Of course we don’t need the mercury to be pushing 90 degrees to crave ice cream. It’s just that when summer hits, we want our favorite dessert even more than usual.
“When I was a pastry chef working in restaurants, one of my favorite jobs was to make the ice cream for desserts,” says Gemma Stafford, cookbook author, blogger and host of the online baking show “Bigger Bolder Baking.” “The daily process was laborious but the results were incredible.”
You don’t need a special machine to make homemade ice cream, she adds. Grab a Mason jar and a couple of simple ingredients, and you can whip up delicious ice cream in no time. “It’s such an easy process, you don’t need special equipment, and the best part is you can make any flavor you can imagine at home,” she says.
Sonia Coronado, who shares keto-friendly recipes with her more than 160,000 Instagram followers via her account, @ketosony, says those adhering to the popular diet can still enjoy ice cream with her version of the treat. “Mason jar recipes are normally higher in healthy fats and lower in carbs, making it the perfect keto dessert,” she says.
Yep, whether you’re taking the recipe on the road for your next camping trip, ran out of Ben & Jerry’s, or you just like the idea of a fun DIY treat, making Mason jar ice cream at home is a blast. We asked Stafford and Coronado to share their favorite tricks for making the best flavors. Now, who’s ready to shake things up?
First thing you’ll need: Mason jars, duh.
“In order to make ice cream in a jar, you only need a few basic kitchen tools,” Stafford says. “Just make sure your lids twist on tightly, because you’re going to do a lot of shaking.”
Ball Mason Jelly Jars, Set of 4 ($11.85, originally $14.96; amazon.com)
Stafford uses a 12-ounce Mason jar from Ball or Kerr to make her ice cream. This set includes four 12-ounce jars, plus lids.
Jarden Ball Regular Mouth 16-Ounces Mason Jar with Lid and Band ($4.99, originally $9.99; amazon.com)
If you’re looking to buy your jars individually, you can get just one for $5.
Aozita Wide-Mouth Mason Jar Lids ($9.99, originally $12.99; amazon.com)
Add a little colorful flair to your Mason jars with this 16-pack of lids (two each of eight colors) that fit Ball, Kerr and other glass Mason jars. Leakproof (and dishwasher-safe), they’ll work great while you’re shaking up your ice cream.
Coronado’s favorite thing about Mason jar ice cream? “It’s easy and delicious,” she says. “And, if you’re a mommy like me, you can get the kiddos to help out too. They love shaking the Mason jars.”
Kerr 16-Ounce Canning Jars ($32.08; amazon.com)
Coronado also likes glass Mason jars from Ball and Kerr. “They seem to be the best for making the Mason jar ice cream,” she says. This Kerr set includes 12 jars with lids and bands.
Sewanta Set of 4 Aqua Vintage Mason Jars ($24.99; amazon.com)
Make your homemade ice cream even more special with this set of four pretty blue 32-ounce jars that can hold even more.
To make it, just crumble the peanut butter cups and set them aside; then add the other ingredients to your Mason jar. Shake the jar for three to five minutes until the mixture gets thick, then place it in the freezer for two to three hours until the ice cream sets. Top it off with whipped cream and the crumbled peanut butter cups, and feel free to scoop it straight from the jar.
ChocZero Syrup Variety Pack ($19.99; amazon.com)
This trio of all-natural, non-GMO syrups (chocolate, caramel and maple pecan flavor) contains just 1 gram of net carbs per serving, no preservatives and no sugar.
Evolved Coconut Butter Keto Cups ($18.99; amazon.com)
One of the best things about ice cream? Loading it up with yummy toppings. These keto-friendly coconut butter cups contain less than 1 gram of sugar per cup (seven cups per pouch) and are also vegan and gluten-free. They’re available with hazelnut butter now, too.
Stafford’s recipe for Mason jar ice cream calls for just two ingredients: sweetened condensed milk and heavy whipping cream. For one pint of ice cream, add one cup cold heavy whipping cream and four tablespoons cold sweetened condensed milk to a chilled Mason jar. Stir it up with a spoon, seal the jar and then shake it for six to eight minutes until you reach your desired thickness.
Want to add flavors? Stafford suggests adding vanilla extract, fresh strawberries or melted chocolate to the jar. She’s also a big fan of “serious chunkage” in her ice cream. “My favorite add-ons include a graham cracker crust and real strawberries in my Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream or my signature salted caramel sauce and toasted pecans in my Butter Pecan Ice Cream Cake,” she says.
Borden Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (price varies by location; target.com)
Just combine heavy cream with this pantry basic, made with milk and sugar, to serve as a base for all sorts of ice cream flavors.
EurKitchen Whipped Cream Dispenser ($29.99, originally $39.99; amazon.com)
Top your ice cream with whipped cream every time with this bestselling cream whipper. It comes with recipes and three decorative tips to make your dessert look extra special. (N2O chargers not included.)
Making the ice cream
As far as technique goes, Stafford and Coronado both agree making ice cream in a jar is all about the shake.
After a few minutes of shaking, Coronado notes, you’ll notice your mixture double in size. “If you don’t shake it enough, the ice cream can be a bit icy, and we don’t want that,” she adds.
“Alternate between one and two hands so you can put your entire body into it — it’s a workout with delicious results,” Stafford adds. “After several minutes you’ll hear less liquid in the jar but hold your nerve and keep shaking until you don’t hear anything. Be careful not to overshake and split your ice cream because you won’t be able to save it. Most of all, get creative with your flavors, get physical and have fun!”
Now that your arms are toned and your ice cream is ready to eat, it’s time to serve it up. Here are a few gadgets you may want to stock up on.
Tovolo Tilt Up Ice Cream Scoop ($11.95; amazon.com)
This sleek scoop is a favorite of Stafford’s, thanks to its ergonomic handle design. “Tovolo scoops are great since they glide through your ice cream and come in a variety of colors,” she says.
The Sinclair Company Personalized Ice Cream Scoop ($34.99; etsy.com)
This 5-star ice cream scoop has a vintage feel with its beechwood handle and aluminum trigger and can be personalized for your favorite home chef.
Benail 40 Count One Pint Frozen Dessert Containers ($18.99; amazon.com)
Keep your homemade ice cream fresh (or package up extras for friends!) with these simple white 1-pint containers that come in a 40-pack. Stafford prefers to freeze extra ice cream in this version, rather than in the jar, as glass jars may crack in the freezer. Check out her homemade labels to help keep your flavors straight.
Kraft Compostable Paper Food Cups ($11.49; amazon.com)
Another option for freezing your ice cream, this set of 15 12-ounce cups comes with lids and scalloped vinyl chalkboard labels.
Prettiest Print Shop Ice Cream Parlor Stickers (starting at $8; etsy.com)
Know whose ice cream is whose with these vintage-style stickers personalized by name. Opt for a digital style you print at home ($8) or order printed stickers ($15 for 12).
Premium Chalkboard Labels ($11.95, originally $14.99; amazon.com)
Label your ice cream by name or flavor with this set of 96 chalkboard labels that comes with an erasable chalk pen.
Gohh Long-Handle Spoons ($12.95; amazon.com)
Mason jars call for longer spoons to get every last bite. This set of six melamine spoons in vintage-inspired shades of pink, blue and green is perfect for stirring and serving.
Man Vs. Cake Mermaid Sprinkles (starting at $12.59, originally $13.99; etsy.com)
No dish of ice cream is complete without a dash of sprinkles. This bright 4-ounce bestseller includes candy mermaid tails, sugar pearls and beads, jimmies and nonpareils. Yum!