We had a backyard party last week and when it came time to think about dessert, I knew that I wanted it to be fun. No, not something covered in multi-colored rainbows and sprinkles, but something fun to make that everyone could get involved with. I remembered that my son had mentioned that he’d made ice cream once with a freezer ball before and enjoyed it, so I check them out on Amazon and decided that was just what we needed,  something to get us up and running around that would reward us with a sweet treat for dessert.

Summer Outdoor Party Recipes: Grilled Caprese Pesto Sliders Appetizers, Roasted Bell Pepper and Chipotle Sliders, Easy and Creamy Shrimp Dip Appetizer,  Spinach Strawberry and Feta Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing,  Sparkling Lemonade, barbecue chicken, grilled asparagus, and Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Grilled Pineapple and Toasted Coconut – also view our Outdoor Entertaining Ideas: Relaxing Coastal Theme party post

Ice Cream Recipes: Ready in 30 Minutes

I ordered the quart size YayLabs Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball Ice Cream Maker with Inflatable Cover on my son’s recommendation because he said without it, the ball is too cold and too hard to really enjoy. I decided to go with a homemade vanilla bean ice cream and to compliment the sea shore theme of the party, I added grilled pineapple, toasted coconut, maraschino cherries, and Coconut Rolled Wafer Cookies and served them in my favorite white stacking bowls. The tropical spin on on vanilla ice cream turned out to be the perfect summertime BBQ dessert, now all we need is summer to finally arrive here in Seattle.

I did make a few changes to the recipe that came with the ice cream ball maker (there are many more flavor options available in their book). After 30 minutes the ice cream is ready to serve; however, at this point it’s very much like a soft serve ice cream. If you like your ice cream to be firmer, spoon it into a freezer-safe container and freeze.

Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream in 30 Minutes
Don't have an ice cream ball? You can make this recipe and put it in a freezer-safe container and stir it, scraping the hardened ice cream from the edges, every 30 minutes for 3-4 hours depending on the temperature of your freezer.
Yield: 1 quart
Prep Time: 
Cooking Time: 
Total Time: 
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ c superfine sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Rock Salt
  • Ice
  1. In a large bowl, mix the whipping cream, sugar, vanilla bean, and vanilla together until well incorporated.
  2. Prepare your ice cream ball by layering rock salt and ice in the ice chamber. Close tightly
  3. Add the ice cream to the freezer chamber. Close tightly.
  4. Blow up the outer ball and using the Velcro tabs, secure the freezer ball inside.
  5. Roll, toss, and shake the ball for 15 minutes
  6. Open the ice cream side and with a long handled plastic spoon, scrape the hardened ice cream from the sidewalls and mix. Reclose. Add more ice to the ice chamber. Reclose.
  7. Play for a minimum of another 15 minutes though you can go longer as long as the ice holds out.
  8. Eat immediately or scoop into freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 4 weeks.
  9. To create a tropical dessert:
  10. While you're making the ice cream, toast the coconut in the oven at 350 for about 7 minutes or until it's light brown.
  11. Grill fresh pineapple for about 7 minutes on each side (cut in wedges or spears and leave the rind on or not - wash if you leave it on as I did) Let cool before assembling.
  12. Place one scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in a dish and top with pineapple, cherry, coconut, and cookie.
  13. Serve Immediately.

Ice Cream Recipes: Using an Ball Maker

Of course, you don’t have to use heavy whipping cream, you could opt for a lower fat option. But if you’re going to eat ice cream, make it great and then just have less of it! If you don’t have a vanilla bean you can add an additional 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract instead. As with all cooking or baking, using the best and freshest ingredients possible will yield a better outcome.

We love the ice cream ball and have used it several times now. We do all the things the directions tell you not too – we kick it, roll it down stairs, and generally just have a great time with it. Filled it’s about 7 lbs, though it feels much heavier, so it’s like working out with a medicine ball. We haven’t punctured any of the cells yet, but if we do, additional covers are available separately.

Ice Cream Ball Maker - a homemade summer treat in 30 minutes

I will mention that I cannot get either of the chambers open on the ball, even with the tool provided. My very strong husband uses a pair of pliers to open it – it seals tightly! Even with that minor issue, it’s a fun way to make homemade ice cream without investing in a ice cream maker we’ll likely never use again.  Plus it can be used camping or on vacation – a win/win!

Have you ever used an ice cream ball maker?

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe - ready in 30 minutes when made in an ice cream ball maker

Ice Cream Recipes: Products We Used