8 Tips for Perfect Homemade Ice Cream

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8 Tips for Perfect Homemade Ice Cream | I'm excited to share that I finally know how to make perfect homemade ice cream. Even though I've had an ice cream maker for a year and a half, I was an under-achiever with it. I wasn't getting perfect ice cream out of it, week after week of trying. The ice cream I used to make was good -- we all enjoyed it. But it was soupy or icy. Well, no more. Our ice cream is now perfect -- a soft serve, yet firm and scoopable ice cream without iciness or soupiness! It's time to share what I've learned. | GNOWFGLINS.com

I’m excited to share that I finally know how to make perfect homemade ice cream. Even though I’ve had an ice cream maker for a year and a half, I was an under-achiever with it. I wasn’t getting perfect ice cream out of it, week after week of trying. The ice cream I used to make was good — we all enjoyed it. But it was soupy or icy. Well, no more. Our ice cream is now perfect — a soft serve, yet firm and scoopable ice cream without iciness or soupiness! It’s time to share what I’ve learned.

I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker, the kind with an insulated freezer bowl. Many ice cream makers are similar to this; two of the tips apply to this type of ice cream maker only, not the old-fashioned kind.

8 Tips for Perfect Homemade Ice Cream

  1. Make sure the freezing container gets a good 24-hour deep freeze, so that it is frozen solid.
  2. Use more cream and less milk. I am currently using 100% cream, and no milk at all.
  3. Use a solid sweetener such as Rapadura, Sucanat or evaporated cane juice. The evaporated cane juice is somewhat refined, the others are not. Using a liquid sweetener (such as honey) with more water content increases the iciness of the ice cream.
  4. Grind a coarse solid sweetener in a food processor or blender to make a fine texture. (Rapadura or Sucanat)
  5. *Fill the ice cream maker halfway (perhaps 2/3) only. The frozen tub in which the filling gets churned only has so much freeze to give before it is no longer cold. If there’s too much filling, there’s not enough chilling. ;)
  6. Add ingredients which increase creaminess, such as egg yolks or avocado.
  7. When chilling, choose a cool place in the house to do it. Don’t set the ice cream maker next to a woodstove, crockpot, or working oven. Conserve that freezing power!
  8. (I thought of another!) Chill the filling thoroughly to maximize freezing power.

*This tip is the MOST important! My ice cream maker is a 2-quart. I only use it to the 1-quart capacity, or perhaps a little more. If I fill it anymore, we get soupy ice cream. Sonya concurs.

High-quality homemade ice cream is more frugal than eating it out. In 1 quart of ice cream, I spend $5 on local Jersey cream. The other ingredients are usually sugar and egg yolks, which I’d say adds another $1.50 max. This makes the total $6.50.

So in our family of five, a serving of perfect homemade ice cream costs $1.30. I can’t remember the last time we went out for real, gourmet ice cream – but I’m sure we paid more than $1.30 each! When we go out for run-of-the-mill ice cream, we pay more than $1.30 for one scoop.

Conclusion: no matter how you slice it, even homemade, high-quality, perfect ice cream is a steal. So go make some!

Check out my simple recipes for perfectly creamy chocolate ice cream and the chocolate syrup (pictured).

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Comments

  1. says

    My problem is the first layer of ice cream gets FROZEN to the sides and I practically have to chisel it off with a butter knife. Any suggestions for this? I’ve tried non-stick baking spray and it didn’t help.

    Usually for my birthday we go to this local ice cream parlor. I refused to go this year as I discovered HFCS and soy in their ice cream. What a bummer.
    .-= Paula´s last blog post… Real Food Challenge =-.

  2. says

    Hey Wardee, thanks for sharing! I too have the same ice cream maker and have found that using 90-100% cream and real sugar is VERY important for texture. I usually try with half cream and whole milk with maple syrup and the results are always rock solid and icy.

    I do, however, use my ice cream maker to it’s full capacity, filling it until it’s nearly a full 2 quarts. This NEVER affects my end result (though it does make stir ins hard). But I do keep my freezer bowl insert in the big freezer out in the garage that DOES NOT go through the defrost cycle. I keep it in there 24/7 and replace it immediately after cleaning it when I make a batch of ice cream. Sometimes I think that it is almost TOO cold! I had no problem in the summer even with trying to freeze the ice cream.

