Introduction: FREE Mini Icecream in a Restaurant

Picture of FREE Mini Icecream in a Restaurant

Make real ice cream in any diner style restaurant!

This instructable is good for three situations:
1. Very late nights at Denny's, IHOP, or anyplace with half-n-half in little UHT plastic cups.
2. Entertaining kids 'bout 'old tymee heirloom' technology using salt
3. or When you really, really, want to do an instructable during your lunch break, but forget the CAD/CAM laser cutter back at the shop.

Of course, since you are buying a meal in the restaurant for this instructable, it's not really free. But the complimentary ingredients are sitting in front of you, waiting to be transformed... into...
Thanks for the great comments!

Some linked comments say free mini ice cream is messy... or loud... or makes extra work for restaurant employees. Not true! A 14 ml mini cup is only one tablespoon. A half glass of melted ice water is the same as any other.

For every free mini ice cream you make, you will make a new friend.

Step 1: Go Out to Eat at Any Restaurant With the Word "waffle".

Picture of Go Out to Eat at Any Restaurant With the Word "waffle".

Go out to eat at any restaurant with the word "waffle" or "pancake" in their name, and/or serving bacon strips in the morning. Many diners, sit-down places at truck stops, and some fast food places. Home will work, too, if you have some of the mini half-n-half cups.

Step 2: Order Water. You Need Two Big Glasses on the Table. Drink All the Water.

Picture of Order Water. You Need Two Big Glasses on the Table. Drink All the Water.

The server will bring water to you right away and usually you won't have to order it. Tell them you are thirsty and would like a big glass. Two big glasses at the table are necessary.

You need ice water, not just water. Crushed ice is better. But cubes work too.

You need two glasses of ice water for this. Don't order extra ice in your glass, the normal half ice and half water is best.

Drink all the water. It's good for you!

After drinking the water. you now have 2 big glasses each half filled with ice.

Empty ice from one glass to another.

Step 3: Add the Salt in Layers With the Ice.

Picture of Add the Salt in Layers With the Ice.

''Start''layering ice and salt in the first empty glass. Fill only one layer first, about one inch.

You don't need much salt. For a large ice water glass a total amount of about a third of a salt shaker will do for the entire glass. So for the first layer about a tablespoon or two.

In this step the wait staff may ask why you have ruined your drinking water and would you like another new glass of water?

Step 4: Add Creamer Cups

Picture of Add Creamer Cups

In total you can throw in one, two, or three, little UHT creamer cups. DO NOT OPEN THE CUPS. Salt will get in there if you do and you will have salty ice cream.

Continue layering ice and salt. You will need three of four layers of ice and salt.

Step 5: Gently Shake.

Picture of Gently Shake.

The vigorous shake method is shown with bowl on top to keep ice from flying out. Gently shaking without bowl on top works fine, too. Thick napkins are nice to wrap around the glass as frost will be forming soon

You don't have to shake it, but it helps. The salt and ice need mixing. So does the creamer cup.

Feel the frost forming on the outside of the glass? If not, add more salt.

Step 6: After 10 Minutes, Remove Creamer Cups and Wipe Off Salt Water.

Picture of After 10 Minutes, Remove Creamer Cups and Wipe Off Salt Water.

Use a napkin to wipe off the salt water and ice chunks.

Step 7: Open Cups and Add Sugar or Just Jam. Mix. We Made Strawberry Ice Cream.

Picture of Open Cups and Add Sugar or Just Jam. Mix. We Made Strawberry Ice Cream.

Open cups and add sugar or just jam. Mix. We made strawberry ice cream.

The steps are really easy, but the excitement of wondering if the cream froze is sublime. But it's gonna freeze.

Step 8: High Fives Around the Table. This Is Like a Magic Trick and People Will Really Like It.

Picture of High Fives Around the Table. This Is Like a Magic Trick and People Will Really Like It.

Leave a nice tip if you can afford it.
I know its not really free.
Phase transformation.


SarinaC1 (author)2015-12-17

will this work with regular creamer?

maxstevenson (author)SarinaC12015-12-17

I think it would work with creamer, just not taste as good. Give it a try and let me know how it works out!

The1andonlyDaniel (author)2014-11-02

Very clever! But what do you do/say if the waitress asks "Why did you ruin the water?"

the waitress wanted to know if we wanted a new glass of water and I said, "no thanks". She thought making the ice cream was cool.

kenbob (author)2011-08-27

Hilarious! I love it!

banlui (author)2011-08-27

oh my!! lol i have never left a comment before. but this just deserves one such an amazing and simple idea. great post sir great post! lol

eulaliaaaa! (author)2011-05-29


Flapjack9000 (author)2010-05-17

Now THAT. Is what I call ingenuity. xD Nice

NicOmbra (author)2009-12-23

 This is cool. Ha, Ha! Ignore the pun if you didn't get it. Anyway, you can make lemonade by asking for more more lemons and pourin' in some splenda.

hawkfrost64 (author)NicOmbra2010-04-03

 no!! don't do that!! just order the LEMONADE!!! it doesn't even taste like lemonade if you "make your own"!! its kinda different with the ice cream, but lemonade? NO!!  MY BROTHER used to work at p.f. changs. people did that all the time. the restaurant owners HATE THAT!! its not free for them!! they ownly buy a few lemons!!

teh darkcloud (author)2009-09-03

Nice! I need to do this the next time my friends and I are on a midnight Denny's trip. :p

mdog93 (author)2009-03-06

would it work with fresh milk?

a_traceur (author)mdog932009-09-02

Chocolate milk is good too!

