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No churn ice cream recipe made with a simple homemade marshmallow base—and no sweetened condensed milk. Creamy, dreamy and so delicious, you won’t believe how easy it really is!
What is no churn marshmallow ice cream?
Making no churn ice cream just means making ice cream without an ice cream machine. Since 2013, I’ve been making no churn ice cream at home with nothing more than sweetened condensed milk, cream and vanilla. In all that time, I don’t believe that I’ve broken out my ice cream maker even once. No need for the fuss.
But what about making homemade ice cream when you don’t have/don’t want to make sweetened condensed milk—or simply don’t want to use it? Oh, hello marshmallow ice cream.
The best no churn marshmallow ice cream recipe
This easy recipe makes a naturally gluten free, super fluffy vanilla ice cream that’s sweet, light, airy, and super creamy. The unique ice cream base is a mixture of cooked sugar, ordinary powdered gelatin, and water—otherwise known as marshmallows.
This homemade ice cream tastes like you would imagine marshmallows would if they were creamy instead of just soft. It’s my family’s favorite homemade ice cream. In fact, whatever cake my children choose for their birthdays, they always beg for a “side of marshmallow ice cream.”
Marshmallow flavored ice cream ingredients
- Heavy whipping cream: Since heavy whipping cream is mostly fat, it doesn’t freeze solid. Use high quality heavy whipping cream, not just “single cream”
- Gelatin: Powdered gelatin is sold at the regular grocery store, usually in packets. It firms up the marshmallow base, and keeps the ice cream from getting icy.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is cooked to the so-called “softball stage,” which is between 238°F and 240°F, in a regular pot with the simplest instant-read candy thermometer
- Cream of tartar: Useful in prevents crystals from forming in the cooked sugar; you can use a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice in its place
- Salt: Brings out the other flavors and balances the sweetness
- Vanilla extract: This adds depth of flavor to this sweet, creamy marshmallow ice cream; you can replace it with any other extract flavor you like.
Making homemade marshmallow ice cream
If you have a simple candy thermometer (affiliate link) (or even if you don’t—just do the “softball stage” test), you can make homemade marshmallows with nothing more than gelatin, water, cream of tartar and sugar.
Use about half the gelatin you would for marshmallows, keep everything else the same, fold the mixture into fresh whipped cream and make marshmallow ice cream. It’s really that simple.
Tips for making ice cream with marshmallow
Make sure to use cold whipping cream
To whip cream and have it hold its shape, your whipping cream must be very cold. In fact, the utensils and bowl you use should also be cold, as whipping occurs when the fat globules in the cream emulsify and that happens faster and in more stable fashion when the fat is cold. (Source: Bon Appétit.)
Whip the heavy cream on medium-high
If you whip your heavy cream on medium-high, not high speed, you’ll have a more stable whipped cream. It’s also less likely to become over-whipped, leading to whipping cream that’s not smooth, and is almost crumbly in texture.
Use smaller containers for faster freezing times
This homemade ice cream must be frozen for about 4 hours after the mixture is ready. Freeze it in smaller, horizontal containers so more of the mixture is exposed to the cold air of the freezer, and your ice cream may be ready up to an hour sooner.
How to store marshmallow ice cream
Since ice cream is a frozen treat, the only place to store it is in the freezer. Be sure to use a freezer-safe container that won’t become too rigid and crack in the freezer, and that there’s enough room for the ice cream to expand a bit as it freezes fully. Close the container very tight to minimize the amount of air in the container, which causes freezer burn over time.
Marshmallow ice cream substitutions
Dairy free marshmallow ice cream
I haven’t made this ice cream recipe with a dairy free heavy whipping cream substitute, but I think it’s worth trying. I’d recommend using the cream from a refrigerated can of full-fat coconut milk, whipped into soft peaks (like in our dairy free no churn ice cream), or even the Silk brand dairy-free whipping cream alternative prepared in the same way.
Vegan marshmallow ice cream?
To make this marshmallow ice cream vegan, you’d have to replace both the heavy whipping cream and the gelatin, which is an animal product. You may be able to use agar agar in its place, but I don’t have any experience with that, so I’m afraid I can’t offer any recommendations.
Serving no churn marshmallow ice cream
Marshmallow ice cream has a really neutral flavor, similar to our no churn 3-ingredient vanilla ice cream, which is made with a combination of heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. Anything you might pair with vanilla ice cream would taste amazing with marshmallow ice cream. Here are some suggestions:
- Try a marshmallow sundae, with rich chocolate sauce or really any of our homemade ice cream topping recipes
- A big scoop of marshmallow ice cream on top of a chewy gf brownie or a big, rich gluten free blondie
- In a homemade gluten free ice cream cone, with a mini marshmallow in the bottom to catch drips, of course!
Marshmallow ice cream variations
Strawberry marshmallow ice cream
Fold about 1 cup miniature marshmallows and 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries into the ice cream mixture before freezing, then drizzle a few scoops with strawberry syrup.
Chocolate marshmallow ice cream recipe
Add 1/4 cup (20 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder to the heavy whipping cream once you’ve whipped it into soft peaks. Fold in 1/2 cup chopped chocolate chunks and 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows before the mixture is frozen.
S’mores ice cream
Fold 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped gluten free graham crackers into the ice cream mixture right before freezing. Serve with hot fudge.
Fluffernutter ice cream
Drizzle and fold in 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter to the marshmallow base after it’s been whipped until it’s swirled into the mixture. Continue with the recipe as written.
Does no churn ice cream taste good?
No churn ice cream tastes just like the best, richest ice cream, since it’s not as full of air as ice cream made in an ice cream machine.
Is this marshmallow fluff ice cream gluten free?
Yes! This marshmallow ice cream is naturally gluten free.
Will my marshmallow ice cream freeze solid?
No, because marshmallow ice cream is mostly made of sugar, gelatin, and cream. None of those ingredients freeze solid, so your ice cream will remain cream and scoopable, and you’ll never need to let it warm up to be able to serve it.
Can I add toasted marshmallows to my homemade ice cream?
Yes! You can easily make toasted marshmallow ice cream by mixing in some toasted mini marshmallows before the mixture goes in the container. Just be sure they’ve cooled to room temperature after toasting, or they’ll melt the ice cream.
How do you toast marshmallows without an open flame?
You can toast marshmallows in the oven, under the broiler! Place your store-bought marshmallows in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place them under your oven’s broiler, turned on high. Watch them very carefully so they don’t touch the flame or catch fire, and be sure to flip them for evening browning.
Why are there ice crystals in my marshmallow ice cream?
If there are ice crystals in your marshmallow ice cream, you may have added too much water to your marshmallow mixture when you cooked the sugar. If you haven’t made any ingredient substitutions, your ice cream may develop crystals if you store it in a container that’s not freezer-safe and/or isn’t properly sealed with a tight-fitting lid.
How do you make homemade marshmallows?
Increase the unflavored powdered gelatin to 7 grams, and keep everything else exactly the same (but eliminate the heavy whipping cream as an ingredient). Line a baking pan or sheet with parchment, cover with a layer of confectioners’ sugar, and spread the marshmallow mixture into an even layer on top. Allow to set at room temperature before slicing into squares.
To make little marshmallow kisses, grease the inside of a piping bag fitted with a large, open piping tip and pour the marshmallow mixture inside. Pipe out little kisses onto a layer of confectioners’ sugar and allow to set.