Last updated: 02.06.2023

Updated content: English version

You may have never thought about it, but making homemade ice cream at home is not difficult at all. I’ll tell you more: you don’t even need to be good at cooking, it’s all about ingredients, quantities, and method. No tricks. In this article I will explain how to make ice cream like real professionals at home!

What you need

The only thing you need are a good ice cream maker, a small saucepan, a kitchen whisk, a good blender (blender or immersion blender) and the key ingredients (read more below).

Choosing an ice cream maker

It is best to have an ice cream maker with a built-in compressor that cools and chills (first image), but if you want a cheaper one (second image) with the element that you put in the freezer will also do, except that you can only make one ice cream every 24 hours and it does not chill as well as the other.

I wondered how on earth anyone could keep it soft without resorting to chemical additives. I therefore did some research and found a great book! More than a cookbook, it’s a chemistry book 🙂 It explains to you in great detail the method of making ice cream, complete with insights into the basic ingredients such as sugars, fats, milk, eggs, and types of thickeners, right down to formulas for balancing them properly.

It’s an italian book (“Il gelato. Le cose da sapere” by Maurizio Paci). For something in english (a bit more complex) I could suggest to google for “il gelato senza segreti” by Angelo Corvitto – you can find online a PDF in italian + English …I didn’t tell you 😉

The key ingredients for good ice cream

At the amateur level, the most important things to keep in mind to make “spoon-proof” ice creams like the ones above are these

  • The ice cream must be balanced

  • Sucrose (regular white sugar you all have at home) is not enough but must be mixed with dextrose (glucose in its solid state), which, as it freezes, produces smaller crystals and makes the ice cream cream creamier

  • Skim milk powder is an indispensable ingredient, as it gives the necessary protein balance by helping the mixture incorporate more air and increasing its viscosity, thus producing a creamier, silkier texture.

  • Finally, you need neutral thickeners/stabilizers/emulsifiers such as locust bean gum, tara gum, and/or guar gum to act as thickeners, emulsifiers, and stabilizers

  • Finally, especially for the production of vegan sorbets or ice creams, fibers such as inulin come in very handy, whose “super powers” help to incorporate air, thicken the mixture and give an ice cream-like texture even to sorbets and ice creams with few solids. Of the properties of inulin and how to use it, I discuss it in depth in my ice cream courses (italian only).

Where to find all the raw materials for ice cream?

You should find everything online (Amazon) but if you live in Italy all the raw material you need for ice cream (sugars, stabilizers, emulsifiers, fiber but also pistachio, hazelnut and other pastes) can also be ordered online via this page, moreover at wholesaler prices 😉

The key: The balance of the mixture

To calculate the dosage of the mentioned ingredients, however, you need formulas that would bring back your school nightmares. Since I love math, but understand that it may not appeal to everyone, I have already done the calculations for you and will save you the thankless task.

If you want to have fun balancing ice cream yourself, try BilanciaLi, my Ice Cream Balancer!

bilanciali free gelato selezione ingredienti

If not, here is your cheat sheet with the already balanced quantities for ice cream and sorbets.

What if I want to make ice cream with Pacojet?

The process is very similar. The balance of sugars changes a bit. I wrote an in-depth article on balancing ice cream for pacojet, give it a look.

How do you make fried ice cream? And how do you balance it?

If you are interested in the topic of fried ice cream, you will also find an article on CucinaLi that explains all the necessary steps and balancing tricks for making fried ice cream.

Recipes and procedure – ice cream (gelato)

IMG 0949

How to make homemade ice cream: Procedure

  1. Combine the powders (usually milk powder, sugars, neutral), keeping some sugar aside
  2. Heat milk with sugar kept aside (will prevent milk from incorporating too much air)
  3. Add the cream at approx. 30°C (when the milk is warm, to let the fats emulsify better)
  4. Add the powders, when cream and milk reach ca. 40°C
  5. Add the egg yolks (if the recipe calls for them)
  6. Without stopping stirring, pasteurize by bringing the mixture to 85°C for 2 minutes
  7. For concentrates: dissolve the paste (e.g., pistachio) with a little hot milk and add it to the mixture
  8. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours
  9. Add fresh cheese (like mozzarella, ricotta, mascarpone) or yogurt if they are part of the recipe and blend
  10. Churn in ice cream maker for as long as needed
  11. Serve

Recipes (for approx. 700g ice cream)

Stracciatella ice cream

  • Whole milk 410g
  • Cream (35% fat) 125g
  • Sucrose 100g
  • Dextrose 30g
  • Skim milk powder 30g
  • Locust bean gum 2.8g
  • Chocolate chips 60g

Chocolate Ice Cream

Mix the cocoa together with the powders and apply the standard procedure.

