Homemade ice cream, churned with a hand crank on the back porch, or even mixed up in your electric ice cream maker on the counter-top, is certainly one of life’s great pleasures. I am not sure if I have a fonder childhood food memory than that of enjoying a bowl of melty peach ice cream – that we churned ourselves – with some friends, the summer after fifth grade. But what if I told you that you could enjoy that homemade ice cream texture and flavor without a hand crank or an electric ice cream maker? Yes: it’s true – no-churn ice cream is pretty magical that way.

Essentially, rather than make a custard on the stove top (which is the foundation of most ice cream) no-churn ice cream calls for cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream, and those three ingredients wondrously do all the work of the custard – and then some. They give the ice cream its creaminess, its stability, and its wonderful mouth feel. And they prevent the ice cream from getting icy, too.

No assembly required

And did I mention that the assembly could not be easier? Cream cheese is whirled about in your food processor. Heavy cream is added and whipped to stiff peaks, and then sweetened condensed milk is mixed in at the end. After the mixture is transferred to the pan (I like to use a loaf pan), hot fudge sauce (homemade or store bought) is swirled throughout. After about six hours in the freezer, the ice cream is ready to be scooped and enjoyed, in bowls or cones, on the back porch.

Now, if vanilla fudge swirl is not your thing, try swirling in 1/2 cup of your favorite jam or macerated berries or caramel sauce. You can fold nuts into your ice cream, as well as chocolate chunks. You can think of the first five ingredients of the ice cream as your “master recipe” and after that, it’s all up to you as to what gets added in… Finally (and thankfully), no-churn ice cream is the classic pantry-“friendly” treat, as the ingredients are either already in your pantry (or refrigerator), or can easily be found in the grocery store. But be warned: no-churn ice cream is so easy to make you may find yourself doing so over and over (and over) again…


  • 4 oz full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup hot fudge (or chocolate) sauce, homemade or store bought

Place a 9x5x2-inch loaf pan in the freezer while you assemble the ice cream.

In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, process the cream cheese, vanilla and salt until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the heavy cream and process until stiff peaks form.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and process just to combine.

Transfer the ice cream to the cold pan and smooth the top. Dollop about 1/4 cup of hot fudge sauce over the ice cream base and use a fork to swirl it throughout – making sure the swirls reach the bottom of the pan. Then dollop another 1/4 cup of hot fudge sauce over the top and swirl it across the surface decoratively – this makes for the prettiest of ice creams.

Cover in plastic wrap and freeze for at least six hours, but preferably overnight.

The ice cream will keep in the freezer for a week, tightly covered in plastic wrap.


Jessie is a baker and cookbook author; you can learn more about her through her website jessiesheehanbakes.com.