Prep it up a notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she will help us take our cooking game to the next level, teaching us all the necessary tips and techniques and showing us any mistakes we might make along the way.
As a baker, I’m not afraid to exercise patience to get the perfect end result. But here’s the truth: a few shortcuts are worth shouting out, and churn-free ice cream is definitely one of them. In this month’s ice cream episode of Bake it Up A Notch, I spend a lot of time talking about this exact topic and all the things you can do about it. So, if you’re looking for a trick for easy summer recipes or don’t have space to store an ice cream maker, nothing should stop you from making homemade ice cream this summer.
While there are many recipes for churnless ice cream, I prefer the method that starts with a base of sweetened condensed milk + whipped cream. The sweetened condensed milk does a double job here, serving as both a low-moisture concentrated dairy base and a primary sweetener. Many homemade ice cream recipes involve heating the base on the stove, and one reason is to help the sugar dissolve. Using a sweetened condensed milk base really means it doesn’t require heat to start, so you can handle it even on the hottest summer days.
Flavors can be added to this base – some examples include things like vanilla or other extracts, spices, citrus zest or juice, coffee, chocolate or cocoa, and so on. Then, the whipped cream is folded into the base. The air incorporated into the cream somewhat emulates the incorporation of air that would typically occur during churning. After this mixture is frozen, it has a soft and creamy texture, just like freshly baked ice cream.
Of course, the best part about churn-free ice cream is that you don’t need an ice cream maker to make them. But actually, there’s a lot more to love:
- The basic ingredients are very simple. In fact, you might even have them on hand already!
- It’s fast – the base requires no cooling or aging after preparation like many standard ice cream recipes, so you can go from zero to cone much faster.
- It’s riff-ready: In my churn-free ice cream recipe, you’ll see some ideas for other flavors, because it’s so easy to get creative with churn-free recipes. Think of this recipe as a base that you can tweak to your liking.
If you’re still not convinced, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can flavor ice creams without taking them out of the oven and even ways you can turn them into a whole new dessert that is meant to wow! I’ve pulled some of my favorite no-neglect recipes for this list to show you that the possibilities are truly endless. From sundaes and floats to ice cream cakes and tarts, there are tons of non-fading ideas and recipes to keep you cool all summer long!
1. The simplest ice cream without churn + custom floats
Think of this as the simplest basic recipe for churn-free ice cream. Sure, it’s delicious on its own, but I love using it to make custom floats. In Bake it Up A Notch, we made a fruit syrup using rhubarb, then added it and some seltzer in a glass, before topping it up without ice cream for the creamiest, sparkling float – totally homemade!
Don’t forget to check out the variations of this recipe, which include some of my favorite no-churn flavors and might bring some DIY ideas to life! Swap sweetened condensed milk with sweetened condensed coconut milk for a super flavorful coconut variation, or add some peppermint extract and hot fudge for a nice touch of rippled ice cream.
If you are a fan of rolled ice cream, you can try my DIY version at home by pouring your favorite ice cream base without churn in an even layer on a baking sheet. After you freeze it, use the flat end of a spatula or the edge of a counter knife to start rolling out the ice cream. This takes some practice, but it couldn’t be more fun for family and friends to do. Serve the stuffed rolls in a bowl and prepare for “oohs” and “ahhs”.
2. Nigella Lawson’s smooth coffee ice cream
This ingenious recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson makes this already easy recipe even easier by making it a single step. Instead of whipping the cream separately, it adds all the ingredients, including the espresso powder and liqueur used to flavor it, into a single bowl. A whisk not only combines the ingredients, but incorporates the necessary air to make it super smooth and creamy after freezing.
3. Chocolate chip ice cream without churn
Fellow Carolina Gelen wants to make sure she takes the liquor cabinet into consideration when making ice cream without neglect. Because alcohol doesn’t freeze, it’s the perfect addition to any churn-free recipe, reducing crystallization and keeping the final product even creamier. And of course she adds a lot of great flavor too! I like to add coffee liqueur to this particular recipe to add another dimension of flavor.
