Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts

Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream (No Machine)

4.59 from 87 votes
Whip up my Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream recipe for a creamy, smooth vanilla soft serve without using a machine!
Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream, Soft Serve, Soft Serve Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Homemade Ice Cream, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Recipes, Desserts, Frozen Desserts, Summer Frozen Desserts

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: Creamy and smooth soft-serve ice cream that’s perfect for a hot summer’s day or whenever you’re craving a cold dessert. My Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream recipe is not only a delicious treat but also an intriguing science experiment. Made in just 30 minutes using a secret ingredient, you’re in for some fun with this recipe!

My Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream recipe is a brand new, fun, and crazy way to make ice cream that pairs beautifully with my Homemade Ice Cream Cones. There’s no need to drive to your local ice cream shop anymore when you can get the same creamy, swirly deliciousness at home with this recipe.

Best of all, you don’t need a machine, and there’s a secret ingredient. Can you guess? It’s dry ice! This is not like any other ice cream recipe you’ve encountered before, and I’m excited to share with you Bold Bakers just how bold it can get around here.


Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream Inspiration

I found this fun recipe on This is a website I often frequent because they get into the details of the how and why, which I love. Plus, they aren’t afraid to play around with bold ingredients, just like making ice cream with dry ice. I recommend browsing the site if you’re looking for great cooking and kitchen essentials that can help you round out your skills!

Have Questions About Dry Ice? We’ve Got You Covered:

  1. What is dry ice?

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s colorless with a neutral odor, non-flammable, and slightly acidic.

Dry ice is primarily used as a cooling agent. It holds a lower temperature than that of regular ice, so it will stay frozen for a lot longer. It’s frequently used to package items that must remain cold or frozen, such as ice cream or biological samples. It’s also used to carbonate fizzy drinks.

  1. How does dry ice work?

As the liquid in the dry ice evaporates, it gets cold. It takes energy to turn a liquid into a gas, and that energy comes from heat drawn out from the liquid. This chemical reaction freezes the soft-serve ice cream instantaneously, which is why it’s such a useful ingredient for cold desserts.

  1. Is dry ice safe to use?

The dry ice I used in this recipe is food-grade, which means it’s specifically designed for food use and consumption. This ingredient is used extensively in the catering trade and restaurant kitchens, evaporating as it chills the food. 

In small quantities, it’s safe to eat, but it needs to be handled carefully. That being said, please make sure that if you’re a minor, you have adult supervision or an adult’s help because it can cause burns if not handled properly. Wear gloves or use a towel.

  1. Where can I buy dry ice?

In the US, you can find dry ice in large supermarkets like Smart & Final, Costco, Safeway, and Walmart. However, every location and state is different, so call ahead before you go looking to see if they’re in stock. 

Thanks to the internet, you can also buy it online in the US. Outside of the US, I suggest doing a quick Google search to see what is available to you.

  1. Can I use regular ice rather than dry ice for this recipe?

Unfortunately, no. This soft-serve recipe is specifically designed for really fast freezing, so this can only be achieved with dry ice. Regular ice is not cold enough.

I know that food-grade dry ice may not be available everywhere. This may seem like a bummer, but don’t worry! I have plenty of amazing no-machine ice cream recipes like ‘Homemade Ice Cream Recipe With Only 2 Ingredients’ that are just as delicious!

Tools You Need To Make Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream (No Machine):

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large bowl
  • Hand blender
  • Tea towel or apron
  • Gloves
  • Cast iron pan or hammer (alternatively, heavy object to crush)
  • Plastic bowl or Tupperware container
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Spoon
  • Optional: Piping bag; large, round piping nozzle


What Kind Of Cream Should I Use?

There’s a variety of creams you can use, such as heavy, whipping, or all-purpose cream. While any of these creams work, I recommend using heavy cream because it deepens and enriches the vanilla flavor.

You can also go the extra mile and make your own Homemade Whipped Cream to go in your Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream! Check out my other Homemade Cream recipes to expand your baking repertoire.

What Other Flavors Can I Add To My Soft Serve Ice Cream?

When you have a vanilla base for your ice cream, the world is your playground. You can add different flavorings like cocoa powder or matcha powder to mix things up. However, you’ll have to adjust the measurements as you go.

You can also add toppings to your Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream like fruits, chocolate, and nuts. Make sure to fold these into the ice cream base so that you can see all the lovely chunks in your mixture. Check this article out for topping and flavor inspiration!

