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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

Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream (No Machine)

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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!

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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4.43 from 14 votes
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
Soft Serve Ice Cream
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Servings: 3 pints
Author: Adapted from
  • 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)
  1. 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.
  2. Cover and reserve in the fridge until you’re ready to churn. It’s important to keep the ice cream base really cold.
  3. 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.
  4. With a heavy cast iron pan or a hammer, crush dry ice into a fine powder.
  5. Transfer crushed dry ice to a plastic bowl or Tupperware container and pop back in the freezer until you are ready for it.
  6. Pour your ice cream base into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and begin mixing on medium speed.
  7. Add dry ice one spoonful at a time. Allow foam and steam to dissipate, then add another spoonful.This takes around 5 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!)
  10. 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.
  11. 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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Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

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Write a Comment and Review

  1. Ramsey L. Sealy on May 3, 2018 at 9:48 am

    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 the surroundings cooler.
    Really an interesting recipe with what seem to be great results.
    Ramsey L. Sealy, PhD, and a someone who loves to cook and eat!

    • Gemma Stafford on May 4, 2018 at 5:27 am

      I love this Ramsey, thank you for this input, I had no idea of why it worked, other bold bakers will be fascinated,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Adhya Adhyapak on March 11, 2017 at 8:54 pm

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

    • Gemma Stafford on March 12, 2017 at 4:02 am

      Hi there,
      Were you able to find dry ice for this recipe?
      This is not a recipe for everyone, this food grade dry ice is not readily available, I was showing this so that you would know it is possible, and it is widely used in restaurants! Not for everyone,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Adhya Adhyapak on March 17, 2017 at 1:47 am

        GOCCHA !!!!!
        : ) 🙂 : )

  3. anju1002 on March 4, 2017 at 1:24 pm

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

    • Gemma Stafford on March 5, 2017 at 1:50 am

      Hi there,
      What do you mean by pudding? this is a broad description, which can run from sweet sponge puddings, to Christmas pudding, to savory puddings, black pudding etc!
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Debbie on January 29, 2017 at 4:15 pm

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

    • Gemma Stafford on January 30, 2017 at 1:37 am

      Hi Debbie,
      This is 1/2 teaspoon, I have changed this in the recipe now, thank you for letting me know,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. irfan on October 18, 2016 at 7:10 am

    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.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 19, 2016 at 1:40 am

      Hi Ifran,
      this is not possible – dry ice is commonly use in good restaurants to produce iced dishes with speed, it is available in some stores here in the US, but not everywhere. it is a kind of magic, and needs to be handled carefully, it also needs to be food grade, so if you cannot find this, you really cannot make this recipe, sorry 🙂

  6. LillianSydney on August 8, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Do you have to use cream

    • Gemma Stafford on August 8, 2016 at 11:24 am

      Hi Lillian,
      No! but I am not sure what you mean. you can freeze all sorts of things using this method.
      you will find lots of ideas here (,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Vanilla Pods on August 6, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Hey Gemma Love all Your recipes. Can you make ice cream with a machine please

    • Gemma Stafford on August 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Hi there,
      I have just completed a series of lessons for Craftsy where we cover a lot of different ice cream recipes, including traditional ice cream and gelato. It will be available from today, i believe!
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Bill on July 26, 2016 at 6:17 am

    What is the unit of measure for the vanilla extract?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 26, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Hi Bill,
      This is about proportion, so you would use one vanilla pod in about 2 oz of vodka, if you have a larger jar, you use more vanilla pods and more vodka. So, one pod per 2 oz of vodka.
      Gemma 🙂

  9. BBBfan on July 3, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Hi Gemma I am a huge fan and love all of your videos. I just have a question with your soft serve ice cream is it possible to add cocoa or matcha powder to make chocolate or green tea ice cream instead?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 3, 2016 at 6:50 am

      Hi there,
      You can experiment with this, it will work, but you need to get it to your own taste. A good quality cocoa powder should be great, I am not a fan of matcha powder myself, and so I have not tried it, it is worth a shot!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Valerie on July 4, 2016 at 4:04 am

        Thanks Gemma I think I will test it out

        • Gemma Stafford on July 6, 2016 at 11:00 am

          Let me know how it goes 🙂

  10. Hui Hui on July 3, 2016 at 1:43 am

    hello,Gemma . can I ask you a question , if In my country don’t have sell dry ice can I actually use just use ice and not dry ice

    • Gemma Stafford on July 3, 2016 at 6:07 am

      Hi there Hui Hui,
      No! this will not work for this type of ice cream. Food quality dry ice is not available everywhere. It is widely used in restaurants in the US and Europe, the idea is to instantly freeze food for immediate consumption. Ice will not do this for you. Check out the two ingredient no churn ice cream, this is delicious too!
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Rachaelcurtin on June 30, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Thx can’t wait to try these

  12. Rachaelcurtin on June 29, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Gemma what kind of cream do you use? Please answer

    • Gemma Stafford on June 29, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Heavy, whipping or all-purpose cream will work 🙂

  13. Archana Singh on June 25, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Hi Gemma
    I like the way you cook. Plz send some receipe of eggless cake

    • Gemma Stafford on June 26, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Thanks so much, I’m delighted you like my recipes. Egg free cakes are on my list. Check out my egg substitute chart, it is incredibly easy to see how to replace eggs in your baking.

