This easy ice cream recipe also makes a great activity for kids!

Ice cream is probably the most popular summer dessert on the planet. Visit any frozen food aisle at the grocery store and you’ll be reeling from the amount of choices available. But did you know you can make your own ice cream at home without a bunch of fancy equipment? All you need is a glass jar and some simple ingredients.

The main thing you will need is a glass jar with a screw top lid. The gold standard when it comes to jars is a Ball Mason jar, but you can use any glass jar. You can even use the pasta sauce jar you have leftover in the recycling bin. Just keep in mind kids will need a jar they can hold, and the jar must handle a minimum of 16 ounces. This recipe is for a base that you can add other flavors and and mix-ins to.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream (not half and half)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all the above ingredients in a Mason jar and shake constantly for four to six minutes. The mixture should be thick, about double the original volume. If you need to, shake it a little longer until you feel pretty confident in the texture. At this point you can add in your mix-ins and flavorings. After you’ve swirled the ingredients around, put the jar in the freezer until frozen, around three hours. Take out of the freezer and enjoy!

Ice cream sundae in a glass jar

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist from Pexels

Here are some easy ideas for mix-ins and flavorings you probably have around the house:

Strawberry

Add in fresh dices of strawberry and some strawberry preserves to make it even sweeter.

Chocolate

You can easily turn vanilla ice cream into chocolate with a little chocolate syrup. Kick it up a couple extra notches with chocolate chips, caramel sauce, and marshmallow cream!

Coffee

Coffee ice cream is delicious with the Mason jar method; just make sure you use instant coffee, and we recommend adding the coffee to the jar before you shake it!

Margarita

This one is for the adults. Replace the sugar with agave syrup and add one ounce of lime juice, an ounce and half of tequila, and a pinch of salt.

Mix-ins Bar

Create a little sundae bar where everyone can choose their own toppings and mix-ins. Fill bowls with chocolate chips, marshmallows, pretzel pieces, brownie bites, gummies, nuts, and more! 

Have you ever tried making homemade ice cream in a Mason jar? Do you have any great advice? Tell us in the comments!