snooowwww day! (snow ice cream)

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 in Food


red rubber boots snow

Even though I technically don’t get “snow days” anymore, they are still super fun!

Thankfully, my job is flexible and a snow day for me means staying at home, working from my couch in my jammies. Snow days do not suck.

bthr snow

Woke up this morning to about an inch, but it has been coming down all day. I’d say we are closing in on 6 inches, which isn’t a huge amount, but if I don’t have to drive in it, I’m not gonna.

snowy road

Puppyface got a snow day from daycare and that meant she and I both needed to work off some excess energy. So we bundled up (well I bundled, Puppyface is perma-bundled) and took a nice long hike.

me snow coat

It was so stunningly beautiful outside. I loved it. I love living in the Midwest and getting four distinct seasons.

Puppyface enjoyed herself as well. Her lady beard collects snowballs, which makes me giggle.

Once we came inside (and I finished picking all the snowballs off Puppyface), I decided it was high time I make a snow day treat from my childhood—snow ice cream.

Now, it is entirely possible (probable even) that my memory is incorrect, but I seem to remember that nearly every time it snowed a decent amount when I was a kid, we made snow ice cream.

In a world where food comes from a supermarket or a drive-thru, the idea of simply walking outside and scooping up a snack was so much fun for me (and still is).

Snow ice cream is a mixture of snow, milk, sugar, flavoring (we always used vanilla) and optional food coloring.

Although realistically, if you are making this with kids, the food coloring is never optional.

To make snow ice cream, first you need snow (obviously). Clean, fresh powder. Please don’t use yellow snow. Or really any color snow. Snow should be the whitest sparkling white you’ve ever seen. Also, if you live near a factory or other heavy air polluter, I’d skip this one. Pollutants fall to the ground in precipitation. Pollution is not good eats. And one last thing, only scrape the top part of the snow off the ground. You need at least 4-6 inches on the ground before you can make ice cream, no one wants dirt, grass or leaves in their ice cream. Bonus if you scrape it not off the ground. I took mine from our snow-covered patio table.

Fill a big bowl. The biggest one you have. Do not pack the snow. Just fill it to the brim with fluffiness.

The finished product is about 1/4 the volume. Take it inside and wedge it in your freezer (between the Quorn cutlets and cheesecake) to keep cold while you gather your other ingredients.

Milk, vanilla, sugar and food coloring.

Avoid yellow. Please. No one wants to eat yellow snow ice cream.

Measure out about 8 cups of unpacked snow. This isn’t exact here, just eyeball it.

Add in 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Now here is where it get’s hard to measure. Snow has different consistencies. If you are using wet snow, you’ll need a lot less milk. Dry snow (like mine) will require more. Just gauge by how it feels. You are looking for the consistency of a thick cream of wheat or mushed up watermelon.

Mix it well. It will thin out and melt as you mix. That’s fine, because the next step is to add more snow. Add 3-4 cups or until it comes back to that cream of wheat thickness.

Now divide into bowls and color accordingly.

I love green and pink!

Now you could stop right here and eat it, and it will be delicious! You could even pour it into a glass and drink it like a slushie. But for an optimal ice cream experience, pop these back into the freezer for an hour or more. Then, you can dish them out with a regular ice cream scoop.

Sprinkles are mandatory.

The white version I tried subbing in almond milk and honey. Very, very good! But definitely almond flavored instead of vanilla.

If you are having a snow day, I hope you eat lots of snow ice cream, drink lots of cocoa and find the best sledding hill in existence. As adults we get all wrapped up in adulthood. Complain about the roads. Complain about cold. Complain about the packed grocery store.

Today, I urge you to embrace you inner kid and just have fun with it! Life is too short to worry about salt trucks and bread on store shelves.

Besides, if you can’t get to the store, you could always just live on snow ice cream until the snow melts. :)

Edit : This post has had a great response! Now that it has been picked up by a few large websites, there is a little bit of a controversy over whether or not it is safe to eat snow. So here is my disclaimer: you make your own decision. For me, I believe eating 1/2 cup of snow once a year won’t hurt me. Especially considering I don’t live in a highly polluted area. If you are worried about it, don’t eat snow. This all being said, I personally believe there are a lot worse things out there that people are eating than a little polluted snow. McDonald’s anyone? And I don’t see anyone complaining about the chemically-based food coloring I used. As with anything, moderation is the key. Other than my little grocery store joke above, I don’t recommend making snow ice cream your go to form of nutrition. Have it as a treat, or not, and go off and worry about the big problems in life.


  1. This is so fun! We did not have this when I was a kid, but I can (and will) eat it like a kid now. And there’s fresh snow falling as we speak, even. :)

    • Go make some now! And make sure you make it hot pink or electric purple or some other ridiculously bright hue you would have made it when you were eight. :)

  2. Oh. my. goodness! That is so cute! It does not snow where I live but I am SO enjoying your photos!

  3. I live (and grew up) in WI, so I’m not sure how I’ve managed to live 31 years without sampling snow ice cream! I certainly won’t let my daughter miss out on this experience, thanks for the recipe! :)

    • Same here! I grew up in WI, but I had never heard of this before. We totally missed out:)

  4. You make me smile with fond memories.


  5. I love it!!

  6. Since I have an ample amount of snow outside…and zero ice cream in the fridge….its time to make icecream! yippee! Thanks for sucha good idea!

