Make Soft Serve With These 3 Ingredients In Just 5 Minutes

Sometimes a cold, hard scoop of ice cream is exactly what hits the spot, but there are other days when you want to pamper your taste buds with something gentler that won't jolt you into awareness of every cavity filling you have in your mouth. This is where soft serve comes in.

In an interview with Mashed, Palak Patel, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, explained the delicate balance between coolness, richness, and sweetness that makes soft serve such a unique treat. "Soft serve is basically a form of melted ice cream – but in a more melted state," she said. "For ice cream to be labeled as ice cream there is a balanced ratio of 20 percent cream and 10 percent fat. Soft serve is mostly milk and the solid comes from the fruit and sugar. The ratio is not so precise."

This might sound complicated, but it's actually super easy to make your own soft serve in just five minutes – no trip to an ice cream parlor required! All you need is a half cup of dairy or dairy alternative such as almond milk, 10 ounces of frozen fruit, six tablespoons of sugar, and a teaspoon of any mix-ins you crave. Just blend the ingredients using an immersion blender until your soft serve is the consistency you crave. "Use this recipe formula as a base and get creative!" Patel said.

Customize your soft serve with these recipe ideas

Using the Institute of Culinary Education's recipe base, you can make yourself frozen treats that are classic as well as sophisticated. Peanut butter and jelly soft serve is as easy as combining frozen raspberries with peanut butter, sugar, and almond milk. Strawberries and cream soft serve can be made with frozen strawberries, fresh cream, and sugar, plus a little lemon zest. Meanwhile, you can serve yourself up a Thai-inspired treat by combining frozen mango, coconut milk, sugar, and a teaspoon of fresh-cut chili.

But the options don't end there. Pretty much any ice cream you've ever tasted can be replicated with ICE's formula, sticking to their ratio of a half cup of dairy, 10 ounces of fruit, plus the sugar and mix-ins. Chocolate chip mint uses frozen bananas as the fruit, a teaspoon of chocolate chips (OK, maybe a little more than that!), and some mint extract. Frozen banana with cookie dough and frozen cashews creates a half-baked treat, or mix this fruit with pistachio and cardamom for pistachio-flavored soft serve. Feeling tropical? Combine passion fruit, saffron, and frozen passion fruit paste. If you're seeking something really decadent, try combining peanut butter, Oreos, and frozen banana. Watch a simple video demonstration of these recipes on the Institute of Culinary Education's blog.

Once you blend your ingredients, be sure to have your spoon ready, Patel advised. "As this soft serve is made at home, it should be served immediately," she explained.