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How To Make Your Own Ice Cream, Sorbet, and Sherbet

Updated on March 14, 2011

When it comes to choosing a dessert, there is nothing that beats ice cream. The creamy texture, the variety of flavors, the ability to cool one down on a hot, humid day - all of these make ice cream great. The only way to be more satisfied is to make ice cream yourself. When you make it yourself, you have so much freedom. With me, I never run out of ideas. I especially love getting to use what is fresh and in season, to churn out some great treats. I am going to offer you a guide through how I accomplish this. 

Choosing an Ice Cream Maker

Why Do You Even Need One?

Before you can start churning out your own treats, you will need to invest in an ice cream maker. You might be thinking, why can't I just mix my ingredients together and throw them in the freezer until they are frozen. If you did that you would be missing a key ingredient to ice cream - air. All ice cream you buy in the store contains a certain percentage of air, also called overrun. The air gives body to the ice cream.

What One Should I Buy?

There are a ton of options on the market today for the home ice cream maker. You can turn to traditional machines that involve you cranking a handle of a bucket surrounded by ice and salt. That kind of manual labor doesn't sound fun to me. What I use is a ice cream maker that comes with a bowl that you put in the freezer. This bowl has a liquid inside that will freeze within 6-24 hours. The bowl is then placed in the machine, which turns the bowl with your ingredients inside. This process freezes your ice cream in the simplest way. Most machines take about 20-25 minutes to complete the job.

What Can I Make?

Ice cream is just one option you can use a ice cream maker for. Sorbet and sherbet are two other great choices. Here are some recipes I have for each one of them.

What is Your Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream?

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Ice Cream

There are two different schools of ice cream making. There is "New York" style ice cream. This ice cream includes eggs, which are cooked with the dairy and completely cooled before freezing. You are basicially making a custard, some people just refer to this type of ice cream as frozen custard. Then there is "Philadelphia" style ice cream. No eggs in this one. Just mix your ingredients, chill, and churn. I enjoy the texture that New York style ice cream. Below you will find my basic vanilla ice cream recipe. I use a vanilla bean paste, which is an option that is cheaper than vanilla beans and better tasting than vanilla extract. This ice cream is great for adding fresh fruit to, maybe even some pie pieces!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon bean paste

Start by bringing the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream in a large saucepan just to a bare simmer over medium heat. While that is going on, combine the sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine. Once your dairy has reaches a bare simmer, kill the heat, and using a ladle, slowly mix the dairy into the mixing bowl with the eggs & sugar. Do this one ladle full at a time, so you don't scramble the eggs. Do this until you have only about 1/3 of the mixture left in the pan, then you can go ahead and dump the rest in the mixing bowl. Stir and add back into the saucepan.

Now clip on on candy/deep fry thermometer. Cook the mixture over low heat until it reaches 170-180 degrees. If you dip a spoon into it, and it coats the back of the spoon, then you know your mixture is done. Pour 1 cup of heavy cream into a bowl, and place a sieve over top. Then pour the contents of the saucepan into the bowl. Stir with a clean whisk. Then add your vanilla bean paste. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight. You want to make sure the mixture is as cold as possible before churning it in your ice cream machine. When the mixture is fully chilled, churn it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Want to safe a few calories? Then try making your very own sorbet. Not only are homemade sorbet using fresh fruits delicious, but I think the bring contain even more flavor of the fruit then in ice cream. Sorbet is simple to make. You just need water, fresh fruit, and sugar. I try to use the best fruit I can get my hands on. I love going to U-pick farms and picking strawberries, blueberries, and peaches to turn into sorbet. You can't beat that fresh flavor! It's also fun to play around with combinations of fruit. I will throw whatever berries I have on it hand: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries. 

One of my favorite sorbets is a Concord Grape Sorbet. It is a Martha Stewart recipe. You can find the link to the recipe on the right.


If you have to have milk with your frozen dessert, than sherbet may be another option. Milk, juice, and sugar are the main ingredients to sherbet. Some of the best sherbet flavor are citrus. Orange sherbet is probably the most popular sherbet flavor and good reason for it, it's delicious. The ultimate orange sherbet recipe is one by Alton Brown. You will find the link on the right to the full recipe. I have made my own lemon sherbet before. It came out super tart. So much so that I had to add a sweet strawberry syrup, to even be able to stomach it. The next time I used Meyer Lemons, which are sweeter than your everyday lemon. This made the sherbet easier to stomach.

Serving Your Ice Cream

Once you have made your ice cream, you need the tools to serve it up. That starts with an ice cream scoop. There are so many on the market, and so many of them are terrible. I would stay away dishers, that are often labeled as ice cream scoop. A disher is a scoop that has you squeeze and a little piece of metal sweeps that inside of the scoop. This is supposed to help easily release the ice cream. The problem is it's hard to get the ice cream in there to begin with. Dishers are much better used to scoop potatoes or cookie dough. 

My all-time favorite ice cream scoop is one made by Zyliss. It has a nice wide scoop, which makes digging into the ice cream easy. It has an nice handle that fills good in your hand. 

Once you got your scoop, you have to find something to put the ice cream into. Any bowl will work. They have some bowls that contain a liquid much like that of the ice cream machine bowl that you place in the freezer. This helps keep the ice cream hard while you eat it. But I kind of like my ice cream to melt just a little. Cold numbs the tongue, so if the ice cream is a little warmer, you can taste it better. 

Why Make It Yourself?

The best reason to make it yourself, is that it's just plain fun. I won't guarantee it will save you money, but the satisfaction on digging into a carton of your own homemade creation is worth the extra money. Plus I like to know what is going into what I am eating. When you make it yourself, you know every ingredient that you are placing in it. This also gives you the ability to create flavors you would never find in the store. 

Forget the store bought stuff. What fun is that? Invest some money. Your family, friends, and your own taste buds will say thank you!


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    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 

      7 years ago

      i love ice cream and sorbet! I've had home made ice cream and it is much better than store bought any day!

    • Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image


      7 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

      This is a great and "delicious"-looking hub. Thanks!


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