Homemade Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

Hello, friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was short because at 5am Sunday morning I flew out to Louisiana to meet with the Tabasco folks along with a couple other bloggers. I’m going to be doing some freelance recipe development work for them soon and am getting the grand tour as we speak. Let me just say…it’s spicyyyyyyy. More details on that later!

First, let’s talk about this. And the fact that you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it.

So apparently, it’s a “thing” to make ice cream in a plastic bag. How did I never know about this?! All you do is fill a large plastic bag with ice and salt, fill a small plastic bag with milk, sugar and vanilla, then put the sealed little bag in the big bag, seal the whole thing tight and shake like your life depended on it for ten minutes!

I wore mittens for the occasion. And black stretchy pants…nothing new there! (what’s going on with my big toes? It looks like they are waving hi.)

It totally worked!!!! I added crushed oreos to my ice cream because cookies n’ cream is one of my favorite flavors. SO GOOD! I seriously couldn’t believe how easy this was….and it would have been even easier had I a small child who could do the shaking for me (hint hint moms with toddlers).

You will need to pick up some ice cream salt though. I found this at my local supermarket in the salt and spices section.

Like I said, you just fill one large gallon size bag with ice cubes and this salt, then fill another smaller plastic bag with the ice cream ingredients: milk (I used whole milk for creaminess factor), vanilla extract and a couple tablespoons of sugar….then put the small bag in the big bag and seal tight!

The process isn’t too photogenic, but the result sure is!!

It was delicious, but unfortunately I was about to leave to teach a yoga class so I stuck my bowl in the freezer to have when I got home later…yeah, bad idea. It got really icy and I ended up just picking out the cookies and tossing the rest. Boo. So my words of advice to you, lovely ice cream makers, is to eat this immediately after making it! It’s delicious and such a fun activity to do by yourself or with your kids.

Also, if shaking yourself, a cute pair of fuzzy mittens comes in very handy.

Homemade Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker (cookies n’ cream flavor)

serves 1-2 depending on your sweet tooth

adapted from this recipe (warning: when you open this page, a loud video plays…I don’t recommend it at work!)

Print this recipe!


1 cup milk (I’d personally recommend whole milk for this but I’m sure you could really use whatever you want)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp sugar

6 Oreo cookies (or other chocolate sandwich cookies), crushed

1/2 cup ice cream salt


1 gallon size ziploc bag

1 quart size ziploc bag

sprinkles for serving!


Fill the larger plastic bag with ice and ice cream salt. Carefully fill the smaller bag with the milk, vanilla and sugar. Seal the small bag TIGHT. Place the small bag inside the large ice-filled bag and seal large bag tightly.

Shake bag up and down for 10 minutes, until ice cream has formed!

Scoop out ice cream and combine with crushed cookies, or topping of choice.

Enjoy immediately.


20 minutes


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  • Katrina
    April 16, 2012 at 3:11 am

    I don’t have an ice cream maker so this is perfect for me! Yum!

  • Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming
    April 16, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I love this idea! Looks so delicious 🙂 I love cookies ‘n cream!

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    April 16, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Love the idea! And thanks for the tip about eating it right away. Of course around here, I don’t forsee that being an issue. 😉

  • Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance
    April 16, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Ah, this brings back memories of my kindergarten days. This was always my favorite class activity!

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    April 16, 2012 at 4:05 am

    rocking my world!! Never heard of ice-cream salt. buzzing with the excitement, cannot wait to try this! Must find my mittens…
    Heidi xo

  • Lindsay @ biking before bed
    April 16, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I have this cool ice cream ball I got for my birthday a few years ago that takes the plastic bag ice cream to the next level. You can play catch and then get ice cream.

  • Lesley
    April 16, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Awesome idea! I can’t wait to try it. I love, love, love ice cream.

  • Erika - The Teenage Taste
    April 16, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Cookies and cream ice cream is one of my favorites! Homemade ice cream is the best!

  • Mary
    April 16, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Pinning, FB’ing, and making today. Thank you! Looks fun and yum!

  • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers
    April 16, 2012 at 4:23 am

    hooooooray! the ice cream lover in me is singing your praises this morning, jenna!

  • Chand
    April 16, 2012 at 4:29 am

    You can do this with a large coffee can and something smaller inside. Then you roll the coffee can back and forth on the floor. Great with kids! But this is old info, n’est-ce pas?

    • Allison
      April 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

      I used to do this with my cousins every summer and kick the can around the neighborhood or play a sort of can-soccer game. It’s one of my favorite memories!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    April 16, 2012 at 4:38 am

    How critical is it to have crazy hair while making the ice cream?

