Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
and other Ice Cream Maker Recipes

A good homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is the jumping off point of all the other ice cream maker recipes, any flavor.

There are two basic recipes,

  • the rich and creamy French vanilla version, a custard based recipe,
  • and the versatile, quick and easy homemade ice cream recipe for those gotta-have-it-now times

All the recipes here are suitable for a 1-1/2 quart ice cream maker. 
See How to Buy an Ice Cream Maker 

French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

This is the custard-based recipe.

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or more to taste
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
Pinch of salt

Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Set aside 1/2 cup of milk. Combine the remaining cream and milk with the salt in a medium saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it begins to simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or more. Bring it almost to a boil, but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Prepare an ice bath by placing 2 handfuls of ice cubes in a large bowl and filling with ice water to cover. Set aside.

Whisking constantly, very gradually pour the warm cream mixture into the egg mixture. Then pour the egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan and, again stirring constantly, cook over medium-low heat until thickened, 5-10 minutes. When the custard will coat the back of a spoon, it is thickened perfectly. Remove it from the heat and stir in the reserved 1/2 cup of milk to stop the cooking process.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and immerse it in the ice bath. Stir until the custard is completely chilled. At this point you can freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions, but the ice cream really benefits by a 4-hour stint in the refrigerator.

No-Cook, Easy Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

This is often called a Philadelphia or American style ice cream recipe.

2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Note: Most ice cream makers produce soft-serve ice cream which you can firm up, if desired, by placing it in your refrigerator's freezer in an airtight container for about 2 hours.


As stated, the basic vanilla ice cream recipe becomes any flavor you want.

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe: Add 1/2 cup chocolate syrup to the quick recipe. Or add 5 ounces of finely chopped melting chocolate to the custard recipe while cooking.

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe: Add 1/2 cup mashed, ripe, fresh strawberries to either recipe during the last 5 to 10 minutes in the ice cream maker, just long enough to be well incorporated.

Pistachio Ice Cream Recipe: For either recipe, cut the vanilla extract in half and add a drop of green food coloring, if you like. Stir in 1 cup of finely chopped pistachio nuts by hand when the ice cream is finished in the maker.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe: (The only thing better than a homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is a homemade vanilla ice cream recipe with vanilla bean.) Use the custard base. Split one vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and bean to the cream/milk mixture while cooking but remove the bean pod before combining the egg and cream mixtures. Leave the seeds.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe: For either base, substitute 1/2 teaspoon mint extract for the vanilla extract. Add 1/2 cup small or chopped chocolate chips during the last 5-10 minutes in the ice cream maker.


Well, you can take it from here. There are umpteen flavors and things and tidbits that can add to your homemade vanilla ice cream recipe. Here are the rules of thumb:

  • Cook dry flavoring and spices, like cinnamon and vanilla bean, in with the cream. (Custard base.)
  • Add fruits and finely chopped nuts during the last few minutes of mixing in your ice cream maker. Use only very ripe, fresh fruits and mash, not chop, them for best flavor.
  • Stir in by hand chunky stuff like chopped candy bars, pralines, coarsely chopped nuts, cookies, brownies, and marshmallows when the ice cream has finished freezing in the ice cream maker.

Have fun!

More desserts like the Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream recipe

Ice Cream Maker Review

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Join the party! Tell us how you were able to use or improve the recipe(s) or tips on this page.

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