Yes, making homemade ice cream in a bag really does work! Whether you make it inside or outdoors, make sure to have a pair of warm gloves ready. This homemade ice cream in a bag experiment is chilly chemistry for kids you can eat!  Enjoy fun science experiments all year round!



Making homemade ice cream is actually quite easy and a good workout for the arms! This ice cream in a bag science experiment is a fun activity to try at home or in the classroom.  It does require some adult supervision and assistance. A good pair of gloves are needed as this science activity does get very cold.

Edible science has become one of our favorite things to do together these days. Possibly because I have a kiddo going into third grade and growing like a weed. Whenever I mention anything about food, eating, edible science… He’s all in. BIG TIME!

It’s summer, and we love ice cream. Instead of heading to the local dairy bar, grab a few simple ingredients and head outdoors. Kids can learn just how their ice cream is made… with chemistry!

ALSO CHECK OUT: Chemistry Experiments For Kids

Edible Ice Cream In A bag Science ExperimentPin


If you want to make this truly a science experiment where you are using the scientific method, you need to change one variable. Read more about the scientific method for kids below.

Take this easy ice cream in a bag recipe and turn it into a science project, with one of these suggestions:

  • What happens if you don’t use salt? Set up two bags for making ice cream but leave the salt out of one bag.
  • What happens if you use a different type of salt? Set up two or more bags for making ice cream and choose different types of salt to test!
  • What happens if you swap out the milk for the heavy cream? Or what happens if you try another type of milk like almond milk. Set up two or more bags for making ice cream and choose different types of milk to test!


The scientific method is a process or a method of research. A problem is identified, information about the problem is gathered, a hypothesis or question is formulated from the information, and the hypothesis is put to test with an experiment to prove or disprove its validity.  Sounds heavy…

What in the world does that mean?!? The scientific method should simply be used as a guide to help lead the process.

You don’t need to try and solve the world’s biggest science questions! The scientific method is all about studying and learning things right around you.

As kids develop practices that involve creating, gathering data evaluating, analyzing, and communicating, they can apply these critical thinking skills to any situation. To learn more about the scientific method and how to use it, click here.

Even though the scientific method feels like it is just for big kids…

This method can be used with kids of all ages! Have a casual conversation with younger kiddos or do a more formal notebook entry with older kiddos!

Click here to get your FREE Edible Science Activities Pack



  • 1/2 cup half and half (cream and milk)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 3 cups ice
  • ⅓ cup kosher or rock salt
  • Gallon size zip-top bag(s)
  • Quart size zip-top bag(s)
  • Sprinkles, chocolate sauce, fruit (optional but really “the best part” ingredients!)
Ice Cream In A Bag Ingredients for Edible SciencePin


STEP 1. Place the ice and salt in a gallon size bag; set aside.  

STEP 2. In a smaller bag mix together half and half, vanilla and sugar. Make sure to seal the bag tightly.

Ice Cream Ingredients in zip top bagsPin

STEP 3. Place the smaller bag inside the gallon size bag.  Shake the bags for about 5 minutes until your milk is solid.

Make sure to use gloves as the bag gets very cold.

And if you find your ice cream in a bag not working, try it with more ice cubes and salt, and then shake for a further 5 minutes.

Shaking ice cream in a bag chemistry experimentPin

Time to enjoy your yummy homemade ice cream!

Store any uneaten ice cream in the zip top bag. Place it in the freezer and enjoy for next time!


What’s the chemistry behind ice cream because it’s pretty sweet! The magic is in the salt and ice mixture in the bag!

In order to make your homemade ice cream, your ingredients need to get very cold and actually freeze. Instead of placing the ingredients for ice cream in the freezer, you mix together salt and ice to make a solution.

Adding salt to the ice lowers the temperature at which water freezes. You will actually notice your ice melting as your ice cream ingredients start to freeze. You can also see this with our ice melting experiments.

Shaking the bag allows the warm cream mixture to move around to allow for better freezing. Plus it also creates a little air that makes the ice cream a bit fluffier.

Is ice cream a liquid or a solid? Homemade ice cream changes states of matter. Also more chemistry!

It starts out as a liquid but changes to a solid in it’s frozen form, but it can go back to a liquid when it melts. This is a good example of reversible change as it’s not permanent.

You will definitely notice that the bag becomes much too cold to handle without gloves, so please make sure you have a good pair of gloves to shake it with.  


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  • 90+ classic science activities with journal pages, supply lists, set up and process, and science information. NEW! Activity-specific observation pages!
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  • Be a Collector activities pack introduces kids to the world of making collections through the eyes of a scientist. What will they collect first?
  • Know the Words Science vocabulary pack includes flashcards, crosswords, and word searches that illuminate keywords in the experiments!
  • My science journal writing prompts explore what it means to be a scientist!!
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  1. What is “Half and half”?
    Can you do it without the rock salt, cannot find it here.

  2. We use sweetened condensed milk (1 can) and 2 liters of your favorite soda pop. It makes the most amazing tasting ice cream ever!!

  3. There is a link that says check out the recipe. Since It is not my own original recipe, etiquette requires me to link to it. I will highlight the link.

  4. Pingback: 25 Fun Summer Crafts And Activity’s!
  5. I love this idea! I would love to use it in a class setting, but am wondering how much each batch makes? Is this recipe for one person or multiple? I mean, we can all use more ice cream, but minimalistically speaking, lol

  6. Hi! We always need more ice cream but I guess it would come down to how much you would expect to serve each kiddo. I think 2-3 kids could enjoy tasting it and surely it would be helpful to have multiple hands to shake each bag since it can get tiring. Make sure to really seal bags well though so that the salt doesn’t make it’s way into the ice cream bag. I have thought about a plastic container with the ingredients and that be put inside the bag with ice and salt…

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