Premium starter with Madagascar bourbon vanilla. Makes rich and creamy ice cream with your half-and-half and whipping cream. A fun family activity that's easy and delicious. Great for parties, too. Non-GMO, with no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, trans fats, or corn syrup solids. No gums or emulsifiers. Makes 2 quarts of ice cream.
A few found the flavor too sweet.
Junket makes a light, soft batch of ice cream. There are two sets of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry favors. Users particularly like the chocolate. There are even instructions on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. Works just as well in soft-serve machines as it does in ice cream machines.
Some find it expensive for the amount included.
Great soft-serve choice for restaurants, small shops, and convenience stores. Essentially fat-free, with only a tiny bit of coconut oil. Vegan and kosher. Nearly 90 half-cup servings from one bag of mix.
Some buyers complained about the product's taste and texture.
All you need is milk and heavy cream to whip up this tasty vanilla ice cream mix. It works with a variety of different ice cream machines, from mechanic to manual. Will of course work in a soft-serve machine. The vanilla is nice and creamy and ready to serve in a short period of time. Many users recommend Nostalgia for parties.
A few users found the mixture too sweet.
Beloved by literally millions of people, as this brand is found in popular theme parks like Disneyland. Gluten- and lactose-free. Vegan and kosher. Mixing instructions on bag. One bag makes 2 gallons of soft serve.
It's nondairy, so it may not have the best taste.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
While ice cream is particularly popular in warm weather, there are plenty of people who appreciate soft serve year-round. And soft serve doesn’t only apply to ice cream but also sorbet, frozen yogurt, and custard. Assuming you’ve gone ahead and purchased an ice cream maker, your soft-serve mix of choice is critical.
Before you commit to a soft-serve mix, you’ll need to consider whether you want a powder or liquid mix. You’ll also need to consider flavor, the use of dairy products, and the amount of servings per mix. Your decision will depend on whether you’re using an ice cream maker at home or a soft-serve machine for commercial purposes.
A quality soft-serve mix makes all the difference. If you want to wow your customers, family members, or friends, our buying guide has everything you need to know before buying a soft-serve mix. For our five favorite soft-serve mixes, see the matrix above.
All ice cream primarily consists of milk, flavoring, sugar, water, and air. Once the first few ice cream ingredients are mixed, an ice cream maker freezes some of the water while adding air into the frozen mixture.
Regular ice cream contains roughly 30% to 60% air. Soft-serve ice cream contains more air, usually about 70% of its volume. The additional air gives soft serve a softer texture and causes it to melt more quickly, hence its name. You can make soft serve in an at-home ice cream maker with a soft-serve mix.
Easy and decadent
This rich vanilla ice cream mix is excellent on its own or with any toppings you can think of. The smooth texture is a crowd-pleaser, and some customers say this soft serve mix is even better than store-bought ice cream. You can add candy to this soft serve mix or fruit, such as peaches, strawberries, or blueberries. The quantity may be on the small side, but the quality of this at-home soft serve mix is unmatched. And this mix is so rich that a small portion should suffice.
If you’re used to buying soft-serve ice cream from restaurants and fast-food joints, then you’re most familiar with liquid soft serve. Liquid soft-serve mixes are dairy-based and have a higher fat content and less ice crystals than powder mixes. No mixing is required before pouring the liquid mix into a soft-serve machine. Liquid soft-serve mixes are typically sold in bags rather than boxes, so they also save on storage space.
One downside is that liquid soft-serve mixes have a short shelf life. Liquid mixes must be kept under 40°F as well. The creamier texture of liquid soft-serve mixes is thanks to butterfat, which makes liquid mixes more expensive than powder mixes. Liquid mixes are ideal for high-volume businesses, but smaller quantities also work well for home kitchens.
