How Did They Make Ice Cream in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered how people made ice cream in ancient times? It might surprise you to know that ice cream has been enjoyed for thousands of years, dating back to ancient China and Persia. In this article, we’ll explore the history of ice cream and how it was made in ancient times.

The History of Ice Cream

Ice cream is believed to have originated in China around 200 BC. The Chinese would mix snow with fruit juices to create a frozen treat. Later, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), a dairy-based version of ice cream was created using buffalo milk, flour, and camphor.

Ice cream eventually made its way to Persia, where it became a popular dessert among the wealthy. Persian ice cream was often flavored with rosewater or saffron and served with sweet syrups.

How Did They Make Ice Cream?

In ancient times, making ice cream was no easy feat. Without modern refrigeration technology, people had to rely on other methods to freeze their desserts.

One common method was using ice and salt. This technique involves layering a mixture of milk, sugar, and flavorings in a container surrounded by ice and salt.

As the mixture freezes, the salt lowers the freezing point of the ice, allowing it to get colder than it otherwise would. This method is still used today for making homemade ice cream.

Another method involved using snow or ice stored in underground chambers called yakhchals. Yakhchals were used in ancient Persia to store food and keep it cool during hot summers. The snow or ice would be mixed with fruit juices or milk to create a frozen dessert.


In ancient times, flavors for ice cream were limited compared to what we have today. Common flavors included fruit such as mango or peach, as well as spices like cinnamon or cardamom. In Persia, saffron was a popular flavoring for ice cream.


Ice cream was often served in a similar way to how we enjoy it today – scooped into bowls or cones. In Persia, it was sometimes served with sweet syrups or sprinkled with nuts.


Ice cream has been enjoyed for thousands of years and has evolved significantly since its earliest origins. While the methods used to make ice cream in ancient times were more labor-intensive than what we have today, the delicious treat was still enjoyed by many. Next time you enjoy a scoop of your favorite ice cream flavor, take a moment to appreciate the history and ingenuity that went into creating this frozen dessert.