If you’ve got a Ninja Blender and you’re craving ice cream, this piece is for you.
There’s nothing quite like a bowl of fresh ice cream to help cool off. The creamy sweetness is an instant mood booster.
There is one problem though. If you’ve ever left your ice cream in the freezer for too long you know how much freezer burn can change the texture.
Great ice cream is about more than just the taste. You need a smooth and ice-free texture to really make the most of your ice cream bowl.
Since ice cream is a treat, you should always try to make the most of it.
What better way to make sure you always have the best possible flavor and texture for your ice cream than to make it yourself at home?
Plus, Ninja blenders really make creating your own ice cream simple and fun. The unique design of their larger blenders is perfect for creating family and party-sized batches of ice cream, while smaller shake-sized jars are great for creating a single serving.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- How to use your Ninja blender to make perfect fresh ice cream
- Different ingredient combinations for ice cream
- What makes ice cream so creamy and smooth
- And much more!
What's in this Guide?
What Are The Benefits of Making Your Own Ice Cream in a Ninja Blender?
Making your own ice cream already has a ton of benefits that I talked about in a different article, but there are some Ninja specific benefits that can make it even easier to create and enjoy a perfect serving of ice cream at home.
The biggest advantage of making ice cream in Ninja blenders has to do with their large jar and unique blade design. Unlike other blenders where the only blades are in the bottom of the jar, a Ninja blender has blades the entire height of the jar.
That might not seem like a big deal, but it can make a huge difference when you’re making ice cream.
Ice cream needs three things:
- Well mixed ingredients
- Finely crushed ice
- Air whipped into the mix
Having blades through the middle of your blender jar helps with all three!
The powerful design of a Ninja blender crushes ice easily, while your ingredients will be mixed much faster by its unique blade design. Faster mixing time makes it simple to control how much air gets into your mix.
You can go with a shorter mixing time for a denser and more flavorful ice cream. Or blend a little extra air into your mix for a delicately flavored ice cream that seems to melt on your tongue.
Even smaller Ninja blender jars can be used to create great ice cream. While the smaller jars might not have the unique blade advantage, they are still the perfect size for mixing and freezing custom ice cream.
The smaller size also helps to create a more uniform ice cream, without the texture and density inconsistencies you can get in larger blender jars.
Lastly, those smaller smoothie jars are designed to improve ingredient mixing in the jar. That means you can expect consistent ice cream whether you’re using mostly liquid ingredients or have a lot of chunky fruits and other ingredients.
Plus, all Ninja blender jar sizes come with powerful enough motors to breeze through even difficult blending tasks like all-fruit sherbet.
Read More >> 5 Ways You’re Cleaning Your Blender Wrong
What You Need To Know About Making Homemade Ice Cream in a Ninja Blender
There are a few more things you need to know before you start trying to make ice cream at home in your Ninja blender.
While your full size Ninja blender can certainly crush ice, you may want to pre-crush the ice in the smaller smoothie jars.
That’s because, while those smoothie jars can still crush the ice, it will take them a little longer to get the job done. Pre-crushing your ice gives you more control over how much air gets mixed into your ice cream. More control over the air means more control over the texture.
Pre-crushing the ice also helps the air start to mix in sooner. That means less time spent making your ice cream, and more time enjoying it.
You can also use those smaller smoothie jars to let everyone in your family make their own customized flavors of ice cream. The faster turnaround time of using pre-crushed ice can help keep your family from getting too impatient while they’re blending.
Curious about other ice cream recipes and the differences between ice cream and sorbet? I’ve got you covered. This article does a great job of looking at the history of ice cream and how other frozen treats morphed into the modern dairy delight.
Read More >> What are the Top Blenders for Milkshakes?
Don’t already own a Ninja Blender? I recommend the Ninja Mega Kitchen Set since it includes a full blender jar, food processor jar, and a couple personal smoothie cups along with all the blades you need.
Supplies You’ll Need To Make Your Own Ice Cream in a Ninja Blender
Good ice cream bases are usually pretty simple, but it’s the flavoring and exact blending that makes a huge difference. Since you’re working with a Ninja blender I recommend starting with a relatively low blending time. Ninja’s tend to naturally mix in a little more air than other blenders.
You can always increase your blending time if needed.
Here’s a good starter vanilla ice cream or ice cream base recipe. The amounts included in parenthesis are about right for a single-serving of ice cream, but you can scale them up to make more:
- Full Fat Milk (1-1½ cups)
- Sugar (2-4 tablespoons)
- Vanilla Extract (½ teaspoon)
- Crushed Ice (1 cup)
- Any other flavoring you want to add
My base recipe is simple and easy to add to, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different recipes. You can trade out the mild for yogurt and the sugar for another sweetener, for instance.
Just remember that any ingredient changes are likely to change the final texture. The more fats in your ice cream, the smoother and creamier it’s likely to be. Ingredients like fresh fruit add a lot of flavor, but they can make the ice cream seem less creamy if you don’t have enough fats.
Consider coconut milk or cream if you don’t want to use dairy.
You can also add more adult ingredients to create a rum raisin ice cream, or almost any flavor you prefer. However, try to be sparing with the alcohol if you add it. Alcohol raises the freezing temperature of ice cream, and too much alcohol can prevent it from setting up properly.