  • Whole milk 420g
  • Cream (35% fat) 80g
  • Sucrose 80g
  • Dextrose 50g
  • Skim milk powder 20g
  • Tara gum 2.2g
  • Egg yolk 20g (1 yolk)
  • Cocoa powder (22% fat) 35g

Pistachio ice cream

  • Whole milk 440g
  • Cream (35% fat) 55g
  • Sucrose 90g
  • Dextrose 35g
  • Skim milk powder 15g
  • Egg yolk 20g (1 yolk)
  • Locust bean gum 2.8g
  • Pistachio paste 56g
  • Salt 1.5g

All recipes from the ice cream blog

Recipes and procedure – Sorbets

pear vanilla ginger sorbet

Procedure for making sorbet (for cold-acting neutrals)

This is the procedure to follow if you use a cold-acting neutral such as tara gum.

  1. Combine the powders (sucrose, dextrose, neutral, inulin, fiber)
  2. Blend the fruit with the liquids (water) and grated lemon zest (if you want to)
  3. Combine the powders by sprinkling while whisking
  4. Churn in ice cream maker for 45-60 min
  5. Serve

Procedure for making sorbet (for hot neutrals)

This is the procedure to follow if you use a hot-acting neutral such as locust bean gum.

  1. Combine the powders (sucrose, dextrose, neutral, inulin, fiber)
  2. Prepare the syrup by heating the water with the powders
  3. Heat the syrup 2-3 minutes at 80°C to let the locust bean gum act
  4. Let the syrup cool in the refrigerator for as long as it takes
  5. Blend the syrup with the fruit and grated lemon zest (if desired)
  6. Churn in ice cream maker for 45-60 min
  7. Serve

Recipes (for approx. 700g of sorbet)

Lemon Sorbet

  • Water 300g
  • Inulin 20g
  • Sucrose 90g
  • Dextrose 70g
  • Lemon juice 220g
  • Peel of 1 lemon (untreated)
  • Tara gum 2g

Grape Sorbet

  • Grapes 535g (net weight of juice after filtering*)
  • Water 130g
  • Sucrose 25g
  • Dextrose 50g
  • Inulin 8g
  • Tara gum 2.5g

* Special process is needed for the grapes: blend the grapes a little bit (10-15 sec max) to avoid chopping the seeds too much. Strain everything through a sieve (not too small) making juice without skin and seeds. So to get 300g you will need 350-400g of fruit.
Other note: after mixing syrup and juice leave in the fridge 3-4 hours and not more because the grapes ferment…

Fruit Sorbet *

  • Water 210g
  • Sucrose 80g
  • Dextrose 60g
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Peel of 1 lemon (untreated)
  • Fruits 350g
  • Inulin 8g
  • Tara gum 2.5g

* Fruits: apricot, pineapple, watermelon, cherries, figs, strawberries, raspberries, mango, apple, melon, pears, peaches

All sorbet recipes from the ice cream blog

More recipes – my ice creams for Contaminazioni Stellate

Every month I produce a gelato for Contaminazioni Stellate, a group of professional gelato makers scattered throughout Italy with the aim of spreading and communicating good, healthy artisanal gelato, who share skills and experiences related to their profession through their gelato shop, meetings and events. Their mission is to make known and share an Italian product of excellence: Il Gelato Artigianale. My mission, to bring it into your homes, giving you recipes and procedures, obviously adapted to home equipment!

Ice Cream Insights & Online Courses

The ice cream masterclass

YouTube video

All my online courses on homemade ice cream (in italian)

For a basic or advanced course on homemade ice cream, check out my online course offerings, also available in combination with BilanciaLi Pro & Home. For the moment, only in Italian.

You can start with the free “Safari” tour for free by subscribing here

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