If I were a flavor of ice cream, it would be milk chocolate packed with swirls of peanut butter, chocolate chunks, and some crushed pretzels. It’s quite sweet, a little salty, and you don't know exactly what each bite will hold. And with our recipe for no-churn ice cream—you don't use an ice cream maker—you, too, can create any flavor you can imagine to express your personality (or that just happens to be delicious).
Endless Flavors of Ice Cream—Without an Ice Cream Maker
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The idea behind this recipe came from a recipe box belonging to my previous editor’s grandmother. Tucker’s grandmother had a recipe that called for whipping heavy cream in a blender until it got to stiff peaks before blending in sweetened condensed milk, milk, corn syrup, sugar, and orange zest. After freezing this fluffy mixture, you got a delicious creamsicle-like orange no-churn ice cream.
Whipping the heavy cream creates airiness in the ice cream in a way similar to what happens when the ice cream base churns in an ice cream maker. And the sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup keep the ice cream soft and scoopable once frozen.
I loved this recipe so much that I went a bit wild and created dozens of flavors—of which we published twelve. You should try your hand at some of the flavors we developed. But even more so, once you know the basics, you should play around and make your own signature flavor!
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
To Adjust the Ice Cream Base
If you want a delicious, bold vanilla ice cream, mix 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 1⁄4 teaspoon of table salt in with the sweetened condensed milk. The salt brings out the milk and vanilla flavors.
You can swap out the vanilla extract for other extracts. Most other extracts are more powerful, so start with a light hand. For a mint cookie version, we landed on ¾ teaspoon of peppermint extract (and a few drops of green food coloring to really drive home the mint idea).
If you want to make chocolate ice cream, add 6 ounces of melted chocolate. You can use milk or dark chocolate.
Make sure that the chocolate isn’t too cold when it goes in or you’ll get stracciatella or chocolate speckled ice cream, not fully chocolate ice cream.
You can mix in other flavor elements with the chocolate if you want. For our malted milk chocolate ice cream, we added 6 tablespoons of malted milk powder for a very nostalgic soda shop milkshake feel.
You can also add ½ cup of peanut butter, which you can later enhance with chopped peanuts or peanut butter cups or chunks of milk chocolate.
Or you can substitute another liquid sugar such as jam, caramel sauce, honey, or fudge sauce for the corn syrup. We did this with peach jam in our peach cobbler ice cream.
To Add Texture and Mix-Ins
If you are after a more chunky ice cream, stir in up to ½ cup of chopped mix-ins after transferring the whipped mixture to a loaf pan to freeze.
To make a key lime ice cream reminiscent of the pie, we add in chunks of crunchy graham crackers to mimic the crust. But you can use any sort of chopped candy, cookies, or nuts. Avoid anything too watery such as fresh fruit.
You can also swirl jam, caramel, or fudge sauce into the loaf pan. We did this to create beautiful caramel ripples in our salted caramel–coconut version.
You want to make sure you use a light hand when stirring in mix-ins. If you over-swirl, your base will turn into that flavor. For instance, if you over-swirl strawberry jam into a buttermilk ice cream base, you’d get more of a strawberry cream ice cream than a buttermilk ice cream with a strawberry swirl (neither sounds bad!).
And to Get Inspired
As you are thinking through your own flavors, be inspired by what ice cream makers are coming up with! Plenty of us at the test kitchen love Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream, so we made our own version with a banana base enhanced with toasted walnuts and chocolate chunks.
Or think of your favorite dessert and try to ice cream-itize it. We did that with our celebratory birthday cake ice cream by blending in vanilla frosting and stirring in rainbow sprinkles.
People are doing such interesting things with ice cream these days. Jeni’s launched an Everything Bagel Ice Cream and Van Leeuwen created a Mac and Cheese ice cream! Whether you decide to go that eccentric or stay a little more traditional, with this formula, you can create whatever flavor you’d like!