  7. I just want to say THANK YOU! for this! I shared this post with lots of my friends who have kids, and we have all made it! It is such a neat idea, and it is so so so yummy!

    • Yay! I’m so glad you and your friends liked it. This was definitely a standard in our house.

  8. Next time I am home in Idaho, I must make snow icecream. Living in the PNW we didn’t have much snow so not much chance for such a lovely kid thing! Hmmmm…. Love the green.

  9. Next time I am home in Idaho, I must make snow icecream. Living in the PNW we didn’t have much snow so not much chance for such a lovely kid thing! Hmmmm…. Love the green.
    I love your beautiful photographs as well!

    • Thank you! The green was my favorite as well. :)

  10. This post reminds me of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book Little House in the Big Woods when they make maple snow candy! I’ve always, always wanted to try making snow candy and ice cream, but alas, I live in Arizona.

    • Oooh! What is this maple snow candy you speak of?

      • take maple syrup, heat it to soft ball stage and drizzle it over snow. you can then eat it right off the snow or you can butter your hands and pull it into taffy for later treats. either way, it is delicious!

      • Oooh! That sounds like fun. We’ll definitely do that next time it snows. Thanks!

  11. cool! i wanted to make this when it snowed.

    • Go for it! You won’t be sorry. So fun! :)

  12. I’ve always lived too close to factories, highways, large towns, or a coal power plant to do anything like this. Eating snow still seems really taboo to me.

    • Yeah, you’ve got to make your own decision about it, for sure! I grew up in the country, so it was never a thought that even crossed my mind as a kid. Now, I live in a medium size town and I figure that eating 1/2 cup of snow once a year isn’t going to kill me, even if it has some pollutants in it. :)

  13. this recipe is also good with sweetened condensed milk :)

    • OH MY! I bet it is! Okay. Now I seriously want it to snow again so I can try this. :)

    • We always used sweetened condensed milk, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. Sometimes we’d mix in almonds or other nuts left over from all of the Christmas parties. Our snowfalls were so deep that we’d wait for it to start snowing, and then set out four or five huge mixing bowls and then go back later to collect the snow. : )

      • Mmm! That sounds so good. Like cold oatmeal!

  14. I told my husband I wasn’t crazy. he grew up in WY and CO and never had snow ice cream. I had very little snow as a kid since I lived in WA and it rained a lot and snowed very little but best friend and I would make this with her mom every chance we got!

    • My husband grew up in Canada (with a TON of snow) and said he never made snow ice cream. Crazy!

  15. How much honey would you use in place of sugar?

    • Hmmm, I’d say start with 2-3 tablespoons and then add more if it needs to be sweeter. Let me know how it turns out!

  16. I’m so glad someone else remembers snow ice cream! My mom always used to let us have snow ice cream for one breakfast when it snowed enough. Back before raw eggs were going to kill us all, she sometimes would beat an egg with the milk to make it more like a healthy breakfast, I guess. :)

    • We used eggs sometimes too, but I’m getting enough flack for eating polluted snow, I can’t even imagine the comments I would have seen if I put a raw egg in it. :P

  17. Excellent! I like using rosewater for flavoring.

    • Oooh! I never thought of that. That’d be a fun dessert for a winter themed wedding. “Rosewater-scented snow sorbet”

  18. Bah! Why do I have to stumble across this the day after all our snow has been rained down into dirty ice lumps?? I can’t wait for more fluffy, fresh, clean snooooowwwwwww!!!!

    • Oh, don’t you worry, we have plenty of winter left. There will be more!

  19. If you’re that worried about eating snow… and truth be told, If its a clean pile, from a deep snowfall, i’m not overly concerned..

    but yeah, if you’re that worried, use your blender on some ice cubes, until they are powdery, (it may take a high powered blender to do this, my kitchenaid does it just fine.) and then add the rest of the ingredients.

    Viola, faux snow (sneaux?) ice cream.
    When I do this, I go for rosewater and simple syrup, with maybe a squeeze of lemon.

    • That’s a genius idea! I never had a problem with eating snow, but for people that are a little skittish, this is perfect!

  20. Awesome idea…I have twin sons that have autism & they will probably enjoy this hands on ice cream making :)

  21. Wheeee – we got snow! (Buried under it) and so today was an ice cream day. AWEsome!

  22. Those spoons are amazing! I’m assuming they are vintage but do you know the maker?

    • Nope! Not vintage. From Crate and Barrel. The porcelain ones arecondiment spoons and I LOVE them! And the silver one is an espresso spoon.

      • Oh, awesome. I’m picking up some of the porcelain ones now, thanks!

  23. I have been wondering if you could flavor the snow ice cream with Jello? It would give it color and flavor I think. What do you think?

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