Is It Cheaper to Make Your Own Ice Cream? [Homemade Vs. Store Bought]

Ice cream. Just saying the word can awaken your taste buds, cause mouth-watering sensations,and bring back memories of that sweet, cold cream that brought on brain freezes during many hot summer days. 

According to, 87% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given time.

If your family is anything like mine though, there is no store bought ice cream that can compare to sitting on the back porch with your family and making homemade ice cream.

In fact, it is cheaper to make your own ice cream at home versus buying ice cream at the supermarket. It costs around $3 to make your own homemade vanilla ice cream, but the first trip to buy ingredients may be a little more expensive than $3, unless you already own an ice cream machine. 

Store bought ice cream is not only more expensive than homemade ice cream, but it is also less healthy than homemade ice cream. The prices of store bought ice cream will vary, depending on the brand and flavor, and this is the same concept for homemade ice cream, depending on the toppings and mix-ins used.

If you buy more toppings and mix-ins, your price will increase, but the chances are that the price will still be lower than buying store bought ice cream because the ingredients for homemade ice cream can be used for making more than one batch of homemade ice cream.

How Much Does It Cost To Make Homemade Ice Cream? 

Any time you choose to make something yourself, there is usually a bit of money involved in order to get started.

Making homemade ice cream is no different. Sometimes it costs a little bit of money to save money. 

ice cream

It may be a little bit costly to get started, but some of these ingredients can be used multiple times, so they don’t have to be purchased each time you make ice cream.

Keep in mind that the first time you make homemade ice cream, you will spend more money than you will the next time.

Is Making Homemade Ice Cream Worth It?

Yes, making homemade ice cream is worth it. Out of the ingredients below, the sugar and vanilla extract will last a long time because you only use a small amount of these two ingredients.

The half and half will need to be replaced by the “use by” date, and it usually lasts a few weeks before spoiling. 

One of the necessities for making homemade ice cream is a good ice cream maker. These vary in price, but a decent one costs around $69.95 and will last for a long time.

The best machine based on reviews is the Cuisinart Ice-21 Ice Cream Maker. It has a 3-5 year warranty and is the cheapest machine with a lot of positive reviews. 

The total price, without the ice cream maker, sugar, and vanilla extract, since those are usable for multiple batches of ice cream, would be under $3!

Most recipes make around 4-5 servings. That’s definitely cheaper than a large tub of ice cream from the grocery store, which is between $4 and $7.

Price Of Store Bought Ice Cream

The price of ice cream at supermarkets will depend on the brand that you buy. See the chart below for some of the more popular brands and flavors that are sold at supermarkets.

The prices are approximate and may change depending on the economy and where you live. 

BrandFlavorWeight/SizeApproximate Price
Ben and Jerry’sReese’s Peanut Butter Cup16 ounce$4.38
Bluebell Gold RimHomemade Vanilla64 ounce$6.98
Breyer’sNatural Vanilla48 ounce$3.88

As you can see, the prices can vary depending on size. If we take into account that you are paying a certain price for the brand name ice creams, then we can see that making homemade ice cream is definitely better for your pocket book.

Price Of Homemade Ice Cream

The first time you make homemade ice cream, it may be a little more expensive than a trip to the grocery store to buy a tub of ice cream, but once you buy the ingredients and an ice cream machine, the price will drop significantly each time, and you will come out spending less money in the long run. 

Homemade Ice Cream

Ingredients And Price 

IngredientWeight/SizeApproximate Price
Half and Half32 fl. oz$2.98
Granulated Sugar4 lbs.$1.98
Vanilla Extract4 oz.$10.48
Ice Cream Maker1.5 Quart$69.95

As you can see, homemade ice cream is much cheaper than buying store bought ice cream. The granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and the ice cream maker can all be used more than one time when making ice cream.

The recipe only calls for a small amount, so the price should only be $2.98 for the next few times that you make ice cream. 

Best Cheap Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

For this recipe, you will need:

Four cups of half and half

½ cup of sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

Step 1: Pour all ingredients into the ice cream maker. 

Step 2: Turn on the ice cream maker and wait 10-20 minutes

Step 3: Enjoy your dessert

The consistency of your ice cream will be more like a milkshake at this point. If you want firmer ice cream, you can put the ice cream in the freezer and wait for it to freeze. This could take around 20 minutes. 

Benefits Of Making Homemade Ice Cream

It’s Cheaper

In the long run, you get more for your money, and it is cheaper to make your own ice cream.

After buying the ingredients listed above, you will be able to make several quarts of ice cream before you will need to buy more of those ingredients. 

The two most expensive ingredients, the vanilla extract and the ice cream maker, will last much longer than a few quarts of ice cream. 

It’s Healthier

When you make your own ice cream, you know exactly what ingredients you are using. This can prevent reactions due to food allergies.

It also gives you the option to add healthier ingredients and toppings that aren’t available in ice cream at the supermarket. 

It’s Tastier

I have tasted homemade vanilla ice cream, homemade chocolate ice cream, homemade pineapple ice cream, and homemade orange sherbet ice cream.

My family loves to get together, and making homemade ice cream is something that my grandmother was fond of. Luckily, in her absence, my aunts have continued with this tradition. 

There is something different about the texture, the richness, and the smoothness of homemade ice cream that isn’t available in store bought ice cream. Being able to enjoy that with family is priceless.

You Have More Options

Supermarkets and ice cream parlors only have so many options and flavors to choose from. When you make your own ice cream, you have as many options as you want. 

There are many flavors of homemade ice cream that you can make. The most popular are vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, and chocolate chip cookie dough. 

You can also choose to add eggs to your homemade ice cream for an added boost of protein and to thicken the consistency of the ice cream. 

You Can Choose Your Own Mix-Ins

This is one of the biggest benefits to making your own homemade ice cream. You can choose whatever mix-ins that you want.

This isn’t an option when you buy ice cream from a supermarket, unless you buy multiple types of ice cream and purchase additional toppings. 

Some popular toppings and mix-ins include:

Chocolate Chips

Hot Fudge

Fresh Cherries

Chocolate Syrup

Peanut Butter Cups

You can add any of these plus more in your ice cream to create your own tasty recipe. Don’t be afraid to try new toppings!

Healthy, Safe, And Fun

Whether you enjoy sweet homemade treats or not, it’s hard to argue about how much fun you can have making your own ice cream.

This can be something you can do on your own, or it can be a fun learning experience for you and your family. 

This is a fun way to spend time with family and save money. Plus, you can experience the thrill of knowing that you made your own dessert and have the assurance that there are no unhealthy additives in your treat. 

It’s Homemade Ice Cream For The Win!

Overall, homemade ice cream is the cheapest way to go when you are wanting a sweet treat.

When you factor in all of the benefits, such as nutrition, price, and flavor and topping options, you come out on top when you make your own ice cream. 

Don’t forget that ice cream may be more expensive to make the first time, but that’s because you have to buy a few more expensive items that will last you a long time.

Don’t let this discourage you. Think of it as an investment and trust me, your sweet tooth will thank you.

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