This vanilla ice cream is the best of the best, only four ingredients this vanilla ice cream comes together in just a few minutes for the perfect sweet scoop.
One of the things we registered for before getting married was an ice cream maker, and thankfully we got one! Almost 9 years later and that sweet baby is still running. With the ice cream maker, making homemade ice cream is so easy, you just have to remember to keep the ice cream bowl in the freezer, but there is no rock salt, or churning required.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker there are still some ways you can make this homemade vanilla ice cream. I have used these two methods, ice cream in a can, ice cream in a bag, and both seem to work well. Of course the ice cream maker will give you the creamiest results, but I understand you gotta do what you gotta do, when you just gotta have some ice cream and you don’t have one.
This vanilla ice cream is seriously so simple to make. To keep things simple this ice cream is a no custard base (which means no eggs, and no cooking involved) It’s only four ingredients, and a couple minutes of hand stirring, and your work is all done. (Unless you don’t use an ice cream maker of course.) All you need to make this homemade vanilla ice cream is milk, sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. There are a couple possible substitutes you can use based on what you have on hand, so let’s get into the details.
- Milk – the creamiest ice cream will come from using the fattiest cow’s milk available, like whole milk. I usually don’t have whole milk around though, so I just use one or two percent milk and haven’t had any problems. I’m not sure about substituting other non dairy milks, like almond milk, or soy milk, but I did use coconut milk in my coconut ice cream.
- Sugar – just stick with the simple plain white sugar, to keep the ice cream white, and nice and sweet.
- Heavy cream – you can also use half and half if you want to cut the fat levels down a little bit. Just like the milk though, it’ll be creamiest with heavy whipping cream.
- Vanilla – You can use vanilla extract, though all I require is that you use pure vanilla extract. You can also substitute vanilla bean paste (the one I use is a one to one substitute) or actual vanilla beans. If you want to scrape out your own vanilla beans, you’ll need about 1 vanilla bean pod for this recipe.
This vanilla ice cream is so delicious because it’s got the perfect vanilla flavor bursting in every bite. But it also makes a fun ice cream base if you want to try adding different mix ins. You could mix in some chopped brownies, pretzels, chocolate chunks, candy bar pieces, nuts, coconut, fresh fruit, and more! For the best results add them into the ice cream maker about 5 minutes before the ice cream is done mixing.
After the ice cream is done mixing in the ice cream maker, you’ll have more of a vanilla soft serve type consistency. So I like to freeze my ice cream in the freezer to make it a little harder and more scoopable. I recommend freezing it for 6 hours, or overnight, though it should stay good in the freezer in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks without any loss in flavor or texture changes.
You can of course top the ice cream with your favorite ice cream toppings after it’s all done and ready to eat as well. Some of my favorites are hot fudge, caramel sauce, and of course sprinkles.
This creamy vanilla ice cream is the perfect thing to scoop up on a hot summer day.
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Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 TBS pure vanilla extract
- Add milk and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Stir together for about 2 minutes to help the sugar granules dissolve.
- Stir the heavy cream and vanilla extract into the mixture.
- Pour mixture into the prepared ice cream maker bowl.
- Run ice cream maker according to manufactures instructions. Run for 25 to 30 minutes till ice cream is nice and creamy throughout, like a soft serve consistency.
- Scoop ice cream into a 1.5 quart container, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 6 hours, up to overnight for a more hand scooped ice cream.
Recipe first posted on May 22, 2011. Photos updated on June 7, 2019.
Judy Fleming says
Trying it tonight, sound so easy with all the comments for guidance. Thanks so much for sharing!!
Hope you love it!
Can you specify the size of the ice cream maker for the ingredients you’ve listed? I have a 2 quart machine and I’m wondering if those are the right amounts. Thank you!
I use a 2qt ice cream maker as well.