  • Annie @ What's Annie Making?
    April 16, 2012 at 4:39 am

    We used to make this in science class growing up. I can’t believe I never thought to do it at home! Thanks for the great recipe!!!!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    April 16, 2012 at 4:40 am

    I love this! So fun for summer!

  • Leatitia @ The Sweetest Year
    April 16, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Love, love, love!! Will try it this week!

  • Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    April 16, 2012 at 4:53 am

    You can never go wrong with cookies n cream! I’ve always wanted to try this ice cream method.

  • Alyssa
    April 16, 2012 at 4:55 am

    This is great! I can actually make this in my dorm. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    April 16, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Ahh I’ve been meaning to do this since I saw it in Oxygen magazine a while ago but totally forgot, so thanks for the reminder! Good call on the mittens!

  • Catalina @ Cake with Love
    April 16, 2012 at 5:05 am

    I love this recipe since I don’t have an icecream maker!

  • Caroline @ chocolate & carrots
    April 16, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I have an ice cream maker but it’s always such a pain to get out every time. This looks incredible! I hope you have a great time in Louisiana! 😀

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    April 16, 2012 at 5:24 am

    My big toes are waving right back at ‘cha! 🙂

    This is pure genius! I’m trying this asap even though I have an ice cream maker. And you are right, toddlers are the best for making cookie crumbs!

  • Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
    April 16, 2012 at 5:25 am

    we made ice cream this way in my 10th grade science class, it was one of the best lessons we did in that class, we just made plain old vanilla though!

    • Shelley
      April 16, 2012 at 6:54 am

      ha, we did that in HS science class too! my partner was lame and refused to shake the bag, and my hands were freezing :(. I definitely needed those fuzzy mittens!

  • shelly (cookies and cups)
    April 16, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Great recipe! I don’t know why I hate getting my ice cream maker out so bad! This is perfect 🙂

  • The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh
    April 16, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I can’t wait to try this! I haven’t invested in an ice cream maker (probably wise at this juncture) but this looks right up my alley!

  • Julia {The Roasted Root}
    April 16, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Love the technique and the fuzzy mittens! While I have been toying with the idea of getting an ice cream maker, we still don’t have one, so it’s good to see a method that doesn’t require one! When I was in elementary school, we took a similar approach to you, but we kicked our ice cream around in tupperware like a soccer ball….unfortunately, the salt got into mine, so hopefully as an adult I’ll be more successful. 😉

  • Jen
    April 16, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Is your yoga training on the weekends? Between that, work and all your travels – you’re a busy girl!

  • joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    April 16, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Love this! We totally did something like this back in high school chemistry I think!

  • Jenny
    April 16, 2012 at 5:56 am

    yum! will try asap!

  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    April 16, 2012 at 6:03 am

    How fun! This is perfect for the Summer (and definitely something kids would love!)

  • Nicole
    April 16, 2012 at 6:10 am

    We got to do this in elementary school! Except I remember that we were playing catch and some kids threw theirs too hard and their bags broke. Ice cream explosion!

  • Luv What You Do
    April 16, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I remember trying to make ice cream like this in elementary school. I think it ws part of our science unit. Ours did NOT turn out as good as yours looks!

  • jenna
    April 16, 2012 at 6:26 am

    oh this looks down right amazing!! 🙂 yummy! love the crazy hair and fuzzy mittens! cute!

  • Margarita
    April 16, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I have been waiting for an ice cream recipe that doesn’t require an ice cream maker. Thank you Jenna!

  • molly
    April 16, 2012 at 6:37 am

    WHAT?! this is awesome!!!

  • Em (Wine and Butter)
    April 16, 2012 at 6:41 am

    And all that shaking counts as a pre ice cream eating workout!!!

  • parker
    April 16, 2012 at 6:57 am

    could you use this method with any homemade ice cream recipe?

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    April 16, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I’ve heard of this, but never tried it! Yours turned out super cute…love the rainbow sprinkles…they’re one of lifes finer things, aren’t they?!
    My friend has also made ice cream by blending bananas and peanut butter (and a few other things that I can’t remember)….sounds crazy, but it’s kinda awesome – if you like bananas…and pb…which I do 😉 Cheers!

  • Sarah
    April 16, 2012 at 7:21 am

    We used to do this all the time at my elementary school…so fun!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    April 16, 2012 at 7:47 am

    How have I never heard of this method?! I don’t have an ice cream maker and refuse to buy one b/c I just don’t think the space it would take up is worth the amount of times I’d use it but then reading people’s recipes and blogs about delicious ice cream makes me jealous, like realllly jealous. This is genius, thank you!