    I wish the maple syrup would work b/c it is so much better than organic cane sugar :/
    .-= Meagan´s last blog post… Cinnamon Scones =-.

  3. Jessie says

    Is there ever a reason that it won’t freeze? Can there be too much fat?

    The last time I made ice cream, I made a batch with 1/2 cream & 1/2 milk and 6 egg yolks. It would NOT freeze. The cream was 38% butterfat. Finally, I just stuck the liquid stuff in the freezer & it set up some. This was a Williams Sonoma recipe – I forget what sugar I used.

    This is the only time this ever happened to me.

  4. says

    This is great information! I’m hoping to get a Cuisinart ice cream maker this spring/summer and I’m sure to be referring back to these tips often! We LOVE ice cream and I think, homemade, it is a perfect healthy treat for my family. Unfortunately, unless you buy very premium ice-cream (which is also a lot more expensive) you get all of those extra ingredients that I don’t want them to eat. Homemade is perfect for us!

    Thanks Wardee!

    Best,
    Sarah
    .-= Sarah´s last blog post… Real Food Faceoff =-.

  5. says

    One more tip:

    A tablespoon of liquer (sp?) will go a long way to help texture. Since alcohol doesn’t freeze, it helps keep it smoother and creamier. Add it at the end (i.e., after cooking if you heat your mixture) — I”ve used vodka, grand marnier, and rum, according to ice cream flavor.

    Also — I have now found THREE Cuisinart ice cream makers at thrift stores, all of them looking like they’d never been used, and all of them for less than $10. So if you have thrift stores you frequent, and you’re wanting an ice cream maker, keep an eye out!
    .-= Katy@ThoughtForFood´s last blog post… At least the company was good =-.

  6. Tara McGinnis says

    wow, I’ve never found anything that awesome at my thrift stores. I have a cuisanart we use and I LOVE IT! We only use yogurt and coconut milk to make ice cream. The texture is great when it’s done but after I freeze the leftovers it gets to compact and hard. Does the liquor really affect the flavor?

  7. says

    Can’t wait to try your recipe. I have issues with cream and eggs, so I think I’ll try the avocado. How about coconut milk, does that work as well?

  8. says

    Tara, it usually just enhances the flavor, if you use appropriate combinations — so, for heavier ice creams with chocolate or rich fruits like cherries, you could use a kirsch or grand marnier (or triple sec) — flavored liqueurs. For lighter sorbets where the fruit is more delicate, I use vodka (virtually flavorless). Since it’s only a tablespoon for a whole batch of ice cream, you don’t taste alcohol at all (and I don’t mind if the kids eat it!).
    .-= Katy@ThoughtForFood´s last blog post… At least the company was good =-.

  9. says

    Great post! I’m looking forward to your recipes…especially the chocolate syrup. :)

    I will say this: I’ve been really happy with the results since I started using maple syrup as my sweetener of choice. For some reason, I’m happier with the flavor. But then, I wasn’t using egg yolks back when I tried Rapadura. So maybe that could be it…

  10. says

    Ice cream is so delicious! I will have to wait again until we are picking up raw milk again from the local farm where we get meat and milk. It’s so hard to wait for a food that is so nutritious and is one that you use so much in your home, but we are on month 3 with no income due to starting a family business, and things have been really slow these last few months. They are now starting to pick up, so when we get our raw milk again, I’m going to try all of those things I hadn’t gotten around to yet, ice cream being one of them. I still have some yogurt left from my last batch I made in December, but it’s almost gone! Great post, Wardee! :)
    .-= Raine Saunders´s last blog post… Tired of Dry Skin? Use Traditional Fats And Oils In Your Diet! =-.

  11. says

    Paula – Since I suffered through soupy ice cream for so long, I take the frozen bits on the side as a good sign. If you read through the reviews on amazon.com for the Cuisinart, you’ll see many people not liking this. But, IMO, it is just the way it is. Sorry! I wouldn’t use a metal utensil to scrape the container, though, in case of damaging it. I have a handy bamboo spatula that works great for scraping.

