My first time tasting snow cream was around 2006 when I was in college. A friend of mine who grew up in South Carolina introduced me to homemade snow ice cream during a fresh snowfall on campus when we got inches of snow from a small snow storm that blew through.
I remember it being so much fun making snow angels and then collecting a large bowl of snow to make ice cream snow to enjoy. She used an easy recipe, and it was so quick. This year when the snow blew through, I knew I had to make a big bowl of it for my husband (who had never heard of this creamy treat).
We got a few good days of heavy snow so I knew it was the perfect time to make fresh snow ice cream. I ended up making it 3 times and my husband enjoyed leftover snow cream all day!
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Learn to make snow day ice cream with the easy snow ice cream recipe, plus some tips on mixing up your snow cream recipe.
Also called snowman ice cream, ice milk, snow milk or milk snow and southern snow cream, there are so many different ways to create a fun snow ice cream recipe this winter season with the most simple ingredients.
I looked around the internet at a few recipes and searched some of the Facebook groups I’m in, also, and found one that I love. I’ll share my recipe further down the page, but here are a few different ways to level up your snow cream game.
What is snow cream?
Snow cream is an alternative to regular ice cream when that first snow of the season falls. It’s super simple to make, inexpensive and there are so many different ways to make it that you probably already have all the ingredients (assuming it has snowed recently!).
During a long period snowed in (hello, cabin fever!) a small bowl of this sweet treat can become the best part of your day. The only thing you have to make sure, of course, is that you stay away from yellow snow.
What do I need to make a homemade ice cream recipe?
There are only 2 ingredients you HAVE to have to make snow cream. The main ingredient is fresh clean snow, and the second ingredient is a sweetener of your choice. Some folks claim that there are 3 ingredients – the third being vanilla extract.
Collect your snow
The freshest snow you can find is ideal. You’ll need at least 8-10 cups of snow, or more, because it’ll reduce by half during the mixing process. What I did was put a large mixing bowl on my car one night when the weather gave evidence of snow. The next day I had more than enough freshly fallen snow to create a delicious recipe.
Putting a large, clean bowl, or other container, outside while it is snowing is the best way to collect a good amount of snow without having to work too hard. If you’re expecting a few feet of snow or more, you can just take a big ole bowl and measuring cup (I used a dough scraper/bench scraper!) outside to collect the good white stuff.
We weren’t expecting much snow (no more than 1-3 inches) so I didn’t want to risk scraping this key ingredient off my car or the ground and it being dirty.
Choose a sweetener
Snow cream can be sweetened with so many different sweeteners. Some folks use a little sugar, others use maple syrup or sweetened condensed milk. Granulated sugar can be hard to dissolve and provide a gritty texture. Powdered sugar is a great alternative and will dissolve beautifully.
If you follow a low calorie diet, medically restrictive diet or sugar-free diet you can even use liquid stevia or similar.
Optional additions to spice it up a bit!
There are plenty of fun ways to shake of this special treat!
I’ve even read of people adding raw eggs to their snow cream, noting that it provides a creamy texture (and probably boosts the nutrient information from non-nutritious to slightly nutritious!).
Here are a few different ideas to make snow cream extra fun the next time you have a snow day.
Choose a milk
My personal favorite milk to use is a splash of heavy cream, but you can use any kind of milk as long as it’s cold. Evaporated milk is a popular choice, as well as whole milk. If you use sweetened condensed milk you will not need to utilize an extra sweetener.
You don’t need very much milk anyway. Adding too much milk will just give you sweetened ice milk, which is probably also delicious, but we want that fluffy snow.
These were the ingredients I used in my snow ice cream recipe below!
Can you make snow cream with dairy-free milk?
ABSOLUTELY! You can use any alternative milk, such as coconut milk, if regular milk isn’t in your diet. A milk mixture is also fine!
If you’re using canned coconut milk, it’ll become more solid the colder it gets so be weary of that. Oat, almond, soy or any other substitute will yield a beautifully delicious product.
Some folks even used dairy free creamers as their one ingredient! YEP. Fluffy snow + dairy free coffee creamer = snow cream.
Flavor infusion options
- We kept it simple by just adding a little bit of vanilla extract to our snow cream and it tasted like vanilla ice cream! We went and got store-bought ice cream one day when the roads thawed a bit and my husband still seemed to want the homemade stuff.
- Add some almond, maple, or mint extract or maybe even some citrus zest for a tangy kick. Find a fun recipe and add different flavors by using cinnamon, nutmeg or a touch of sea salt.
- If you’re of drinking age, give it an adult twist and add a splash of your favorite spirit or liqueur or maybe just a little espresso for a caffeine kick.
- Not yet 21, pregnant, sober or just not drinking because you don’t wanna? No problem! I know someone who added a little bit of grape juice and enjoyed it.
