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Instant Ice Cream

  • 1 tin (400 g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tin (410 g) evaporated milk - cold
  • 250 ml cream, also cold
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • aprox. 2 l liquid nitrogen


Use safety goggles and a pair of gloves (not plastic - you gardening gloves or oven mittens will do) while adding the nitrogen to the ice cream mixture. Use a wooden rather than a metal spoon to stir the mixture while adding the liquid nitrogen.

  1. Beat the evaporated milk until thick and creamy.
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla essence to the evaporated milk.
  3. Beat the cream until thick and creamy.
  4. Fold cream into mixture and place mixture into a large metal container.
  5. Put on your gloves and slowly and gradually ...
add the nitrogen and stir well ... until mixture is frozen.
Walter Meyer making ice cream for the "UP with Science" students at the University of Pretoria
Note: serve only after all nitrogen has evaporated and the ice cream starts to soften.

Makes approximately 2 litres of Ice Cream (8-10 Portions)


Recipe from Walter Meyer, Department of Physics - University of Pretoria.

This is a real fun and edible "Physics Experiment". Here some additional information:

Nitrogen makes up about 78% of our atmosphere. It is a colourless, odourless gas that liquifies at -195°C. Liquid nitrogen is readily available commercially and used in science laboratories and by doctors to freeze warts and minor skin abnormalities. For more information go to

Here are the formulas for the calorimetric calculations:

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