    Meagan – You’re blessed! I can’t think why yours works and mine doesn’t with the larger quantity. ;) My container gets a good deep freeze in a stand-alone freezer, too. I have a friend who totally fills hers, too, it spills out with creamy goodness. I’ve never gotten that great texture until now.

    Jessie – I don’t see why that wouldn’t freeze. Were all the ingredients quite cold? Maybe they were too warm and the freezer container couldn’t bring them to the right temp before it lost freezing power.

    Sarah – Oh, yes, I agree! Not only is it cheaper, but homemade ice cream is a way to avoid yucky ingredients! Hope you get one soon – and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. You’re a creative cook with admirable gourmet tastes.

    Katy – Thanks for that tip! I bet it would give a nice flavor enhancement. I can’t believe you’ve found these ice cream makers at thrift stores. And three of them!

    Michelle – Yes, you do. :) Stat!

    Tara – When I used to use coconut milk, the ice cream would get very hard. It is a downside. I always had to get my husband to scoop it, which still seemed impossible.

    Tiffany – Coconut milk would work, but like Tara pointed out, it freezes really hard. I haven’t tried doing coconut milk ice cream with less quantity, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t give a scoopable rather than soupy texture, just like with cream. It is when you put it in the freezer when it really hardens up (and not in the best way). Make sure to use regular coconut milk with lots of cream.

    Mindy – Just put them both up today. And I’m with you – I love the flavor of maple syrup as sweetener. We all do. I think you could use the dry maple sugar in this recipe. I’d like to try it myself. If it is coarse, grind it up a bit.

    Raine – I’m sorry things have been tough for your family recently. It is hard to cut back on foods that you know are incredibly good for you. What is your new family business – do you mind me asking? I’m glad things are picking up.

    Everyone – I added an 8th tip. :) Shouldn’t have missed it in the first place – to make sure your filling is thoroughly chilled.

  12. Jessie says

    Hi Wardee – yes everything was chilled – including the freezer container. I’ve not made ice cream since then – so next time I will try it with a recipe that’s worked before. I wonder if something is wrong w/my maker.

  13. says

    Hi! I realize this post is a little late, but I just wanted to mention that I use homemade vanilla (made with vodka) in my ice cream and it seems to do the trick of keeping it from freezing too hard. It doesn’t take much alcohol to get that effect. ~ Karen
    .-= Karen Kelbell´s last blog post… Biscuits and Sausage Gravy =-.

  14. says

    I decided to see if you had any ice cream recipes before I made my husband’s favorite dessert. We have dairy goats and use the milk whole and raw, but it’s difficult to separate the cream, so we just use the milk and end up with rock hard ice cream. My husband has grown to enjoy it, but I read through your tips to see if I could make it more scoopable so I might enjoy it too. I’m trying the bit of alchohol in a recipe right now, but as I took the freezer insert out to start the batch, I realized one more tip-make sure it’s completely dry before it goes into the freezer! I think my husband put it away wet and now there are ice crystals all over the interior, sure to make the batch more icey and less creamy. Thanks for the posts though!

  15. says

    Oh oh! another secret to add to your list – putting previously frozen ice cream in the fridge for a few hours before serving time yields scoopable, yet still frozen ice cream! I make my ice cream with about half milk and half cream, or make frozen yogurt, and it is really hard out of the freezer, but if I remember to put it in the fridge before I fix dinner, then we have easily servable ice cream for dessert. Hurray!

    PS. Peanut butter kefir ice cream is wonderful – I use 3:1 cream to kefir and the tang/buzz is barely noticeable and it’s so delicious!

  16. Laurie Burt Jones via Facebook says

    We stopped buying commercial ice cream some time ago. We don’t want beaver anal gland and antifreeze in our ice cream. It tastes great without those nasty additives.

  17. Becki Garner Wright via Facebook says

    PERFECT timing for me, brand new in the box maker at a garage sale yesterday, thank you for the great tips!

