So I will admit I was a super skeptic about no churn ice cream at first. It sounded odd to me (I mean, using sweetened condensed milk?) and like something that just texturally would be good. But then I made this quick and easy version and my kids LOVED it. My skepticism evaporated and here I am sharing a no churn ice cream recipe that is just so damn awesome - no ice cream maker needed. Easy no churn blueberry ice cream that is eggless, gluten free, and homemade.
How does no churn ice cream work?
I had to do some research on this one, because, honestly I didn't understand how it worked. Homemade ice cream recipes that are churned in an ice cream maker freeze while they are being churned at the same time. The churning incorporates air into the ice cream base giving it volume and the creamy texture we love. Churned ice cream bases can either be traditional, egg yolk custard bases like this salted chocolate ice cream recipe, or they can be Philadelphia-style like this speculoos cookie butter ice cream.
A no churn ice cream recipe gets it volume and airiness from whipping heavy cream and folding it into sweetened condensed milk. I know what you're probably thinking, sweetened condensed milk?? But trust me, it works. Sweetened condensed milk has a high sugar content and a low water content. The high sugar gives you the right freezing point and a consistency that isn't rock hard, and the low water content ensures that you don't get an ice cream full of ice crystals. No ice cream maker necessary and you still get great results.
Does no churn ice cream taste good?
It does, it truly tastes like it's churned counterpart. It is creamy and lighter than you would think, and what I really love about it is how easy it comes together, and how versatile it is. The general base for it is always the same, and what you can add to it to make unique and interesting flavors is pretty much endless. Some of my favorites include s'mores no churn ice cream, no churn peach ice cream, and no churn peanut butter and jelly ice cream.
The base of no churn ice cream is three simple things that keep this eggless and gluten free (in case that is a bonus for you):
- Heavy cream
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Vanilla extract
For this no churn blueberry ice cream we are going to swirl in a blueberry compote made with a secret ingredient:
- Lemon zest
- A touch of sugar
- Lavender. This is the secret ingredient that really makes this special. It is not overpowering and adds a lovely slight floral element which, I think, is the ultimate compliment to blueberries. You can leave it out of course, but I highly recommend giving it a try, you will be glad you did.
How long does homemade ice cream last?
Homemade ice cream lasts as long as store bought in the freezer so long as you store it properly. And that means covering it nicely with plastic wrap and a lid to prevent freezer burn and ice crystals.
Tips for success
- Try not to substitute the ingredients. Meaning, do not try to use half and half or low fat anything, this will add more water content to the mixture resulting in a harder ice cream that isn't very scoopable.
- Store no churn ice cream in a shallow container, like a loaf pan or a 8x8 baking pan. This will make it easier to soften and scoop when serving.
- Leave on counter for about 10-15 minutes before serving to soften a bit, this is a tip for all ice creams, not just no churn.
- stand mixer or hand mixer
For the blueberry lavender compote
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups blueberries I use fresh but you can use frozen too
- 1 tablespoon lavender chopped
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon lemon you can leave this out if you don't have a lemon
For the no churn ice cream base
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
To make the compote
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer over medium high heat for about 10-15 minutes until the blueberries have all burst and the mixture is thick and jammy - almost like preserves. Cool this completely in the fridge before swirling into the ice cream base.
To make the no churn ice cream base
- Beat together the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla bean paste or extract. In a separate bowl beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the whipped sweetened condensed milk.
- Swirl the chilled compote into the ice cream base. Spoon into your container of choice and freeze!