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When mixing your base, some recipes require heat to dissolve, combine and thicken ingredients. Others can simply be mixed straight from the fridge or cupboard. Either way, you’ll want to whisk when mixing in order to slightly aerate the ice cream base before freezing. You can do this by hand or use a stand mixer with the wire whisk, a hand mixer, a blender or even a food processor.
Churning ice cream helps incorporate air and break up ice crystals as the mixture freezes. This is what gives ice cream the rich and smooth texture you expect. While you can periodically stir your ice cream mixture as it freezes in an airtight container, using an ice cream machine or the Ice Cream Maker attachment continuously stirs while the mixture freezes. This can help achieve even creamier, smoother results.
If you prefer soft-serve, you can enjoy your ice cream right away using any of the methods. But if you’re looking for a scoopable, hard ice cream, place it in an airtight container in the freezer for an additional 2-4 hours either after churning with an ice cream maker, or processing the frozen mixture in a blender or food processor.