Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream




About: thanksgiving! ...and bringing technology to this traditional celebration of excess.

after a long day of thanksgiving preparation, what better way to cool down than with a little homemade ice cream? only a sucker wants to wait for salt and ice. cryogenic cream is not only faster but has a better texture and allows the inclusion of ingredients (such as ethanol) that inhibit freezing in a traditional desert.

Step 1: Assemble Ingredients, Stir and Enjoy

you'll need LN2. buddy up to someone at a university or find a supply house that will
sell to you. in either scenario, you will need to obtain a dewar or thermos to safely transport
and insulate the nitrogen.

we considered two recipes but feel free to improvise.

bourbon ice cream:
start with sufficient cream in a metal bowl.
mix in sugar and old rip van winkle's 10-year-old bourbon to taste.

green chile ice cream:
start with sufficient cream in a metal bowl.
mix in sugar and horseman's green chile (levels 1 and 2) to taste

once the ingredients are well mixed, slowly add LN2 while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the stirring action becomes infeasible.

tasters generally agreed that the bourbon ice cream, while OK, wasn't painfully delicious.
much greater success has been documented using a peaty coastal scotch. the green chile
ice cream, on the other hand, was a wild success, taking deliciousness to unprecedentedly
high levels of pain.

remember that LN2 is quite cold so take appropriate handling precautions.

Step 2: Ancillary Commentary

A note on hard ice creams:

Under normal circumstances, high-proof ice creams are impossible. The
reason, of course, is that the freezing point of ethanol at normal
pressures is around -117C. When you are freezing your ice cream using ice
and rock salt, or even a state-of-the-art ice cream maker, temperatures
don't come even close to that low, and any attempt at hard liquor ice
cream will result only in ice cream soup, essentially just a well-chilled
white russian. The boiling point of N2, however, is around -195C, more
than sufficient to freeze that cocktail rock-hard. Thus, using LN2,
vodka ice cream becomes as straightforward to manufacture as vanilla.

A note on crystals:

The main advantage of LN2 ice cream, from a gastronomical point of view,
is not that it is so quick and easy to make, nor that it can be powerfully
alcoholic. Quite simply, LN2 makes significantly better ice cream. A
critical factor in ice cream deliciousness is crystal size. Crystals are
not delicious. This is why the top layer of ice cream that has thawed and
refrozen in your freezer is gummy and tastes bad - when it refroze, it did
so very slowly and with no stirring, and the result was large crystals.
This is also why you must constantly stir ice cream in a traditional
ice-and-salt ice cream maker. Decreasing crystal size improves not just
the texture, but the impressions of richness and flavor as well. When you
freeze your ice cream with LN2, the process is so fast that the crystals
have almost no time to form - as a result, the average crystal size in LN2
ice cream is far smaller than in conventional ice creams. Which means
that, if you choose your ingredients carefully, LN2 ice cream is very
close to the theoretical supremum of tastiness.

A note on Horseman's green chile:

What we know today as the New Mexican green chile was developed by
government scientists about a century ago, working at what is now New
Mexico State University, Las Cruces (
Chile growers have developed various arcane techniques, including
artificial cycles of watering and dehydration and of darkness and
sunlight, to induce the chiles to produce enormous amounts of spice
without compromising their flavor. Horseman's Haven, in Santa Fe,
purchases such specially tortured chiles and cooks them down into a
delicious and fiery stew, one of the hottest and tastiest dishes available
in the country. Green chile is a universal condiment in New Mexico - it
is available on burgers and pizzas from national chains there, and is good
on virtually everything. As it turns out, it makes an incredibly
delicious ice cream - the three-way contrast between the cold, comforting
cream, the delicious flavor, and the mind-searing heat is something we
definitely plan to enjoy again.



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    104 Discussions

    So, has anyone tried making ice cream with Liquid Helium. It's colder and the gas will make you sound funny.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    SAFETY NOTE TO EVERYONE WHO MIGHT TRY THIS; Please be very careful with liquid nitrogen. An 18 year old had to have her stomach removed the other day due to drinking liquid nitrogen in a cocktail. I'm not trying to disuade anyone from carrying out this project, just be careful and don't do anything stupid.

    4 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thats a fair warning but when making ice cream all of the ln2 boils off in the making process (yes i have made it). I fear the girl who was in the news swallowed some of the liquid and it then turned to gas in her stomach and popped it.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Boil off is the common term used when liquid nitrogen goes from liquid to gas, cooling as it goes. I use it most days in the lab and had to go through training to use it but many are unaware of the safety aspects of using it. Like most chemicals treated with respect it is safe to use, get a bit cocky and you could have problems.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Re getting a chance to try this when you don't have an $800 Dewar flask...

    My plan is to make up the cream base, get a couple of big bowls and spoons, and trot on over to the welding supply place. We'll enlist their aid, make it on their dock (sans Dewar), have a blast, and the staff will get their bowl and my pals and I will get ours. Everyone wins!


    9 years ago on Step 2

     When I was a kid, one of my mom's friends got us a container of LN2 to make ice cream for our homeschooling group and to teach some basic chemistry.  We discovered two things: One, you just can't get awesome strawberry chocolate-chunk ice cream any other way. Two, you'll never get a kid's attention faster than by saying "I could land myself in the hospital doing this! Wanna try?"

    Okay, and a third thing: Food, danger, and science are the best combination in the world.

    2 replies

    Turkey Tek, where can I get the Horsemans chile? I lived in Santa Fe for 6 years and used it on nearly everything but, I can't find it any where where i live now. Is there a web site that sells good green chile that you know of? I found a local gas/welding shop that sells the LN2 for 350 a litre in 5 litre quantities by the way so I am just waiting to find the green chile. Thanks for the great post!

    9 replies

    Unfortunately, I don't have a web source :( We basically have an agent in santa fe who personally picks it up and mails it to us.


    vets,maybe?they use ln2 to cool down boxes to put in cow sperm,what they do with those stuff is least for this website


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    cows have ebryos bulls have sperm

    cow - female bovine, bull- male bovine

    My advice to you is that u shouldnt make it because for 2 reasons- A:First being that LN2 is toxic B:It is expensive and you can get reasonable icecream at your local grocery store.