There’s something about homemade vanilla ice cream that tastes so much better than store-bought. Is it the labor of love that went into this icy dessert or the building anticipation as you wait for it to freeze before scooping? Either way, this vanilla ice cream recipe is going to become as huge of a hit in your house as it is in ours!

A bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream and a spoon.

This vanilla ice cream recipe PROMISES a silky smooth, ultra creamy, richly vanilla flavored ice cream.

One reader left a comment saying, “I’ve made this recipe several times now and each time feels like a little miracle! I’ve had fun with different mix ins, from oreo’s to fresh raspberries and chocolate chips. It’s a bit dangerous to know how to make ice cream THIS GOOD, that turns out even better than the local favorite go-to!!”

I love ice cream! It’s a timeless classic that tastes great any time of the year. I love that it comes in so many varieties; there’s a flavor for every holiday or mood! 

Seriously, there’s chocolate ice cream, raspberry sorbet, Oreo ice cream and more! How can you ever be bored with so much variety?

A bread pan full of homemade vanilla ice cream with an ice cream scoop scooping out some ice cream.

 

What makes it even better is that ice cream is so simple to throw together you can make all of these flavors at home, just like this homemade vanilla ice cream recipe. The fresh flavor of homemade ice creams is something that I look forward to every summer as the weather starts creeping up to the higher temps.

I’ve become a bit of a frozen dessert expert in my house and even gone so far as to begin making ice cream cakes, which my family is no doubt loving! 

How to make vanilla ice cream

This recipe is custard based, meaning it uses egg yolks. You’re probably asking yourself, “why is this important and how does it make the recipe better?” Egg yolks (and churning the ice cream) create a rich and creamy texture. With that being said, you’re going to love this recipe!

  1. Beat the sugar and eggs yolks. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Mix on medium speed until pale yellow and light and airy, about 4-5 minutes. A bowl with sugar and egg yolks in it.A stand mixer beating the sugar and egg yolks until creamy.
  2. Heat cream and milk. In a large pan, heat the cream and milk over medium-low heat. If you have an instant read thermometer the mixture should reach 155-160°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, it will be hot but not boiling!
  3. Stream in the warm cream. With the mixer on low, stream the warm cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. Warm cream being poured into a large bowl full of sugar and egg yolks, for making vanilla ice cream.
  4. Heat the egg and cream mixture. Next, pour the cream/egg mixture back into the large pan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Heat to 155-160°F. If you don’t have a thermometer heat it until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. It should NOT boil, however, a few bubbles may come up along the edges. A vanilla ice cream mixture coating the back of a metal spoon.
  5. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  6. Strain to remove any small chunks. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the warm ice cream mixture into the bowl through the fine mesh strainer.
  7. Chill. Cool the mixture over an ice bath, stirring every few minutes. Then place the mixture in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
  8. Churn. Set up your ice cream machine according to the manufacturers directions. With the machine running, add the mixture in a slow steady stream. Churn according to the directions. Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream being churned in an ice cream machine.
  9. Freeze. Transfer the churned ice cream to an airtight container and place in the freezer for several hours to firm up. A bread pan full of homemade vanilla ice cream.
  10. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Why I love this vanilla ice cream recipe

Unlike the no-churn ice cream recipes you find on Pinterest, this recipe is churned- which means it’s light, fluffy, and so creamy. 

Another great thing is that the flavor is so plain and simple (vanilla) that it’s practically fool-proof! Perfect for those who want to dabble their feet into the ice cream making world.

An ice cream scoop scooping out a portion of homemade vanilla ice cream.

 

As you get more comfortable with this vanilla ice cream recipe, you can add in other flavors or additions to change it up and make it more unique!

Ice Cream Mix-ins 

  • Crushed peppermint
  • Oreos
  • Chocolate chips
  • Crushed (or whole) candy pieces, depending on size
  • Edible cookie dough
  • A caramel ribbon
  • Brownie bits

An waffle cone full of homemade vanilla ice cream, with chocolate sauce being drizzled over the ice cream.

FAQ about homemade vanilla ice cream

What does churning do for ice cream?

Churning ice cream is a way to combine the freezing and mixing process. By keeping the mixing paddle going as the mixture is chilled, you help to keep the ice crystals nice and small and incorporate more air into the ice cream mix. This gives you an ultra-smooth ice cream that’s nice and light. 

As more air is incorporated into the ice cream, the overall volume increases as well (similar to when you make whipped cream). This means that it will look like you have a lot more when the process is over than it did when you started! How cool is that?

How long does it take to churn ice cream? 

Depending on your specific ice cream maker, your time may vary. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure that you follow the process correctly. A general guideline is that it normally takes between 25 and 40 minutes to churn ice cream, but the amount of ice cream that you have in your machine will affect the churn time.

Tip: Be sure to place a fully chilled cream and milk mixture into the ice cream machine for optimal results.

A bowl full of homemade vanilla ice cream and a spoon sitting in the bowl.

Not only can you add things to your homemade ice cream to make it unique, but you can also use any leftover ice cream to create something completely new! -I know, weird thought. Who would have leftover ice cream? It’s crazy to think about, but if leftovers are as rare in your house as they are in mine, you may want to put a portion aside especially for the fun desserts like these chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches


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An ice cream scoop scooping out a portion of homemade vanilla ice cream.
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5 from 6 votes

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

A homemade vanilla ice cream that is creamy, silk smooth, and full of pure vanilla flavor.
prep time 10 mins
cook time 20 mins
freeze time 3 hrs
total time 3 hrs 30 mins
servings: 10 servings
calories: 414kcal
author: Salt & Baker

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer add the egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until pale yellow and light and airy. About 4-5 minutes.
  • In a large pan heat the cream and milk over low heat, stir occasionally. If you have an instant read thermometer the mixture will reach 155-160°F. If you don't have a thermometer, the will be hot but not boiling! 
  • Turn the mixer to low and add the heated cream in a slow, steady, stream. Mix until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. 
  • Pour the cream/egg mixture back into the pan and heat over medium-low heat stirring constantly. Heat to 155-160°F. If you don't have a thermometer heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. It should NOT boil, however, a few bubbles may come up along the edges. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. 
  • Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the warm ice cream mixture into the bowl (through the fine mesh strainer)*
  • Cool the mixture over an ice bath, stirring every few minutes. After about 10-15 minutes place the mixture in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
  • Set up your ice cream machine according to the manufacturers directions. With the machine running, add the mixture in a slow steady stream. Churn according to the directions. 
  • Transfer the churned ice cream to an airtight container and place in the freezer for several hours to firm up. Serve with your choice in toppings!

RECIPE NOTES

*if you've heated the mixture properly you won't catch much in your fine mesh strainer. This is just to ensure you don't have any curdled eggs in your ice cream mixture. Mainly just an extra step to make sure you get an extra smooth ice cream.
Be sure not to scald your milk. Don't let your mixture come close to a boil. Scalded milk and cream taste bad. 
Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 256mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 101mg | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 1295IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment or share a photo on Instagram and tag @saltandbaker and hashtag it #saltandbaker.

Two photos of vanilla ice cream.

This post was first published May 9, 2018 and has since been updated with new photos, more process shots, and better instructions for successfully making vanilla ice cream.

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