On a warm summer Sunday, there’s nothing more delightful than trying DIYing easy homemade ice cream in a bag for kids.
Mind you, making ice cream in a bag only takes 5 minutes to freeze and is super easy. Plus, you make it without a fridge, so the recipe is sure to pique your child’s curiosity.
Yes! You make it without a refrigerator or an ice-cream maker! Want to know how? Well, continue reading!
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How to Make Ice Cream In a Bag For Kids?
That’s why I love this homemade ice cream recipe! First, it tastes delicious. Second, it’s easy to make. Third, your kids would love to make their own ice creams in a bag.
Fourth and my favorite, it is a fun STEM Experiment for Kids! So, your children learn something interesting while also enjoying cooking.
Before we discuss the science behind ice cream in a bag, let’s get straight into making it!
For this ice cream in a bag recipe, we’ll be making vanilla ice cream! Don’t stop yourself from sprinkling your tasty ice cream with your choice of favorite ice cream toppings.
Choose from chopped fresh fruits, chocolate syrup, dry fruits, tutti frutti, or other sprinklers. Let your kids decide the toppings; they will enjoy making it all the way more!
If your child chooses ‘chopped fruits’ as their topping, ensure you do the chopping, and they do the plating!
Ice Cream In a Bag Ingredients
- Half and half – 1 cup
‘Half and half’ is easily available in the market, but you can also make it at home. To make half and half, mix ½ whole milk and ½ cream, i.e., one cup of whole milk and one cup of cream!
If you don’t have cream at home, there’s nothing to worry about! You can easily make the cream in your very own kitchen.
All you need is milk! Pasteurize your milk in a big container and let it sit in the fridge for 12 hours. The fat (cream) present inside milk would automatically rise to the top, creating a thick layer of fresh cream.
Why use a big container? The bigger the container, the larger layer of cream you will source! If you need more cream, allow the milk to sit in two containers for 12 hours.
Of course, you would need sugar to make your homemade ice cream taste like sweet summer heaven!
The quantity of sugar will depend on the quantity of ice cream you want to make! For this recipe, we’ll be going with one tablespoon of sugar unless you have a sweet tooth! Don’t shy away from tasting the mixture before you freeze it!
- Vanilla extract
While you can use any salt available at home, coarser grain rock salt would be a better choice.
- Ice cubes
- 3 Zip bags
Easy Step-by-Step Instructions For Making Ice Cream in a Bag!
Time needed: 16 minutes
- Pour half and half into the zip bag.
You can also place your zip bag in a broad container for support! It will be easier for your kids to handle the zip bags with their small hands!
Quick Tip: If you are looking for vegan, dairy-free ice cream, replace regular milk with almond milk.
- Add one and a half teaspoons of vanilla extract (7-8 ml) to the zip bag and seal it lightly.
Make sure to remove the excess air if you are unsure of the seal.
- Add one tablespoon of sugar to your half-and-half
You may add powdered sugar, but regular sugar works just fine as well!
You can layer them up with another zip bag. This double bag will not only prevent spillage but also prevent salt from getting into the ice-cream mixture.
Now, you need to make your own mini or extra small freezer to freeze the ice cream. For that, you will need another bigger zip bag.
Quick Tip: In case you want to make chocolate ice cream, simply add in 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa and another half a tbsp sugar to balance the flavour.
- Add ice cubes to another zip bag. Pour 1⁄4 cup or 80 grams of chunky salt (or coarse grain rock salt) into the ice cubes and shake them together.
- Add 80-100 grams of salt to the ice cubes.
Pour 1⁄4 cup or 80 grams of chunky salt (or coarse grain rock salt) into the ice cubes and shake them together.
If you don’t have chunky salt cubes at your place, don’t worry! You can use powdered salt as well!
However, ensure your ice cream baggie is properly sealed in two to three layers of additional zip bags to avoid salt getting into your ice cream.
- Add your ice cream baggie in this ice cube bag (A.K.A., your mini fridge) and zip it!
- Shake the ice bag for five to six minutes till the ice cream freezes.
You will need gloves or kitchen mittens for this one as the bags get super-cold.
- Take the ice cream bag out and rinse it thoroughly to remove excess salt sticking on the outside of the bag getting into your ice cream.
- Your soft serve ice cream is ready! Le Miracle! Just scoop it out and enjoy the homemade goodness.
- Presentation is everything!
Don’t start to eat directly from the bag! No, teach your kids a little presentation along with science. Scoop your ice cream out with an ice cream scoop in a fancy bowl.
Let your kids choose their own bowl to present their ice cream. And get creative with sprinklers, just in case!
Quick Tip: Club this fun activity with Ice Cream Craft.
If your kids liked making ice cream in a bag and are looking for such fun activities, we suggest you try making fruit slush with the same technique. All you have to do is replace half and half with fruit juice of your choice and vanilla with lemon juice and crushed mint leaves.
Think of watermelon slush on a warm summer evening or pineapple slush for a fun birthday party activity where every kids makes their own fruit slush!
The Science Behind Ice Cream In a Bag
Wondering what makes ice cream in a bag work? How does ice and rock salt help to freeze the ice cream in five-six minutes? It is no magical trick, just pure science at work here!
First, the addition of salt decreases the ice cube’s freezing point. So, ice cubes naturally melt even at 0℃. Here comes the interesting part— when the ice melts, it naturally pulls heat from its surroundings. In this case, your ice cream baggie!
Related: Also try this Fake Snow Experiment! It is super fun and easy to make.
The more the ice melts, the more heat it pulls from the half-and-half mixture. The process is so fast that it pulls all the heat from the ice cream bag and freezes the half-and-half mixture.
This is also the reason why we wear gloves when shaking the mixture, it prevents our hands from dissipating heat to the ice cubes.
We shake our ice cream bag for two reasons:
- It breaks down bigger ice crystals into smaller ones.
- The mixture freezes consistently throughout the batch.
FAQ Regarding Ice cream In a Bag Recipe!
Ice cream in a bag sounds very difficult, but it is actually very easy to make! It’s a great science demonstration and appears straight out of transfiguration class in Hogwarts.
Yes, you can make this ice cream with whole milk. However, it will not be as creamy. So, the taste will differ heavily!
A better option is to make your own fresh cream at home! It’s super easy to make and adds a nice creamy texture to your ice cream!
The last thing you want is a failed and salty experiment. Use top-quality zip bags with a good seal to prevent salt in your mixture. Go with known brands while purchasing your zip bags.
Repack your ice cream bag with more zip bags if the seal isn’t strong enough.
Use chunkier salt cubes. Rinse properly after shaking the bag to remove excess salt.
Chances are there is too little ice and more water in the baggie. You need to have the right combination of ice cubes and salt to make it work.
Try replacing the ice cubes and salt. Make sure to fill the zip pouch at least halfway and use half a bowl of chunky rock salt.
It is a great science experiment for classroom and home learning.
To make it into a STEM activity, try making ice cream without salt. Compare how much more time and ice cubes it required to freeze the ice cream mixture.
Another iteration could be to compare ice-cream made using whipping cream or sweetened condensed milk. The trick is to vary one (or more) of the variables involved in the process and observe how they affect the end results.