| DIY |

How to Make DIY Mason Jar Ice Cream, Arizona-Style

For a desert-style dessert, check out this extremely easy ice cream recipe.EXPAND
For a desert-style dessert, check out this extremely easy ice cream recipe.
Lauren Cusimano
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Recently, The New York Times did a popular post about how easy it is to make Mason jar ice cream. The Gray Lady is right: this project is super enticing and quick. You need four ingredients (more if you want to get crazy, which we will), a 16-ounce Mason jar, and a spare half hour.

There is also a way to make a very Arizonan style of Mason jar ice cream, using only native and/or local ingredients.

Since National Ice Cream Day is July 19, and Phoenix summers are simply a killer, let’s make some ice cream.

The New York Times’ Basic Mason Jar Ice Cream (verbatim)


1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
A 16 oz Mason jar, of course.
Yield: About three servings.

Phoenix New Times’ Basic Mason Jar Ice Cream


1 cup Danzeisen Dairy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Sprouts Organic Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla-bean infused sugar by go lb salt
A pinch of Fumee de Sel Sea Salt by go lb salt
A 16-ounce washed spaghetti sauce jar
Yield: You can definitely eat half this thing alone.

Many of these items can be found at Sprouts grocery stores, at any farmers market, or via pickup from Sphinx Date Co. Palm & Pantry in Scottsdale.


1. The salt and sugar are a little coarse. So, once you have your increments, give them a little muddling for a finer add-in.
2. Get the cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt into the jar, then put a lid on it.
3. Shake the shit out of it. It will start to thicken after a few minutes and feel heavier in your hand. By the time the inside looks more like batter, you’re good.
4. Stick the jar in the freezer for three hours or more.

Let's add some Southwestern mix-ins, like Arizona Medjool dates.EXPAND
Let's add some Southwestern mix-ins, like Arizona Medjool dates.
Lauren Cusimano

NYT also spells out how to spruce up your jarred dessert, recommending berries, chocolates, peanut butter, Earl Grey tea, and even rosemary and olive oil. But we can definitely shoot for add-ins with an Arizona twist.

The most Southwestern ingredient that first came to mind as an ice cream addition was dates. Specifically, Arizona Medjool dates.

Take anywhere from three to five (or more; it’s your ice cream) Fancy Grade Medjool Dates and start slicing. Blend or muddle them for a finer mixture or chop for some heavier texture in each bite. Add your glop of dates in with the cream, sugar, salt, and extract, then shake like hell.

Another go-to Arizona ingredient is the prickly pear. While we didn’t have any of the fresh fruits on hand, we did add Prickly Pear Jelly from the Phoenix-based Cotton Country Jams to our concoction. Scoop anywhere from one to three tablespoons of the jelly and add to the jar. Then, of course, shake.

Then you wait.

After multiple, high-pressure hours, our two flavors emerged safely from the freezer. (I don’t know why I thought something was going to explode.)

The prickly pear jar looked and scooped exactly like any old grocery store or dessert shop ice cream — though it did need an extra hour in the freezer. The jam flavor was definitely there, despite the ice cream not being overly pink like other prickly pear products. It was also incredibly sweet, so for those using jelly or jam as a mix-in, aim for less sugar.

Out-of-the-jar prickly pear ice cream.EXPAND
Out-of-the-jar prickly pear ice cream.
Lauren Cusimano

The date-packed jar had a chalkier texture, kind of like the inside of a cold Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. It leaves a film in your mouth, but it was also the preferred flavor of the two. Next time, I will add way more finely chopped dates (they all sank to the bottom).

For future batches, some locally sourced pecans or heat from some chiltepines would be ideal. And certainly some chunks from one of our great, local chocolate companies, which are currently delivering.

And if you easily conquered this Mason jar method, maybe it’s time to level up to making ice cream in a plastic bag.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.