Powder soft-serve mixes can remain on shelves for much longer. They’re typically nondairy, making them fat-free and less expensive than liquid mixes. Preparing a powder soft-serve mix requires mixing the powder with water. Getting the ratio correct can be tricky, especially on the first try. Powder soft-serve mixes are sold in boxes, which take up more storage space. Overall, powder mixes are an excellent choice for traveling vendors or if you only occasionally make soft serve at home.
You may opt for a nondairy soft-serve mix for a variety of reasons. Powder soft-serve mixes naturally exclude dairy, and nondairy mixes are easy to find for sorbets or other fruit-based frozen desserts. Protein and fat can thicken a soft-serve mix to produce soft serve’s signature creamy taste without the use of dairy products. Many nondairy soft-serve mixes use soy, coconut oil, or pea protein for creaminess.
If you have a commercial soft-serve machine, you’ll probably want to buy the classic soft-serve flavors – vanilla and chocolate – to appeal to all customers. However, there are quite a few soft-serve flavors to choose from, including fruit-flavored and coffee-flavored mixes. If you have a home ice cream maker, choose soft-serve mixes in whatever flavors you like.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, dispensing soft-serve mix from a piping bag can help you achieve soft serve’s classic texture
Soft-serve mixes that are low in fat may be more prone to hardening. This is because fat is a natural softener and doesn’t freeze.
The majority of soft-serve mixes fall between $12 and $60, and the price largely depends on quantity, flavor, and the type of mix.
Inexpensive soft-serve mixes range from $12 to $20. These mixes come in smaller quantities, usually under 6 pounds, that are ideal for home use. Most of these soft serve mixes are the conventional vanilla and chocolate flavors. You’ll find more powder soft-serve mixes in this price range since they’re cheaper than liquid mixes.
The $20 to $40 range is the sweet spot for soft-serve mixes. On the lower end, you can find mixes that are upwards of 6 pounds and smaller, well-made liquid mixes. Less typical flavors also fall in this price range. On the higher end, you can find quantities closer to 10 pounds, which is ideal for commercial use.
Soft-serve mixes that are over $40 come in large quantities and multiple flavors for commercial use.
Freezing times for soft-serve mixes vary depending on the mix and the ice cream maker being used.
A number of tasty flavors
Junket’s bundle of soft serve mixes all taste homemade. You can go to town with toppings or mix fruit, nuts, or candy into the mix itself. With the variety pack, you can choose from vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry soft serve mixes. The boxes of powder mix each make one quart of ice cream, which is ideal for home use. Experiment with different milk consistencies to reach the thickness and creaminess you want.
Dole makes excellent soft serve, so it’s no surprise that we also like the Dole Lemon Soft Serve Mix. When prepared properly, customers say it tastes just like the Dole Whip at Disneyland. The directions are straightforward for this vegan mix, and it’s low-fat, too. This well-loved powder soft-serve mix tastes great on its own or with a few additions, like rum. Note that the instructions are for large batches. You’ll have to do some tinkering to reach the right ratios for smaller amounts. Triple Scoop is another exceptional manufacturer of homemade ice cream. The Triple Scoop Premium Chocolate Ice Cream Mix is a flavor worth trying. It’s a dairy-free powder mix that requires half-and-half and heavy cream. Buyers rave about the luxuriously smooth taste that genuinely tastes premium. It’s quite easy to make with an ice cream maker. A batch of chocolate soft serve is ready in 30 minutes with this mix. Though it’s a bit pricey for only 2 quarts of soft serve, it’s well worth it.
Q. How long can I store a liquid soft-serve mix that’s been thawed or a powder soft-serve mix that’s been mixed?
A. Liquid and powder mixes should be consumed within 14 days of thawing or mixing.
Q. How long does it take to make a batch of soft serve with a mix?
A. Depending on how much soft serve you’re making, it can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to make a batch with a mix.
Q. Can I add nuts or candy to my soft-serve mix?
A. That depends on the kind of soft-serve machine or ice cream maker you have and its capacity to handle food chunks. A high-quality ice cream maker should be fine with candy or nuts. Just make sure they’re finely chopped and frozen before adding them to the mix.
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