How to Make Dry Ice Ice Cream

Make Dry Ice Ice Cream
Dry ice ice cream is bubbly, carbonated, and a bit tangy. The dry ice freezes the ice cream and turns into carbon dioxide gas.

Have you tried fizzy ice cream? It has the flavor and bubbles of an ice cream float without the soda. It’s an extremely easy recipe to try. It doesn’t even require a freezer; you just need dry ice. Here are recipes for vanilla and chocolate dry ice ice cream, along with a few tips and tricks for getting the texture and flavor just right.

  • Don’t touch dry ice. It is very cold! Wear gloves or use tongs.
  • Dry ice escapes the recipes as carbon dioxide gas. You don’t actually eat it.
  • If the dry ice ice cream is very hard, let it soften a bit before eating it. When it’s soft, you know it’s not too cold.

Vanilla Dry Ice Ice Cream Ingredients

Really, you can use any ice cream recipe you like. Just keep in mind the flavor will be different using dry ice because the carbon dioxide adds acidity.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dry ice

Chocolate Carbonated Ice Cream Ingredients

The chocolate recipe contains less sugar than the vanilla recipe because chocolate syrup is sweetened.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dry ice

Make Dry Ice Ice Cream

  1. First, crush your dry ice. Breaking up large chunks increases the surface area of the dry ice and improves the ice cream texture. The easiest way to do this is to put the dry ice into a paper bag and smash it with a mallet or walk on the bag. The ice crushes easily so you don’t have to get medieval on it.
  2. In a very large bowl, mix all of the ingredients except for the dry ice.
  3. Stir in the dry ice a little at a time. “A little at a time” is the key point here, because if you add a lot of dry ice at once you’ll get mountains of bubbles that will overflow your bowl. The bubbling will continue as long as any dry ice remains.
  4. You may want to stop at this point and eat the partly-frozen, partly-bubbly ice cream. Or, you can continue to add dry ice until you get a solid ice cream. The ice cream will be very cold, so be careful when eating it. It’s safe for consumption when it’s soft enough to stir or scoop out of its container.
  5. You can store uneaten ice cream in the freezer.

Another Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe Using Dry Ice

Alternatively, use unsweetened cocoa powder in your chocolate ice cream. This recipe uses heavy cream, so the ice cream is smoother.

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dry ice
  1. Whip the heavy cream to form stiff peaks.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Crush the dry ice.
  4. Fold some of the heavy cream into the condensed milk mixture.
  5. Add some dry ice.
  6. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream and continue mixing until you have uniform ice cream.
  7. Add the rest of the dry ice, bit by bit, until it freezes.
  8. For fizzy, bubble dry ice, eat the ice cream immediately. You can freeze leftovers, but they’ll lose their fizz over time.

How Dry Ice Ice Cream Works

Dry ice is cold enough that it freezes liquid ingredients very quickly. This is great for ice cream because fast freezing forms the tiny ice crystals that give ice cream its creamy texture. However, dry ice is also cold enough to cause frostbite, so wear gloves when you handle the dry ice and don’t eat dry ice chunks. If you have leftover dry ice, there are many other projects you can try.

The dry ice sublimates to form carbon dioxide gas. As the ice cream freezes, the mixture traps the bubbles, making fizzy ice cream. You may wonder why dry ice ice cream has bubbles, but liquid nitrogen ice cream does not. The main reason is that liquid nitrogen combine with the other liquid ingredients, so when it vaporizes the gas mainly exits from the top of the mixture. Dry ice, on the other hand, is a solid. It sinks to the bottom of the mixture. When sublimation occurs, the gas bubbles rise through the mixture. When the recipe gets cold enough, the bubbles get frozen into place.

The carbonation adds a slightly sour flavor, like the taste of seltzer water. This comes from the reaction between carbon dioxide and liquid in the recipe, forming a tiny bit of carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is a weak acid. It is not very corrosive, but it does have the sour flavor characteristic of acids.