| | |

How to Make Traditional Hand Crank Ice Cream (With Recipes)

Welcome! This article contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you.

Delicious homemade ice cream without electricity? No problem! Hand crank ice cream provides your family with many memories, from having cranking competitions to enjoying family-made ice cream on Sunday night. The right hand crank ice cream maker (also known as a manual ice cream maker) makes things a lot easier so we’ve included our favorite machine, as well as a wealth of hand crank ice cream recipe ideas!

Here is a video of three generations of the Lehman family making ice cream in their Amish-made hand-crank ice cream freezer.

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream, by Lehman's

How to Make Hand Crank Ice Cream

Hand crank ice cream - yum!
Hand crank ice cream – yum!

You can run to the grocery store and buy some ice cream. But, it’s not going to beat the taste of homemade, hand crank ice cream in a manual ice cream maker! You can add the absolute best ingredients to your ice cream, and you know exactly what goes in it.

Cream, milk, eggs, sugar, and your chosen flavor. That’s it. Simple ingredients for simple, good food.

Ultimately, the easiest way for a great result is to use Lehman’s homemade ice cream mix, which is what they show you in the video. If you want to go old-school all the way, I’ve included over 20 traditional recipes below.

To this mix add milk, cream, vanilla, and sugar.

  1. Grab your ice cream tub.
  2. Put the canister inside.
  3. Pour the ingredients in, to about 2/3 full. As the ice cream freezes, it expands, so you need to leave some room.
  4. Insert the dasher and make sure it latches in.
  5. Add the crank and use the latch to lock it all together.
  6. Add ice and 2.5 cups of salt, mixed in throughout the ice.
  7. Start cranking!

Summing up, the benefit of a hand-cranked ice cream maker vs an electric ice cream maker is that the electric version runs at the same speed all the time. You get the best results if you crank it slow at first, and then faster as the ice cream starts to set.

That way, the cream gradually gets into as much contact with the ice as it can, resulting in creamier ice cream.

Undeniably, hand-cranking ice cream can be hard work and takes time. If you prefer an electric version, the one below is an excellent, well-reviewed budget option!

Elite Gourmet Old Fashioned 6 Quart Electric Maker Machine
$99.99 $90.89

The Elite Gourmet old-fashioned electric ice cream maker churns delicious ice cream in minutes. It has a 6-quart, heavy-duty aluminum canister and a powerful 90 rpm motor. Making ice cream at home has never been easier!

The motor turns a six-fin paddle that whips air into the ingredients producing a smooth, rich, soft-serve ice cream. It quickly crushes cookies, fruit, chocolate chips, or a variety of other yummy toppings and thoroughly integrates them into the mixture.

The old-fashioned Appalachian wood bucket holds ice and rock salt, keeping the canister at the optimal 10°F temperature. All parts conveniently remove for easy cleaning.

Buy at Amazon
PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/26/2024 07:55 am GMT

Hand Crank Ice Cream Recipe

Here is the recipe the Lehman family uses. They mention ignoring all the handwritten notes. IMPORTANT: Remember to let the mixture reach 160 degrees, (NOT 110 degrees as listed). Image and recipe from Lehman’s.

The recipe above comes from Lehman’s traditional Five Star Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe on their blog. They offer a wealth of information about ice cream making as well – I highly recommend you take a look!

So, the basic ingredients for a hand crank ice cream recipe are cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. If you can’t get cream, eggs, and sugar, you can use Carnation Condensed Milk and vanilla as a replacement. However, the Lehman family mentions that it’s a passable substitute – it’s not the greatest!

A batch of hand crank ice cream needs 20 lbs of ice in this machine. You’ll also need one to two cups of rock or table salt.

However, the salt and ice don’t go in the ice cream! These two ‘ingredients’ go on the outside of the ice cream canister to help it freeze – we’re not making salty ice cream.

Furthermore, in the hand crank ice cream recipe above, it mentions that the mix should be heated to 110 degrees. To keep everyone safe, you should avoid uncooked eggs – heat your mix to 160 degrees.

Hand Crank Ice Cream Recipes From the 1900s

Photographer John Nelson of Ericson, Nebraska captured this little sweetie taking a turn cranking the handle of an ice cream maker in about 1910. Image from History Nebraska.

