t touching the ice cream salt) against the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn and let it set up in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.


  • Whatever ice cream base recipe you use, look for one with a 1 pint/half-quart yield. The ice cream base will only take up about ⅓ to ½ of your quart-sized bag at first, but will expand as it firms up.
  • Ice Cream Salt is exactly the same thing as rock salt. So theoretically, if you’ve got a bag of that in your garage you could go ahead and use that, no need to buy specific ice cream salt — rock salt meant for roads just isn't considered food grade so you know, be careful. In a pinch, even a very, very liberal application of regular kosher salt will work.
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