Make Easy No-churn Ice Cream With Two Easy Steps

With a blender, some pantry ingredients, and a little know-how, the ice cream world can be your oyster
June 12, 2019 Updated: June 12, 2019

I once made Brussels sprout ice cream.

Allow me to explain. Instead of going to the movies, my boyfriend and I make ice cream on Friday nights. And over four years, we’ve found ourselves in some flavor territories better left uncharted.

We’ve based most of our adventures on a recipe from Cook’s Country’s sister publication, Cook’s Illustrated. It calls for using an ice cream maker to create a delightfully rich and luxurious texture, and it can accommodate all sorts of flavors and mix-ins.

An ice cream maker works by churning a mixture (usually milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks) as it freezes to keep the ice crystals small as they form and to incorporate air—so that instead of a solid block of frozen milk, you have silky, scoop-able ice cream.

But did we really need to use the machine? Last year, I found a recipe for a no-churn orange ice cream tucked in my editor’s grandmother’s recipe box. It called for whipping heavy cream in a blender to stiff peaks and then blending in sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, corn syrup, sugar, and citrus zest and juice—about a minute of work. No ice cream machine, no churning. You just pop the blended mixture in the freezer and wait.

The results rocked my world: Velvety, creamy, scoop-able ice cream. How could it be?

As I read through the ingredient list, one piece of the puzzle was clear. The whipped cream—or, more specifically, the air trapped within it—stood in for the air normally incorporated by an ice cream maker. But in my experiments, I learned that too much air was trouble. When I used a stand mixer instead of a blender to whip the cream, I introduced too much air and ended up with a texture similar to that of frozen whipped topping. Not bad, but it wasn’t ice cream. I’d stick with the blender, which produces whipped cream that’s not quite as fluffy—a positive here.

The sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup called for in the heirloom recipe, both liquid sweeteners, helped create a smooth texture. I’d keep those. I found that I could replace the evaporated milk with whole milk (which I had on hand) with no negative effects. Two cups cream to 1 cup sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup whole milk was the best, most consistent ratio.

This basic formula proved very adaptable. A hefty 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of salt (to enhance the flavor) produced an intense vanilla ice cream with a texture that could hold a generous scoop of add-ins.

Melted chocolate incorporated beautifully. Soft stir-ins such as jams and caramel took a bit more experimentation, but with some tinkering and a light hand, I found the ratios that worked.

With a blender, some pantry ingredients, and a little know-how, the ice cream world can be your oyster. (But please don’t put oysters in your ice cream—or Brussels sprouts. Trust me.)

Dark Chocolate No-Churn Ice Cream

dark chocolate no churn ice cream
Dark chocolate no-churn ice cream. (America’s Test Kitchen)

Dark chocolate, espresso powder, and a little salt (to enhance the flavor) produced an intensely chocolaty ice cream.

To melt the chocolate, microwave it in a bowl at 50 percent power for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring it occasionally. The cream mixture freezes more quickly in a loaf pan than in a taller, narrower container. If you don’t have a loaf pan, use an 8-inch square baking pan.

Serves 8 to 10 (makes about 1 quart)

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Process cream in blender until soft peaks form, 20 to 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of blender jar and continue to process until stiff peaks form, about 10 seconds longer. Using rubber spatula, stir in condensed milk, melted chocolate, whole milk, corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt. Process until thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed.

Pour cream mixture into 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Press plastic wrap flush against surface of cream mixture. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Serve.

Strawberry-Buttermilk No-Churn Ice Cream

strawberry buttermilk no churn ice cream
Strawberry-buttermilk no-churn ice cream. (America’s Test Kitchen)

Blending in buttermilk and lemon juice and swirling in strawberry jam made for a tangy summertime treat.

The cream mixture freezes more quickly in a loaf pan than in a taller, narrower container. If you don’t have a loaf pan, use an 8-inch square baking pan.

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam

Process cream in blender until soft peaks form, 20 to 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of blender jar and continue to process until stiff peaks form, about 10 seconds longer. Using rubber spatula, stir in condensed milk, buttermilk, corn syrup, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Process until thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed.

Pour cream mixture into 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Dollop jam over top and swirl into cream mixture using tines of fork. Press plastic wrap flush against surface of cream mixture. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Serve.

Salted Caramel-Coconut No-Churn Ice Cream

salted caramel coconut no churn ice cream
Salted caramel-coconut no-churn ice cream. (America’s Test Kitchen)

Store-bought caramel sauce and extra salt gave this ice cream a sweet-savory balance.

The cream mixture freezes more quickly in a loaf pan than in a taller, narrower container. If you don’t have a loaf pan, use an 8-inch square baking pan.

Serves 8 to 10 (makes about 1 quart)

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup caramel sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Process cream in blender until soft peaks form, 20 to 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of blender jar and continue to process until stiff peaks form, about 10 seconds longer. Using rubber spatula, stir in condensed milk, 1/4 cup caramel, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Process until thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed.

Pour cream mixture into 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Gently stir in coconut. Dollop remaining 1/3 cup caramel over top and swirl into cream mixture using tines of fork. Press plastic wrap flush against surface of cream mixture. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Serve.

All recipes reprinted with permission from Cook’s Country.

Morgan Bolling is the deputy food editor of Cook’s Country. This article first appeared on CooksCountry.com

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