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How to Make Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag in 10 Minutes

I loved making this homemade ice cream with my family, and I hope you will too!

This article will show you how to make homemade ice cream in a bag—in any flavor you want!

This article will show you how to make homemade ice cream in a bag—in any flavor you want!

Make Your Own Ice Cream

If you've never made homemade ice cream in a bag, you have to try it at least once. Trust me, if you make this easy and versatile ice cream recipe once, you're sure to make it again and again—it's that delicious!

Cook Time

Prep timeReady inYields

10 min

10 min

About 3/4 cup ice cream

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup ice cream salt, or rock salt
  • 3 cups crushed ice

Instructions

  1. Pour half and half, sugar, and vanilla into a Ziploc sandwich bag. Zip the bag closed and set it aside.
  2. To the Ziploc gallon bag, add crushed ice and rock/ice cream salt.
  3. Put the sealed sandwich bag inside the gallon bag; zip the gallon bag closed.
  4. Shake the bags for at least 5 minutes; when the ice cream feels slightly firm, it's done.
  5. If desired, add other ingredients like chopped strawberries, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, or candy bars to the small bag and shake for another minute or two.

The Chemistry Behind Ice Cream in a Bag

If you've created homemade ice cream before, you may be wondering how a liquid like half and half can turn into ice cream simply by moving it around in a bath of ice and salt. Here's how it works.

The ordinary freezing point of water (H2O) is 0°C. When the compound salt (NaCl) is added to the ice, a phenomenon known as freezing depression occurs. Simply put, freezing depression means that the temperature at which freezing occurs is lower than ordinary.

Salt lowers the freezing point of water to a maximum of -18°C, causing it to both freeze and melt at lower temperatures than normal.

Now, recall from the ice cream in a bag recipe that a smaller bag of liquid cream is placed inside a larger bag of ice and salt and then shaken. There are two basic reasons the cream forms into ice cream:

  1. The salt/ice mixture creates a super cold environment, well below the water's normal freezing point.
  2. The salt/ice mixture draws heat away from the cream mixture and maybe even your hands holding the bag.

Additionally, rock salt, or ice cream salt, has larger crystals than ordinary table salt. Not only do the larger crystals of salt dissolve more slowly in the ice water, but they allow for more even cooling.

Lastly, the shaking of the bags helps to make the ice cream consistent and creamy!

Homemade chocolate chip ice cream, made in a bag

Homemade chocolate chip ice cream, made in a bag

A Favorite Dessert

As a kid growing up in the northeastern U.S., eating ice cream was a year-round affair, not just an indulgence of summer. While store-purchased ice cream certainly was not a novelty in our home, homemade ice cream sure was.

I remember the first time I ate homemade ice cream at a friend's birthday party. We each took turns cranking the handle on an old-fashioned ice cream freezer and then got to enjoy the tasty and creamy fruits of our labor.

Strangely, that was the one and only time I have eaten homemade ice cream in 45 years of living. That is, until my daughter brought home a science experiment from her high school chemistry class for ice cream in a bag—not a bad homework assignment if you ask me!