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making The Best No-Machine Soft Serve Ice Cream:

  • A really good way to keep your Soft Serve Ice Cream nice and cold through the process is by freezing your bowl. Pop your bowl in the freezer for an hour before you make your ice cream. 
  • Wear protective, insulated latex, nitrile, or leather gloves when handling dry ice.
  • Don’t add the dry ice too quickly to your ice cream base. Otherwise, it will lead to a big pile of bubbling ice cream all over your work surface. Go slowly.
  • This recipe does well in the fridge, so feel free to make your ice cream base up to 3 days in advance.
  • To preserve the texture of your Soft Serve Ice Cream, pop your ice cream in the freezer for up to 1 ½ hours if you’re not going to eat it immediately. Don’t leave it in for too long or else it can freeze rock solid and lose its soft texture.

Want More Ice Cream? Try These!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Soft Serve Ice Cream Recipe

4.59 from 87 votes
Make my Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream recipe and you'll enjoy creamy, smooth vanilla soft serve just like you get in an ice cream shop and without the machine!
Author: Adapted from
Servings: 3 pints
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Make my Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream recipe and you'll enjoy creamy, smooth vanilla soft serve just like you get in an ice cream shop and without the machine!
Author: Adapted from
Servings: 3 pints


  • 4 cups (32floz/900ml) milk, full fat*
  • 1 Cup (8 oz/225g) sugar
  • Cup (5oz /142g) cream
  • 3/4 cup (33/4oz/105g) dry milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 900 grams (2 lbs) dry ice* (this has to be measured in weight and not cups)


  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand blender to combine ingredients, about one minute. Just be sure to whisk away any clumps of milk powder that form in the mix. You can also use a blender.
  • Cover and reserve in the fridge until you’re ready to churn. It’s important to keep the ice cream base really cold.
  • Carefully transfer your dry ice to a clean tea towel or apron and wrap it up completely. Wear gloves when handling the dry ice as it is extremely cold.
  • With a heavy cast iron pan or a hammer, crush dry ice into a fine powder.
  • Transfer crushed dry ice to a plastic bowl or Tupperware container and pop back in the freezer until you are ready for it.
  • Pour your ice cream base into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and begin mixing on medium speed.
  • Add dry ice one spoonful at a time. Allow foam and steam to dissipate, then add another spoonful.This takes around 5 minutes.
  • NOTE: Adding too much too fast will lead to a big pile of bubbling ice cream all over your work surface. Nobody wants that. Go slow. Seriously.
  • Keep adding spoonfuls of dry ice until the ice cream begins to thicken. When it does, increase mixing speed, continuing to add spoonfuls of dry ice until your ice cream is rich, thick, and creamy. (You may need less or slightly more; it depends on many different factors. So just go slow and eyeball it—when your ice cream looks like soft serve, it probably is!)
  • Store in the freezer until you’re ready to serve. Mix up the ice cream again and scoop it into a piping bag fitted with a large, round nozzle.
  • Pipe into your cones and enjoy straight away. It is best eaten that day. I don’t recommend freezing it overnight as it is hard to scoop later.

Recipe Notes

*best served within 2 hours of making, otherwise it will freeze rock solid.
I have not tried using a nut milk but I think it would work.
Dry ice: See where you can buy dry ice in the last paragraph of the post.


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Ramsey L. Sealy
Ramsey L. Sealy
6 years ago

Gemma – This is an interesting recipe that I must try. One technical note for you, since I am a college science instructor and researcher: Some substances like CO2 can and usually do go directly from the solid state to the vapor state, without going through a liquid state. This is known as sublimnation. This is what the dry ice is doing in this recipe and it’s why you do not get a pooling of liquid CO2 to mess up your wonderful ice cream. And, yes, this process of sublimnation takes energy from the surroundings to occur and, thus, leaves… Read more »

Elizabeth Tallant
Elizabeth Tallant
3 years ago

Can other flavors be added? Like fruits, chocolate? Maybe even nut flavored extracts?

4 years ago

The title is definitely misleading, you do use a machine, it’s not a soft serve icecream machine, which is what I suppose you meant, but you are using mixer “machines”. Just pointing it out. Maybe change the title to “without a soft serv machine”?

Adhya Adhyapak
7 years ago

they are so beautiful ….
I tried them but they were not that good…..
:/ :[

7 years ago

Thank u for this recipe! But Gemma, is dry ice safe? ?

Irene franco
Irene franco
2 years ago

Can i use soft cream powder? Thank u

3 years ago

Hi Gemma, can i use this mixture in a regular ice cream machine? To get the flavour of the soft serve. Thank you

7 years ago

Would you please make a video about how to make pudding for my friends.

1 year ago

Could I use a protein powder instead of milk powder?

1 year ago

For the dry milk powder, do you use whole milk powder or nonfat milk powder?

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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