Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream is an easy no-churn ice cream the whole family will love. This cute homemade ice cream recipe has pretty pink-and-white swirls, LOTS of sprinkles, and chunks of frosted circus animal cookies mixed right in!

Scoops of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a chocolate bowl.
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Watch out, friends, because this Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream is a dangerous recipe.

Circus animal cookies are already my kryptonite. I don’t know what addictive ingredients they’re putting into those things (um…other than sugar… *innocent whistling*) but somehow, if I get my hands on a bag of those pink and white suckers, the entire thing is gone before I know what’s happened. They are that addicting. (And when they’re added to a sky-high cake, like in my Circus Animal Layer Cake? Fuggedaboutit. Absolutely irresistible.)

So when you combine THOSE cookies with THIS ice cream recipe, you’re really tempting fate. I recommend making this when you know company is coming over, and you’ll have people to help you eat it, otherwise you just might end up gobbling the ice cream out of the container like a feral raccoon raiding the trash can. Not like I’d know anything about that. Ahem.

This ice cream is delicious on it’s own but try serving it in an edible Chocolate Bowl for an outrageously fun presentation!

Are you an ice cream lover? Check out some of our most popular recipes, like No-Churn Peach Ice Cream, No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream, and Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream!

Scoops of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a chocolate bowl with a hand sprinkling sprinkles on top.

Table of Contents

🧾 What You’ll Need

Ingredients

Grab these special ingredients and read my pro tips before getting started! (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Circus Animal Cookies: These cookies are the star of the show! I recommend using Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: I recommend using heavy cream or manufacturing cream over whipping cream, when possible. Heavy cream and manufacturing cream have the most fat, which produces a better flavor and texture. For best results, make sure the cream is very cold before whipping it.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: This thick and rich sweetener will ensure that your ice cream doesn’t freeze too hard and is a perfect scoopable consistency. Make sure you use sweetened condensed milk, NOT evaporated milk. The cans look similar and they’re usually in the same section at the grocery store, but they are not the same thing. 
  • Pink gel food coloring:To get that pretty swirl, half of the ice cream will be dyed a soft baby pink. I used Americolor Soft Pink for this recipe.
Close up of a spoon with a bite of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a chocolate bowl.

Equipment

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  • Ice cream scoop: for serving of course! A high-quality ice cream scoop makes it so easy to portion the ice cream out in perfect rounded scoops.
  • Ice cream storage container: an ice cream storage container keeps the ice cream fresh in the freezer. I have this set, and can personally vouch that the containers are amazing. They keep the ice cream soft and fresh, while keeping out odors and ice crystals.

Here’s an overview of how to make Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream! Full instructions are included in the recipe card down below.

2 photo process picture of cream being whipped and then having sweetened condensed milk stirred in for Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream.

Make the ice cream base

  • Whip the cream to firm peaks.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Stir well.
2 photo process picture of mixed ice cream batter being split into a bowl of white and another of pink for Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream.

Separate and color

  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the milk mixture, working in batches and stirring gently so the cream doesn’t deflate.
  • Once combined, divide the mixture in half and color one half a soft pink color, and leave the other half white.
2 photo process picture of pink and white bowls of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream with cookies and sprinkles ready to be stirred in and then scooped into a plastic container.

Add your mix-ins!

  • Gently fold the cookies and sprinkles into both bowls.
  • Alternate adding scoops of white and pink cream into a container or loaf pan.
2 photo process picture of pink and white scoops of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a plastic container and then a photo of the scoops swirled together.

Scoop and swirl

  • Once all the ice cream is layered in the container, swirl a knife through the cream until the colors are mixed up in pretty swirls.
2 photo process picture of frozen Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a plastic container and a scoop of the ice cream.

Freeze and enjoy

  • Sprinkle the top of the ice cream with the reserved sprinkles and cookie pieces.
  • Freeze the container for at least 4-6 hours, until very firm.
Scoops of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a chocolate bowl.

💡 Tips and FAQs  

What is the difference between no-churn and regular ice cream?

Regular ice cream is often made from an egg custard base, meaning that the mixture must be cooked and churned in an ice cream maker to turn into the dessert you know and love. Most people don’t own an ice cream churner, so no-churn ice creams were invented to allow people to make this sweet and creamy treat at home—no cooking or churning necessary!

Why is my no-churn ice cream icy?

If your no-churn ice cream is too icy, then chances are it isn’t stored properly. The key is an airtight container. If you don’t have that, then make sure it’s very tightly wrapped. Any air exposure will cause ice crystals to form.

