How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag

You can make ice cream in a bag by combining the rock and salt method that old-fashioned ice cream makers used with the modern Zip-loc bag.

Most of the recipes on our best homemade ice cream recipe page make a quart or a quart and a half of ice cream. Therefore, if you’re using this method, you will need:

  • A 2-gallon size re-sealable plastic bag and two 2-quart size re-sealable plastic bags
  • 8 cups of ice
  • At least 2 cups of rock salt
  • Rubber gloves and a towel for each ice cream maker


Once you've got this ready, prepare the ice cream base according to the recipe, right up to where it says to churn it in your ice cream maker. Then:

  1. Pour your base in the smaller bag. Seal the bag well, leaving as little air as possible. Double bag in a second bag of the same size. This is to prevent leakage.

  2. Place the bags inside the larger re-sealable plastic bag.

  3. Add ice to surround the smaller bags.

  4. Pour 1-2 Cups of rock salt over the ice. Seal the bag well.

  5. Turn on your favorite dance music.

  6. Put on the rubber gloves.

  7. Pick up the bag and boogie with it to the music for 10-20 minutes, thus churning the ice cream.

  8. When the ice cream has reached the correct consistency, take the smaller bag out of the larger one. Wipe off the salt water. Then you can either open the bag and scoop out the ice cream, or cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze it straight into your ice cream bowl or cone.

This method has the additional benefit that all that dancing helps you work up an appetite and burns off some of the calories you’ll get from the ice cream. What could be better?

Make ice cream in a bag with kids

This is a great party activity or even classroom activity. Here’s a simple, fast recipe to use with this method that makes just enough ice cream for one child. Make sure each child has the following:

1/2 cup cream or milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups ice
6 Tbsps salt
2 1-quart size re-sealable bags
1 1-gallon size re-sealable freezer bag
1 thick towel or 1 pair of gloves

One word of caution: don’t do this over carpeting, just in case a bag leaks.

If you’re doing this with kids, don’t forget your camera to catch some great snap shots as they dance and churn away!

For a visual explanation, here’s a cute video that explains the process. The recipe’s a bit different from the one above, but you’ll get the idea.




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