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Make Your Own Ice Cream in a Bag


In this lesson, you will learn how to make your own ice cream—no fancy machine necessary! Using just two bags, some ice cubes, and some salt, you can freeze your own personal batch of ice cream in just a few minutes. The secret is in the salt. Find out how it makes this easy ice cream possible in Kitchen Academy box “Hot and Cold.”

1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
cup of rock salt (see Note)
3 to 4 cups ice cubes

Mixing bowl or large mixing cup with a spout
One large (gallon) zipper-top bag
One small sandwich-size (quart) zipper-top bag
Large spoon
Pot holders or gloves
Kitchen scissors

Note: Rock salt works best because its grains are large and spread out more evenly in the ice mixture (plus it’s cheaper than other salt!). You can find it at most grocery or hardware stores. Make sure you use pure rock salt, not a product that contains chemicals (such as ice-melting salt for your sidewalk). If you can’t find rock salt, use kosher salt or another chunky salt.

*For adult helpers: This lesson is designed so your Little Sous can do almost all of the work, but we highly recommend adult supervision (and assistance, for younger cooks) when working with the ice and pouring the liquids into the bag.

The Little Sous Kitchen Academy box helps kids become creative, confident cooks. Check out our subscription options!


  1. Step 1

    Measure the half and half and pour it into a mixing bowl. (If you have a bowl with a pouring spout, use it now. Or you can use a large mixing cup with a spout.) Add the sugar and vanilla and stir well. If you want to make flavored ice cream, you can add your flavorings now.

  2. Step 2

    Carefully pour the liquid into the smaller zipper lock bag and seal the bag tightly. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible before you close the bag.

  3. Step 3

    Measure the salt and ice and add it to the big zipper-top bag. Add as much ice as possible.

    Sous Tip:

    The smaller the ice cubes, the more quickly your ice cream will freeze. If you have crushed ice, use it! Or you can wrap the ice cubes in a clean kitchen towel and smash them with a small saucepan to crush them.

  4. Step 4

    Put the small bag inside the large bag and seal it up tightly, pushing out as much air as possible.

  5. Step 5

    Start shaking the bag. You can wear gloves or potholders to keep your hands warm—the ice gets very cold! You can also grab a friend or family member and play a game of catch with the bag, or take turns shaking—make this part fun!

  6. Step 6

    After a few minutes, the liquid will start to thicken and turn into ice cream. Keep shaking until it’s as thick as you can get it—this should take 5 to 10 minutes total.

    Sous Tip:

    What is happening? When you combine salt with ice, the salt doesn’t actually melt the ice. Instead, it lowers the freezing temperature of the water—which is usually 32°F. Ice cream freezes at a slightly lower temperature than water. This means that the super-cold water that forms inside the larger bag (thanks to the salt) is even colder than solid ice—and cold enough to freeze the ice cream. If you tried to make this ice cream without adding salt, you’d find yourself shaking all day!

  7. Step 7

    After the ice cream is ready, remove the smaller bag. Carefully snip off one corner of the bag and squeeze the ice cream into a bowl. Eat it right away or freeze until it’s as thick as you want it.