4. Strawberry cheesecake ice cream without beating
I love Ella Quittner’s creamy and tangy recipe, which adds mashed strawberries, goat cheese crumble, and chopped cookie crumbs to the standard base recipe. This is just one example of how you can mix it up and make your own tastes. Pick a favorite flavor combination you love, like s’mores or PB + J, and don’t bake!
5. Piece of chocolate and pecan pie with bourbon ice cream base without churn
I can’t make a list of ice cream without including some cake options and Samantha Seneviratne knows exactly what I’m talking about. Her rich recipe for pecan pie is completed with a no-bake ice cream pairing, because no slice deserves to go without a moment à la mode.
6. Forest fruit cake and ice cream
Speaking of cakes and ice cream, here’s another way to look at this classic combo: You can take my recommendation from Bake it Up a Notch and use your favorite churn-free flavor as a pie filling, collecting it inside a crust of crumbs for a sweet summer treat!
7. Ice cream cake with chocolate and coffee
Nothing says summer party like a massive ice cream cake! Yossy Arefi wants to remind you that store-bought cakes aren’t the only option – you can make your own using ice cream without baking and all your favorite toppings and accompaniments. Her pie here is the stuff of party dreams, with a chewy brownie layer that provides the perfect base for two flavors without neglect.
8. Dori Sanders Fresh Lemon Ice Cream Without Neglect
Hello, recent graduate Genius. This sweet and bright lemon ice cream comes from Dori Sanders, a peach farmer, writer and cookbook author now 84, and may be one of the best no-quibble treats we’ve ever tried.
9. Peach and sour cream ice cream
If you’re looking for a simple and sweet summer treat, ask Alice Medrich: “Somewhere between ice cream and sorbet, it’s neither creamy like the former nor frozen like the latter. By using sour cream instead of a custard base, you’ll get a colder and more thirst-quenching dessert in your mouth than classic ice cream, with a cleaner, spicier fruit flavor. “
10. Totally homemade hot caramel ice cream, ridiculously easy
Why make ice cream when you can have a whole ice cream? OK, OK, you want I need your stove to make the hot sauce, which is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
11. Cinnamon and coffee ice cream without churn with caramel sauce
Strongly inspired by Nigella’s masterpiece, this recipe comes from Izy Hossack, who adds a hint of cinnamon. Again, the sauce needs a cooker … but the ice cream is that good, it doesn’t Need the sauce.
12. Mrs. Owen’s unfired ice cream cake
What’s more impressive than ice cream without churn? A smooth ice cream cake (duh). It is easy to prepare and even easier to eat. But what really impressed the community’s recipe testers was something else: “The part to shout from the rooftops is the use of cream cheese and crème fraîche. I think all ice creams should include cream cheese! “
13. Ice cream without churn with vanilla pod and scotch
This recipe has a list of ingredients that you can count on one hand and one step to start. The single malt scotch keeps the ice cream creamy and enhances the caramelized vanilla.
14. Pumpkin ice cream without churn
For Thanksgiving. Or for when it’s summer and you wish it was Thanksgiving. By abandoning the usual pumpkin pie spice, you can enjoy the pumpkin flavor even more.
15. Tortilla ice cream without churn
Tortilla chips! Ice-cream! Do we need to say more? Okay, we will – this recipe is a great way to breathe new life into stale and sad tortilla chips.
16. Serve soft chocolate without churn
A generous dose of alcohol ensures that this ultra-chocolaty ice cream remains silky and scoopable. The magic chocolate shell is optional but, you know, not really.
17. Avocado ice cream without churn with lime and coconut
Avocado butter, rich in coconut milk, sweet mango, spicy lime. Where the hell do we sign up?
18. Pecan ice cream without churn
Double the butter, double the pecans. This little recipe is as popular in summer as it is in autumn and winter.
19. Mango sorbet without neglect
Okay, technically not ice cream. But without abandonment, you can bet on it. All you need are mango, milk, sugar and lime. (Psst: Swap milk for yogurt if you want something spicy.)