- Add espresso, like I did!
Try adding chocolate chips, chocolate syrup or fresh fruit and whipping cream to your bowl. Toasted coconut would be another delicious addition or any other nut.
Have children? Colorful toppings always make for a good time! Rainbow sprinkles or crushed candy canes leftover from Christmas can be added. You can even set up a snow cream station with various toppings and mix-ins for a fun, interactive experience.
Here are a few other fun ideas:
- Smucker’s Magic Shell Topping (blast frmo the past, I know!)
- M&M candies
- Crushed oreo cookies
- Chocolate covered pretzels
- Chocolate covered espresso beans
- Chocolate covered anything, pretty much
- Whipped cream
Can you save snow cream for later?
Since snow cream is just ice, you can freeze it for enjoyment at a later date! It will freeze into a solid block of ice, so let it thaw at room temperature or nuke it for a few seconds.
Also, it’s important to keep it mind that it will not retain the fluffy, creamy snow texture but it will still be delicious. My husband enjoyed ours for days after making and was just as happy as when it was fresh!
My Sweet Espresso Snow Cream Recipe
- 1 large, clean bowl
- 1 smaller, clean bowl
- 1 Whisk, spoon or spatula for mixing
- 8-10 cups Fresh fluffy snow
- 1 14 oz Sweetened condensed milk I only used half a can
- 1 tbsp A small dash of espresso or strong coffee Rough estimate, measure with your heart
- 1 tbsp A small dash of vanilla extract Rough estimate, measure with your heart
- 2-3 tbsp A small dash of heavy whipping cream You guessed it! Measure with your heart. Gives a creamier taste and texture!
Collect 8-10 cups of Clean Snow and divide it into two bowls
- *Note: I divide the snow so that it's easier to mix. The snow will reduce down to about half in the "mixing" bowl, and then you can add more snow as needed. If you don't need the snow in the other bowl, then make another batch for later.
Mix the Ingredients:
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the snow. Use a whisk or spoon to mix thoroughly.
- After the sweetened condensed milk is thoroughly mixed, add a small bit of vanilla extract and espresso/coffee. Measure with your heart here, and your eye, according to the texture of the snow. You don't want it too liquid-y.
- Finally, add the heavy whipping cream. The perfect texture would be a little more creamy than how you’d eat snow cones.
Taste and Adjust:
- Taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness according to your preference. Add more coffee, cream or vanilla extract if needed.
- Snow cream is best enjoyed immediately after preparation. Scoop it into bowls or cups and serve.
- If you have leftovers, you can store them in the freezer for a short period. I poured mine into a loaf pan.
- Keep in mind that the snow cream will freeze to solid ice after a while, so it’s best to consume it fresh. My husband just popped the container in the microwave when he wanted to eat the leftovers! After all, the label didn’t come with suggested daily values or available nutrient data so it was fair game.
- If you don’t have a microwave, just let your container sit on the counter at room temperature until the snow cream is scoopable!
What’s better than making Sweet Espresso Snow Cream while being snowed in during a winter storm, slowly developing cabin fever that drives you to wonder whether or not the season will only get worse or just never end? ANYWAY – #frugalrecipes fans, this one is for YOU. And if you have never had #snowicecream then let this be a sign. Full blog post coming soon. Will post in comments ⬇️ #growwhereyousow #sowsproutgrowrepeat #homemakerlifestyle #homemakerlife #homemakersoftiktok #womenwhohomestead #homesteadingfamily #homesteadersoftiktok #homesteadersofamerica #snowcream #snowcreamrecipes #espressoicecream #butfirstcoffee #cabinfever #winter2024 #winterinKentucky♬ Happy Mood – AShamaluevMusic
Is there a different way to make snow cream if I live in area where it doesn’t snow?
You could use a blender to gently crush ice cubes and see if that works! Be mindful that the longer you blend, the warmer the ice will become, thus turning to cold water.
Alternatively, if you own or have access to a shaved ice machine this could be a year-round activity!
A few tips
- I put a bowl and a pot on the hood of my car overnight for collection and it worked great!
- I popped all my ingredients in the fridge the first time I made my snow cream, since I mixed everything inside in a warm home.
- The second time I made it, I left my ingredients at room temperature but made the snow ice cream outside at freezing temperatures! It did yield a creamier product.
- You want to work quickly to avoid the snow melting. Have all your ingredients ready in little bowls, if possible.
How do you enjoy snow days?
There are some days I just want to sit on a back porch and enjoy hot chocolate. Other days, I want to sit inside a warm home and enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade snow cream.
The next time I make it, I might get creative with inspiration from my favorite, seasonal desserts like pumpkin pie snow cream or peppermint bark!
Remember, the key to leveling up your snow cream game is a willingness to experiment. Feel free to mix and match these tips to create your own signature snow cream masterpiece!