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,” Stafford 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, you 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?
The essentials for Mason jar ice cream
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.”
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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.
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If you’re looking to buy your jars individually, you can get just one for $5.
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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.”
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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.
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Make your homemade ice cream even more special with this set of four pretty blue 32-ounce jars that can hold even more.
The ingredients for Mason jar ice cream
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.
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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.
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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 (7 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 1 pint of ice cream, add 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream and 4 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.
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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.
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Top your Mason jar ice cream with whipped cream with the help of this bestselling cream whipper. It comes with recipes and three decorative tips to make your dessert look extra special. (N2O chargers not included.)
How to make the Mason jar 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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If you’ve run out of Mason jars or just need to transfer your homemade treat from your ice cream maker to a fresh container, this reusable set offers six containers with two different sizes. Perfect for making large-batch favorites and smaller-scale experimental flavors.
From $8 at Etsy
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).
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Label your ice cream by name or flavor with this set of 96 chalkboard labels that comes with an erasable chalk pen.
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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.
From $10.79 at Etsy
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!