5-Minute Snow Ice Cream Recipe

Snow ice cream is an inexpensive, lightning-fast way to enjoy some fresh vanilla ice cream. Somewhere between a science experiment and an arts and crafts activity you remember from your childhood, this surprising way to make ice cream with four ingredients does not disappoint!

Snow ice cream requires a few very basic ingredients, which is the key to its charm, says food blogger & photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table. But the main thing it relies on is freshly fallen, clean snow — so make sure you have plenty of that where you are. If delicious vanilla ice cream is not your jam, we also have a few suggestions on how to take your snow ice cream to another level with optional toppings.

Whether you are in the midst of a surprising snow storm or just a regular white old winter day, snow ice cream is like turning lemons into lemonade — only even more delicious and fun.

Gather the ingredients for snow ice cream

Vanilla snow ice cream takes five minutes of prep time and no cooking or chilling whatsoever, so all that stands between you and a yummy bowl of ice cream is just four ingredients.

The first thing we need for snow ice cream is, well, snow. The fresher your snow is, the fluffier and creamier your ice cream will taste. Snow that's had some time to sit will harden and crystallize and be less ideal, albeit still tasty. And of course, the snow has to be clean — so nothing that dogs may have peed on during their neighborhood walk. So go on, get those boots on, put on a scarf, and go outside to gather some fresh snow!

Other than snow, our vanilla snow ice cream requires a can of condensed milk, a pinch of salt, and a bit of vanilla extract. In terms of equipment, you'll need a bowl and a spatula. Have we mentioned it's super easy?

We also suggest a few optional toppings to decorate your ice cream, like chocolate syrup, sprinkles, maraschino cherries, or anything else you love to add to a sweet treat.

Add vanilla extract to fresh snow to make snow ice cream

Transfer your freshly gathered snow to a big bowl. Keep some extra snow on the side in case you want to play around with the texture or the balance of flavor.

The first thing we're going to do to flavor our vanilla snow ice cream is to add vanilla extract to the fresh snow. You can use artificial vanilla flavoring, real vanilla extract, or even the seeds from a vanilla bean pod... Though why get fancy with something so simple and delicious? Part of the appeal of snow ice cream is that even a five-year-old child can make it, so let's not complicate matters.

Pour condensed milk onto snow for this snow ice cream recipe

On top of your fresh snow and vanilla extract, pour the entire content of one can of condensed milk. What is condensed milk, you ask? It's milk that has been cooked down low and slow to the point where 60 per cent of its water content has been removed. In its place, condensed milk has been sweetened with a generous helping of sugar, which is why it's perfect for making snow ice cream! It substitutes both milk and sugar and gives your ice cream a much creamier texture than regular milk would.

Do not get confused and use evaporated milk in its place. Evaporated milk is similarly concentrated but unsweetened, which will make your ice cream taste a lot less like a treat and more like, well, wet snow.

If you're fresh out of condensed milk, you can also use a mix of one cup of milk and half a cup of sugar (or more, depending on the texture of your snow — play around until you get the texture you like).

Sprinkle your snow ice cream with salt

Finally, the last ingredient in our snow ice cream is salt. Salt? In ice cream? You must think we're joking!

Well, the truth is that, like most sweet baked goods, snow ice cream needs that little salty note of contrast that salt provides to really highlight its inherent sweetness. Just like salt in salted caramel, or that pinch of salt on top of a good brownie, the salt in our snow ice cream takes it from mundane to extraordinary.

Mix your snow ice cream to combine

Once you've combined all your ingredients in a bowl, let's not waste time — we're dealing with a highly perishable ingredient here! Snow has a pretty short shelf life, after all. Mix the snow, condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt with a spatula to combine until the snow ice cream looks the texture of store-bought ice cream and everything is a uniform color.

If you still see globs of black vanilla extract, continue mixing. If your snow is melting and the ice cream is becoming too watery, add more snow. If it's too still too hard, try to add in a splash of milk.

Scoop out your snow ice cream

Using an ice cream scoop, spoon out the snow ice cream from the large bowl and out into individual bowls. You can use wafer cups, little bowls, or even beautiful wine goblets or champagne coupes to make yourself feel really fancy. We're not judging.

We recommend scooping two to three scoops per ice cream serving. To get the perfect round scoop, try to pat the bottom of your ice cream once it's inside the scooper. This will condense it and make it appear more round and smooth. Just scooping balls out of the bowl and into your cup will work too, but it might look a bit more rustic.

Eat your ice cream immediately — snow ice cream will not keep and melts rather quickly.

Top your snow ice cream with optional toppings

If just eating a bowl of cheap, easy, delicious ice cream that transformed the snow you have piled in your backyard was not enough of a treat, we also have a few optional toppings we can suggest.

We recommend topping your snow ice cream with store-bought chocolate syrup, some colorful or chocolate sprinkles, and maraschino cherries for the perfect ice cream parlor experience. Heck, you can even top it with blueberry or cherry pie filling and call it an ice cream sundae. Either way you slice it, snow ice cream is a fun and inventive way to enjoy something sweet on cold days.

5-Minute Snow Ice Cream Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
Snow ice cream is an inexpensive way to enjoy some fresh vanilla ice cream. It's somewhere between a science experiment and an arts and crafts activity.
Prep Time
Cook Time
snow ice cream served
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 10 to 12 cups of fresh snow, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • Salt
Optional Ingredients
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Sprinkles
  • Maraschino cherries
  1. In a large bowl, drizzle vanilla extract over fresh snow.
  2. Add condensed milk.
  3. Mix well to combine until the snow ice cream looks the texture of real ice cream and everything is a uniform color.
  4. Spoon ice cream out into cups. Top with chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and maraschino cherries if desired.
  5. Eat immediately. Snow ice cream will not keep and melts rather quickly.
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