FREE Mini Icecream in a Restaurant




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

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.

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Step 1: 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.

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.

''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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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    78 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

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


    4 years ago

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

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    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


    9 years ago on Step 8

     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.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 8

     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

    10 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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