Homemade Ice Cream & Soft Serve Without a Machine

Publish Date May 19, 2023 5 Minute Read

Whether it’s a hot summer day or a frigid wintery night, ice cream has a way of satisfying cravings like no other dessert can. But what do you do if you open your freezer and find you’ve already ate the last of your favorite frozen fare? You make more, of course! Making your own ice cream and sorbet at home is fun, easy, and best of all, you don’t need to invest in an expensive ice cream maker to do it! Let’s talk a little bit about what makes these frozen treats so delicious, plus how to make soft serve ice cream and sorbet at home – no special equipment required!

What Makes Ice Cream and Soft Serve So Creamy?

Whether we’re talking from a tub, a cone or even rolled ice cream, there’s one question that everyone is wondering: how does it get that iconic, creamy texture? Surprisingly, it has less to do with the cream and more to do with an ingredient you don’t even see: air! Classic ice cream and soft serve machines slowly and consistently spin the ingredients, churning air into the mix as it freezes, resulting in the classic creamy texture we’ve all come to know and love. Luckily, you can get that same consistency by using appliances you might already have in your kitchen.

How to Make Ice Cream and Soft Serve at Home

Trendy ice cream makers might seem simple to use, but you can also easily make homemade frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet and soft serve with appliances you probably already have on hand. If you own a blender, food processor or immersion blender, you’re already well on your way to making homemade soft serve in your own kitchen, and we’ll teach you how!

When you make ice cream yourself, you’re in control of the ingredients that go into it. That means you can create flavors that are fruit-based, cream-based, vegan-friendly, packed with protein or anything else you desire! If you’re not sure where to begin, we recommend getting started with one of these delicious homemade sorbet or soft serve ideas.

Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet

How do you make a classic summertime drink even more refreshing? Turn it into a sorbet! Using an immersion blender, blend together frozen strawberries and frozen lemonade concentrate to create a fresh, fruity and dairy-free treat that’s guaranteed to cool you off on even the hottest days.

Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 0 min.
Total Time: 5 min.
Serves: 2
Difficulty: Easy


2 cups frozen strawberries
¼ cup frozen lemonade concentrate


  1. Place all ingredients in a container. Using an immersion blender, blend mixture until smooth scraping down sides of the container and blender blade as needed.
  2. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Pineapple Coconut Soft Serve

When pineapple’s involved, you know it’s going to be good. In a regular blender, blend frozen pineapple and coconut cream until smooth and creamy, then top with toasted coconut chips to create a homemade soft serve ice cream that’ll remind you of your last tropical vacation.

Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 0 min.
Total Time: 5 min.
Serves: 2
Difficulty: Easy


1½ cups frozen pineapple pieces
¾ cup coconut cream
Toasted coconut chips, if desired


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender pitcher. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping or tamping down ingredients as needed.
  2. Serve immediately sprinkled with coconut chips, if desired. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Tip: If your pineapple isn’t as sweet as desired, add a drizzle of honey, maple syrup or agave syrup to taste.

Birthday Cake Protein Ice Cream

Every day can feel like your birthday with this homemade protein ice cream! Mix together heavy cream, vanilla whey protein powder, powdered sugar and almond extract, then transfer the mixture to the freezer. Once frozen, use a food processor to blend the ice cubes until smooth and creamy for a fun and tasty way to add some extra protein to your diet.

Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 0 min.
Total Time: 4 hr. 10 min.
Serves: 2
Difficulty: Easy


1½ cups heavy cream, plus more for blending
⅓ cup vanilla protein powder
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 Tbsp. rainbow sprinkles


  1. In a large liquid measuring cup or spouted bowl whisk together cream, protein powder, sugar and almond extract. Pour mixture into ice cube trays. Freeze for 3-4 hours or until frozen.
  2. Place frozen cubes in a food processor with a splash of liquid cream. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down bowl as needed. Stir in sprinkles. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Tip: The sweetness of protein powders can vary by brand; taste your mixture before freezing to make sure it is to your liking. Powdered sugar can be swapped with powdered monk fruit or erythritol sweeteners for a lower carb option.

More Homemade Ice Cream Flavors

Still not sure what you’re in the mood for? Grab your preferred appliance and use these clever flavor combinations as a starting point, then try swapping in some of your favorite fruits and add-ins.

Homemade Ice Cream Ideas Using a Blender

Using your trusty blender, try mixing together one of these delicious dessert ideas:

  • Peachy Protein Cream: Blend cottage cheese, a splash of cream, vanilla and a pinch of salt until smooth and creamy. Add frozen peaches and blend until desired thickness.
  • Cherry Chip FroYo: Blend frozen sweet cherries and vanilla Greek yogurt until smooth. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
  • Vanilla Cold Brew Soft Serve: Freeze cold brew and vanilla coffee creamer in an ice cube tray. When frozen, blend until creamy.

Homemade Ice Cream Ideas Using a Food Processor

Your food processor is nothing if not versatile, and that includes being a great tool for making ice cream. Get more out of this appliance by trying one of these irresistible flavor combinations:

  • Salted Tahini Date Nice Cream: Blend frozen banana, tahini, date syrup and a splash of vanilla until smooth and creamy. Serve topped with a sprinkle of flaky salt.
  • Honeydew Sorbet: Blend cubed and frozen honeydew, honey and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream: Blend frozen avocado pieces, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and a splash of milk until creamy.

Homemade Ice Cream Ideas Using an Immersion Blender

Immerse your immersion blender in a world of flavor with one of these tasty pairings:

  • Orange Cream Soft Serve: Blend orange juice concentrate, heavy cream, ice and vanilla until smooth.
  • Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip: Blend silken tofu, peanut butter and maple syrup, then transfer mix to an ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen, blend ice cubes with a splash of vanilla almond milk until creamy. Stir in vegan chocolate chips.
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Soft Serve: Blend frozen strawberries, milk and sugar-free cheesecake flavored pudding mix until smooth.

Homemade Ice Cream Toppings

For a picture-perfect finish, garnish your DIY ice cream with any toppings you like! Stick to the classics and add a dollop of whipped cream, sprinkles or chocolate sauce, or get creative and scatter in some crushed cookies, extra fruit or candy toppings. There’s no wrong way to dress your dessert.

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