  18. Sara Webber via Facebook says

    We make icecream in the sink. Its so easy and really fun. Lowers our carbon footprint too

  19. nacmacfee says

    Why not try making icecream in your kitchen sink. It is easy and you can find vids on how to do it on youtube. Save your wallet.
    All you need is cheap salt and ice and a stainless steel stockpot!
    Oh and your icecream ingredients of course..lol

    Most of all the kids and you can have so much fun!

    I do this here in Australia in the summertime and it still works a treat

  20. Sara Webber via Facebook says

    Actually Dom, from Doms kefir makes Kefir Icecream in the sink. I have tried it with regular icecream and it is great fun

  21. Cindy Hailey via Facebook says

    Getting icecream maker for my bday next month…Can’t wait to try your recipe(s).

  22. says

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips. These are the things I tried last summer when I was trying to make better ice cream. The all cream makes it less icy but boy is it rich. A little bit is very satisfying.

    I also found putting in the eggs was a good idea. I use 6 egg yolks and 2 cups of raw cream. I use Rapadura but have also had good success with maple sugar. Quite tasty. And yes, you are right. Stay away from the honey and/or maple syrup for that matter.

    Someone mentioned using a bit of arrowroot powder. I tried it but didn’t notice a big distance.

    Another thing I found to work well was to not use vanilla extract. The alcohol can be troubling. Vanilla bean paste from the King Arthur Flour Comapny works well.

    And yes, a good freeze of the equipment plus well chilled ingredients makes a huge difference. And yes! Do not overfill. The ice cream never comes out well.

    Thanks so much for pulling all this advice together. Just wonderful!

    Love,

    Mary

  23. says

    Just starting my research for homemade ice cream & excited to find these tips here at a site I trust for nutritional quality. I’m hoping to replicate something similar to Marble Slab’s sweet cream flavor. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  24. Iain Cox says

    I have a sunbeam gelateria – which is usually really good. The recipe I like most requires heating the milk and cream together then blending it with the egg yolks and sugar before heating it again until it starts to thicken. I try to follow the process as closely as I can but sometimes the icecream finishes up being “floury” – any ideas on what I am doing wrong?

  25. Karen says

    I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker too. I keep it in my big freezer and fill it nearly to capacity when I use it. When I finish the stirring/freezing cycle, though, I transfer the contents to a covered, chilled glass or metal container and put that in the freezer. Then I clean out the Cuisinart tub and put it right back into the freezer, ready for another batch. My refrigerator freezer is not cold enough to freeze the ice cream hard without adjusting it so it also freezes the produce in the fridge part, but is a good place to put the hard frozen ice cream to soften for serving.

    Thanks for listing the wierd ingredients in commercial ice cream. I’m showing that to this household’s big ice cream buyer.

  26. MIKE says

    AFTER YOU MAKE ICE CREAM AND YOU WONT TO SAVE IT AND PUT IT IN THE FREEZER SOMETIMES IT WILL TASTE GRITTIE, WHAT CAN I DO NOT TO HAVE THIS.

  27. Terry says

    I used to skip this ingredient, until I realized why it was added….my ice cream (made with 1/2 cream, 1/2 coconut milk) is a much better texture now that I add a bit of sea salt. Salt is a melting agent, so it helps it not too freeze too hard. Hope that helps!

  28. Jen says

    The biggest secret I learned for any ice cream is to put it in the fridge for a couple hours after it has solidified in the freezer. It is amazing fresh out of the ice cream maker, but if you make it ahead, it can be hard to scoop straight from the freezer. But if I put the rock-hard ice cream in the fridge before fixing dinner, then when we pull it out for dessert it is perfect!

    And salt! You can add quite a bit of salt to the ice cream without ruining the sweetness. That also helps tremendously.

    Can’t wait for summer!

  29. Doreen says

    Great tips! I have another one to go with #7:
    I put my icecream maker into a chilly bag, which keeps it extra cold while the icecream is churning.

  30. says

    Great Tips Wardeh! I didn’t know about the sweetener -I will have to try it with finely ground coconut sugar…..

    Another tip I have is to use the cold soluble gelatin if you can’t do egg yolks – 3-4 Tbsp. per quart is what I’m finding works well!

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