Making your vanilla ice cream recipe right now. Took a taste when checking the consistency and it is delicious. Just a few more minutes before I add some chocolate chips then into the freezer. Can’t wait for dessert tonight!😋🍨. I also made your peach ice cream recipe and it was soooo good and super easy to make thanks!
Cindy Floyd says
This is the best and easiest homemade vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had. The flavor is great. One thing I especially loved was after freezing it it was still soft and easy to scoop out!
This ice cream is delicious and so easy!! I modified it slightly. I didn’t have whole milk so I used 1 1/4 cup 2% milk plus 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream. I also added about 1/4 tsp of coconut flavoring, and 2 tbs vodka to prevent formation of crystals. Ice cream came out so smooth and delicious.
This was my first attempt to make ice cream using a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker. Nothing but rave reviews from the family. Now onto Chocolate for my next project.
Yay! I’m so glad to hear it!! You also need to try our strawberry ice cream as that’s super good, and popular 🙂
I love ice cream and I am always looking for new recipes to try. This vanilla ice cream was simply perfect! I also used a vanilla bean and scraped some of the seeds in this mixture. It turned out so pretty and had that classic vanilla flavor!
Nellie Tracy says
Great recipe for a classic. Love it!
Thanks! So glad you loved it!
Jessica Kupferman says
I figured out the soft serve thing!! She mentions heavy whipping cream in the recipe but elsewhere she mentions heavy cream. But they are separate! Heavy cream is heavier and has a totally different consistency. I think the whipping is a mistake.
That’s so strange, our grocery stores just sell “Heavy Whipping Cream” and that is what I buy and use. As far as I can find online heavy cream and heavy whipping cream both contain at least 36% or more milk fat, but there is also whipping cream/light whipping cream apparently, which is only 30% and you won’t want to use. At least here in Utah I don’t think any groceries sell that. Sorry if that confused you – you’ll want the heavy stuff!
Sion Goff says
I want to make chocolate vanilla icecream. According to the mentioned ingredients, how much chocolate should I use? Please guide.
Chocolate is a pretty strong flavor, so you won’t really taste the vanilla as much. But you could try adding some cocoa powder to the recipe, I’d start with 1/2 cup and test the flavor of the liquid then add more as needed.
Kathleen Scherrman says
I made this tonight and it seemed too sweet to me. If I reduced the sugar would I have to reduce one of the other ingredients too?
You should just be able to reduce the sugar. I wouldn’t go less than 1/2 cup, probably stick around 3/4 cup. You could also try adding a dash of salt to counter balance the sweetness.
I followed your recipe, but when I went to churn it, it remained a liquid? What am I doing wrong?
Did you have your ice cream maker freezer bowl in the freezer For at least 12 hours before?
Yes, it was in the freezer for 24 hours
That’s so weird then, did it seem frozen through? Was your machine churning around? It takes about 25-35 minutes to fully churn, and then it’s still a soft serve. Did you make any subs with the milk or heavy cream?
Susan Weisbarth says
I have the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker too. The trick is to use the freezer bowl immediately after you take it out of the freezer. If you wait for more than 3-5 minutes, the ingredients wont freeze. Do everything ahead of time and it should work perfectly. I made the vanilla ice cream tonight and it made delicious ice cream. Just have to freeze it now so it wont be soft serve. Hope this helps!
Susan Weisbarth says
I have a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker too and the trick is to use the freezer bowl almost immediately after you take it out of the freezer. Even waiting 5-10 minutes will cause the ice cream to be more like liquid slush. I made vanilla tonight and it was perfect. Delicious and the right consistency. Put it in the freezer for tomorrow.
Lisa Ramsey says
Can you tell me what brand name ice cream maker you used?
I have a Cuisinart 2 quart ice cream maker
Did you know that you can make ice cream by slicing a banana, freezing it, and then throwing it in a food processor or a blender until it is smooth? I've done it, and the consistency comes out just like soft serve ice cream… it's delicious! We like to add peanut butter or hot fudge, because i'm not super fond of banana..but if you use a fresh banana, it's not super banana-y