A homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe that everyone will love! It’s amazingly rich and creamy, perfectly refreshing and so much better than store-bought! This classic ice cream takes just a few ingredients and makes enough to serve a crowd.
The Best Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
Let’s just start by saying there’s nothing “vanilla” about this recipe. If you’re one of those that think vanilla ice cream is too boring of a flavor, I’m about to change your mind with the best vanilla ice cream recipe.
This easy homemade ice cream recipe is a sweet and creamy delight that tastes as it came right out of an old school ice cream parlor. It’s perfect to eat as is, or you can use it as a base to dress up with all of your favorite toppings and sauces.
Take it over the top and make an ice cream sundae with sweet sliced bananas, crunchy nuts and the best hot fudge sauce and salted caramel sauce. Then crown it with whipped cream and a colorful maraschino cherry if you can’t resist!
Photography credit: Jenn Davis of Two Cups Flour.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients
- Heavy cream and whole milk – the cream and whole milk help make the soft creamy texture we all love. You can also replace the whole milk with 2%, it just won’t be as creamy.
- Granulated sugar – The sugar helps sweeten the ice cream and actually helps the mixture as a whole become easier to freeze. Sugar lowers the freezing point making the freezing process easier the more sugar you put in.
- Salt – The salt doesn’t take any sweetness away from the ice cream, it’s there to help bring out all of the rich flavors for an amazing taste you’ll love.
- Egg yolks – egg yolks are another vital ingredient that keeps the ice cream soft and creamy. You can make recipes without the yolks, but if you really want that professional grade ice cream, use egg yolks.
- Vanilla extract – What would vanilla ice cream be without some real vanilla?
Equipment Needed to Make Ice Cream
You’ll also need an electric ice cream maker. I have this one HERE. It’s lasted years and years and it’s been used a lot. It’s not a bad price either!
How to Make Vanilla Ice Cream
- Pour heavy cream, milk, sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently until sugar has dissolved.
- Whisk egg yolks until well blended. While whisking egg yolks, slowly pour some of the hot milk mixture into yolk then pour egg yolk mixture into saucepan while whisking the mixture in saucepan.
- Cook mixture over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 180 degrees. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
- Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature stirring occasionally.
- Cover with plastic wrap pressing directly against the surface of the custard mixture to prevent a skin from forming on top. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill.
- Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker until thickened.
- Transfer ice cream to chilled container from the freezer. Spread even. Place in freezer and freeze until firm
Our Favorite Ice Cream Toppings
I think the real question here is, what toppings don’t go with vanilla ice cream? Really though, have you ever had any topping that you thought didn’t go with the amazing summer treat?
When it comes to mix ins for this one, go as simple or as crazy as you want with it. Some of my favorite toppings include:
- Cookies and cream with caramel sauce
- Chopped chocolate bits and raspberries
- Fruit sauce, blueberry syrup, or strawberry syrup
- Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate sauce
- Brownie bites and edible cookie dough
- Chopped candy bars
If you have a crazy and fun topping combos you love, let me know if the comments below! I love trying new options and I’m always looking for suggestions.
Do I Need an Ice Cream Maker to Make Vanilla Ice Cream?
For this homemade vanilla ice cream recipe, yes. There are other ice cream recipes out there that don’t require an ice cream maker. Those recipes usually say “no churn” in the title. So, you can make ice cream without the ice cream maker but I will admit, it’s just not the same.
Purchasing an ice cream maker is so worth every penny. Once you use one just once and taste the difference you’ll understand. It will be like you transformed your kitchen into your own personal scoop shop.
How Long Does Homemade Ice Cream Last?
Unfortunately homemade ice cream doesn’t last quite as long as store-bought ice cream. When stored properly in the freezer it will keep for 1 – 2 weeks for best results (much longer and it starts forming ice crystals).
With a recipe this good, I don’t think you’ll have any problems getting rid of it all in less than a week.
Tips for the Best Vanilla Ice Cream
- Don’t try to substitute the cream or milk. The quality of this homemade ice cream recipe depends upon the high-fat levels in the cream and whole milk to make a creamy and delicious end product. Lower fat milk and nut milk just won’t cut it if you want that same high-quality product you’ll find at the store.
- Be sure to freeze the ice cream maker bowl before using, 1 day in advance. This helps make sure your ice cream will freeze and set up properly when you start churning it.
- To help the ice cream not firm up too much in the freezer, store it in a shallow container, rather than a deep tub. You can also cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap to keep ice crystals from forming.
More Delicious Ice Cream Recipes To Try!
- Fried Ice Cream
- Neapolitan Popsicles
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- Cake Batter Milkshakes
- Salted Caramel Ice Cream
- Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
- German Chocolate Ice Cream Pie
Follow Cooking Classy
16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes! (plus weekly recipe updates)
Vanilla Ice Cream
- Pour heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks until well blended. While whisking egg yolks, slowly pour 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into yolk then pour egg yolk mixture into saucepan while whisking mixture in saucepan.
- Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof spatula, until mixture reaches 180 degrees F on an instant read thermometer and thickens slightly (mixture should coat the back of a wooden spatula). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
- Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Cover with plastic wrap pressing directly against the surface of the custard mixture to prevent a skin from forming on top. Transfer to refrigerator and chill through, about 4 hours**.
- Churn mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions until thickened (it should take approx. 25 - 30 minutes). Chill a container in the freezer during the last few minutes of processing.
- Transfer ice cream to chilled container from freezer. Spread even. Place in freezer and freeze until firm, about 3 - 4 hours.
- *1 vanilla bean can be substituted for another delicious option. If doing so scrape seeds of one vanilla bean, add seeds and vanilla bean pod to cream mixture and simmer. Remove pod before churning.
- **Tip: for faster chilling rest bowl in a larger bowl of ice water.