Filed under: Egg-free / Frozen / Gluten-free / Summer
July 8, 2020

Mason Jar Ice Cream

An infinitely adaptable recipe to make ice cream for one (or two if you are feeling generous) in a 1 pint jar. This mason jar ice cream base is simple and easy and the flavor options are limitless.

4.94 from 33 votes
Yield: 1
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three jars of homemade easy ice cream made in a 1 pint jar


three jars of homemade easy 1 pint ice cream strawberry peanut butter and sprinkles flavored

The idea behind homemade 1 pint ice cream

Like many of you, my daughter had been attending school via Zoom for the past couple of months. It was nice to be involved in this part of her life; to see her teachers interact with her and her interact with them. I got to do some fun projects and experiments with her and see how she applies what she has learned to our daily life. One of the things she did was make butter. Butter! Yes my 3yo made butter.

Before class her teacher had us prep some heavy cream and a small tight-lidded jar. The kids then spent 10 minutes singing and shaking the jar over and over, until they had butter. The way I understood this was in baker’s terms: the cream was whipped past the stiff peaks point until the fat separated from the liquid (butter, and buttermilk according to her teacher although idk about the latter because it was not like the buttermilk I buy and use). My thoughts immediately turned to desserts we could make with this method. 

The Wonder of a No Churn Ice Cream

I made a brown butter pb no churn not long before her lesson and had been brainstorming other flavors since. Then I saw this and knew exactly why it worked and that I had to try it. Ten minutes after seeing the Delish recipe, I was shaking up some hc in a mason jar (careful not to make butter, lol). The next day I found that it wasn’t very creamy and when I began adding flavorings to other trial batches, it was harder to get them well-distributed by simply shaking.

The texture issue shouldn’t have been a surprise; essentially that recipe is ‘frozen whipped cream’ which isn’t really the same as ‘ice cream’ which is normally churned. It’s hard to replicate the churning at home without a machine, but whipping the cream helps. And, in my Brown Butter PB Ice Cream post I talked more about what makes the ice cream soft besides the churning; the fat. This post by David Lebovitz talks more about what makes ice cream soft (fats, sugar, alcohol, etc.).

Note: the Delish recipe is from June 2017 and theirs is the earliest I’ve found, although many other sites have published similar recipes since. Most recently, (shortly after I started writing this actually), the NYT published a recipe identical to Delish’s. So this mason jar ice cream idea isn’t novel, but my recipe lends you a creamier, custard-like result that is closer to real ice cream. Instead of shaking it in a jar, I opted for a bowl, a hand mixer and, get creative with the fats and sugars. 

Essentially, I aimed for us to scoop out a spoonful and come up with the creamiest stuff ever; so I developed a specific formula to follow. My hope is that you will say, well I won’t be buying a tub of ice cream or going out to the local parlor now, I can make it myself. Whoop!


1 pint jar of peanut butter ice cream made in a 1 pint jar

A basic recipe for 1 pint mason jar ice cream

At the bottom of this page you’ll find a recipe for plain ol’ reliable vanilla ice cream. This is the base recipe for what you’ll work with when you choose your flavor journey. But before you get creative in your own kitchen, read through the ingredients/substitutions and steps so you are armed with the right knowledge to make your own, tailored to you, 1 pint dreams come true.

How to get soft, creamy ice cream:

  • Whipped Heavy Cream: heavy cream/heavy whipping cream are the same thing. Once beat to medium peaks, this is the basis of a no churn.
  • A combination of ‘fat’ contributing ingredients:
    • Sweetened Condensed Milk: this comes in a small can and is made by cooking together milk and sugar to remove the water. It stands in for the ‘custard’ part of our ice cream which is usually milk and egg yolks and does a surprisingly good job.
    • Whipped Cream Cheese: This is cream cheese that has been beaten to make it airy and fluffy. It’s creamy and tangy and helps balance the sweetness.
    • If you decide to add a nut butter and you don’t have cream cheese, you may skip it.


mason jar ice cream sam

Ingredients for mason jar ice cream

Sugar: I use light brown but dark would be a fine substitute. I’m sure you could use granulated but it lacks the added moisture and the lovely caramel taste. Honey or maple syrup could work too but remember both are sweeter than sugar so use less.


Heavy Cream: or heavy whipping cream, either will do.


Sweetened condensed milk: Just like you’d use it in a no churn ice cream, this gives flavor and keeps the ice cream creamy.