You can also add a small amount of salt (¼ teaspoon or less) to help add more depth to the flavor of your ice cream. Salt pairs particularly well with chocolate and caramel flavorings.
Looking for more inspiration? This video uses the same base ingredients for your ice cream, and then shows you how to fold in flavoring for unique gourmet flavors.
You’ll also need some kitchen equipment to make your own ice cream:
- A Ninja Blender
- A freezer-safe container with a lid
- A mixing bowl for add in flavorings
- A spatula
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What Are The Different Ways to Make Your Own Ice Cream in a Ninja Blender
There are as many ways to make ice cream in a Ninja blender as there are flavors of ice cream. Every flavor you make might take a slight tweak in your process. Fortunately, the process is mostly the same and you’ll only need minor variations.
There are two big variations on the main process that I want to discuss:
- Hand mixing your flavor into a pre-made base
- Using Instant Pudding as an ingredient
Most of the time you’ll flavor your ice cream mix in the Ninja blender. The flavoring ingredients are just mixed right in. However, there are some ingredients that you may want to hand mix with a spatula.
Say you want to make some chunky ice cream. Marshmallows, brownie bits, and cookie crumbles don’t generally survive blending in any kind of recognizable form. If you want those delicious chunks in your ice cream you’ll need to mix them in by hand.
Instant pudding is a common ingredient in a lot of Blender ice cream mixes because it helps to thicken the mixture and adds a lot of creaminess and flavor. Instant pudding can also be a good way to add flavors you don’t want to create yourself.
Instant pudding can be a great addition to Ninja blender ice creams since the Ninja tends to add so much air. The pudding helps thicken your mix so that it’s creamier and more flavorful, even with a little too much air.
Ideally, your ice cream should be relatively thick but still runny when you freeze it. If your mix is a little too thick, consider adding a small amount of milk to thin it out again.
How To Make Ice Cream in a Ninja Blender (5 Steps)
- Measure All of Your Ingredients
- Mix Everything Together Except Ice and Chunky Flavoring
- Mix In Any Remaining Flavorings
- Freeze for At Least 2-3 Hours
Step 1: Measure All of Your Ingredients
It’s important to pre-measure your ingredients before you start.
Making ice cream in a Ninja blender is relatively fast and you don’t want to risk everything melting while you measure the next ingredient.
Step 2: Mix Everything Together Except Ice and Chunky Flavoring
It’s easier if you mix together all of your ingredients before you start the blender. That includes the basics like the milk (or yogurt) and sugar along with all of your liquid flavorings like vanilla.
Just add the ingredients directly to the blender jar with the blade already in. Since Ninja blenders are fully sealed you can add everything before putting the jar on the blender base.
If you’re flavoring your ice cream with fresh fruit go ahead and add it to the blender jar as well. Hold off on frozen fruit though. It’s harder texture might clog your blender and make it more difficult to get all the ingredients mixed.
Some powder ingredients like cocoa powder can either be added to your ice cream mix or stirred in after the base mix is finished.
Step 3: Blend
Once all of your ingredients except ice, frozen fruit, and mix-in flavorings are in the blender jar it’s time to start blending.
Place the blender jar on the base. You’re going to use the pulse mode to mix for a couple seconds at a time. Pulse the ingredients once to mix them before adding some of your crushed ice.
You’ll only want to add about a third of the ice at a time to help it break apart and mix into your ice cream more smoothly. Add frozen fruit when you add the ice.
Pulse 2-3 times between adding ice to make sure it’s fully incorporated. Pulse for longer intervals to mix more air into your ice cream. Pulse for shorter intervals to get a denser mixture.
Step 4: Mix In Any Remaining Flavorings
If you don’t have any flavors to mix in after blending you can skip this step.
Otherwise use the spatula to transfer your ice cream mix to your-freezer safe container. Make sure there is enough room for the ice cream to expand slightly as it sets. An inch or two between the mix and the lid will do.
Once all the mix is in the bowl add your last flavoring. These could be chucky flavors or liquid flavors you want to swirl through the mix without fully incorporating them.
Once all of the flavoring is there use your spatula to gently fold the ingredients into the mix. Don’t stir harshly or over-stir the mix. Stirring too much will let the air out of the ice cream and make it too hard when it freezes.
The goal is to fold the ingredients in just enough to have an even distribution through the mix.
Step 5: Freeze for At Least 2-3 Hours
The last step to make ice cream is to freeze the mix for at least 2-3 hours to let it set. If you like soft serve that setting time is probably about right. For a firmer ice cream texture consider leaving the ice cream in the freezer overnight before serving.
Homemade ice cream usually lasts about a month in the freezer before it starts to develop texture problems.
My Final Thoughts on Making Ice Cream in a Ninja Blender
Making ice cream at home is a fun activity for the whole family. It’s a great way to make a treat together and have fun doing it.
Ninja blenders make the whole process easy, whether you’re making enough ice cream to share or just making a small batch for yourself. You might even find yourself making ice cream more nights than not!
After you’re done making your ice cream be sure to clean your Ninja blender right away to make sure it’s ready to go the next time you need it.
Enjoy your fresh ice cream! Remember you can always experiment to find new fun and interesting flavors!