How To Make Ice Cream Using Only A Stand Mixer

Making your own ice cream at home is a tasty and longstanding practice that goes all the way back to the 19th century — when people would hand crank ice-cream-making devices over long periods of time until they had sore arms and a sweet treat. Nowadays, electric machines are far more popular, and you may even have been given a small ice cream machine as a novelty gift at some point in time.

But if you don't want another single-use kitchen appliance in your house, you can make ice cream at home with something you might already have in your pantry: a stand mixer. One of the secrets about your KitchenAid mixer you'll wish you knew sooner is that if you happen to live somewhere where temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, you can pop some heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer, set it outside, and let it run for about half an hour until the mixture has become thick and luscious. Put it in the freezer overnight, and you've got yourself some ice cream!

Ice cream maker vs. stand mixer

Traditional ice cream makers work by churning cream and sugar for between 20 minutes and an hour in a machine that is designed to be kept cold for the duration of the process. This can involve filling it with ice and rock salt or using a more advanced cooling system. The churning produces a smooth texture and breaks up ice crystals that may form as the liquid chills.

But if you're making a simple vanilla ice cream (or even a fancy one, like sour cream with blueberry swirl) at home, you can achieve the same effect through the churning that a stand mixer offers with a common beater attachment. The colder the temperatures outside, the faster this will work. (And a bonus is that the cold will keep your stand mixer from overheating while it's doing its thing since you'll need to keep it on for a while). Any ice cream recipe will work for this — whether you're doing a classic recipe with cream, milk, sugar, and eggs, or you want to do an egg-less version (aka American style or Philly style ice cream). You could even make a sorbet with blended fresh or frozen fruit, or a dairy-free ice cream with coconut milk.

The KitchenAid ice cream attachment

You don't necessarily need cold temperatures to make ice cream with a stand mixer, however. KitchenAid actually sells a specific ice cream maker attachment, which comes with a freeze bowl and a dasher (the part of the device that churns and scrapes the ice cream). Before starting, you just freeze the bowl part of the attachment, then fix it to your stand mixer and begin churning the pre-chilled ice cream solution. It should take 20 or 30 minutes, and then you need to freeze the ice cream for a few hours, so it solidifies.

You can use any variety of flavors or ingredients you like; just make sure to steer clear of adding things like alcohol, which may prevent the ice cream solution from freezing. But small amounts of vanilla, rose water, orange blossom water, or lavender solutions for cooking can add a punch of flavor without disrupting the process. Once your ice cream is nearly done, add in whatever toppings you like, and enjoy!