Cream cheese: Makes our ice cream smooth and ‘scoopable’ and provides a nice tang to the sweetness. You can skip this, the ice cream will be slightly less tangy and less creamy.


Flavorings: The sky is the limit! The beauty of this is that you can taste as you go along. Like lemon zest or juice? Add it. Or orange. Add cinnamon if you like it. You could add any nut butter you like (cashew, peanut, almond, cookie butter!). One thing to keep in mind is that once frozen the flavors are a little muted so go a bit strong here. 


Mix-ins: Again, sky is the limit. Think of things that when frozen, will still be pleasurable to eat. If you want to add chocolate, instead of throwing in a handful that will be too hard when frozen, I suggest melting ⅓ cup chopped chocolate with a ½ teaspoon coconut oil, and drizzling it in to the cream once whipped. You can add baked goods too like bits of cookie dough, chopped up cake or brownies or even crushed cookies! 


close up of ice cream scoop

How to make mason jar ice cream

  • Use a hand-mixer: technically you could do this with a whisk but it’s faster and easier with a machine. If you don’t have one and need to use the whisk, make sure to whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks – it might take awhile.


  • Use a good ratio of fat: Without the fat the creaminess will be lost and you’ll just have hardened heavy cream.


  • I know someone is going to ask this so, what do you do if you want MORE? You could, of course, double or triple this and freeze it in a loaf pan. The point of this recipe making just 1 pint is that you can get creative, make something that is truly YOU and make as many or as little as you like!


  • The pint jars I use: a set of four and a larger set of 12. I use them for storing, well everything. They carry 16 oz each. And nope, they don’t break in the freezer.



overhead of three 1 pint jars of ice cream

1,2,3 —> Small batch Ice Cream in a Jar! 

  1. Beat together flavorings to make a base. 
  2. Add the heavy cream into the base and beat to to medium peaks ie. until the mix holds shape. 
  3. Add in mix-ins and gently stir with a spatula. 
  4. Transfer to jar and freeze! 

Equipment needed to make mason jar ice cream

  • A hand mixer to beat the ingredients and whip the cream. You can do this by hand with a whisk, and a bit more time/muscle.
  • A tightly sealable 16oz jar, this set of 4 jars or this set of 12 are exactly the size you need. 

Variations we loved for 1 pint ice cream (pictured)

Cashew butter: add 1/4 cup to the base. If you are using a nut butter, omitting the sweetened condensed milk or the cream cheese is an option (nuts have lots of good fats!)

Birthday Oreo: add 1 tsp imitation vanilla to the base and then add 3 TB sprinkles and crushed oreos once heavy cream is whipped. 

Strawberry cheesecake: add ¼ cup roasted strawberries and juice of ½ lemon to cream cheese mixture. I had bits of lemon cake leftover which I chopped up and added as well. 

Chocolate Hazelnut: If you like it, use nutella. I either make my own or I buy this brand in bulk.



mason jar ice cream sam


Mason Jar Ice Cream Recipe

Chocolate Mason Jar Ice Cream Variation

To make the base chocolate rather than vanilla, make a chocolate paste:

  1. To a small heatproof bowl, add 2 tablespoons cocoa and 2 tablespoons hot, boiling water. Stir together and you’ll have a thick paste.
  2. Add this to the base, along with another tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (for a total of 3 TB). Omit the brown sugar if you don’t want it overly sweet.


1 Pint Mason Jar Ice Cream

An infinitely adaptable recipe to make ice cream for one (or two if you are feeling generous) in a 1 pint jar. The base is simple and easy and the flavor options are limitless.
three jars of homemade easy 1 pint ice cream strawberry peanut butter and sprinkles flavored
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Yields: 1
4.94 from 33 votes


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar can sub with granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese or mascarpone you can skip this, the ice cream will be slightly less creamy
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons other flavoring fruit puree, nut butter, etc. If using a nut butter, can omit cream cheese or sweetened condensed milk but not both. If using nutella skip the sugar so it's not overly sweet.
  • 2 tablespoons mix-ins chocolate, cookies, cake, sprinkles, nuts, etc


  • Add all the ingredients to a mason jar, except any add-ins, and beat together with a hand mixer. Alternatively add them all to a bowl and beat. It's easier if you mix the base first (without the heavy cream) so that the cream cheese fully dissolves, and then add the heavy cream and mix until thick.
  • Stop whipping when there are no more lumps and the mixture is smooth, thick and creamy. It'll take about 5 minutes or so.
  • Stir in mix-ins, if using.
  • Transfer to jar, seal and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.


