Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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Creamy, sweet, and completely homemade, this is my favorite Vanilla Ice Cream recipe! It’s a bare bones, super simple recipe that gives you the creamiest, silkiest vanilla ice cream ever.

I’m so happy to be sharing my all time favorite, go-to recipe for a homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. I’ve been making this for years but never thought to post the recipe until this summer when I made a batch to go with my peach cobbler . With only five main ingredients, you too can be an ice cream churning pro! Homemade ice cream elevates every dessert you serve this with. My favorites include: Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler, Apple Pie , Chocolate Cobbler (so good!) and Apple Turnovers.

vanilla ice cream cone with two scoops

Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream only takes a handful of ingredients to make! And luckily for you, they are all kitchen staples, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Heavy Cream and Whole Milk – the combination of heavy cream and whole milk is all about the fat content. We want it *just* right to make vanilla ice cream.
  • Granulated Sugar and Salt – sugar to sweeten and salt to balance flavors.
  • Egg Yolks – egg yolks are used to thicken the custard mixture and adds more creaminess to the finished product. Since we cook the base you don’t need to worry about raw egg related illnesses.
  • Vanilla – use high quality vanilla extract or vanilla beans! This is the vanilla I use and its fabulous. Vanilla Beans are harder to find and tend to be more expensive than the extract but create that classic speckled look. Both options are great!

pouring custard into ice cream maker

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to freeze! Everything else is extremely straight forward. Heads up: you will need an ice cream maker! This is the ice cream maker I own and would highly recommend it. For full details check out the recipe card down below.

  1. Freeze bowl of ice cream maker with paddle.
  2. In a small pot, measure half the heavy cream with milk, sugar, and salt. Heat, stirring well until sugar dissolves. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks together.
  3. Temper egg yolks with the hot cream mixture. Pour egg yolk mixture into the pot with the remaining hot cream and stir. Cook (without bringing to simmer or boil) until custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining heavy cream and vanilla. Transfer to a plastic container, cover, and refrigerate several hours until completely chilled.
  5. Assemble ice cream maker {with frozen bowl} and turn on. Pour chilled custard base into the machine and churn. Scoop ice cream out into a large container and freeze until firm. Serve.

One Simple Trick to get extra creamy Ice Cream

Reading the directions above, did you catch that one trick to get the creamiest ice cream? Believe it or not, stirring in more heavy cream into the cooked custard base actually gives you a creamier vanilla ice cream! I’ve tried making this all sorts of ways and stirring in that last little bit of cream makes a world of difference with the finished churned ice cream.

Next time you make ice cream, give my method a try. It’s amazing how much creamier it actually tastes!

custard churning in ice cream maker

How to Make Vanilla Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

Not everyone has an ice cream maker! And that’s perfectly okay because I have another method for making vanilla ice cream without one. It won’t be quite the same consistency, but will taste exactly the same.

  1. Follow the instructions as you normally would, except this time leave out the heavy cream from the ice cream stovetop mixture. We will add it later.
  2. Cook and refrigerate the ice cream base as instructed above.
  3. Whip heavy cream in a stand mixer on high until it turns into whipped cream. Then fold the whipped cream into the chilled ice cream base until combined.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a couple of hours. Serve!

scoop of vanilla ice cream sitting in container of ice cream

Toppings and Mix-Ins

Homemade vanilla ice cream can be enjoyed on its own or add toppings and/or mix-ins to create your own ice cream concoction. Its simple, creamy yet rich flavor is amazing and is the perfect dessert blank canvas. Here are a couple of ideas:

Mix-Ins

Simply hand mix these in before the final freezing.

  • sprinkles
  • fresh berries
  • cookies
  • brownies
  • cheesecake bits

Toppings

More Dessert Recipes to Try!

if you liked this Vanilla Ice Cream recipe, be sure to check out all of my other ice cream recipes!

Printable recipe card is below, enjoy!

boy smiling holding vanilla ice cream cone

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Creamy, sweet, and completely homemade, this is my favorite Vanilla Ice Cream recipe! It's a bare bones, super simple recipe that gives you the creamiest, silkiest vanilla ice cream ever.
servings 8 servings
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream divided
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla {or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped}

Instructions

  • Freeze bowl of ice cream maker with paddle at least 6 hours in advance.
  • In a small pot, measure 1 cup heavy cream with milk, sugar and salt. Heat over medium, stirring well until sugar dissolves. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks together.
  • Temper egg yolks with hot cream mixture: slowly pour 1/4 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks while stirring vigorously. Add another 1/4 cup and stir. Pour egg yolk mixture into pot with the remaining hot cream and stir. Cook (without bringing to simmer or boil) for 5-10 minutes or until custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and vanilla. Transfer to plastic container, cover and refrigerate several hours until completely chilled.
  • Assemble ice cream maker {with frozen bowl} and turn on. Pour chilled custard base into the machine and churn 15-20 minutes. Scoop ice cream out into a large container and freeze until firm. Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 92mg | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1021IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vanilla ice cream
Polaroid photo of granola bars

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3 Responses
  1. mpotter

    You have convinced me! I’ve never done the custard type before. I have a cuisinart (looks like yours) and I have always used their recipe for vanilla. Which never firms up quite enough. Others have worked well, so I’ve always been at a loss.
    But yours looks great and I want to give it a try.

    However- I am a little confused because in your post, you talk about making the whipped cream and folding it in. But in the recipe you say just mix in the other half of cream after cooking.
    Can you clarify?
    I can’t wait to look at all your other delicious recipes- glad I found you!

    1. Lauren

      Those directions are for if you don’t have an ice cream maker! If you scroll above that section, there are some general directions but the REAL directions are listed at the bottom of the post in the printable recipe card. Sorry for the confusion!

      1. mpotter

        Thank you for the quick response and I shudder to think I have become *that* person! When I scrolled down, it jumped a bit and I did not see the heading that you EASILY put so I wouldn’t bother you.
        Thank you!!
        (Also, I’ve just spent a good hour collecting a lot of your recipes! Can’t wait to try some. THANKS)