Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts, Informational Articles

Ask Gemma! Your Ice Cream Baking Questions Answered!

In this comprehensive Q&A post, I have your Ice Cream questions answered. Ask me anything that's missing in the comments and I'll answer!

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Hi Bold Bakers!

After years of gathering up so much information, we created some documents that will help you make ice cream, cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, pastry (pie crust), and more!

In this comprehensive Q&A post, I have your Ice Cream questions answered. Ask me anything that’s missing in the comments and I’ll answer!

Q: What kind of cream can I use for making ice cream?

A: Full-fat whipping cream/heavy whipping cream should be used. I recommend cream from cows with 35-38% fat since this type of cream whips up the best.

Anything with a lower fat content won’t whip up as well and will be less creamy.

Q: Can you use non-dairy whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream in no-machine ice cream?

A: Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend substituting non-dairy whipping cream since it has a higher water content that will crystallize in the freezer.

If you want delicious vegan ice cream, see my recipe for Dairy-Free Coconut Homemade Ice Cream.

Q: Why do you need condensed milk in this recipe?

A: Condensed milk contains liquid sugar that prevents the mixture from crystalizing when it freezes. This keeps it smooth and creamy and prevents it from getting icy.

The sugar in the condensed milk also sweetens the ice cream.

Q: Can you alter the heavy cream to condensed milk ratio?

A: You can make a smaller recipe but I wouldn’t change the ratio of heavy cream to condensed milk since that ratio has been tested and will yield the best ice cream!

Q: My ice cream isn’t hardening in the freezer. What did I do wrong?

A: You might have reduced the amount of cream or used a lower fat content cream. Fat has a higher freezing point than water which means fat freezes faster. When your ice cream is not hardening as expected, it has too much water content and not enough fat. Use heavy cream with a fat content of around 36%-38%.

Or you might have over-measured the condensed milk which lead to more liquid sugar in the mixture. Liquid sugar has a lower freezing point and takes longer to freeze. Do not change the ratio of heavy cream to condensed milk.

Real Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato

Creamy mint chocolate chip gelato in a metal round cake pan with funfetti paper cups and ice cream scoop on the side.

Q: Can you add jam or jelly to the ice cream base to flavor it?

A: You can swirl jam or jelly into the ice cream base. Completely mixing either in the base may lead to an overly-soft or grainy result.

Check out my recipe for Homemade Jam.

Q: What if I can only find sweetened whipping cream?

A: I strongly recommend using unsweetened whipping cream but if you can’t find it, you can reduce the condensed milk by 25% to compensate.

Q: Does condensed milk taste like caramel?

A: Plain condensed milk tastes like thick, sweet milk, not caramel. You can heat condensed milk to caramelize the sugars which will then give it a caramelized flavor but plain condensed milk won’t alter the flavor of your ice cream.

Want to make dulce de leche from condensed milk? See my recipe How to Make Dulce De Leche.

Q: Can you use espresso instead of instant coffee powder to make coffee ice cream?

A: I would not recommend using espresso since the water in the espresso will crystalize when frozen. Dissolve the instant coffee in a very small amount of hot water and let it cool before using so it doesn’t change the texture.

For every 2 cups of heavy cream, use 2-3 tablespoons of hot water to dissolve about 3-4 tablespoons of instant coffee or 2 tablespoons of instant espresso.

Q: Can you use decaf or regular instant coffee powder when making coffee ice cream?

A: Yes, both will work perfectly!

Q: Can you use evaporated milk instead of condensed milk?

A: I don’t recommend using evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. The difference is that condensed milk has sugar added to it while evaporated milk doesn’t. The sugar not only makes the ice cream sweet but also prevents it from crystalizing in the freezer.

If you don’t have condensed milk, you can make it using my recipe How to Make Condensed Milk .

3 Ingredient Ube Ice Cream (No Machine, No Churn — Better Than Trader Joe’s)

In the left picture, purple rich velvety ube ice cream in a standard loaf pan, with ice cream cones and a scoop on the side. In the right picture, the rich velvety ube ice cream is being scooped from the loaf pan.

Q: After adding the condensed milk the mixture turned into a thin liquid. What did I do wrong?

A: You may have overmixed your ice cream base. If you continuously mix the batter the air bubbles created by whipping the cream will deflate causing a thin ice cream base.

Before adding condensed milk, whip the cold cream ONLY until soft peaks which barely hold their shape and flop over immediately when you lift the beaters.Unfortunately, there’s really no way to fix it once the condensed milk is added.

