When it comes to memorable summer desserts, there's nothing quite like homemade ice cream. Made with simple, natural ingredients, freshly churned ice cream not only tastes better than store-bought varieties but it's also cheaper, and the art of making it can become a family tradition and an outlet for culinary exploration. The recipes included here use a variety of household appliances from basic food processors to blenders to proper countertop ice cream makers to make tantalizingly new and classic flavors. Which will be your new favorite?
13 Cheap and Easy Ice Cream Recipes for Summer
This single-ingredient ice cream from That Clean Life is a total game changer, transforming frozen bananas into perfectly silky and rich ice cream with a food processor. It can be eaten right away or saved in the freezer for later, giving it the consistency of hard ice cream. Add a flavor such as vanilla or cinnamon, or top it with maple and walnuts for a banana split experience.
Avocados are rich in fat, which make this mousse-like ice cream concocted by Half Baked Harvest incredibly smooth and creamy. The avocado flavor is overcome by the cocoa and sweetness and becomes more of a textural element, allowing deep chocolaty flavor to shine through. This frozen treat is so rich and indulgent most people won't guess just how healthful it is. Since the ingredients are all soft, a sturdy blender is all that's needed to get the job done.
Creamy mango goodness can be mixed together in a home blender with just a few simple ingredients in a recipe from Cookie and Kate. Full-fat yogurt, honey, and ripe mango are rich in flavor and color, making a sweet frozen treat as pretty as it is tasty. Serve it at breakfast, as dessert, or as a cool, flavorful midday snack.
Loved for its natural creaminess and tempting flavor, coconut milk is often used as an ingredient by those who prefer dairy-free ice cream. A recipe from The Blender Girl keeps it simple by blending a few natural ingredients in an ordinary blender to highlight the rich, nutty flavor of coconuts. This is a tasty option to keep on hand as a base for building sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and other frozen treats.
Take advantage of the ripe fruit of summer by mixing fresh summer peaches into ice cream. A versatile recipe from the blog Princess Pinky Girl can be prepared in any blender. It's an easy treat for just about anyone to make and a frugal way to preserve a bounty of handpicked fruit into the next season. The riper, the better, so rather than watch overripe peaches spoil, save them for this recipe.
Being able to make chocolate hazelnut ice cream in a matter of minutes is reason enough to invest in a high-performance blender. A simple, low-cost recipe from Blender Babes creates an unbelievably silky and elegant dessert. Serve this at dinner parties to ensure that wow factor at the end of a meal.
Blueberry ice cream is one of summer's simple and beloved indulgences. A healthy base recipe on the retail site Raw Blend can be made quickly in a high-performance blender and includes options for adding honey or sugar, as well as banana (for texture). Add ingredients that are on hand or on sale to make this an even cheaper dessert option.
Jalapeños add a spicy kick to sweet and tart summer strawberries, setting apart this unique ice cream idea on the Vitamix website (although the peppers are entirely optional). Use any high-performance blender to transform frozen strawberries into velvety ice cream quickly, using simple ingredients (and no preservatives). Substitute coconut milk for whole milk to make this a dairy-free treat.
Often underestimated, classic vanilla ice cream tends to be thought of as boring. However, it makes a versatile base or topping. A quick and straightforward vanilla ice cream recipe on the Vitamix site uses a high-performance blender to create an idyllic flavor that's perfect with toppings or when accompanying other desserts. Get creative and mix in favorite candy bars, fruit, or baked goods.
There's something to be said for mastering the classics, such as simple and sinfully delicious chocolate ice cream made in a countertop ice cream maker. Once you have this basic Alton Brown recipe down, you can add swirls of peanut butter, broken peppermint candies, a shot of espresso, etc. Top this delectable chocolate treat with a favorite sauce or topping, or simply enjoy its rich chocolate flavor and creamy texture as is.
A Southern favorite, homemade butter pecan ice cream is a rare treat, but it doesn't have to be. A recipe from the magazine Taste of Home expertly combines just a few natural ingredients to create a flavor that is synonymous with summer for many Americans. If you only make one flavor for summer with the help of a home ice cream machine, this is an impressive and indulgent one to try.
An uncommon flavor, this tropical dessert takes on a creamy texture when made with an ice cream maker. A recipe from the blog Zesty South Indian Kitchen, which uses fresh pineapple, includes instructions for how to set up the ice cream without a churning machine and still produce a tasty product. This fresh and bright fruit-flavored dish is a welcomed departure for those looking for something novel.
A classic summer treat that is usually enjoyed with fresh, campfire-roasted marshmallows gets the cold treatment from Add a Pinch, with the help of a countertop ice cream maker. It's hard to imagine a better use for the specialty appliance than this layered ice cream with chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallow goodness, packed with gooey flavor in each spoonful.