  1. For a dairy free version, omit the cream cheese and use coconut cream in place of the heavy whipping cream and coconut condensed milk in place of the condensed milk.
  2. Use freezer-safe jars and leave 1" room from the top of the ice cream for it to expand. 

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Recipe Reviews

  1. I don’t understand how you can use a hand-held mixer in a mason jar: all mixers I’ve seen have two beaters. Do you use just one beater or are you talking about an immersion blender? How do you keep the mixture from splashing out of the pint mason jar when mixing? Isn’t the jar full? I’ll try this recipe once I get some clarification.

    • Just one beater. If you keep the beater at the bottom of the jar it won’t splash. But, also if your’e more comfortable doing it in a bowl you can do that then transfer it to the freezer container.

  2. Hi Sam! This looks great. How would I go about using this ice cream in an ice cream cake where I’d freeze it layer by layer? Is there any way to make one large batch and then store the batter as a liquid while I freeze each layer of ice cream? Or would I have to whip up a new batch each time I want to add a layer? Thanks.

    • Hi Sameera! Hmm let’s see, It doesn’t make much so you’d want to double or triple it for each layer (depending on how big of a cake you’re molding it into). What you could do is make one big batch of the basic recipe (without flavorings) then divide it into three bowls and add the flavorings separately. Then you can put them in a 6 or 8″ cake pan (lined with plastic wrap so you can remove it) and freeze. Once frozen you can assemble the cake. I wouldn’t keep it as liquid because it can separate. Alternatively, you can make the layers one at a time, that way you’d only have to use one mold and can layer them in after the one under is frozen. Hope that helps!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this today! The base was DELICIOUS and I’m looking forward to the frozen outcome. A side note: remember to hold on to the jar while you’re using the hand mixer or… well, let’s just say mistakes were made ????????

  4. I’ve use this recipe a bunch of times and it’s always a huge hit! I haven’t had the best of luck with other ice cream recipes and this is the only one that had the texture and taste of icecream.
    Here’s some things I’ve noted:
    -if you do not have sweetened condensed milk you can use evaporated milk that has the equal amount of melted sugar in it. Tastes just the same!
    -I can never get the cream cheese chunks fully out. This isn’t much of a con or a pro. Kinda love having little cream cheese chunks ????
    -add ins such as chocolate chips will have to be added in when the batter has frozen some/is much thicker. Otherwise they sink to the bottom.
    -putting in 1/4 to 2/4 cup of Nutella in it is absolutely delicious. Not too sweet either!
    – if you have texture issues like me I wouldn’t suggest putting any add ins such as sprinkles, nuts, or chocolate chips.

  5. 5 stars
    Such a simple, quick recipe to follow, and yet such creamy, smooth texture. I’ve never had better luck with no-churn ice cream, but this was just as good texture wise as any churned ice cream.

  6. 5 stars
    Just perfect. I love ice cream and I love creating different flavors, but I absolutely loathe all of the effort of using an ice cream maker. This method is so user friendly and the base is delicious and incredibly adaptable. I’ve made a raspberry cheesecake inspired version, chocolate brownie swirl, peach mint—it came out great every time, so rich and creamy and delicious!

  7. Super stoked to make this right now! But I’m lacking a can of condensed milk. Must’ve forgotten it back in 1957! tehehehehe
    Wondering if I can substitute a can of coconut milk instead of the condensed milk?

    • I’d say the coconut milk is a better sub for the heavy cream. Sweetened condensed milk is a concentration of sugar and fat. If you want to skip it I’d use more cream cheese so the ice cream doesn’t get too icy. Hope that helps!

  8. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time the other day, as I had a few bits and pieces left over from Christmas baking. So, so easy and my husband (who is not usually a fan of many sweet things) said it was amazing. I have already sent it to my sister saying she must make it. Thanks for sharing such a yummy, simple recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this recipe because I needed a small amount of ice cream to jazz up a single-serving banana fritter dessert from Trader Joe’s. It was so quick and easy, I’m definitely going to make it again! I just made it plain because I wanted it for a topping, and it tastes great that way and is so wonderfully creamy.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this ice cream with my kids in mason jars and it was AMAZING! We will definitely be making it again with all kinds of variations. This time was crushed Oreos.

  11. 5 stars
    These were so fun!! I made up a little more than a double batch with my kids. We all picked out own toppings and could not wait to try. It wasn’t completely frozen and they were so good! We will be making again!

