Appalachian Snow Cream Is The Epitome Of Winter

The minute snow starts falling outside, a few things may come to mind: shoveling, frozen toes, and hazardous driving on the downside; skiing, snowmen, and snow days on the bright side. And for a small percentage of people in the United States, snow means snow cream, a treat that can only be made when Old Man Winter is in charge of the weather. This unconventional dessert is particularly popular in the Southern U.S., which is interesting, as snow can be a rare occurrence there. But this is precisely what makes the treat so special. It's also readily enjoyed in the Appalachian region of the country, as evidenced by a TikTok video posted by @lakynsappalachianlife.


Snow cream is a core memory growing up in Appalachia. Just make sure your snow isnt yellow! 🤣 #snowcream #snow #appalachia #appalachianlife #kentucky #eky #winter #snowday

♬ Little Maggie – Ralph Stanley

Appalachian snow cream is made with milk, sugar, vanilla, and fresh snow, and when the ingredients are combined, you get a confection that tastes similar to vanilla ice cream. To people who grew up making it, snow cream is an endearing reminder of childhood, a treat they could only enjoy when snow fell. With just a few ingredients, a bowl, and a spoon, anyone who lives in an area with snowfall can create this homespun delight.

How to make snow cream

Snow cream uses kitchen staples you likely already have, so when snow is in the forecast, you can make it without rushing to the store before the roads freeze over. You need to use some kind of milk, which can be plain, flavored, evaporated, or even in the form of sweetened condensed milk, which is rich, creamy, and already sweetened, making it a popular choice. Vanilla gives classic snow cream its flavor, and some sugar sweetens everything up.

As far as the snow goes, the fluffier the snow is, the better. As anyone could tell you, stay away from yellow or dirty snow. Take caution not to scoop up any snow too close to the ground, or snow imprinted with animal tracks. In addition, experts will tell you that it's best to wait a few hours after the first flakes fall, so you get the most suitable snow for eating. The first round of snow catches most of the pollutants in the air, so for cleaner snow, wait a bit before you go out to scoop it up. Once everything is mixed together in a bowl, your snow cream should have a similar consistency to a thick milkshake.

Dressing up your snow cream

Snow cream may sound odd to those who didn't grow up with it, but it's much like an ode to the original ice creams of the old world. Ancient Romans and Chinese civilizations enjoyed similar frozen desserts flavored with things like camphor and honey. Today, you can flavor your snow cream with anything you'd use on modern ice cream (please stay away from camphor). Honey and maple syrup make great sweeteners; you can switch out the vanilla extract for ones like lemon or coconut; and for chocolate snow cream, add a generous amount of chocolate syrup or stir in some cocoa powder.

You can also mix in spices like cinnamon; color the snow cream with food coloring for a whimsical winter treat; add brewed, iced coffee or espresso; and for a grown-up treat, stir in some rum or bourbon. As for toppings, you can try fresh or freeze-dried fruit, citrus zest, crushed cookies, sprinkles, chunks of cake, marshmallows, nuts, and so much more. While it may not be as convenient as opening up a pint of ice cream from the store, snow cream is way faster than making homemade ice cream in an ice cream machine. But more than that, making snow cream is a fun and inventive way to create a winter memory.