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. We are so excited to kick off our Ball® Home Canning Ambassadorship with this amazing no-churn ice cream—made all the way from start to finish in a Ball® 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!
How do you make ice cream in a mason jar?
You’re going to be blown away 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:
- Grab a Ball® Wide Mouth Pint Jar with a two piece lid.
- Pour 1 cup of cold heavy cream into the jar.
- Add in sugar, vanilla extract, and a hefty pinch of salt.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
What size and type of canning jar should I use for mason jar ice cream?
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.
- Ball® Regular Mouth Jelly Jars (4 ounce, 8 ounce, 12 ounce) — These are freezer safe, but they’re typically too small for making ice cream. If you’d like to just try a sample size serving of ice cream though, they’ll work!
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.
Can I refreeze the leftovers? How long does 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:
- 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.
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:
- 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 in 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.
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!
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 for a low carb or keto ice cream, but we haven’t personally tried it—let us know if you do!
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!