  12. How long does it take to whip? I feel like I was whipping forever!! 🙂 I was making 3 jars. One seemed like it finally thickened, but the other two never really did. Not sure what the difference was!

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe is seriously the best! I have an ice cream maker but this is so easy and it was really fun to try lots of different flavors (mostly in the form of mix ins) without as much commitment as making regular ice cream. Because you need such small amounts of cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk I just kept making pint after pint.

  14. 5 stars
    This is so good! I couldn’t believe it at first. I made it just like the recipe said and added Oreos for a cookies and cream flavor. I think I added a little too more cream cheese and probably didn’t whip it up enough but it was still very good. I don’t mind the taste of cream cheese. I will continue to make this. It isn’t exactly like ice cream that you will buy from the store but it’s the next best thing! It will just need to be a little more creamy and/or milky if that makes sense lol thanks for this

  15. I made this recipe, to give it a shot. It was OK. not very creamy, and a little bit icy. I left out the brown sugar (don’t like super sweet) and the”other flavoring”, but added GS ThinMints. Any recommendations for a creamier ice cream?.

    • The sugar is there to balance out the reduced amount of sweetened condensed milk you’d add in a regular no churn. If you leave it out you’ll want to increase the scm by 2 tablespoons. This will make it creamy – also make sure you’re whipping it long enough to thicken so that ice crystals won’t form.

  16. Just to make sure I understand the procedure for the base. The heavy whipping cream needs to be whipped before adding the other ingredients of the base.

    • it doesn’t, I sometimes whip the base first (the condensed milk, cream cheese and sugar) to break down the cream cheese and then add in the whipping cream to that base and whip until thick.

      • 5 stars
        I had given up on no churn ice cream since I always find it to be too sweet, but I was curious to try this recipe and am so glad I did! The ratio of cream to sweetened condensed milk keeps it from being to sweet, and the genius addition of cream cheese adds a hint of tang and makes this ice cream so perfectly creamy. We added oreos and sprinkles to our pint and I can’t wait to try more flavors!

  17. 5 stars
    I pureed some avocados and used them for this recipe, it turned out great! It might be an odd thing to add into ice cream for some but avocado in desserts are common in Southeast Asia (and other places too!) I might skip the brown sugar next time I make it though. Thanks for sharing! ?

  18. 5 stars
    Hi, I absolutely LOVE this recipe. I made my mum a rum and raisin one by soaking the raisins in rum in the fridge for a few hours and added a tiny drop of rum to the mixture, she said it was AMAZING!! I also made a peanut butter and M&M one for my dad which he loved. Lastly, I made a strawberry one by adding fresh chopped up strawberries and making a couli then stirring it through when cold. Please let me know if you’ve made any other flavor combinations that you love as I’d like to try more.

  19. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday after looking for an easy ‘no churn ice cream’ recipe for the past few days – I was too excited to wait and I had to have a spoonful after they’d been in the freezer for just under 4 hours, and it was amazing! It was the perfect texture and consistency, and not too sweet.
    I made one with chocolate chips and fudge pieces and another with blackcurrant jam and I can’t wait to use them in other desserts (brownie baked alaska) and just eat it straight out of the jar!

  20. 5 stars
    Based on the date of this comment you can see i am late coming to the PARTY. I have been having this itch for Homemade ice cream for some time. I am a gardener/canner person. As you are reading this comment know I am returning the 4th countertop ice cream maker – reasons to big for counter space, to expensive,to heavy to relocate everytime I want to use it plus a few other cons.I came across Small batch while still looking for another counter top machine.I read this and could not understand why i missed this.I have mason jars and a deep freezer for years and this same itch.Pros. I love fresh fruits and veggies, and the grand-children and great-grands love coming to my house so now here is another reason for them ot visit for the “Good ” stuff.
    Sorry to say I had to hand write all of your information as it would not print.

  21. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! So easy! So delicious. I personalized with a homemade edible cookie dough…yum! Next up I want to try making a smooth coffee? Any suggestions?

  22. 5 stars
    I can’t overstate what a great and easy base recipe this is! I made it in my stand up mixer and it couldn’t have been easier. I did one jar with about a tablespoon of peanut butter and crushed Reese’s cup, one with about a tablespoon and a half of strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries and one with ripe banana that I layered in the jar with graham cracker crumbs. Incredible! Can’t wait to experiment with other mix-ins.

