Love making homemade ice cream but hate waiting for it to freeze?!
Sometimes you can be making homemade ice cream and it feels like it takes forever for the ice cream to set and freeze making it ready to enjoy.
Fear not, there are ways to speed up the process! Whether you are using a machine or making it by hand here we break down seven simple ways to freeze your ice cream faster. So you can enjoy some fresh creamy ice cream in no time.
The best way to freeze ice cream faster is to pre-chill all your ingredients, turn your freezer down to it's lowest setting and put your ice cream right at the back of the freezer. For even faster freezing mix in some dry ice and also be sure to not add too much alcohol, sugar, nuts or dried fruit as this can extend the time it takes for your batch to freeze.
Want to know how long homemade ice cream takes to make? Hint: It's actually a fair bit longer than you think, but with the right preparation you can have ice cream ready to eat much faster than you otherwise would.
Want some more tips and tricks to get your ice cream frozen faster? We have quite a few hacks you can use to seriously reduce the time you spend waiting to eat your delicious homemade ice cream.
1. Ensure Your Base Mixture Is Cold
Ice cream machines work by cooling down and freezing your ice cream mixture. But if you add warm ice cream mixture to an ice cream machine, then it will take an eternity to freeze.
Sometimes it wont freeze at all and not pre-chilling the base mixture is one of the #1 reasons your ice cream might not be freezing properly.
Your mixture should be at fridge temperature (39°F/4°C) or ideally colder. The closer your mixture is to freezing temperature when you begin churning and freezing it the faster it will freeze.
Ensure that ALL the ingredients used are adequately chilled – this includes mix ins such as dried fruits and nuts (which you would usually keep in the cupboard), flavoring and of course…no lukewarm milk please!
2. Freeze The outer Bowl Adequately
If you use a freezer bowl ice cream machine, make sure to FULLY freeze the bowl. Put it in the freezer for at least 24 hrs (ideally 48 hours) to ensure it is cold enough.
This is one of the most common mistakes when making homemade ice cream and it seriously slows down the process.
See it might only take the outer bowl a few hours to freeze but it can take the full 24-48 hours to get down to the 0ºF/-18ºC temperature of your freezer.
This extra cold temperature is what you need to make ice cream effectively and the colder it is the less time you need to churn your ice cream for.
Give your bowl a shake. If you hear liquid sloshing inside the walls of the bowl, it has not been in the freezer for long enough.
This rule also applies to those making ice cream by hand. Avoid using warm bowls and mixing materials… the colder the better.
3. Mix In Some Dry Ice
While you might think of dry ice as what you use to make smoke for halloween it is also commonly used in the process of making ice cream.
Mixing in a bit of dry ice into your ice cream can really speed up the freezing process quite significantly. Usually ice cream can take 2+ hours to make, when using dry ice you can have ice cream ready to eat in 30-60 seconds!
This is because dry ice is a chilly -109.2ºF (-78.5ºC) and this extreme temperature can really bring the ice cream to a solid frozen state much quicker than a freezer.
You do need to be extremely careful when mixing dry ice into ice cream though as you absolutely should NOT eat dry ice under any circumstances.
To mix dry ice into ice cream you first want to place the dry ice in a bag and smash it into a powdered form. You do NOT want big chunks in your ice cream as this is dangerous.
Then pour in the dry ice into your ice cream mixture as you quickly mix it and voila! You've got (almost) instant ice cream.
Check out the video below for more instructions on how to create and freeze ice cream quickly with dry ice.
If you've already made your ice cream in the traditional way then you can also use dry ice to quickly freeze your ice cream.
But here the biggest issue is that dry ice can make the ice cream TOO COLD and too hard to eat. It can also freeze the ice cream unevenly, making the outside super cold and hard while the inside can still be a warmer temperature.
So only use it for a small period of time or separate your dry ice from your ice cream using towels. Also, using dry ice in your freezer can sometimes cause issues so be careful.
4. Turn Your Freezer Down To The Lowest Possible Temperature
Okay this seems like a no brainer… but seriously check the temperature of your freezer.
The colder your freezer is the faster your ice cream is going to freeze.
The freezer temperature should be at least 0°F (-18°C) which is the ideal storage temperature for most ice creams and it'll also make sure your homemade ice cream lasts longer before going bad.