  • Claire L
    April 16, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried making ice cream like that, but it looks just as fun as making butter by shaking cream in a jar with some marbles – so fun!
    Are those Rainbow flipflops on your feet!? I could be mistaken, but they sure look like it. They’re such a southern staple; I love mine!

  • Deborah
    April 16, 2012 at 7:55 am

    My youth group used to always do this back in the day. Brings back memories!!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    April 16, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I’ve read about no ice cream maker ways to make ice cream before but have never tried it. However, my grandma used to do it when I was a little girl all the time and I have memories of watching her.

    Cute pic of you in your yoga pants!

  • Allie@sweetpotatobites
    April 16, 2012 at 8:18 am

    i love this! who knew making ice cream was so easy?

  • Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    April 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I love ice cream!! Okay, that was a dumb thing to say, because who doesn’t?
    I have an ice cream maker, but I rarely ever use it. I’ll have to try out this method though- sounds easy enough.
    Are your flip flips Olukai? (It’s hard to tell from your photo, but that’s what they look like…) If so, I loooove that brand of flip-flops. I’m kind of obsessed, really.

  • Urban Wife {Live Faithfully}
    April 16, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Are you serious?! And where have I been?! So many flavor possibilities running through my head right now….yummy!
    p.s. Your hair is NOT crazy. Trust me. I’m the girl with uber-curly hair which looks like a ‘fro in the a.m. = hot mess. 🙂

  • HRCK the Herald
    April 16, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Hah, it’s like using those funny Shake Weight things before getting your ice cream reward! A great balance.

  • Moni Meals
    April 16, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Fantastic! I love this, why? I have no ice cream maker and I hope to never have one, way too much space.

    Great call on Cookie N Cream besided Peanut butter cups, it is the best! 🙂 Love your mittens, ha!

  • Mary @ Bake Break
    April 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Cute! Good to know this is possible – I don’t have an icecream maker and get so jealous when people post recipes that require one!

  • Sarah
    April 16, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Yes! I have crazy hair and fuzzy gloves!

    (And an ice cream maker. Shhh….)

  • Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner
    April 16, 2012 at 9:55 am

    This would definitely be fun to make with the kids!

  • Karen Chatters
    April 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I am TOTALLY making this with my girl. As in, my girl is TOTALLY making this while I watch….

  • bethany
    April 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I can’t believe you’ve never heard of this!!! We did this in high school science class!

  • Marisa
    April 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Just want to say there is no need to buy ice cream salt. I tried a similar recipe not long ago and it just called for Kosher Salt. It worked beautifully! So yummy! I put toasted walnuts in mine and chocolate chips.

  • Laura @ She Eats Well
    April 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I had NO idea you could do this but I like this idea a lot and it would be fun to play around with the flavors (hint…thinking MINT!). You looks adorbs in the shakin’ picture and I think yoga pants are appropriate

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    April 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’d never heard of this! What a great idea!

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    April 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

    This looks like it would be really fun to do with a group of friends on a hot summer day! And yes, I am referring to grown 20-somethings, not just little kids =)

  • erin @WELL in L.A.
    April 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Awesome! Any chance this would work with non-milk milks??

    And thanks for the excuse to bust out gloves in SoCal. They only see the light of day for Mammoth and Big Bear. It’s a rough life in California! xx!

    • jen
      April 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      i second this question! soy? almond? coconut? thanks!

      • Bridie @ I Heart Veggies
        April 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        I third this question, would love to try it with coconut milk.

        • jenna
          April 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm

          I’m sure you could but I haven’t tried it myself—let me know when you do! 🙂

  • Emily @ Life On EZ's Street
    April 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Ooooooo….I love ice cream and this will be ideal for only making small portions for one! Plus…I think the calories you burn shaking probably outweigh the calories you gain eating, right??

  • Lauren
    April 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I kept thinking “i need to find a way to make ice cream w/o an ice cream maker”. When I saw this, I totally remembered my mom making me shake a bag furiously as a kid to make ice cream. Thank you for reminding me of this ingenious process! Now I just have to find a kid who can’t sit still… 🙂

  • sewfrench
    April 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Be careful using the slider zip lock bags.
    Sometimes the salt gets into the ice cream ;: (

    Can’t wait to see the new recipes! Love me some hot sauce!

  • Corey @ Learning Patience
    April 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Wow… Tabasco sounds awesome… can’t wait to hear about all the new recipes…T is my favorite!!!!

    xoxo from Trinidad

  • Trish
    April 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Love this technique. Great to know because I don’t have an ice cream maker. Who knew?

  • Sara N.
    April 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I’m going to sound like a total teacher, but that is what I do for a living:) We do this at least once a year as a science experiment towards the end of the school year. The kids totally love it! It works even better when you have kids with a lot of energy to burn. Glad to see this might be a new trend amongst adults too. It’d be a great party!