I also recommend storing it in the back of the freezer where the cool temperature is more regulated. If it’s close to the front, opening and closing the door can cause the ice cream temp to fluctuate, which can also make it icy.

Finally, alcohol can help prevent ice cream from getting too hard in the freezer, so consider adding about 2 TBSP of your favorite alcohol. Vodka is a great choice if you don’t want to add additional flavor, or consider something like rumchata, Bailey’s, or Kahlua.

How to store ice cream

I recommend storing any leftover no-churn ice cream in the same container you used to freeze it. Simply cover the ice cream with a lid (or an airtight layer of plastic wrap) and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Scoops of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a chocolate bowl.
Close up of 6 scoops of No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream in a silver container.

No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream

No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream is an easy recipe made with only 3-ingredients! All you need are whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, and cocoa powder to make this rich and creamy homemade chocolate ice cream.
View Recipe
Close-up of waffle cone holding big scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.

No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

This is the only recipe for homemade Vanilla Ice Cream you will ever need! It’s fast and easy, and you don't need any special equipment to make it. Enjoy it plain, or add your favorite mix-ins to create your own custom flavors.
View Recipe

Don’t miss the step-by-step tutorial showing how to make Circus Animal Ice Creamcheck out the web story here!

Leave a Review!

If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Scoops of Circus Animal No-Churn Ice Cream in a chocolate bowl.

No-Churn Circus Animal Ice Cream

4.87 from 15 votes
No-Churn Circus Animal Ice Cream is a sweet pink-and-white swirled ice cream, with LOTS of sprinkles and circus animal cookies mixed in! The best part is, you don’t need an ice cream maker to make this treat.
Prep25 minutes
Cook0 minutes
Chilling Time4 hours
Total4 hours 25 minutes
Yields10 servings

Ingredients

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Instructions 

  • Whip the cream to firm peaks.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract, and stir well.
  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the milk mixture, working in batches and stirring gently so the cream doesn’t deflate. Once combined, divide the mixture in half and color one half a soft pink color, and leave the other half white.
  • Divide the cookies and sprinkles between the two bowls, reserving a few spoonfuls of each to use as toppings. Gently fold the cookies and sprinkles into both bowls.
  • Take a 6-cup storage container or loaf pan, and alternate adding scoops of white and pink cream into the container. Swirl a knife through the cream until the colors are mixed up in pretty swirls. Sprinkle the top of the ice cream with the reserved sprinkles and cookie pieces.
  • Freeze the container for 4-6 hours, until very firm.

Video

Recipe Notes

This recipe has been modified and revised from its original version. You can find a copy of the old recipe here.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 125mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 908IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 1mg
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Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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26 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh! These are SO FREAKIN’ cute! I love animal cookies, I eat them by the box so this ice cream is to die for and YES! I can do this with no extra gadgets! 🙂 I’m going to be a happy girl this summer.

    1. It’s seriously to die for! I shouldn’t even keep it in my fridge!! Let me know if you make it! I’d love to hear how it goes.

  2. Hi, Elizabeth. I’ve had my ice cream maker for a few years and I prefer custard based recipes. So I’ve passed this recipe by a few times thinking, “Meh, how good could it be with no yolks?” I must say, you’ve opened my mind to no-churn. The texture was really nice and it actually tasted better the longer it sat in the freezer. I didn’t make the bowls this time but I’m chomping at the bit to do them cause they are so CUTE. Thanks again for another fun and delicious recipe. On to the next one!

    1. Hi Myra! I’m thrilled to hear that you liked the recipe, and that you’ve been introduced to the magic that is no-churn ice cream. 😀 Let me know how it goes if you give the chocolate bowls a try!

    1. Yes, of course! It’s very flexible and you can use your favorite creamer flavor, or even just swap in heavy cream and add an extract of your choice.

  3. hi, should the bowl and beaters be cold to whip the heavy cream? im going to be brave and try this ice cream, so nervous as I have been to scared to try and make my own ice cream. ha ha

    1. Totally understand the fear of trying something new! Having a cold bowl and beaters will help the whip cream turn out thick and creamy. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Angela! They can definitely be made several weeks in advance. Ideally you would keep them at cool room temperature, stored on a baking sheet and loosely covered with plastic wrap or another type of protective cover. If your house is too hot then storing them in the refrigerator would be your next best option–just be aware they might get have some condensation on them after you remove them.

  4. I decided to try the Circus Animal Ice Cream recipe and it did not disappoint! The ice cream was rich and creamy and the circus animals added a fun touch. I would definitely make this recipe again.