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Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts

Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream (No Machine)

4.62 from 71 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!
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!

Sometimes I come up with some recipes that make even me question my own sanity…but this recipe is different. This is a brand new, fun and crazy way to make ice cream…not just ice cream actually, homemade soft serve ice cream to be exact. That creamy, swirly deliciousness that you get as a treat on a hot Summer’s day can now be made at home. 

So let me just put on my lab coat and glasses because this is more scientific than I usually get, plus I look good in glasses.

Let’s get to the big question: “How can you make soft serve at home?” Dry ice is the secret ingredient. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide (CO2). It is colorless, with a neutral odor, non-flammable, and slightly acidic. You’re probably happy to see the non-flammable in there. Me too.

Dry Ice is used primarily as a cooling agent. It holds a lower temperature than that of regular ice so it will stay frozen for a lot longer. It is frequently used to package items that must remain cold or frozen, such as ice cream or biological samples. It is also used to carbonate fizzy drinks.  Another fun fact, it was very popular in Discos in the 90’s. It was cool, trust me.

What is the science behind this soft serve ice cream? As liquid evaporates, it gets cold. This effect, familiar to anyone who has been wet, happens because it takes energy to turn a liquid into a gas, and that energy comes from heat drawn out of the liquid. Don’t ask me how someone figured out that this is how you make ice cream.


Once your soft serve is whipped up it should be eaten pretty quickly. You can pop the bowl in the freezer for up to 1 1/2 hours. Whip it up again on the mixer if it froze a bit. Longer than this and it will freeze rock solid and lose all of its soft texture. Feel free to make your ice cream base up to 3 days in advance. It will hang out happily in the fridge.

I found this recipe on This is a website I often frequent because they get into the details of the how and why, which I love. They just have all over great cooking and kitchen essentials that will help you round out your skills.


Where can you buy dry ice? In the U.S. you can find it 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 stock it. Thanks to the internet you can also buy it online in the U.S. at where else but Dry Ice Delivered. Outside of the U.S., I suggest doing a Google search to see what is available to you.



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Soft Serve Ice Cream

4.62 from 71 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 mins
Total Time 30 mins
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 g/ 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
3 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
1 year ago

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

5 years ago

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

1 year ago

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

2 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(@adhya-adhyapak)
4 years ago

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

Irene franco
Irene franco
2 months ago

Can i use soft cream powder? Thank u

4 years ago

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

4 years ago

1\2 ????? vanilla extract ? You forgot to specify as to – teaspoon or tablespoon.

5 years ago

Hi! Gemma
Kindly tell me the substitution for dry ice.It is not available in my area.And i really wanna try this dish.
So, it is an humble request that please give me a recipe of ice cream without dry ice.
I will be very thankful to you on this act of kindness.

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