Overhead shot of various flavors of mason jar ice cream, with various toppings around the jars. Flavors include strawberry, peanut butter, cookies n cream, lemon, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip.

If you have a hankering for ice cream or are just looking for a fun kitchen project to do with the kids, you’ve got to try your hand at making ice cream in a mason jar.

You need only four ingredients to make the rich, creamy, sweet ice cream you are used to—no fancy ice cream maker or special equipment necessary. We’ve given you seven flavor options to try below for our easy mason jar ice cream—Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Cookies and Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Lemon, and Peanut Butter—but this simple recipe is begging for some kitchen experimentation! You’ll want to make this delicious treat all summer long. Let’s make some ice cream the easy way!
A mason jar is filled with vanilla ice cream. The ice cream is topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and a cherry.

What ingredients do I need for mason jar ice cream?

For a plain-jane vanilla ice cream, all you’ll need are:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Sweetener—cane sugar, honey, or maple syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt

But this recipe is the perfect canvas to experiment with flavors! We have six suggestions below, but you can use your imagination to come up with as many variations as you’d like!

How do you make ice cream in a mason jar?

You’re going to be blown away by just how easy this is. The prep time is just a few minutes! It’s so easy, my six-year-old daughter can do it start-to-finish on her own. Here are the steps:
A split image shows step by step how to make mason jar ice cream

  1. Grab a Ball® Wide Mouth Pint Jar with a two piece lid.
  2. Pour 1 cup of cold heavy cream into the jar.
  3. Add in sugar, vanilla extract, and a hefty pinch of salt.
  4. Twist the lid closed tightly, and shake! This is the part that’s really fun to get the kids involved with. You want to shake, shake, shake until the mixture has about doubled in volume and is about the thickness of pancake or brownie batter. It should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Pop the whole jar in the freezer. Try to remember to shake the jar every 30 minutes or so, but if you don’t, it’s no big deal.
  6. Come back to your jar in 2-3 hours, and you’ll have delicious, silky ice cream ready to enjoy with your favorite chocolate sauce, whipped cream, chopped nuts, and other toppings!
6 mason jars are lined up in stacks of 2. Each jar is filled with a different flavor of mason jar ice cream

Can you put a mason jar in the freezer?

It’s important to use a jar that is safe for freezer use. Only Ball® Jars with straight sides are safe for freezing. Here are the Ball® Jars you can use to make ice cream:

  • Ball® Wide-Mouth Pint — This is our favorite size for ice cream! It’s easy to shake, and it makes about 3-4 servings of ice cream.
  • Ball® Wide-Mouth 24 Ounce — This is a good size for a larger amount of servings, although it can be a little difficult to shake for a long time, especially if you’re doing this with smaller kids with smaller hands.

Wholefully Protip

It’s important to use the Ball® Wide-Mouth Pint Jar here because it is safe for freezer use. Only jars with straight sides are safe for freezing.

A close-up shows what mason jar ice cream looks like once it is frozen from above
How long does mason jar ice cream last in the freezer?

No need to dirty more dishes! Store and freeze this ice cream right in the jar you made it in. Ice cream will last just fine in the canning jar for 2-3 months in the freezer.

Because it’s not churned, the longer this ice cream freezes, the harder and icier it will get—but no worries! This is easily fixed by letting it warm for 5-10 minutes on the counter and then stirring it well with a spoon. You’ll be back to having delicious, creamy ice cream in a heartbeat!

How long do I have to shake the mason jar to make ice cream?

While we say it’ll take about five minutes, we recommend you go by visual cues instead of time to make sure your cream is thickened enough to make great ice cream:

A split image shows what mason jar ice cream should look like before and after shaking.
  • The cream should be almost doubled in volume. That means if you’re using a Ball® Wide Mouth Pint Jar with a cup of cream, when the mixture doubles, it should be filled to within about 1” of the top of the jar.
  • The cream should be about the consistency of brownie batter—or, you guessed it, melted ice cream! It should definitely coat the back of a spoon.
  • The sound will change when you shake! It will no longer sound like milk in a jar, it’ll thud around the jar more like a thicker mixture.

Wholefully Protip

Make shaking a family event! Pass the jar around to the whole family so everyone can show off their strong forearms and everyone can take part in the ice cream-making experience.

What other flavor variations can I try?

We recommend letting your imagination go wild here! Making this ice cream is so simple and quick, we think it’s just asking for you to experiment. Of course, you can always stick with classic vanilla, but if you’re ready to start experimenting, here are six flavors to try:
A split image shows "6 flavors of no-churn mason jar ice cream" — mint chocolate chip, chocolate, peanut butter, lemon, cookies + cream, strawberry.

  • Mint Chocolate Chip: Add in a couple of drops of mint extract plus a handful of mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate pieces before freezing. Chocolate chunks or regular chocolate chips tend to be a little too bulky for mason jar ice cream. Add a couple drops of green food coloring for the classic green tint.
  • Chocolate: All you have to do to make rich, chocolate ice cream is to add unsweetened cocoa powder before shaking. Add a little for milk chocolate, add more for dark chocolate! You can also get a marbled effect or chocolate swirl by adding a little chocolate syrup right after freezing and swirling it together with your spoon!
  • Peanut Butter: Add in a teaspoon of peanut butter before shaking. You can also add both peanut butter and cocoa powder for a delicious combo!
  • Lemon: Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest before shaking. Add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring, if you like!
  • Cookies and Cream: Put 2-3 chocolate sandwich cookies in a zip-top bag, and then mash them into chunks. Stir them into the ice cream mixture after shaking.
  • Strawberry: Blend up about 1/2 cup of fresh berries or frozen berries and add to the mixture right before freezing. You can also add in a tablespoon of jam (strawberry or any fruit) to get a similar effect.

