2 ingredient vanilla ice cream - made with only condensed milk and whipped cream

How to Make 2 Ingredient Ice Cream (Using Whipped Cream)

Ice cream with 2 ingredients? Real ice cream? Yes, you can really make ice cream with only two ingredients (cream + condensed milk). It shows how easy cooking (and ice cream making) can be. All you need besides two those ingredients are a bowl, a whisk, a container and a freezer.

It so happens that this recipe is also great to explain the science of ice cream. The easier the recipe, the easier it is to extract the science without being distracted by all sorts of extra ingredients and process steps. We can properly zoom in on the role of all (in this case just 2) ingredients and see how these two ingredients fulfill all the different roles within an ice cream.

What is ice cream again (from a scientist’s perspective)?

When we talk about ice cream on this blog we tend to talk about a creamy ice cream, generally scooped in balls onto a cone or in a cup. As opposed to popsicles (which are essentially frozen lemonade), these ice creams contain fats, sugars, often proteins, water and most importantly air!

A more ‘scientific’ analysis of the ice cream will see that there’s the following phases:

  • Water ice crystals (you want these to be small and well spread out to prevent those crispy bits; these ice crystals are what make the ‘ice’ in ice cream)
  • Sugar syrup (not all the water actually freezes, some might stay liquid and will have plenty of dissolved sugars inside, we discussed the important of sugars before when discussing the freezing point depression)
  • Solid fat (the fat will have solidified at the low temperatures ice cream is stored)
  • Air bubbles (oh so important to make a light, well melting and soft ice cream)

These three phases are all mixed together and separated (and stabilized) by proteins and in commercial ice creams other stabilizers to improve shelf life.

2 ingredient vanilla ice cream - top view

Top view of the 2-ingredient ice cream, even though you don’t see all those different phases, there are ice crystals, sugar syrup, solid fats and plenty air bubbles in there.

What happens when making ice cream?

This two-ingredient recipe really limits ice cream making to its two most important steps:
1. Aeration: we have to make sure those air bubbles are formed inside the chocolate. For that to happen we have to whip something that can actually hold on to those air bubbles. It needs to be able to hold on to the air bubbles long enough for the ice cream to freeze in the freezer. Once it’s frozen everything around the air bubbles will be so hard the air won’t be able to escape anymore. However, up to that point the air bubbles might still move and disappear.

2. Mixing: all the ingredients have to be mixed together homogeneously. We have to make sure the sugar dissolves well in the water, that the air bubbles are spread through evenly and that the fats are spread out evenly.

2-ingredient ice cream – Role of ingredients

In this 2-ingredient ice cream we use only two ingredients that again contain all the components we need! You will see that the ingredients both fulfill several roles at the same time to still make this complex ice cream structure.

Cream

The first is cream, more specifically cream suitable for whipping, it’s called different everywhere, but contains at least 30% fat. By whisking this cream you can create a foam and thus the air bubbles we need for making the ice cream. The reason cream can hold on to air bubbles pretty well is its high fat content. This fat, together with the proteins in the cream, will stabilize the air bubbles and prevent them from merging immediately.

The cream thus contributes the air bubbles, fat and part of the moisture and proteins.

Side note: Why you shouldn’t boil cream meant for whipping

If you decide to infuse some flavour in the cream (e.g. vanilla or coffee), make sure you do not actually boil the cream. Instead, only heat it up slightly (max. 40C). Cream that has boiled will have denaturated proteins. These aren’t good anymore in stabilizing the foam that is formed by the cream. Instead, you might not end up with a foam, but with butter! Any cream can be whipped too much resulting in butter instead of whipped cream. However, this boiled cream never got foamy but immediately switched over to the butter stage.

Condensed milk

The other ingredient we’re using here is condensed milk. Condensed milk is boiled down, thickened milk with plenty sugar. In a sense it is a pre-mixed version of sugar + water + dairy. Since the sugar is already dissolved in the condensed milk there’s no need to heat up cream or milk to dissolve the sugar. Instead, all we have to do is gently pour it in the whipped cream (making sure to break as little bubbles as possible) and gently fold it through. Easy as that!

Wondering why we need sugar at all in ice cream? It’s to make a soft ice cream. Imagine freezing a cube of water. It will become rock hard. However, if instead we dissolve in sugar not all the water will actually freeze due to a phenomenon called the freezing point depression. This will make the ice cream softer. Combine this with some air and fat in the ice cream and it will result in a smooth silky ice cream!Aerat2. MxingThe otherThe

Bastognekoeken ice cream with just 3 ingredients

2-ingredient ice cream recipe

This 2-ingredient ice cream recipe makes a very smooth ice cream. However, I personally find it overly sweet (although opinions differed). You can reduce the condensed milk content, as stated in the recipe, that will affect the softness of the recipe as well (see explanation above in the condensed milk section), but might make it more agreeable to your taste.

