Simply Ice Cream, Illustrated

Simplicity is my watchword.

Here is the recipe I have refined for making ice cream, containing what I believe are its essentials. Yes, you can do all kind of experiments making flavored ice cream, but I suggest you try this pure and simple ice cream first. After it is made, you can top it with a little fruit, chocolate sauce, or sprinkle a little powdered instant coffee on it for flavor variations.

This page has THREE parts, first the recipe for the ice cream mixture , and second, the technique for freezing ice cream. Finally, I have included a review of my White Mountain Freezer (the Cadillac of freezers).

Recipe for Simply Ice Cream


2 quarts of “medium” cream: either Half and Half or cream skimmed from fresh milk left undisturbed for several days.
2/3 cup sugar (more if you like it sweet)
1 Tbl good vanilla extract

Add all these ingredients to the freezer can, insert dasher and cover.

The following steps include skimming instructions if you have your own source of whole milk.

Instructions for Freezing Ice Cream


Up to 10 pounds finely chipped ice. If you can only get larger chunk ice, you may have to crush it by placing in cloth bag and hammering it down to pieces no larger than ½ inch diameter. The smaller the size ice, the faster the ice cream will freeze. Too big, and the chunks will impair the turning of the bucket. The actual amount of ice needed varies with the freezer.

1-2 pounds of rock salt. (You can use any salt, but rock salt is cheapest. Fine grained salt will freeze ice cream faster.)
Favorite mix for ice cream, liquid (See above)


2 cup measuring cup to measure the ice
1/4 cup measuring cup to measure the salt (or assume your handful is 1/4th cup)
Your ice cream freezer, either hand or machine cranked. (I have graduated to a White Mountain machine, expensive but the best quality freezer I have found.

  1. Add the ice cream mix to the freezer can, insert dasher and place lid on the freezer can.
  2. Place assembled freezer can in bucket, attach turning mechanism, lock in place.
  3. Scoop a 2 cup measure of ice and pour into bucket on either side of the turning mechanism. (4 cups total)
  4. Scoop in a 1/4 cup measure of salt on either side of the turning mechanism. I have found that one of my handfuls is equal to 1/4th cup, so I add salt that way. (one measure for each side = ½ cup total). You can turn on the machine now.
  5. Repeat the alternating layers of 2 cups ice and 1/4 cup salt per side until both sides are filled up to the top of the can.
  6. After turning for a few minutes, the ice will melt down some, and you should add 2 additional cups ice to both sides, followed by 1/4 cup salt to both sides. Keep the level of the ice near the top of the freezer can.
  7. Check on the consistency after 10 minutes of cranking. Depending on the design of the can and the amount of ice cream mix added, the ice cream should be frozen in 10-20 minutes. Listen for the motor to labor, or notice that the hand cranking is getting HARD.
  8. Turn off machine, remove turning mechanism and lid, and examine the consistency. It should have risen up in the can and LOOK like “soft-whip” ice cream. It is best to stop when it is the consistency of moderately firm “soft-whip” ice cream for two reasons:
    1. It is much easier to pack (put it immediately into your freezer after you house it), and
    2. It is less likely to turn the cream to butter (from excessive cranking).

Some machines call for packing additional ice and salt after removing the dasher to further harden it. This is good for picnics, but at home, I put it straight into the freezer.

I have owned many different kinds of freezers, and have used this 8:1 ratio of ice to salt for all of them. The White Mountain Freezer I recently purchased calls for 6:1 ratio, but I’m not convinced it requires that much salt, since there is always undissolved salt left in the bottom.

Good Luck, and delicious eating to you.

Review of the White Mountain Ice Cream Freezer after several years of use:


  • Generally high quality materials, sturdy, the freezer can is stainless steel.
  • Makes excellent smooth ice cream, partly due to the “double action” of the dasher.
  • Freezes relatively quickly (though this is also relative to the ice chip size and amount of salt.


  • It is quite noisy during operation.
  • It requires more ice to fill the bucket than most freezers of the same capacity.
  • Although the freezer can is stainless, the hoops on the bucket are iron, and are rusting badly.
  • The latch which holds the turning mechanism in place is very temperamental, often requiring several repositioning
    attempts with the whole turning mechanism before it can be latched (very annoying).
  • The locking mechanism holding the turning mechanism is made of iron and is severely rusting.
  • I have yet to find a machine from which the ice cream is easily packed. The “double action” dasher has even more nooks and crannies which must be cleared of ice cream when packing the ice cream.
  • It is quite expensive (I think I paid around $160 for the 3 quart electric freezer in 1999).

Added in 2005 after 5 years of use:

  • The iron hoops which hold together the wooden tub rusted and broke. I replaced with stainless steel banding.
  • The wooden staves pull apart when the bucket dries, leaking salt water onto the floor.
  • Worst: the motor burned out in Fall of 2004. I sent off to the manufacturer and purchased a new motor for about $36 which I was able in install. In the interim, I tried two inexpensive (and terrible) models of ice cream maker–one from Sam’s club (the drive connection was so weak that the dasher slipped way before the ice cream was ready) and one from Home Depot (took 45 minutes to make ice cream). VERY happy to have my White Mountain back in operation.

However, all in all, I have not found a better machine yet.

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