  23. 5 stars
    I’ve dragged my feet on getting into the no-churn world of ice cream because for some reason opening a can of sweetened condensed milk is beyond decadent to me. Who can say no to a pint of your own flavor of ice cream? This was easy and the end results so satisfying. I tossed in a chopped up piece of chocolate chocolate chip scone and called it a day. Now the idea of making an ice cream cake for my birthday this weekend might become a reality. Delicious recipe!

  24. 5 stars
    Made this and just tasted it – very rich texture! This will be perfect for when I want to test out new combo ideas before going large scale. Quick to put together too – I used a stand mixer and it worked great. I swapped out 1 of the 2 tsps of vanilla extract for marshmallow flavor, which went well with the brown sugar. While I like tart flavors, the hubs isn’t a huge fan of tangy ice cream so I made two batches and put 2tb Dreamwhip powder in one of them in addition to everything else. It cut down on the cream cheese tang and added a bit extra dairy-ness, for those whose households have a similar flavor divide, lol.

  25. 5 stars
    Just made this! I read through the entire recipe and made sure I had the ingredients. This is a super easy recipe and I’m anxious to try the finished product . I did a salted caramel, dark chocolate blend. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Typo correction to previous question. Meant to say “does a stand mixer work or does it have to be a hand mixer?” Noticed i said “ stand both times!

  27. Does a stand mixer work or does it have to be a stand mixer? What’s the difference between using a stand mixer vs hand? Thanks.

  28. 5 stars
    So good and so easy!! Got tired of the store varieties so I figured I would try making my own, and now it’s my go-to.

  29. Could you do this with coconut cream? I might have to test it out with dairy free options for my girlfriend

    • Hi Alex! I think you can. I did a little reading and it seems that you’d need to set the can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before you are whipping so it’s very cold when you do. It should whip up like heavy cream. Let me know how it goes!

  30. 5 stars
    I am not a cook by any means, though I love reading baking blogs. I was so intrigued by this recipe I had to give it a try. Oh my goodness!! Such creamy texture! So easy to make! I see many more pints in my future. Thanks for making a novice cook look good!

  31. I want to make this this weekend with my daughter. How would you flavor the ice cream to be chocolate? Add melted chocolate? Cocoa powder? Also, if we made in the morning, would it be ready by evening? Thanks!!

    • Hi Shana! There’s a reason this chocolate lover didn’t give a chocolate variation lol. It’s a little more complicated because the cocoa thickens it and the melted chocolate doesn’t add as much chocolate flavor. What I’ve been doing in another recipe (coming soon!) is adding both (at least 2 TB cocoa and prob 1/4 cup chopped chocolate, melted), and then stirring in some more cream to smooth it out again as it thickens (do this by eye). You are likely to have more than a pint at this point so you’ll need a different container. Good luck!

      • 5 stars
        Hello! I am very late to the party as it is now June 2022 But my daughter just sent me This as a TikTok. I made chocolate ice cream by adding nesquick powder And slightly melted peanut butter in the microwave and added that as a swirl. Ice cream is my crack, I’m going to be in so much trouble! Can’t wait to experiment more Thank you so much!

  32. 5 stars
    Wow, this was such a simple and wonderful recipe to work with! I absolutely adore Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie, so I added 1 tsp peppermint extract and a 100g pack of crushed Oreos to the vanilla ice cream base and it is absolutely divine!

    I just keep thinking of variations to make now – planning on maybe orange or pistachio flavours next! Or maybe a simple chocolate chip cookie + fudge combo of some sort 🙂

    I just wanted to mention as well, the Directions to the recipe don’t specify when to add the condensed milk, but I assumed it was supposed to be whipped into the base before the cream was to be added in.

    • Ah, thank you Alma! I’ll fix that asap! So glad it worked out! I love mint chocolate but there’s never enough chocolate in store-bought tubs so I make it myself, lol.

  33. I’m SO excited to make this today with my niece and nephew (8 and 9 years old). We will divide each batch in half, so that we can all make two flavourings each 🙂 Thank you for this recipe!

  34. I LOVE this. I’ve been thinking of making ice cream for a while now but always felt no churn ice cream was never the right creaminess that I desired and I’m wayyy too cheap to buy an ice cream maker I’d only use once in a blue moon. QQ though- if we wanted to make fresh mint ice cream could you steep the heavy cream with mint leaves and then chill it for whipping?

  35. 5 stars
    How have I never made this before?!? It’s so delicious and so, so easy. I flavored mine with raspberry, peach chunks, and a caramel swirl. It hasn’t frozen yet but the leftover mousse in the bowl is to die for. Will definitely be a favorite!