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How to Make Gelato Without an Ice Cream Maker

How to Make Gelato Without an Ice Cream Maker

Nothing beats the summer heat like a frozen treat. Your sweet tooth and entire body are calling for gelato. But you are feeling pretty lazy to get one. Or your pocket just won’t let you. So the tug of war between your body, sweet tooth, summer heat, and wallet continues. Then you think to yourself, ‘Can I make gelato at home?’. You then remember you are not lucky enough to own an ice cream maker, and just like that, your plan is blown. 

Luckily, I am here to help. In this article, you will learn how to make gelato without an ice cream maker and thank me later. Making gelato at home requires only an electric mixer. The beauty of homemade gelato is that the recipe is customizable to ensure your homemade gelato tastes just how you want it.

You could be craving chocolate; add chocolate chunks or ganache to the recipe. Or maybe you need salty-sweet gelato. How about you throw in some salted caramel sauce to your recipe. Or you want to sample an eggless gelato, go right ahead. With homemade gelato, you are spoilt for choice. You get to savor the different flavors of gelato without breaking the bank. Can summer get any better than this?

How is gelato different from ice cream?

First, you need to differentiate between gelato and ice cream to ensure you make the right frozen treat. Gelato is a richer and creamier version of traditional ice cream. It has intense flavors and forms pretty folds when scooped.

Both treats are made using the same ingredients, but the significant difference is the fat content. Ice cream has a higher fat percentage than gelato. When the fat cools, it has a bland taste and coats your tongue, making you tasteless and miss out on the intensity of the flavors of the ice cream you are savoring.

The low-fat content in gelato makes the delicious flavors pretty intense.

What you need to make gelato at home

  • Medium saucepan with a heavy bottom
  • Wooden spoon
  • Electric mixer
  • Fine sieve
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Loaf pan
  • Flavors of choice

How to make gelato at home

  1. The first step is to make the plain gelato base. Making your gelato a few days earlier allows it to age and will produce a better flavor.

What you need (serving for six people)

  • Two cups (450ml) whole milk
  • Four large egg yolks
  • One cup (225ml) granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • One cup(225ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Two teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Put your milk in the saucepan and heat over medium heat until it simmers gently.
  • Whisk sugar and egg yolks to a smooth consistency.
  • Add some hot milk to the whisked mixture, a process called tempering.
  • Pour the tempered mixture into your simmered milk.
  • Place the saucepan on your cooker and cook the mixture on low heat for about 8 minutes. Ensure to stir frequently with a wooden spoon. As the custard thickens, it will coat your wooden spoon. Be careful not to boil the mixture, as boiling will make it curdle. If your custard curdles, blend it for about 20 seconds before proceeding.
  1. Sieve the mixture with a fine sieve into a clean bowl and allow it to cool at room temperature. Add vanilla and salt and stir after about every 5 minutes.
  2. When the mixture cools completely, cover it and leave it in a refrigerator for over 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Now that your mixture is cold, use your electric mixer to whip the cream at high speed until you notice stiff peaks.
  4. Fold the custard base into your whipped cream to form a smooth mixture. Avoid beating the mixture as it may cause your whipped cream to shrink.
  5. Add your flavors of choice to the mixture.
  6. Pour your gelato into the loaf pan or any other freezer-safe container and put it in your freezer.
  7. After about one hour, whip your gelato to break the ice crystals. Repeat this step a few times or until the gelato thickens.
  8. When the gelato thickens, return it to the freezer for four more hours or until it is completely frozen.
  9. Scoop and serve.

How to make salted caramel gelato

If you are craving salty-sweet gelato, here’s how to make one at the comfort of your home.

What you need

  • ½ cup (142g) homemade or store-bought salted caramel sauce


  1. Follow all the steps above
  2. Stir in your salted caramel sauce at the flavouring stage (step 6 above) and taste until you attain the perfect taste.
  3. Continue with the remaining steps from step 7 above.

How to make blueberry cheesecake gelato

What you need

  • 1 cup (225g) softened cream cheese
  • Two tablespoons (28g) melted butter
  • 1½ cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • Lemon zest of 1 small lemon


  1. Into your gelato base, whisk softened cream cheese.
  2. Crush graham crackers or vanilla cookies and mix them with butter in a small bowl.
  3. Add the crackers and butter mixture into the gelato base.
  4. Add vanilla, blueberries, or any fruit of choice, and lemon zest into the mixture at the flavouring stage (step 6 above), and continue with the rest of the steps as explained.

