This Vanilla Ice Cream is the best of the best. With only four ingredients, it comes together in just a few minutes for the perfect sweet scoop to satisfy your cravings.
I’ve been making this homemade vanilla ice cream for over 12 years, and its always a huge hit with my family and all our friends. There is nothing quite like the simple pleasure of homemade vanilla ice cream. It’s a classic treat that is loved by all ages – and the best part about this ice cream is you don’t need to worry about eggs, or cooking the mixture! Find out all our tips and tricks below to help you get started on your homemade ice cream journey!
Reader Lisalia says “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!” ★★★★★
Why you’ll love this Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
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.)
Ingredients for Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
All you need to make this homemade vanilla ice cream is
- milk – the creamiest ice cream will come from using the fattiest cow’s milk available, like whole milk.
- granulated sugar
- heavy cream – use heavy cream for the creamiest ice cream. You can substitute half and half for less calories, but also a less rich ice cream
- vanilla extract – use real vanilla extract for the best vanilla flavor, or you can use vanilla bean paste
How to make Homemade Ice Cream with Machine
- Freeze the bowl of your 2 Quart ice cream maker for at least 12 hours, or until frozen solid. When the bowl is shaken you don’t want to hear any liquid sloshing around. If your bowl is not fully frozen the ice cream will not be able to freeze enough in the machine.
- Add the milk and sugar to a large mixing bowl and stir them together for a couple minutes to help the sugar granules dissolve. The sugar does not need to fully dissolve, as it will continue to in the ice cream mixer.
- Add in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and stir it into the milk and sugar mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a prepared ice cream maker bowl. Run the ice cream machine for about 25 to 30 minutes, according to the manufactures instructions. You want the ice cream to be thickened, kind of like a soft serve ice cream consistency. It will not freeze fully in the machine.
- Scoop the ice cream into a container with a lid, or cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in the freezer overnight, or for at least 6 hours for a hand-scooped ice cream texture.
Vanilla Ice Cream Tips and Tricks:
- Vanilla Bean: For an even stronger vanilla flavor use a vanilla bean, by scraping out the beans in 1 vanilla bean pod. You can also substitute vanilla bean paste for the flavor of vanilla beans without the extra effort. You’ll want 1 Tablespoon of vanilla bean paste
- Pre-freeze the ice cream machine bowl! Don’t forget to put your ice cream machine bowl in the freezer at least 12 hours before churning your ice cream. That means you do need to plan to make this recipe ahead of time. *If your freezer has room, leave the bowl in the freezer to use whenever you want homemade ice cream
- Mix Ins: If you want to add mix-ins into your ice cream, cut them to be about 1/2 inch in size or smaller. Add them to the ice cream maker the last5 minutes of churning time.
- Creaminess: For the creamiest ice cream do not substitute the whole milk or heavy cream for lower fat ingredients. If you substitute for a lower fat milk, or half and half your ice cream will be less creamy, and a little more icy.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe Substitutions
There are a couple possible substitutes you can use based on what you have on hand, so let’s get into the details.
- Save Calories. You can use a lower fat milk, or half and half instead of whole milk and cream for less calories, but it will also result in a less creamy, and rich ice cream
- Vanilla. For an even fuller vanilla flavor substitute the vanilla extract for vanilla bean paste, or scrape your own vanilla bean pod.
Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe Variations
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
- chocolate chunks
- candy bar pieces
- fresh fruit
For the best results add them into the ice cream maker about 5 minutes before the ice cream is done mixing.
How to serve Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
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, before serving.
Storing leftover Vanilla Ice Cream
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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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 TBS pure vanilla extract
- Large Mixing Bowl
- 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.