It goes without saying that the past year and a half has made our creativity peak like never before. Things we used to go out and purchase are now made at home, by choice. And to our pleasant surprise, we enjoy doing it, and the results are a plus too!

One of the most fun, culinary DIY tasks that has been trending lately, is homemade ice cream! People love to experiment with different ingredients to create delicious frozen desserts. It can also be a fun small-group activity that anyone can join. Who can turn down creating any ice cream flavor, in the comfort of a home kitchen?!

Fortunately, becoming an ice cream chef is pretty easy, and the return is an explosion of flavors for all to enjoy. You can get as creative as you’d like. Or, keep it simple and satisfying.

DIY ice cream has gained popularity because it breaks the expectation that good ice cream can only be purchased in a store, or from an ice cream shop. Not anymore!

Now, instead of going out for ice cream, you can imagine the flavor of your dreams, and make it a reality within minutes! An ice cream machine is a great way to speed up the process, but everyone’s favorite frozen treat can also be made with ordinary kitchen tools.

Below are some of our top DIY ice cream recipes. Which one are you most excited to make?

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

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Makes 2 Pints

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the milk, salt and 1/4 cup sugar over medium-low heat until steaming but not boiling and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla bean paste and let stand for 1 hour.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Place a small bowl in the ice water and add the heavy cream. Top the small bowl with a wire strainer and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until light in color and ribbons begin to form. Reheat the milk mixture over medium-low heat and slowly add to the egg mixture whisking constantly so the eggs do not scramble. Return the milk/egg mixture to the pan and heat. Stir constantly with a heat-resistant spatula being sure to scrape the sides and bottom until it begins to thicken (it will coat the back of the spatula).

Strain the milk mixture into the cream, remove the strainer and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

Pour the mixture into the freezer can of an electric ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the mixture reaches soft serve consistency, add the toasted marshmallows one at a time and continue churning until combined. Use a spatula to push any marshmallows through that may stick to the churn. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

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6 Servings

Combine the sugar and the butter in a medium size saucepan, over medium heat. When the butter has melted, stir to combine and continue stirring for 4 minutes. When the sugar and butter have combined and are bubbly, smooth and thick, remove from the heat. Very slowly, pour the cream into the hot caramel, whisking constantly. Whisk until smooth, making sure there isn't a great deal of caramel stuck on the bottom of the pan. (A little bit of caramel stuck to the bottom edges is fine.) Add the milk, vanilla, and salt. Whisk again until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Process according to your ice cream machine's manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately for soft serve ice cream, or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for firmer ice cream.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream

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6 Servings

Combine 2 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in a medium bowl. Stir and cover with plastic wrap.
Place into the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

Remove cereal from heavy cream and throw out the cereal.

Add the cereal cream and 1 cup heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer.
(Or pour into a large bowl and use an electric mixer).

Whip heavy cream, vanilla and cinnamon sugar together for a few minutes until stiff peaks form.

Add in the sweetened condensed milk and whisk until combined.
Fold in 1 cup cinnamon toast crunch cereal.

Spoon mixture into a loaf pan.

Top with the rest of the cereal.

Freeze for several hours or overnight until frozen.

NOTE/TIP - a glass loaf pan will work but a metal one will freeze the ice cream better.

Cinnamon Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

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Servings: 1 Quart

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter together. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a thin, even layer and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp. Set aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, break into bite-sized pieces.

In a bowl, mix heavy cream, half and half, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt together. Pour into a chilled ice cream maker, and follow the directions of your ice cream maker.

Once the ice cream has thickened and is almost finished (for my ice cream maker it was about 20 minutes), drizzle in 1/4 to 1/2 cup dulce de leche, depending upon your preference. Next, add in cinnamon sugar pieces.

If you like your ice cream soft-serve, eat it right away, or store in an airtight container for 3-4 hours in the freezer.

Roasted Banana Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

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Servings 6

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a medium baking dish toss the bananas, butter, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until soft and caramelized.

Pour the bananas and gathered syrup into a blender. Add the milk, cream, salt, vanilla paste, and remaining sugar. Puree until very smooth.

Cover and chill the mixture for at least 8 hours. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. During the last minutes of churning sprinkle in the chopped chocolate.

Transfer to an airtight container, press plastic wrap against the ice cream, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. The flavor will ripen the longer the ice cream freezes!

Apple Pie Ice Cream

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Servings 1 Quart

In a medium pot, bring cream, milk, and 1 Tbsp sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together egg yolks and remaining sugar. Once milk begins to boil, lower heat.
Temper hot milk into sugar-yolk mixture. Slowly add hot milk into yolks about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking to distribute heat. Once all the milk has been added, transfer everything back to the pot.

Stir over medium-low heat until mixture reaches nappe consistency, or 180 degrees F on a kitchen thermometer. Let it sit at 180-185 degrees F for 3 minutes to pasteurize the mixture. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and brown sugar. Stir until dissolved.

Transfer to an airtight container. Add cinnamon sticks. Let the mixture mature in the fridge overnight, or for at least 3 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare cinnamon apples. In a medium sauce pot, combine chopped apples, brown sugar, butter and ground cinnamon. Set over medium heat. Let simmer until sugar has dissolved and apples are soft and tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt and stir. Transfer to an airtight container and let chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to your unit's instructions. Once the volume has increased by half and has reached a soft serve consistency, add prepared cinnamon apple mixture. Continue to churn until apples have been distributed. Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cookies 'n' Cream Ice Cream with Nutella Swirl

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10 Servings

If you wish to unmold and slice, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Otherwise just have one handy.

In a large pot, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 1-2 minutes until syrupy.

Turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted. Add egg yolks, one at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the other half.

In the same bowl the egg whites were in, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold half into the chocolate/egg mixture. Fold in the other half.

Microwave Nutella for 20-25 seconds on high until slightly softened.

Stir in crushed cookies, reserving some for garnish if desired. Pour half of the ice cream mixture into a loaf pan. Drizzle with half of Nutella.

Pour the remaining ice cream mixture over top. Drizzle with Nutella and sprinkle with reserved cookies. Swirl with a knife.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 6-8 hours or until firm. Cover with tin foil if storing for a longer period of time.