Q: Can you freeze plain ice cream base and add toppings later?

A: You can do this but it’s better to freeze the base with the toppings mixed in since crystals may form if toppings are added later.

If you do freeze plain ice cream base, I would recommend freezing the base in single-portion containers. Let the base soften before adding your mix-ins.

Q: Can I use frozen or fresh fruit in the ice cream?

A: Yes, you can use frozen or fresh fruit in the ice cream base.

But the best thing to do is to puree, or even mash roughly and then mix with a little sugar first. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes for the sugar to dissolve and then stir into your base.

If you stir in fresh fruit as is it will freeze very hard and will be hard to scoop and eat. Massaging with a little sugar will keep it softer and will combine well with the base.

Q: Can you use a hand mixer to whip the cream instead of a stand mixer?

A: Yes, you certainly can!

Q: Can you whip the heavy cream by hand?

A: You can whip the cream by hand with a whisk, but it will take longer and will require a lot of mixing.

The Easiest Homemade Ice Cream Recipe with 50+ Flavors

The Easiest Homemade Ice Cream with Only 2 Ingredients made into 6 flavors and with endless possibilities!

Q: How do you know if the cream is at soft peaks?

A: You’ll know you have soft peaks if when the beater is lifted out of the mixture, a peak forms but barely holds its shape and the top of the peak will fold over on itself instead of staying upright.

If the peak holds its shape without the top folding over, you have reached stiff peaks.

Check out my article How to Make Whipped Cream for more details.

Q: I think I over-whipped the cream. Can I fix it?

A: Unfortunately, you can’t fix cream once it’s been over whipped.

But if you keep whipping it it will eventually make delicious, fresh butter. Find details in my recipe How to Make Homemade Butter.

Q: Can you whip cream after adding condensed milk?

A: No, the cream needs to be whipped before adding the condensed milk to provide an aerated structure so the condensed milk doesn’t weigh the cream down or prevent it from fully whipping up .

Q: How do you store this ice cream?

A: It can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 2 weeks.

Q: Can you use yogurt instead of cream?

    • No, yogurt can’t be used instead of cream in this recipe but check out my recipe for Frozen Yogurt.

How To Make Butter Pecan Gelato

Extra smooth pecan gelato in a metal loaf pan, with crunchy toasted nuts on top and mixed through out. One ball is scooped on the right side in the pan. The scoop is on the let side and ice cream cones are on the right side outside the pan.

Q: How can I prevent my ice cream from freezing too hard?

A: Incorporate enough air: Note to whip up heavy cream till SOFT peaks to build an aerated structure then add in condensed milk. If you whip cream and condensed milk at the same time from the beginning, you won’t distribute condensed milk evenly. More water will float onto to form crystals.

Do not cut back condensed milk (sugar) more than ¼. As condensed milk is beaten in, sugar from it will coat the air bubbles to prevent them from popping or drying out. Ice cream will be light and creamy instead of dense and hard.

Adding more vanilla extract will help. Vanilla extract is alcohol based which has a lower freezing point than water so the ice cream will not freeze icy hard.

Q: How do I make the ice cream less sweet?

A: You can reduce the condensed milk by no more than 25% but it may be slightly icier since the condensed milk prevents the mixture from crystallizing.

Q: Can you churn the ice cream base?

A: No, this is a no-churn recipe, and churning this base may cause it to crack. Check out my Gelato Recipe and Frozen Vanilla Custard recipes if you want to make frozen desserts using an ice cream machine.

Q: Can you add liquor to the ice cream base?

A: Yes, I would add roughly ¼ cup liquor to 1 recipe of ice cream base.

  • When adding liquor to ice cream, it’s important to consider the alcohol content, as too much alcohol can prevent the ice cream from freezing properly or result in an overly soft texture.
  • It’s generally a good idea to start with a small amount of liquor and adjust to taste.
  • You can also consider recipes specifically designed for boozy ice cream such as No-Churn Irish Cream Ice Cream, to ensure a delicious yet balanced outcome.
  • Each liquor adds a different flavor:

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie

A thick ice cream pie in a metal pan, with Oreo cookie crust, silky white ice cream and colorful M&Ms mixed through out.

Ice Cream Recipes You’ll Love:

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Ellen Jardel
Ellen Jardel
7 days ago

how do I make no churn butter pecan ice cream please

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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