Homemade ice cream sits in a pan on a wooden background.

Next Time You Go Camping, Try This Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe

Next Time You Go Camping, Try This Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe

Some people believe that ice cream represents the highest summit of civilization. Primitive cultures, who lacked ice, neat packages of rock salt, and the wacky idea of turning cream into a dessert were, apparently, out of luck. Only after industrialization did the miracle of ice cream become available, cheap, and sold on nearly every street corner (especially in summer).

Combined with the miracle of chocolate, then all of the other (arguably, second rate) flavors, the ice cream phenomenon has gained popularity worldwide.

A person mixed their homemade ice cream in a bowl with toppings nearby.

Even though ice cream may be associated with modern times, treats, and luxury, it has made a seamless transition from the old-fashioned shops to the DIY market. First, there were hand-crank ice cream makers, then the age of technology exploded in the 1990s and anyone could buy an electric ice-cream maker. Now, the evolution of ice cream is complete: the Ice Cream In a Bag Recipe is here. This means ice cream, homemade and delicious, can follow you on camping trips, road trips, hikes, and even the occasional picnic.

Scoops of ice cream sit in a bowl on a table near an ice cream scoop, a bowl of berries, and waffle cones.

What is this new phenomenon, and how do you make it? As our title, Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe, suggests: you will need bags to start, in this case one large and two small.

Ingredients include: cream (or half-n-half, or milk), sugar, flavoring (fruit, chocolate, spice—choose wisely!), ice, and rock salt. (Table salt can be a substitute for rock salt).

What to Buy: If you don’t already have them, you’ll need one large, sealable Ziplock bag and one that is smaller. Both bags need to seal tight for this ice cream in a bag recipe to work, so don’t skimp on your brand selection. You can waffle with the ingredients but bags that don’t seal properly will wreak havoc and bring minor tragedy in the form of lost deliciousness.

Theory: Making ice cream in a bag parallels the old hand cranker method, without the clunky equipment. You are essentially putting in all the delicious food ingredients in one bag (the smaller one) and surrounding them with the ice and rock salt (larger bag). Unlike the hand crank, however, once bagged the “ice cream in a bag” can become a football, volleyball or any other projectile, because to mix properly it must be tossed around.

Disclaimer: When camping or picnicking, we suggesting tossing the bag back and forth, preferably on grass or other softer surface just in case of a miss. While we wholeheartedly encourage a game of keep away, try not use the ice cream in a bag like a football and go out for Hail Mary passes; five or ten feet is plenty of distance for tossing.

Homemade ice cream sits in a glass bowl on a countertop.

Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe: Into the small bag mix: ½ cup half-n-half, 1 T sugar, ½ t. vanilla, and 2 T chocolate syrup. Gently blend these ingredients in the small bags. We recommend double bagging the small bag for security, especially if making an ice cream in a bag recipe with kids.

Procedure: Into the large (gallon) bag add: (1) enough ice to fill halfway; (2) 1/3 cup of rock salt.

Place seal small bag into the large one, seal the large one and toss for 10-15 minutes (or shake if you prefer). Then, voila! Bonus points if you pair your newly made ice cream with one of these campfire apple dessert recipes.

A group of friends walks through the city with their IceMule cooler in tow.

That is ice cream in a bag, and it beats hand cranking and expensive appliances for anyone who prefers to interact with their food, loves homemade food, or like making recipes with kids—so, almost every person on the planet! Looking for the best way to transport your frozen delights? A backpack cooler from IceMule is the perfect item for keeping your ice cream in a bag supplies as cold as, well, ice, so that you can DIY your way into the camping hall of fame.