Appliance thermometers are the best way of double checking and these are generally pretty cheap to buy.
5. Place Your Ice Cream At The Back Of The Freezer
The front of the freezer near the door is the warmest spot in the freezer as every time you open the door warm air comes in and touch as these items, warming them up.
The very back of the freezer is the coldest part of the freezer both because it's away from the door but also because this is where the cooling fans are.
Cold air is blown into the freezer often through vents and to freeze your ice cream as quickly as possible you should place it as close to one of these vents as possible.
The bottom shelf is also going to be colder than the top shelf and if you have a top loader deep freezer then placing ice cream at the bottom of your deep freezer can be another option to help your ice cream freeze faster.
6. Put MORE Salt In The Outer Bowl
When making homemade ice cream using a hand churner you need to add salt to an outer bowl of ice water that freezes your ice cream as you churn it.
Adding salt to ice when making ice cream quickly lowers the temperature of the ice in the outer bowl.
This makes the ice cream in the inner bowl turn to a solid. If you didn't churn it the ice cream would freeze solid but because of the constant churning this makes delicious fluffy ice cream.
Without salt, the outer ice will not get cold enough to freeze the ice cream and you will not get the fast result you want.
Also, the more salt you add the colder the temperature of this outer ice will get leading to your ice cream freezing faster.
If you're having trouble getting your ice cream to freeze in a hand churning machine then make sure you've adequately salted your outer bowl for speedy results!
7. Avoid Too Much Alcohol or Sugar
Different ingredients can dramatically alter the time it takes to freeze your ice cream.
Salt melts ice because it lowers the freezing temperature of that ice down from 32ºF (0ºC) to as low as 15ºF (-9ºC). Alcohol and sugar have a similar effect and when added to your ice cream you need colder temperatures for it to freeze, and thus it takes longer to freeze than it otherwise would.
The more sugar dissolved into the ice cream base, the longer it takes to freeze. This is because sugar alters the freezing point of food, just like salt does. So adding sugar might be good to make your ice cream taste better, but it may result in longer freezing times.
Alcohol also has a similar effect. Sure that brandy liqueur takes yummy but it's going to result in a much slower process. The stronger the alcohol and the more you use the bigger the effect. Use to much and your ice cream might not freeze at all.
So please be mindful of sugar and alcohol content when making your ice cream batch.
8. Avoid Using Too Much Water
If you use too much water, you will end up with a runny consistency that will take forever to freeze.
It is worth noting that you may not have intentionally added too much water to your batch, I always recommend avoiding substitutions!
Full fat cream is about 59% water whereas skimmed milk can be up to 90%. If you are changing one dairy for another please consider how that extra water will affect the freeze time of your batch and ideally get a recipe specifically designed for the ingredients you are using.
If you're like me and enjoy plant based milks this will change the freezing process a lot and thus the recipes will likely need to be changed a lot too.
Another factor to consider is how much water you have added to the mixture. Adding water gradually instead of doing it all at once will help you control the consistency and save you from having to wait an age for the ice cream to freeze.
9. Use a Simple Recipe
Another way you can freeze ice cream faster is by omitting all the added extras such as dried fruit or nuts.
Adding room temperature ingredients to an ice cream machine will cool down its core temperature. This could mean the freezing process will take much longer.
A basic recipe is going to freeze a lot faster, consider sprinkling any extras on top once your ice cream is already frozen!
So, if you want to make your ice cream freeze faster you need to be mindful of what ingredients you are adding to the mix.
Some ingredients, like alcohol and sugar, can dramatically impact the freezing point of your batch.
It is also worth sticking to a simple recipe that doesn't include any nuts or dried fruit, unless you plan to pre-freeze these ingredients or add them at the end. They will just increase freeze time.
Be mindful of the temperature of your ice cream base and your ice cream bowl.
I recommend chilling the bowl for at least 24 hours before starting to make your ice cream. The mixture also needs to be adequately chilled before being added to your ice cream machine.
Adding too much water can really slow down the process so avoid substitutions and be sure to add water gradually to control the consistency.
Make sure to use adequate salt in the outer bowl as this will lower the freezing point of your ice cream mixture and speed the process up considerably.