If you're looking for a last-minute Fourth of July dessert, there's nothing that fits the American summer better than homemade ice cream. And no matter what equipment you have handy, you can probably make this tasty treat today! Homemade ice cream doesn't necessarily require a lot of time or bulky machinery. Take a look at our recipes to get started.

Vanilla Ice Cream in a Bag

Adapted from TasteofHome.com recipe. This is a great project for kids! Add chocolate syrup, malted powder, fruit, candy, nuts or a different extract for a new flavor.


1 cup milk or half-and-half
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

What else you'll need:

Pint freezer bag
Gallon freezer bag
4 cups ice
½ cup kosher or rock salt


  1. Add the ice cream ingredients to the smaller bag. Remove extra air and seal tightly. Consider double bagging to keep the ingredients separate from the outer bag.
  2. Add the ice and salt to the bigger bag, then place the smaller bag inside the larger bag. Seal tightly.
  3. Toss, shake and knead the bag for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and resembles soft ice cream.
  4. Wipe off the small bag with a cloth before opening and pouring into a bowl to avoid getting salty water in your ice cream.

Notes: The higher the fat content of the dairy you use the faster the mixture will thicken. For example, whole milk will thicken faster than non-fat milk, and half-and-half or cream will thicken faster than milk. Consider wearing winter gloves when tossing the bag, as it gets cold!

Chocolate Gelato

This simple recipe is lower in fat than most but comes out rich and smooth. Make it in a 1.5-2 qt. ice cream maker.


3 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Combine 1 cup of milk with the sugar, cocoa and cornstarch in a medium bowl.
  2. Bring the remaining 2 cups of milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously to keep milk from scorching on the bottom of the pan.
  3. As soon as the milk starts to simmer, take the pan off the heat and add the cocoa mixture.
  4. Return the pan to medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly until sugar and cocoa is dissolved and the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding.
  5. Strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl to remove any cooked milk bits.
  6. Allow to cool on the counter, then cover with plastic wrap – putting the plastic wrap directly on the pudding, not the bowl – and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight.
  7. Process in your ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Vanilla Ice Cream

For the dedicated homemade ice cream fans with an old-fashioned, hand-crank ice cream maker, try this basic recipe designed for a 4 qt. bucket. Add fruit, nuts, candies or cookies at the end so they don't break down too much during processing. Adapted from Cooks.com recipe.


4 eggs
2 ¼ cup sugar
2 12-oz. cans evaporated milk
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
5 cups whole milk
4 ½ teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt


  1. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until foamy.
  2. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour into the ice cream container and follow the manufacturer's instructions for processing, making sure the lid is on tight so the ice and rock salt doesn't get into the container.

Related Articles