      Good luck,

  14. Marci on June 20, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Can you use the dry ice process in your frozen yogurt recipe?

    • Kevin Kurtz on June 20, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Marci! You actually don’t need the dry ice for the Frozen Yogurt. Just blend it up and freeze it!

  15. Maryam on June 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Hey Gemma that vidieo was amazing I ❤️ It. U always use simple ingredients. This vidio made me soo hungry mmmmmm ? I just loved on a few mins ago and I have a question. If we sughned up here on your website DOAS that meen I’d we want to comment or subscribe on YouTube or something can we do it because maybe they recanize us?????

    • Gemma Stafford on June 19, 2016 at 2:50 am

      Hi Maryam,
      If you subscribe here, you can also subscribe on YouTube, it is a separate channel. I do begin to know my regular visitors, and they really keep me going with suggestions and sometimes a laugh! I love to see the results of your efforts too, so post pics here on the website. Facebook is also a great and easy way to comment and to share your ideas. When I am filming my focus is usually on getting the recipe right, and I cannot always keep names etc in my head, it seems very rushed from my side of the camera. However, I could not do any of this if I did not have the kind support of all the bold bakers, I am happy to have you with us,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Rachael on June 19, 2016 at 11:33 am

        Hey Gemma I subscribed to your channel and I’m so happy I did because sometimes I wonder what order to do things in or when to do something and in your videos I can follow along easily do thanks again and keep on baking?

        • Gemma Stafford on June 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm

          Hi Rachael,
          Thank you for your kind comments I am happy to have you with us,
          Gemma 🙂

          • MashalFatima on June 19, 2016 at 10:30 pm

            Congrats Gemma many new bold bakers are subscribing. I really wish one day your site will become the best bold baking site ever. 🙂

            • Gemma Stafford on June 20, 2016 at 1:05 am

              Hi there Mashal,
              Thank you for your great support, I really appreciate it. I could not do anything without all of my bold bakers,
              Gemma 🙂

  16. MashalFatima on June 16, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    This is soooo amazing ……. I would try my level best to find dry ice but i don’t think its easy to get it in my country. Yet your recipe is amazing as always 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2016 at 1:22 am


  17. Ananya on June 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Looks yummy 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2016 at 1:30 am

      Hi Ananya,
      Thank you, it really was good,
      Gemma 🙂

  18. DeiGratia on June 16, 2016 at 3:52 pm

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

    • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2016 at 1:32 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for being with us.
      Dry ice is used extensively in the catering trade. It is food grade, and it evaporates as it chills the food. This one is designed for food use,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Rama on June 16, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Gemma, I read that dry is should be transported with caution after all it is carbon dioxide and that while handling gloves and safety goggles should be used. Is it safe to eat by young toddlers?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2016 at 3:53 am

      Hi Rama,
      This is a food grade dry ice, available here in the supermarket in the US. It evaporates in use. It is commonly used in Restaurant kitchens. In small quantities it is safe to transport. It needs to be handled by an adult in the home. Then it is safe!
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Ella on June 16, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for the new recipe, butility as I am in the UK, dry ice is so expensive to buy, it’s not one I will be trying. Looks interesting though.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Ella,
      I know this will not be for everyone. It is not even possible to buy it in Ireland as far as I know, except for catering purposes. I have been asked so many times about it, and so I decided to show it. It really is not for children either. Thank you for being with us. I do hope you have enjoyed other recipes here,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Ella on June 16, 2016 at 2:50 pm

        Thanks Gemma, I am definitely a fan of your website. Keep up the good work. I will just have to try one of you other ice-cream recipes. (no hardship, hehe)

        • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2016 at 1:37 am

          Hi ella,
          Do try the recipe, it is easy and delicious,
          Gemma 🙂

  21. Elsie Garner on June 16, 2016 at 9:43 am

    How much is 95 g dry milk powder? Half a cup, maybe? Recipe looks great….gotta try it with the grandchildren!

    • Gemma Stafford on June 16, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Elsie,
      Yes it is good fun, just do not let them handle the dry ice, it will burn. 95g is a tad less than 3 1/2 ounces. I do hope you have fun with this,
      Gemma 🙂

  22. Gratia on June 16, 2016 at 9:25 am

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

    • Rosebeauty816 on August 1, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Hi gemma

      One question . Can we make tgis ice cream without dry ice and add normal ice

      • Gemma Stafford on August 2, 2016 at 12:56 am

        Hi there Rose,
        This is designed for really fast freezing, this can only be achieved with dry ice,
        Gemma 🙂

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