How to make a chocolate gelato

What you need

  • ⅔ cup (142g) melted chocolate ganache
  • ¾ cup (128g) chunks of bittersweet chocolate
  • ½ cup (85g) melted white chocolate


  1. Into the gelato base, fold in your melted chocolate ganache, ensuring that it is not too hot so that it does not set when it gets into the cold gelato base.
  2. At the flavoring stage, stir in chocolate chunks and drizzle the melted white chocolate and proceed to the remaining steps.

How to store homemade gelato

You can store your properly covered gelato in your freezer, and it may last up to 6 weeks.

How do you make gelato smooth?

A smooth gelato results from the foamy mixture of air, liquid, and solid ingredients that make gelato ice cream creamy and smooth.

Fat content

Fat is among the components that make a smooth gelato ice cream. Using egg yolks or milk fat helps create a smooth gelato. Egg yolks have emulsifiers that help bind water and fat in a creamy emulsion.


Small and many air bubbles make your gelato smooth. When making your gelato, ensure to keep everything cold to incorporate more air.

Use stabilizers

Stabilizers keep your gelato smooth and help distribute fat molecules. They hold the air bubble structure, resulting in a smoother gelato ice cream.

Use alternative sugars

Alternative sugars make a creamier and more stable gelato. Examples of alternative sugars are corn syrup and glucose, to name a few. Monosaccharides like fructose create a smoother gelato ice cream.

Is there an ice cream maker substitute

If you are skeptical about an ice cream maker substitute, here is a list of items readily available in your kitchen to help you make a rich and creamy frozen treat.

A blender or a food processor

What you need

  • Heavy cream
  • Frozen fruit puree
  • Blender or food processor


  • Put your frozen fruit puree in the food processor or blender.
  • Connect the equipment to a power source and let it run.
  • As it runs, pour your heavy cream over the frozen fruit puree slowly. The puree freezes the cream almost instantly.
  • Serve your treat.
  • You can substitute the heavy cream with yogurt or coconut milk.

A hand mixer

What you need

  • Whipped cream
  • Two large bowls
  • Aluminium foil or plastic wrap
  • Toppings, optional
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Stand or hand mixer
  • Spatula
  • 9×5 loaf pan


Use the sweetened condensed milk as your base, as it ensures the mixture is creamy and smooth when folding in whipped cream and freezing.

  • Place the sweetened condensed milk in a bowl and add a flavour of choice.
  • Whip the heavy cream in another bowl until you see stiff peaks.
  • Fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk in batches until it is thoroughly combined.
  • Fold in any solids like nuts
  • Line a loaf pan with foil wrap and pour the mixture.
  • Cover the loaf pan and freeze for about 6 hours or until firm.

A plastic bag

This method is a fun activity you can do with your kids.

What you need

  • Two tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 cups crushed ice cubes
  • ¼ cup kosher or rock salt
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract or other flavors
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • Towel
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh strawberries or other fruits
  • Quart-size resealable plastic bag
  • Gallon-size resealable plastic bag


  • In the quart-size resealable plastic bag, combine the cream, sugar, strawberries, and vanilla extract.
  • Press the bag to remove air and seal it.
  • Give the bag a shake to mix the ingredients.
  • Pour the crushed ice into the gallon-size bag and fill it.
  • Add salt to the ice cubes. Salt reduces the freezing point of the ice cubes, creating an extra-cold brine to soak up heat from the cream mixture and make it freeze. This ensures the consistency of your treat comes out smooth. But if you want yours more firm, you can place it in the freezer.
  • Close the bag and give a good shake
  • Open the bag and put the quart-size bag inside it, and seal.
  • Use the towel to wrap the bag and give it a vigorous shake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the quart-size bag from the gallon-size bag and rinse off any residue.
  • Scoop your treat and enjoy

A mason jar

What you need

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Toppings and flavours of choice
  • A mason jar or any jar with a screw-on lid


  • In the jar, put the cream, vanilla, salt and sugar and screw the lid on.
  • Shake the mixture vigorously for about 10 minutes or until it thickens.
  • Open the cover and add your flavourings and toppings like chocolate chips, mint, cereal, or jam.
  • Freeze the mixture for about 2 hours for the mixture to firm up.

Check this too: Coconut Milk Ice Cream 101: Beginner’s Guide


These fantastic methods of making gelato at home will make summer a season to always look forward to. With the many flavors and toppings available in the market, you can try new combinations to see what flavours you most enjoy. Now you can have your friends over for a fabulous frozen treat.