Hey there, Mason jar fans!
Our awesome, active social media communities are always inspiring us to try new and exciting things. This summer, community members have shared two Mason jar ice cream recipes over and over again. Naturally, we wanted to try them both, and, to borrow a line from Iron Chef, see which recipe would reign supreme! (That’s what all normal adults would do, right?! Asking for a friend…) Once I said, “Ice cream!” my two kiddos were immediately on board. We made an afternoon of measuring, mixing, shaking, and freezing. In the end, we crafted two pretty sweet vanilla ice cream treats. You might already know that July 23rd is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, so if you’re looking for a fun and easy way to celebrate, we’ve got you covered!
A Note About Freezing Mason Jars
You can freeze Mason jars, but you want to select ones that are straight up and down, like the wide mouth pint jar, and not one with “shoulders,” like the regular mouth, pint jar. On freezer safe jars, there’s typically a “For Freezing – Fill Here” line marked on jars above the embossed measurement lines (see photo). If there isn’t this guide on your jar, then you can refer to our printable guide (see below), or just be sure to leave about 1” for expansion.
I like to use our stainless steel, storage lids for the freezer, as they’re easier to open. I also put a silicone sleeve on the jar to protect it and for better “grippability” (note: “grippability” is not yet acknowledged by Mirriam-Webster as an “official” word).
Our first recipe has been sent to us several times over the years in the form of this graphic, and people are always asking if it works. While I’ve said “in theory” it should, we’d never tried it ourselves. In this recipe, you mix together heavy whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Then, you shake your wide mouth pint Mason jar for a few minutes to thicken the heavy whipping cream mixture. Once you reach the desired consistency, you can add in whatever mix-ins your heart desires, like candy, cookie pieces, Nutella, etc. Finally, freeze for about 3 hours and enjoy!
What I liked about this recipe: Simplicity! I’ve said over and over again that I’m drawn to simple recipes and craft projects that mostly utilize things/ingredients that I regularly have on hand. I despise having to make a special trip to the store just to complete a project (unless it’s a home project, and then I expect to run to Home Depot about 6 times in order to complete it!).
I found the food science part of showing my kids how heavy whipping cream can be transformed an added bonus. Also, the non-frozen mixture on its own was quite tasty as well as becoming a slightly denser version of homemade whipped cream. So far, so good for this recipe!
Shaken Mason Jar Ice Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ TBSP sugar
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract or paste
- Pinch of salt
Shake for 5 minutes, freeze mixture for 3-4 hours, and enjoy!
Our second recipe came to us via a shared TikTok video, though I found the amounts written out in more detail on ButtermilkBySam’s website. This recipe was very intriguing in part by the well done video and thoughtful reasoning in the components she chose to use, but honestly the ingredients had me at “hello!” In this recipe you mix together heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt into a wide mouth pint Mason jar with a handmixer (just using one whisk attached) or immersion blender. Once you get the ice cream to thicken, then you can hand mix in your add-ins and freeze for about 3-4 hours and ENJOY!
What I like about this recipe: Elevated! Sure, this breaks my simplicity rule a bit, but, honestly, this recipe doesn’t call for much out of the ordinary. Plus, the resultant ice cream is rich, creamy, and much more than you expect from a quick, at-home make. I was worried it would be hard to blend in my wide mouth pint jar, so -bonus- I was was surprised by how easy that was! The non-frozen mixture had a velvety, cheesecake-esque favor that would probably be delicious as-is on berries, pound cake, or your spoon (seriously!).
ButtermilkBySam’s 1 Pint Mason Jar Ice Cream
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar – can sub with granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese 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
- 3-4 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) and then add the heavy cream and mix until thick.
Stop when there are no more lumps, and the mixture is smooth, thick and creamy.
Stir in mix-ins, if using.
Transfer to jar, seal and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
I think if you do overnight, then be sure to allow your ice cream time to soften up to fully enjoy the taste and texture.
For a dairy free version, omit the cream cheese and use coconut cream in place of the heavy whipping cream, and use coconut condensed milk in place of the condensed milk.
Use freezer-safe jars and leave 1″ room from the top of the ice cream for it to expand.
In order to compare apples to apples (or ice cream to ice cream, in this case), we made your basic vanilla ice cream for both. I did spring for vanilla paste, because I wanted to kick it up a notch, and I love those real vanilla flecks.
Confession: The kids and I put these together after I’d worked all day, so we got them done later than I meant to. I thought it wouldn’t be a huge deal to freeze them overnight vs. the recommended 3 hours, and in the big picture, it probably isn’t. However, if your judges are 12 and 8, don’t expect them to be willing to wait for the ice cream to warm up and soften a bit before diving in (i.e. our ice cream was rock hard). In the future, I’d make sure to freeze them for a shorter amount of time or take them out earlier without the kids seeing in order to more fully enjoy the taste -and especially the texture- of both of blends.
Shaken Mason Jar Ice Cream: A light, crisp, refreshing texture and classically satisfying vanilla flavor.
ButtermilkBySam’s 1 Pint Mason Jar Ice Cream: A rich, creamy, almost churned texture and a smooth, cheesecake-esque flavor.
The results were as follows:
Shaken Mason Jar Ice Cream: 1
As you can see – my kiddos were split on which one reigned supreme. While I think both are totally worth making and imagine we will be making both again and again, I personally like ButtermilkBySam’s recipe better (as did my husband). My kiddos are already planning what add-ins they want to try, like cookie pieces, M&M’s, Nutella, sprinkles, fruit and more!
Do you have a great Mason jar ice cream recipe or amazing mix-in idea or combination? Share it below in the comments, or come join us on social media! I’d love to connect with you : ) Join the conversations going on right now on our Facebook business page, Mason Jar Lifestyle, or Facebook group, Living The Mason Jar Lifestyle! We are also on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok. Looking forward to connecting with you soon!