maxstevenson (author)mdog932009-03-11

I think it probably would work with milk, but I think half-n-half is best. I haven't seen mini cups with milk, but I have seen kid's "juice box" sized UHT with milk. Hmmm... that's maybe a good idea (but it wouldn't be mini anymore). You asked about "fresh" milk, I don't see how that would work, as it would mix with the salt water, but who knows? I think there is an instructable about making ice cream/ice milk in ziploc plastic sandwich bags. Thanks for your comment!

mdog93 (author)maxstevenson2009-03-12

yh ok, but if you could seal it in an air tight container would the actually chemistry of it work or is there some reason y it only works with half n half. what is half n half btw? mdog

maxstevenson (author)mdog932009-03-12

Hi mdog, Half n half is half cream, half milk. Its when you don't want to use 100% cream, cream is the fat part from whole milk, straight out of the cow. I think you should try it with milk and see if it works. I haven't tried it, so I don't know. Let me know if it works or not in the comments here, or if you can take pictures of it, you can make your own instructable about it!

mdog93 (author)maxstevenson2009-03-13

I thought it might be half milk half cream, duno if u can find that much in the UK. mostly its the uht milk then you sumtime get cream but quite often you see what they call creamer for coffee but it isn't real cream so anyway i'll try n give it a go. cheers Mdog

a_traceur (author)mdog932009-08-31

I tried it with real milk (2%) and it worked like a charm! It was awesome!

kelli_enkeli (author)2009-03-07

WOW! That will totally impress my friends next time we hit the diner at 2am!

a_traceur (author)kelli_enkeli2009-08-31

Everything is either impressive or funny at 2 am!

SWV1787 (author)2009-03-05

Nice Idea it reminds me a a list of things you could make out of MRE contents... I think this is just the thing to do when I take my younger cousins out to eat.

thematthatter (author)SWV17872009-03-05

MREs dont include UHT half/half. They come with fortified dairy milkshake though, Yum (sarcasm)

My dad made Desert from MREs. They have powdered creamer and sometimes cranberries. It tastes pretty good.

They used to have dried cherries, i dont know if the new menus have them, but they were good, even if they were 6 years old at the time.

MREs are expensive.

They are only 8 dollars a piece. They also make something called TOTM, (tailored operational training meals) that are only 4 bucks a piece. Its the same as an MRE except it uses commercial packaging to make it cheaper.

I consider $8 for a meal to be expensive. I think a big part of the price is the chemicals that make heat. I do think that it could be a good idea to stash a few for when power is out or something.

Its the packaging that makes it expensive. MREs are designed to survive chemical, nuclear attacks, survive drops from air planes and last 3 years. The TOTM has the almost all the same stuff, including the Flameless ration heater and its only 4 bucks.

They should make the packages reusable then.

Or maybe we should start figuring out a way to recycle the packages...

"MREs are designed to survive chemical, nuclear attacks, survive drops from air planes and last 3 years."
Sounds like we need to make a hazmat suit out of MRE packages à la plastic bag fusing...

Or a really neat vest. That works too...

Great idea. If you make one tell me how it turns out.

But I already have a vest like the one shown... A lot of pockets, freakin' durable, quite comfortable...


What else do I need in a vest?

I agree, and they'd save the Earth too!!!!

dunnos (author)2009-06-24

we don't really have that kind of restaurants in holland, but if my parents permit it i wil try it in america this vacation. nice ible!

steed1172 (author)2009-06-20

now i have something fun to do at a restaurant/diner... awesome!!

ajhodges (author)2009-06-03

My friend Nate and I did it in an IHOP lol
{tauney} (author)2009-05-29

Bahahahahaha! I used to spend my time in diners making butter out of the 18% creamers...Never again! Ice cream, straight-up, from here on out.

IgnorantZebra (author)2009-03-28

Tried this at home by bringing the creamer cup home and doing it in a souvenir cup. Did not shake it long enough because there was only a little ice cream in it. The sugar made it taste very good. Thanks for the Instructable

You actually don't have to shake it, that's just for fun.

Nirgal38 (author)maxstevenson2009-05-26

Actually, shaking is a part of making ice cream. You need some means of breaking up large ice crystals that form in the milk (which is mostly water). If you don't use a dasher or shake it, you wind up with a blend of butter fat and ice crystals which is every bit as appetizing as it sounds. That's why ice cream freezers have that large paddle in the middle and you spend so much time cranking them.

mdog93 (author)2009-03-13

Ohhhhhh wait i just thought of something, is half n half the same as semi-skimmed milk?

kelseymh (author)mdog932009-04-01

No, it's the opposite.

mdog93 (author)kelseymh2009-04-02

what skimmed?

xerxesx20 (author)mdog932009-05-03

Skimmed milk is allowed to seperate and the fat is "skimmed" (hence the name) off the surface, this all happens prior to homogenization -- this is when milk is forced through a fantastically small hole at fantastically high pressure which, in turn diperses the minute amount of remaining fat amongst the milk. I think that's right anyways, i'm no dairy worker. Perhaps somebody will let me know it that is correct at some point.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-04-19

I tried it! wooh hoo! it worked. Thanks. You guys are brilliant

Thanks for feedback! Yes, it really works!!

The Instructables community is great, isn't it?

kelseymh (author)2009-04-01

This is truly outstanding. I was rather suspicious of the "Science" category when I read the title, but it is dead on! Thank you for putting this together; extremely deserving of the Feature Flag.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-04-01

i canonly find ones with 10% cream. Do you think that would work?

Yes! If it doesn't freeze, add more salt to the ice.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-03-27

Thank you thank you!!!! What a great instructable!! I worked as a waitress, and the clean up is no big deal (especially if the customer is kind enough to leave a tip.) I'd love to see what other wonderful science tricks you have! Well done!!

About This Instructable




Bio: I live in Davis, CA, USA. It's very flat here, so we ride bikes a lot and make our own fun.
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