How I Made Homemade Ice Cream That’s Better Than Store-Bought

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A mother and daughter eat homemade ice cream
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Happy National Ice Cream Month!

I know, it sounds like another celebration made up by an industry — but Congress and President Ronald Reagan declared it in 1984. So, this is the officially government-sanctioned month to party with frozen dairy.

It reminds me of the time when I made my own ice cream in a middle-school science class. Back then, we used a method similar to the bag method detailed in this Kitchn blog post, but I figured there had to be a simpler way.

I found a different recipe with easier preparation on a blog called Kevin & Amanda that sounded pretty tasty, and decided to give it a try.


You can make the recipe with as few as two ingredients: heavy whipping cream (2 cups) and sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces).

Optionally, you can add whatever mix-ins you prefer — vanilla extract, peanut butter, nuts, fruit chunks, brownie bits, crushed Oreos, you name it.


No ice cream machine is necessary. Here are the directions as I did it:

  1. After the heavy cream has been refrigerated at least 12 hours, whip the cold heavy cream in a bowl until you can lift the whisk and see a stiff, peaked glob at the end.
  2. Pour the condensed milk into a separate bowl and add whatever toppings you’ve dreamed up to make your favorite flavor. The Kevin and Amanda blog post lists recipes for everything from cinnamon bun ice cream to hazelnut mocha ice cream. And with a little research and experimentation, you can probably recreate any kind of ice cream you see in stores.
  3. Add the whipped cream into the mix.
  4. Pour it all into a 2-quart Tupperware container and freeze it for six hours.
  5. Enjoy.

The recipe makes about 1.5 quarts.

I found plenty of other recipes that don’t require an ice cream maker online, but the Kevin and Amanda recipe was the simplest.

It’s much less messy than the bag method — although that method is fun for kids. And while the Kevin and Amanda recipe takes three hours longer than David Lebovitz’s tedious freeze-and-stir method, it’s much less work — just set and forget.

How it stacks up to store-bought

I tried the cinnamon bun flavor because I already had the other necessary extra ingredients: vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and butter. I also threw in some mini-marshmallows.

Maybe this is a bit of culinary pride talking, but I thought it tasted much better than the store-bought ice cream brands I’ve had.

For me, the basic recipe was also cheaper than all store-bought brands except for the store brand itself.

However, the caveat here is how much you spend on extra ingredients to make the flavor you want. If you go gourmet, maybe it’s no longer such a sweet deal.

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