Make Snow Ice Cream From Real Snow

You probably never thought to use snow as an ingredient in your desserts before, but you've been missing out. Snow ice cream is actually closer to shaved ice than traditional ice cream, but is still recognizable as a creamy, cold, sweet treat that even stalwart ice cream fans wouldn't turn down. It is surprisingly good for a 4-ingredient recipe, but you can certainly jazz it up with a few extra ingredients.

The tricky part is getting access to fresh snow, which may be easy for you or not depending on where you live. Anyone in a metropolitan area might want to avoid the naturally-occurring snow there unless some brave soul believes snow ice cream is worth the pollution risk. To be honest, it just might be.

For those of us in warmer climates or craving Mother Nature's gift in the Summer months, it might be best to opt for a shaved ice machine.

This recipe comes from the Lucky Peach magazine, which has regrettably shut down. In an effort to preserve its knowledge base, here is the recipe for snow ice cream.

Snow Ice Cream

Makes enough for at least 8 servings.

Snow Ice Cream Base
  • 1 large mixing bowl of freshly scooped snow or shaved ice
  • 12-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Whisk or stir together the salt, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk. Set this in the freezer until it is very cold, but not frozen.

Whenever you are not working with the snow, keep it in the freezer as well. Everything must be as cold as possible for the best result. Working quickly once your condensed milk mixture is chilled, mix it in with the snow. Save about 1/5 of the condensed milk in case you need to adjust to taste.

Be gentle, but don't spend too long mixing since the very small ice crystals will melt surprisingly quickly when agitated at room temperature.

You should be left with a nice frozen dessert with creamy vanilla flavor. Not bad for a quick 10-minute dessert. Use a spoon to form quenelles for serving or shape it into a "snowball" using a pair of gloves.

For a more fruity sorbet-like dessert, try this version.

Kiwi Mint Snow Ice Cream
  • Snow ice cream ingredients
  • Handful of chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • Juice of 4 kiwis

Mix the juice of 3 kiwis and the lemon juice with the chopped mint and condensed milk mixture. Repeat the same process for making snow ice cream.

Use the remaining kiwi juice to serve in the bowl.

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