Dementia-Friendly Recipe: Ice Cream (In A Bag!)
May 10, 2023

For this dementia-friendly recipe, you will need: 


  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar/ Preferred Sweetener
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 Cups Ice
  • 1-Quart Ziploc Bag
  • 1-Gallon Ziploc Bag
  • Oven Mitts/ Dish Towel


An important part of following a dementia-friendly recipe is allowing your loved one to be as independent as possible during the process. Take your time and give physical and verbal cues as needed. Encourage your loved one to select the ingredients of their choice and guide them in measuring each one. Use this as a time to reconnect, slow down, and enjoy a special experience together. Take time to taste, smell, and really be present.


For dairy-free ice cream, substitute milk with the preferred alternative as needed. In place of whipping cream, consider trying a Plant Cream Alternative like this one

Homemade Ice Cream (In A Bag!)

At Oakwood Creative Care, our motto for creating joy for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is this: Eat Ice Cream, Give Hugs, and Laugh Out Loud! This summer, you can do all three of these things at once by making your kitchen into your own personal ice cream shop. Stay cool with this dementia-friendly recipe for hand-churning your very own ice cream… in a bag! After all, it’s five o’clock somewhere, which means now is the perfect time for a sweet, creamy bowl of ice cream!

Here’s how you and your loved one can get started…


To make hand-churned ice cream (in a bag):

  1. In a bowl, mix together milk, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract (for diary-free alternatives, see substitutes below). This will be your ice cream mixture. 
  2. Pour the mixture into a 1-quart-sized Ziploc bag and seal it off. Set aside. 
  3. Next, take your 1-gallon-sized Ziploc bag and add 2 cups of ice and your kosher salt. Seal the bag and shake the contents lightly to mix.
  4. Reopen the 1-gallon Ziploc bag with your ice and place the 1-quart bag with your ice cream mixture INSIDE the gallon bag.
  5. Make sure BOTH bags are sealed nice and tight!
  6. Wrap the gallon bag in a dish towel or use some oven mitts to cover your hands (this will help keep you from getting too cold). Then, using your hands, shake the bags gently for about 10 minutes, making sure the ice is covering the ice cream mixture as much as possible.
  7. After 10 minutes of handshaking, open both bags to check the consistency of your ice cream. If your ice cream is not thick enough for your liking, your ice has melted, or your arms/hands are getting too tired, close both bags and pop them both into the freezer for 5 to 10 minute intervals until your ice cream is just right!

The Oakwood Model for Creating Joy in Senior Care and Dementia Care is Eat Ice Cream, Give Hugs, and Laugh out Loud!

Did you know?

Some clinical trials have found that the intake of dairy products has been strongly associated with better short-term memory. Other clinical studies have even suggested that dairy products may contain preventative properties against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn more, contact us, and get started with the Guide Program today, at:

dementia friendly recipe for ice cream


We're a nonprofit organization based in Mesa, Arizona with three senior day club locations (and a fourth on the way) which serve older adults with Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, and various other physical or cognitive challenges. Life does not end with a diagnosis. Our members continue to learn new skills, enjoy new discoveries, make friends, laugh, and live a joy-filled life. Our team of dementia experts lead support groups, events, classes, and private sessions with caregivers and families, guiding them on the best methods to care for their loved ones while also caring for themselves.

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