There’s a lot more flavor variations you could make on this ice cream of course! In another more elaborate dessert, we included a peanut butter version, works great as well!

2 ingredient vanilla ice cream - made with only condensed milk and whipped cream

2-Ingredient ice cream

Yield: 10 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Regular version

  • 230g heavy whipping cream (non sweetened, at least 30% fat)
  • 150g condensed milk

Cookie ice cream

  • 230g heavy whipping cream
  • 125g condensed milk
  • 5-6 cookies (use crispy dry cookies with a spice mix, e.g. ginger snaps or Bastognekoeken)

Peanut butter version

  • 240g heavy whipping cream
  • 150g condensed milk
  • 50g peanut butter

Instructions

Regular version

  1. Whip the cream until a firm foam has formed. Be sure not to overwhip to prevent butter from forming.
  2. Pour in the condensed milk, try to pour all in at one spot to prevent the foam from collapsing.
  3. Gently fold in the condensed milk, try not to break too many air bubbles.
  4. Pour the mixture in a container suitable for the freezer and leave in the freezer (-18C) for at least 10 hours (overnight).

Cookie ice cream

  1. Take the cream and 40g of condensed milk. Whip the cream until it is nice and firm. Adding some of that condensed milk will generally give a firmer whipped cream due to the stabilizing sugars.
  2. Once it's been whipped (again prevent overwhipping so keep an eye on it) crumble the cookies into small pieces and add to the whipped cream. Gently pour in the condensed milk as well.
  3. Fold in the condensed milk and cookies, gently, without breaking up too much of the air bubbles in the whipped cream.
  4. Place in the freezer at -18C for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Enjoy!

Peanut butter ice cream

  1. In a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter with the condensed milk. This makes mixing them through later a lot easier.
  2. Whip the cream until a firm foam has formed. Be sure not to overwhip to prevent butter from forming.
  3. Pour in the condensed milk peanut butter mixture, try to pour all in at one spot to prevent the foam from collapsing.
  4. Gently fold in the condensed milk peanut butter mixture, try not to break too many air bubbles.
  5. Pour the mixture in a freezer-proof container and leave in the freezer (-18C) for at least 10 hours (overnight) to harden.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. ps. The peanut butter ice cream works really well with some luscious chocolate mousse, roasted nuts mixture and whiskey caramel sauce. chocolate and peanut butter dessert pouring over caramel sm

Want to try somewhat more advanced ice cream recipes? Try out our semi freddo (pretty similar to this one, but slightly more refined flavours), our vanilla ice cream or our eggless ice cream (using custard!).

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9 comments

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    • Hi,
      Thanks for stopping by! I haven’t personally tried this, but a few things will happen:
      1) the ice cream will be a lot less sweet, which doesn’t have to be a problem if you like it that way
      2) since there’s less sugar in there though, more of the water will freeze in the ice cream, creating a harder, less soft ice cream
      3) sugar helps to stabilize the air so the ice cream will be less stable over time and might also collapse a bit more easily after you’ve whipped it up and before you’ve completely frozen it

      That said, if you really want it, give it a try, it’s likely nothing very horrible will happen, the main risk is that you end up with an ice cream you don’t really like or can’t save for long. Whipped cream with some sugar tends to taste good anyway!
      Good luck!

  • This ice-cream looks soooo yummy!and delicious! Great post 🙂 x
    It’s never too late for ice cream. 😉 One of my favorite flavors!! 🙂

    • Hmm, that’s a great question! I haven’t tried it and have very little experience with using these dispensers with homemade mixtures. I would say it should be able to aerate it to some extent. It won’t be as fluffy as a regular whipped cream, but you don’t need that for making a delicious ice cream. If you give it a try, let us know how it went!

    • Hi Sana,

      There are two possibilities here:

      • You’ve overwhipped the whipped cream by itself. Unfortunately, once your whipped cream has turned into butter and lost some of that airiness, there’s nothing really you can do. It’s best to take some fresh cream and start over and not waste your condensed milk on the overwhipped cream. You could continue whipping it further to make it into butter though!
      • You’ve mixed the condensed milk + whipped cream for too long. The best way to prevent this is to use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix them together. Refrain from using an electric mixer here. If you overmix here though, all you do is remove more air. It won’t ruin your ice cream, just makes it a little less airy and light. Just freeze it and enjoy :-).
  • I have made this before and it tasted like sweetened whipped cream. Also didn’t harden in freezer. I had to throw it out. Any tips? Maybe less cream and more condensed milk? I don’t know what I did wrong.

    • Hi Lex,

      I’m sorry to hear that! If it didn’t freeze at all you might have used too much condensed milk, you could try reducing the quantity, there’s some flexibility there. This ice cream will taste different than a custard-based ice cream of course, though personally, I really enjoy the texture and flavor. If you think it’s too much sweet whipped cream, try one of the variations of adding peanut butter or cookies. That makes the flavours a bit more complex and varied.

      Hope that helps!

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