How to Make Homemade Ice Cream Like a Pro

Tips for making ice cream at home — even without an ice cream maker

Do you ever long wistfully for that delicious ice cream you had once on vacation? Instead of devising ways to revisit it or just longing for it from afar, check out Scoop, a new book full of homemade ice cream recipes adapted from the best shops around the country.

As author and home ice cream master Ellen Brown explains, “There are just so many foods now that people enjoy from these little producers and they don’t really have a chance to taste them, just read about them.” So what did Ellen do? She scoured the country for the best ice cream stores and tested and retested the recipes to recreate them for the home cook. 

Ice cream might be the most representative dessert of summer: cooling down on hot, summer days with a cone of mint chip ice cream or finishing the night off with banana split sundae or soft serve twist dipped in chocolate sprinkles. Instead of buying pints from your local store for summer parties or desserts, try your hand at making it at home (it's easier than you think, especially with Ellen's wise words and advice) — plus it's a lot of fun. 

Whether you're looking for a refreshing treat like this Basil Lime Sorbet or the decadent Grasshopper Pie Ice Cream you tried in San Francisco last summer, you'll be able to make that and other mouthwatering flavors from stores that you may not be able to travel to. 

Check out her basic tips for making creamy, airy ice cream at home and how to avoid common pitfalls.


1. Aeration

Love the soft, creamy texture of ice cream? Aeration is responsible for that and is “the key to good ice cream,” according to Brown. (She says that there is a chapter in the book that goes into greater detail of the chemical process.)  


2. Chilling

“You’ve got to make sure that your mixture is really well chilled before you start to churn it. Don’t think ‘it’s coolish’ because that won’t do it.” She says that not chilling the mixture well enough is a common mistake for home ice cream makers.


3. Custards

Don’t be afraid of making French-style (or egg-enriched) ice cream says Brown. She thinks that most people are afraid they will scramble the eggs so they stop working on the custard before it’s truly thickened. How to know when it reaches the right point? “When it’s the right time, as you’re stirring it, you should be able to see where your spoon is going.” She also writes in the book that when it thickens and begins to look like eggnog that the temperature will usually be around 170-175 degrees (using a thermometer is recommended). Also make sure to remove the pan from the burner as you stir otherwise the heat will continue to cook it.