  • katie @KatieDid
    April 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I’ve made it like this before but in a big plastic ball that came as an ice cream making kit. It was fun and worked well…. but this is much more practical, will have to try this out this summer!

  • Megan {Country Cleaver}
    April 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try making ice cream in a bag – but I always have images of “My Drunk Kitchen” (You Tube it) making ice cream in a bag and I imagine mine being equally as disastrous. 🙂 Yours looks perfect, I’ll try your approach to it instead of hers. haha

  • Blog is the New Black
    April 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try this!

  • Amanda
    April 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    My brilliant chemistry teacher used to do this every year to teach a concept. Of course 15 years later I can’t remember the NAME of that concept, but I always knew how to make icecream! Thanks for reminding me!!

  • Aileen
    April 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I remember doing this with a large coffee can. I can’t remember what the interior container was but with the coffee can we were able to roll it around or even kick it. There is a camping company that has made a ball that you can use, you just play catch for a while and it makes ice cream.

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction
    April 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    WOW I kind of dont get how it works, but it’s worth a shot!

  • Megan
    April 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I used to make ice cream this way at camp every year. I remember sitting on the beach at Tahoe shaking bags of ice which then turned into delicious bowls of ice cream. Very fun and very entertaining.

  • Mo
    April 17, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I thought you’d love this! Just a silly yoga song:

  • Meme
    April 17, 2012 at 7:06 am

    This looks like so much fun to make! I looove cookies n’ cream too

  • Antonia @ healthinspirations
    April 17, 2012 at 7:51 am

    This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Can’t wait to try this!

  • Jill
    April 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

    This recipe looks like so much fun to make Jenna. I am going to share this with my daughter Jenna to make with her four kids!

  • Liz
    April 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Yumm! I love how your brought back ice cream making old school!

  • Mikaela Cowles
    April 17, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Weekend activity? I think so! What a great way to cheat a “you have to have this” kitchen tool. Thanks!

  • Kelly Turner Fitness
    April 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Ice cream season is here! Woohoo! I GOTTA try this

  • Colleen @ MissPetiteSweets
    April 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    This looks awesome! Once when I was home alone & sick and absolutely needing ice cream, I put a carton of Greek yogurt in the freezer for 30 minutes & added sprinkles and it was allllmost like soft serve.

  • Tammy @ Palm Trees and Manatees
    April 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Wow, I never knew you could do that. Hello, big toes!

  • Ashley @ Hudson on the Potomac
    April 18, 2012 at 6:24 am

    WHAT! I never knew you could make ice cream in a bag! Totally trying this out ASAP! Thanks Jenna!

  • Juliann
    April 18, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I just cured & smoked my own bacon so I think I’m going to have to use this to make my own bacon ice cream!

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  • Sarah @ RunningChickago
    April 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Ahh we did this in high school, and I completely forgot about it! I love ice cream so I’ll definitely have to try this soon! Thanks for sharing!!

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  • Elaina
    May 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    This is a great recipe! I made a double recipe with almond milk, organic cane sugar, and wrapped the bag in a towel and rolled around on my couch for 10 minutes. Everyone loved it! My dad was planning to drag out the ice cream machine and use his normal recipe including half & half, whole milk, evaporated milk, but I made this instead, and he told me several times how much he liked it!

  • Leah
    July 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I tried switching the vanilla extract for peppermint extract and added chocolate chips for mint chocolate chip ice cream. The first 2 bites were great! Then it started burning my tongue because it was so minty! If you want to make mint chocolate chip ice cream, I suggest that you only use 1/2 a tsp of peppermint instead of 1 tsp.

    • Leah
      October 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      OMG I cannot believe that you and I share the same name that is the same spelled
      and both love mint! I was actually think of making it mint ice cream when i was scrolling down and I saw some one who had the same name as me and total freaked! Thanks for the heads up and by the way have you tried the fudgy mint brownies to die for I haven’t made them yet but the pic for them makes my mouth water! Please respond bye! 🙂

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  • Michelle
    August 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I hosted an Ice Cream Making Social one year during our annual camping trip. I provided the bags, ice, salt and flavorings. I had each kid bring their own milk (any kind) to make their own ice cream. We had soy milk, rice milk, non-fat milk, 1%, 2% it just did not matter they all froze up nicely. It was so much fun and the kids were all so proud of their own custom made ice cream flavors!

  • Rahael
    September 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    What you do is have two different sized coffee cans. The outer can is where you put the rock salt and ice and the inner can is where you put all your icecream ingredients. Roll it on the floor and Voila! you have icecream!

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    September 18, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Thank you, I’ll try this recipe and give it to my family.

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