Learn how to make dry ice ice cream – some of the coolest science out there for kids!
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Have you ever tried dry ice ice cream? If not, you need to! Remember how I wrote about dry ice and sublimation? Dry ice sublimating in a cream plus whatever else you like mixture makes for a quick-freezing, very lightly carbonated ice cream!
How to Make Dry Ice Ice Cream
First, make your ice cream mixture. So far we have just thrown ingredients together haphazardly to create two flavors of ice cream:
Vanilla Dry Ice Ice Cream
Combine cream with sugar to taste, plus a teaspoon of vanilla. It really is that easy!
Chocolate Dry Ice Ice Cream
Combine cream with cocoa and maple syrup to taste. Add a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
If you would like a more formal recipe, we recommend using any of the recipes in the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.
Dry Ice Safety
Dry ice should not be handled by children. Adults should always use insulated gloves, oven mitts, or tongs when handling dry ice to prevent frostbite or severe burns. Dry ice should also be handled in well ventilated areas, since it can lower oxygen levels (you’ll notice that all of our experiments took place outside). Visit this site for more dry ice safety information, and please use your own best judgement and common sense.
Now, for the dry ice part! You need your dry ice to be crushed very finely, to make sure it sublimates completely. We crushed ours with a wooden spoon, but a blender would have been faster.
Add the dry ice to your mixer one spoonful at a time. You don’t want to put too much in at a time, or it will bubble over into a cold, sticky mess. Looks pretty amazing, doesn’t it!
Notice how frosted our spoon got from being used to add dry ice!
Your ice cream mixture will quickly turn to soft-serve smooth ice cream! Set it in the freezer for twenty minutes to settle (and to give any remaining dry ice bits the opportunity to sublimate).
Enjoy your dry ice ice cream! I feel like the carbonation makes this ice cream taste slightly sweeter than usual – like the ice cream in a root beer float.
Why It Works
Because dry ice is so cold, it doesn’t take very much of it – or very much time – for your ice cream mixture to freeze. Since dry ice sublimates – moves from a solid instantly to a gas – adding it to the mixture does not affect the taste, beyond adding a lightly carbonated texture. This sublimation also creates the light texture of the nearly-instantly-frozen ice cream mixture.
Looking for more dry ice activities for your kids? Check out these five easy dry ice experiments your kids will love!