Wholefully Protip

When using chunky mix-ins, shaking the jar regularly (about every 20-30 minutes) during the freezing process will help make sure the chunks are distributed evenly.

There are literally hundreds of other flavor options you can try: add in pecans, mix in bananas, crunch up some graham crackers, swirl in some caramel, stir in your favorite candies—the possibilities are limitless!
Six mason jars, each holding a different flavor of mason jar ice cream. An ice cream scoop, sprinkles, cherries, and chocolate cookies are on the table around the jars.

Can I use sweeteners other than sugar?

We’ve tested this recipe using cane sugar, coconut sugar, honey, and maple syrup, and they all work!

One caveat: coconut sugar tends to not dissolve easily in cold liquids, so you might need to warm the cream and sugar together first to melt, and then chill the mixture before shaking.

We’ve also heard good things about making this ice cream with erythritol or stevia, but we haven’t personally tried it—let us know if you do!

A jar of vanilla mason jar ice cream is topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and a cherry. A spoon sticks out from the ice cream.
We know this will be such a fun experiment for your family to do all summer long! We cannot wait to hear all the interesting mason jar ice cream flavor combos you come up with. Make sure to come back here and leave your favorite creations in the comments. Happy shaking!

Overhead shot of various flavors of mason jar ice cream, with various toppings around the jars. Flavors include strawberry, peanut butter, cookies n cream, lemon, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip.

Mason Jar Ice Cream

Yield: 1 pint
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

All you need are 4 ingredients and a mason jar to make this easy ice cream. This no-churn ice cream is a fun family kitchen craft!


  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar, honey, or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Hefty pinch of salt
  • See notes for flavor variations


  1. In a Ball® Wide Mouth Pint Jar, combine the heavy cream, sweetener, vanilla extract, and salt.
  2. Place the lid on the jar, twist closed tightly, and shake. Shake the mixture until it is about doubled in size and about the consistency of brownie batter. It should take around 5 minutes.
  3. Place the jar in the freezer. It should be ready to enjoy in about 2-3 hours. Shake every 20-30 minutes to incorporate any mix-ins and prevent iciness. 


  • You must use a freezer-safe Ball® Jar for this recipe. Straight sided jars are safe to use in the freezer.
  • For Chocolate Ice Cream: Add in 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (depending on how chocolatey you like it) before shaking.
  • For Strawberry Ice Cream: Blend 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries into a puree. Mix in before shaking. Or use 1-2 tablespoons of strawberry jam. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you’d like.
  • For Cookies and Cream Ice Cream: Mash up 2-3 chocolate sandwich cookies and put the pieces in the ice cream mixture before freezing.
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: Add a few drops of mint extract and a handful of mini chocolate chips to the ice cream before shaking. Add a few drops of green food coloring if you’d like.
  • Peanut Butter Ice Cream: Add in one teaspoon of peanut butter to the mixture before shaking.
  • Lemon Ice Cream: Add in one teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest to the mixture before shaking. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring if you’d like.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. What is the difference between shaking or using a blender or whipping it with electric blender?

    1. Hi Esteri! You could definitely make this recipe with a blender if you have one—you would just need to be extra careful not to accidentally take it too far and end up with butter!

    1. Hi Kat! We haven’t tried it with coconut milk or cream. If you give it a go, please let us know how it turns out!

    2. I definitely plan to try it with coconut cream soon, as I am dairy free. I hope it works just as well, because I LOVE ice cream!! (I can eat it whether it’s 90 degrees like this week or it’s -20 degrees in the winter. Gotta love Midwestern temperatures!)

  2. WOW I just made this. I made peanut butter chocolate, mint chocolate chip and chocolate with chocolate chips. I used organic heavy cream, lily’s dark chocolate baking chips and plant based sugar alternative (erythritol & monk fruit) combo. I am so excited. This has very little sugar or carbs and tastes amazing. My husband loves it too. I can’t have a lot of sugar or carbs anymore and I’m lactose intolerant so finding this was like finding gold. It’s so easy. I am about to make this in bulk so I have plenty in the freezer. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  3. I work with senior adults..can the ice cream be done in a plastic jar instead of glass. Hands are not always
    strong in this age group. Don’t want shattered glass as part of the activity. Thank you

    1. Hi Sandra! You can absolutely use plastic jars instead of glass. As long as it’s big enough to hold your ingredients, is freezer safe, and has a tight-fitting lid you’re good to go!

      1. Thank you Danielle!
        One more question –can I use spenda for the diabetics?
        We are doing this on Tues. So excited!
        Thank you again,

        1. Hi Sandra! We haven’t tried it ourselves, but we think it should work fine. Granulated Splenda is typically used as a one for one swap for regular sugar since it’s a similar sweetness. We hope everything goes well! We’d love it if you came back to tell us all about it! =)

        2. I am diabetic. I used allulose. It gives you a creamier texture and the flavor is indistinguishable from sugar. I gave it to my teens and they didn’t know the difference.