Hand cranked ice cream has undoubtedly been a favorite family activity for 100s of years. History Nebraska mentions:

The cream mixture was placed in the interior compartment of the ice cream maker which contained a paddle connected to the hand-crank. The more the cream mixture is cranked, the smoother the ice cream.

Ice and rock salt were then placed between the interior compartment and the exterior bucket. The salt causes the ice to melt and lowers the temperature below the fresh water freezing point, but the water does not freeze due to the salt content. The sub-freezing temperature helps slowly freeze and make the ice cream. 

History Nebraska

Recipe for Hand Crank Lemon Ice, Peach Cream, Ice Cream, Sherbet, and Jell-O Ice Cream

They share this wonderful page full of hand crank ice cream recipes from The White Ribbon Cook Book (p97):

Recipe for hand crank Lemon Ice, Peach Cream, Ice Cream, Sherbet, and Jell-O Ice Cream
The White Ribbon Cook Book by the Clay County Temperance Union published in 1900 for “Ices, Ice Creams and Beverages” from the Nebraska Library Collection at History Nebraska.

In a previous edition of The White Ribbon Cook Book, I found a treasure trove of traditional ice cream recipes. I’ll share them with you below. You can download the entire book – for free – from Archive.org! This book is packed full of traditional cooking knowledge – I’ve downloaded and saved my copy.

This type of pioneer cooking information is at risk of being lost and it is truly invaluable. Share it with everyone you know!

Recipe for Hand Crank Frozen Custard, Grape Sherbet, Peach Ice Cream, and Lemon Water Ice

Recipe for hand crank Frozen Custard, Grape Sherbet, Peach Ice Cream, and Lemon Water Ice

Recipe for Caramel Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, and Fruit Cream

Recipe for hand crank Caramel Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, and Fruit Cream

Recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream, Strawberry Water Ice, and Orange Water Ice

Recipe for Hand Crank Vanilla Ice Cream, Strawberry Water Ice, and Orange Water Ice

Recipe for Crystal Palace Cream and Lemon Cream

Recipe for Hand Crank Crystal Palace Cream and Lemon Cream

Manual Ice Cream Maker Tips

  • Go easy on the salt. Too much salt will cause your ice cream to freeze too quickly resulting in a grainy ice cream.
  • Let the ice cream rest for 20 minutes after cranking before diving in.
  • Pack the ice tightly around the canister. You can use a broom stick or something similar to help.
  • Be careful when you open the container – you don’t want salt water in your ice cream! Also, salty water can stain floors and harm gardens and plants. Dispose of it thoughtfully – don’t throw it on the lawn!

More tips are in the article mentioned above – I hope you enjoy your homemade, hand crank ice cream!

What’s your favorite homemade ice cream? Share your favorites and recipes in the comments below!

Similar Posts


  1. Hey , I live in Australia & i am just going to get one of those Ice-cream makers. Ever since I visited the U.S years ago I have had the longing to make my own Ice-cream I am so going to do it. Great website , I will visit again & again.
    Regards Doug Lindley Adelaide Australia

    1. Hi Doug and Lindley, thanks so much for stopping by!
      Nice to see some fellow Aussies 😀
      I’d love to hear how your ice cream adventure turned out!

  2. I just dug out the ole White Mountain ice cream maker so I could make some of my mom’s famous (in our family anyway) fresh peach ice cream for her 102nd birthday on Friday! I had to freshen up my memory by reading your post…Thank you! The peach purée is chilling in the fridge as I write this!

  3. Hand churned butter pecan. We had a great recipe using jello, butterscotch flavor and brown sugar but have lost it. Do you know of a recipe?

    1. Hi Bill, that sounds delicious! I had a quick look but none I could see use jello – some do look delicious though, like this one. Maybe one of our readers can help? I posted a request in one of the homesteading Facebook groups too – fingers crossed!

      1. Hi there Bill,
        A member of the homesteading group came up with this recipe. Note that the origin is uncertain so I couldn’t contribute the original creator. If anyone knows the owner please let me know!

        Does it sound like what you used to make?

        1 small pkg. instant butterscotch pudding
        1 can sweetened condensed milk
        1 can evaporated milk
        1 pinch salt
        1 tsp. vanilla
        1 box light brown sugar
        1 c. pecans

        Mix ingredients and put in ice cream freezer. Finish filling with milk. Freeze and enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *