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Frostbite Theater

How to Make Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

What do you do if you need to make ice cream in a hurry? Liquid nitrogen to the rescue!

Steve: Okay! So, We are here at Jefferson Lab and it's about 100 degrees outside and we though "Why not make a little bit of ice cream?" Now, of course we don't have a lot of ice cream on hand, but we do have half-and-half, sugar and vanilla and, since we are at Jefferson Lab where we have a superconductive accelerator, we have lots of liquid nitrogen. So, we're going to make ourselves some liquid nitrogen ice cream. So, Joanna and Stephanie are going to help me out with this, so dump in the half-and-half, dump in the sugar, dump in the vanilla.

Stephanie: How much?

Steve: All of that. Uh, it's a cup of sugar, and, it's a quart of half-and-half and... what... two tablespoons, I think, of vanilla. But the recipe is on our web site at, um... somewhere.

Joanna: In case you have some liquid nitrogen.

Steve: Yes, in case you have plenty of liquid nitrogen flying around.

Joanna: This is true.

Steve: And can you stir that up a little bit?

So, of course, what we have is basically melted vanilla ice cream. So, to cool it down, we'll be adding a little bit of liquid nitrogen, which is at 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. For those of you who prefer Kelvin, it's 77 Kelvin or minus 196 on the Celsius scale. So we'll pour out a tiny bit into our container here. And, of course, you need to spill some around. Just because you can. And...

Let the scooping begin! Stephanie scoops, Joanna stirs. More? Just a couple drops. And that's okay, we have plenty more nitrogen. Of course, the danger is you could make it too cold to actually scoop out. Which I think I just did. And so there you go!

With the right ingredients and a couple of minutes, you can have yourself a nice, cold treat!

Would you like to make your own liquid nitrogen ice cream? The recipe can be found here!

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For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.