Using Dry Ice to Make Instant Ice Cream

Homemade dry ice ice cream

I will preface this recipe by saying it is not very frugal. For one thing you have to buy dry ice, and also ingredients for good-quality ice cream are not cheap. However, we found ourselves with leftover dry ice from our Halloween party, where we used it to make fog and to put in the punch to make it bubble. Rather than let it go to waste and remembering an episode of Masterchef where Heston made instant ice cream, we decided to give it a go.

Since the dry ice is so cold (-78C or -109F) it freezes everything it comes into contact with, but then sublimates, so unlike ice it doesn’t actually add any flavour or water to the ice cream. If you whisk it fast enough you are left with a smooth, creamy frozen ice cream which can then be kept in the freezer.

Having never made ice cream of any sort before, I have to say that this was very easy. I never buy ice cream at the supermarket because it contains so many preservatives and thickeners, so it has been a lovely treat to have homemade ice cream on hand. We made three different flavours – two sorbets (coconut and citrus) and one ice cream (pistachio).

Coconut sorbet ingredients

For the coconut sorbet we used plain coconut cream and water. I think if I made it again I would add some sugar, as this one was not as sweet or easy to scoop out as the other two. For the citrus sorbet we mixed lemon juice, grapefruit juice, sugar and water, which worked well and tasted exactly like gelati. And for the pistachio ice cream we used double cream, milk, sugar and pistachios for a yummy creamy ice cream.

We did notice a taste of carbon dioxide (like carbonated soft drink) when we first made the ice cream, but that dissipated after several hours in the freezer.

Eggless pistachio icecream ingredients

Ingredients (makes around 500g ice cream)

500g dry ice

For coconut sorbet: 1 400g (14oz) tin coconut cream, sugar to taste

For citrus sorbet: juice of 1 grapefruit, juice of two lemons, sugar to taste (I used around 1/2 a cup)

For pistachio ice cream: (1 1/4 cups double cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup pistachio nuts (coarsely chopped), 3/4 cup sugar, adulterated from this recipe)


Mix all ingredients except the dry ice together in a bowl. If making sorbet taste and if it is too strong add water to dilute (I added between 1/2 a cup and a cup to each).

Crush the dry ice to a fine powder. Our came as pellets so this was easy to do. It might me more tricky if yours comes as a block.

Dry ice ice cream mixing

Slowly add the dry ice to the ice cream mixture, whisking all the time. The mixture will bubble and smoke and eventually thicken. Keep adding dry ice until you achieve the required consistency.

Dry ice ice cream mixture

Enjoy 🙂 The ice cream can be kept in the freezer just like normal ice cream.

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  1. Economies, how long does dry ice keep after you’ve brought it home and what do you need to do to keep it for as long as possible?

    • Ours lasted around 36 hours in an eskie (cooler), but that was 10kg of it (Mr Omnivore got a bit carried away). Smaller amounts might not last as long, although I suppose then you could keep it in the freezer. Ours also came as pellets so big blocks might keep longer, but would be harder to crush.

      Anyway, you want to keep it as cold ad possible so that it will stay frozen and not turn into gas. Hope that helps 🙂

  2. I have made ice cream a couple of different ways, and this looks easier than any I’ve tried. I’m not sure where I would buy the dry ice though.


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