If you’ve never made ice cream in a bag, you’re in for a fun activity with a delicious result! It’s perfect for a fun summer activity to help cool off from the hot sun. This experiment takes a few ingredients and some kid or teen volunteers.
Shake the dust off your feet and get those arm muscles ready as we show you how to make a kid-friendly frozen treat!
TikTok Ice Cream in a Bag
We didn’t learn this particular craft FROM TikTok itself, but as TikTok is our primary source of awesomeness, we want to connect you with this fantastic creator @OfficialFunFoods. Watch his video below for his demonstration of this fun food science activity.
Ice Cream Ingredients
This recipe has super simple ingredients. You only need half and half, a bag of Tupperware, and salt.
- half and half
- white sugar
- vanilla extract
- ice cubes
- table salt
- rainbow sprinkles
- 2 resealable Ziploc gallon-size bags
Homemade Ice Cream Science
How does ice cream in a bag work?
- When you combine salt and ice, the chemical reaction lowers the freezing point of the ice. Thus, the brine-like mixture of salt and ice absorbs the heat from your ice cream mixture, making it freeze. This is called an exothermic chemical reaction, which releases light or heat!
- Did you know? Water (H20) freezes at 0 degrees Celsius under normal conditions. But when salt is added to ice, the temperature drops to -10 degrees Celsius.
- This speeds up the homemade ice cream freezing process by only a few minutes.
- All ice cream consists of sugar, milk, fat, ice crystals, and air. Shaking your Ziploc ice cream bag breaks the ice crystals in your blend into smaller geometric crystals, which creates more air in your milk mixture.
- This is what makes your ice cream fluffy and creamy!
- Don’t stop shaking to achieve a more frozen solution in this science activity.
How to make Ice Cream in a Bag (with Half and Half)
- Add half and half to a resealable bag.
- Pour in sugar and vanilla.
- Seal the container shut and gently shake until most of the sugar is dissolved.
- Place half the ice in a separate bag and generously sprinkle with salt.
- Place the bag of cream and sugar on the ice. This creates double bagging.
- Sprinkle with the remaining ice and generously sprinkle with salt.
- Wrap the bag in a kitchen towel OR put it into a Tupperware container and shake for about 10 minutes or until the ice cream forms. It will take 10 minutes of shaking that bag to come together with 2 cups of half-and-half. It might be easier/quicker to halve the recipe and shake for only 5 minutes if you have younger kids.
- Open the bag of ice and remove the delicious ice cream. Important Tip: You may want to use the kitchen towel as the outside of the bag will be covered in salt.
- Snip the corner of the bag and pipe ice cream into bowls, topping with sprinkles.
Make Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag
The recipe above makes vanilla ice cream. But if you’re a chocolate-craving person, that won’t be a problem! All it takes is adding a few more ingredients and steps.
- Add 2 tablespoons of your favorite chocolate-flavored powder to the other ingredients in the bag. The most common chocolate powders are cocoa powder, chocolate milk powder, and dark chocolate powder.
- Mix the ingredients with a small whisk. Make sure to get rid of the chocolate powder blobs that stick together.
- Seal the bags, then proceed with your shaking process.
If you or the kids want to avoid cold hands, try this hack so your fingers don’t freeze off. After you finish packing all of your ingredients sealed and packed with ice, place your shaking bag of ice into a plastic Tupperware container.
Tupperware not only carries the package conveniently, but it’s easier to grasp, and you don’t have to deal with slippery, wet, cold hands! It saved Charlotte and me the hassle.
Tips & Tricks
- Since your Ziploc bag ice cream recipe melts quickly, eat it in an ice cream cone or bowl to prevent messes.
- The fat content of your mixture will affect your final product. If you want to cut down on calories but have a less rich flavor, use whole milk. Heavy cream will do the trick if you’re looking for a thicker whip but with more calories!
- Don’t forget your towel or winter gloves to not freeze your fingers off while shaking your bagged ice cream recipe! The ice cubes can make little fingers super cold.
- If you’re looking for a dairy-free recipe, using an alternative milk substitute like coconut milk or almond milk will work just fine.
- Top things up by adding your favorite flavors, candies, nuts, sprinkles, and chocolate syrup when the ice cream is finished. This recipe is also super fun at a birthday party.
- Side note: This recipe isn’t hard to make, but you need to make the ice cream and eat it right away, or it will melt quickly!
You can also change the creaminess of your ice cream by changing one ingredient: Milk. Half-and-half does create the perfect thickness for a creamy course, or you can use whole milk to make ice cream in a bag.
Know that using whole milk to make your ice cream will yield a more creamy consistency. Why? Fat content is what holds the structure together in creams and foods.
Although I haven’t tried it personally, I believe heavy whipping cream would make a great substitute in this science lesson.
I like to use regular table salt for this recipe. While other recipes call for using rock salt or ice cream salt, different types of salt still have the same properties to freeze your ice cream. Sea salt, kosher salt, flake salt, fleur de sel, or pink salt will still do the trick.
How To Prevent Salty Ice Cream
There’s nothing more distasteful than ice cream that tastes like you just scooped it out of the ocean—salty!
Salty ice cream happens during the transfer of iced water and salt through the Ziploc bag. To prevent salty ice cream, investing in quality, branded bags helps solve the problem. Whereas cheaper brands leave your viral dessert recipe vulnerable to leakage and the transfer of salty ice.
Other tips on how to prevent salty ice cream in a bag:
- Ensure all your Ziploc bags are sealed tightly.
- Don’t be afraid to double-bag or triple-bag your contents.
- Dry the bag with a towel as soon as you pull it out.
- Chunkier salt crystals have a hard time getting into your Ziploc bag of ice cream.
- Be gentle while shaking. Time is your best friend here.