Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
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“Who screams for ice cream?!”
*Everyone raises a hand.*
Seriously, is there anything better than sitting down with a large bowl of cold, creamy, smooth and sweet ice cream?
A summertime staple, a late-night favorite, a cure-all for nearly any bad mood, and the perfect treat for all celebrations. Any time is the right time for ice cream.
That comforting, icy-cold deliciousness tastes even better when freshly made at home with simple, wonderfully indulgent ingredients. A classic ice cream base recipe is a must-have for any home cook’s cache of desserts, and this Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream is absolutely the best.
It is definitely scream-worthy!
The Best Vanilla Ice Cream
What makes this recipe French Vanilla-style rather than a typical Vanilla Ice Cream? It has a higher amount of egg yolks and a precise ratio of heavy cream to milk, which together makes much creamier and richer ice cream.
The slightly sweet and decadent vanilla is really lovely, but this ice cream base is also excellent for customizing with whatever flavors you like. No matter what extracts or mix-ins you include, this recipe creates the best homemade ice cream base for enjoying plain or building on with your sweet ideas!
Even better, you don’t actually need an ice cream machine to make easy Vanilla Ice Cream from scratch… While I’ve listed steps below for making the base on the stovetop and finishing in an ice cream machine, keep reading for simple no-churn steps using just a mixer.
What Ingredients You Need
This easy homemade ice cream recipe creates an incredible French Vanilla ice cream, which is much thicker and more luscious than plain vanilla or vanilla bean. Again, this is due to the number of egg yolks used, and the exact milk-fat percentage.
It’s better for the texture to mix heavy cream and milk in the right proportion than to just buy one container of half & half. Because, science.
Here is all that you need to make the best Vanilla Ice Cream from scratch:
- Heavy cream
- 2% milk
- Granulated sugar
- Egg yolks
- Vanilla extract
- Sea salt
What to do with all of those leftover egg whites? Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and use them within a few days to make delicious, fluffy homemade meringue.
You can also use them to whip up a healthy egg white breakfast casserole!
How to Make Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
- First, set a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and clip a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot. You definitely want to be sure you keep an eye on the temperature to avoid over-cooking your ice cream base.
- Then to the pot add the heavy cream, milk, and sugar. Continue to stir over medium heat until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- Next, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, to make sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next one. After all of the egg yolks are well combined, stir and watch the temperature. Once it reaches 165-170 degrees F, promptly remove the pot from heat. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer (or sieve) over a 2-quart storage container. Pour and strain the ice cream mixture into the container, to remove any cooked egg particles. This is a super important step to ensure that your ice cream doesn’t have any unwanted scrambled egg flavor!
- Once strained, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour until the mixture is COLD. The colder the mixture is when you add it to the ice cream maker, the better the texture will be. (You can even whip up and chill the Vanilla Ice Cream mixture the night before planning to churn!)
- Once thoroughly chilled, pour the cold ice cream mix into a 1.5-2 quart ice cream maker. Churn the ice cream for 25 minutes, or according to the settings on your machine.
- Move the ice cream back to a clean freezer-safe storage container. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.
Get the Complete (Printable) Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Mix-Ins and Toppings
Rich and creamy classic Vanilla Ice Cream is a perfect blank canvas for loading with an imaginative array of sweet mix-ins and toppings.
You can add goodies right to the freshly churned ice cream before transferring to the freezer like:
- chocolate shavings
- brownie chunks
- crumbled cookies
- swirls of fudge and
- ripe berries
Or, serve a variety of your favorites on the side and let family and friends customize their scoops of vanilla with toppings of their choice.
For summer we definitely recommend you try this berry delicious Warm Blueberry Sauce Ice Cream Topping.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Make this Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe Without an Ice Cream Maker?
It’s easy to make this ice cream recipe without a machine! Follow the same instructions, omitting the heavy cream from the ice cream mix made on the stovetop… You’ll add it in later.
Cook and chill the ice cream base as instructed. Once the mixture is cold, pour the heavy cream into a standing mixer with a whip attachment, and whip on HIGH speed until firm. Then, gently fold the whipped cream and cold ice cream mix together until well combined. Move to a storage container and freeze for at least a couple of hours before serving.
How long does this recipe last?
You can keep this recipe in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you place it in an airtight container, place some plastic wrap just over the top of the ice cream to keep any ice crystals from forming.
Can I substitute the heavy cream?
If you wanted to use something other than heavy cream, you would need milk with a higher percentage of milk fat or half-and-half so that it stays creamier. If you use a lower percentage milk-fat beverage, then you have the risk that the ice cream will be icier.
Looking for More Yummy Ice Cream Recipes?
- Blueberry Pie Homemade Ice Cream Recipe
- Lavender Dark Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe
- Bubble Gum Ice Cream Recipe
- Blackberry Ice Cream with Anise Recipe
- No-Churn Mocha Mint Chip Vegan Ice Cream Recipe
- Spiced Apple Ice Cream Recipe
- Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream Recipe
- Grilled Peaches and Ginger Ice Cream Recipe
Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
- Set a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat. Clip a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot.
- Add the heavy cream, milk, and sugar. Stir and warm until all the sugar has dissolved into the cream mixture.
- Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, to make sure it is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Once all the egg yolks are well combined, stir and watch the temperature. Once it reaches 165-170 degrees F, remove from heat. Then stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
- Set a fine mesh strainer (sieve) over a 2 quart storage container. Pour and strain the ice cream mixture into the container, to remove any cooked egg particles. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is COLD. (The colder the mixture is when you add it to the ice cream maker, the better the texture will be. Sometimes I make the mixture the night before I need it.)
- Pour the cold ice cream mix into a 1.5-2 quart ice cream maker. Churn the ice cream for 25 minutes, or according to the settings on your machine.
- Move the ice cream back to a clean storage container. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.
- No-Churn Method: You can make this ice cream recipe without a machine! Follow the instructions, omitting the heavy cream from the ice cream mix. (To be added later.) Cook and chill the mixture as instructed. Once it is cold, Pour the heavy cream into a mixer with a whip attachment, and whip on high speed until firm. Gently fold the whipped cream and cold ice cream mix together, until well combined. Then move to a storage container and freeze.
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