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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream: Simple Recipe for Fresh Flavors

I’ve included some videos below for those who prefer to watch rather than read. Making homemade vanilla ice cream is easier than you might think, and the best part is you don’t need any fancy equipment. With just a few simple ingredients like cream, sugar, and vanilla, you can create a creamy and delicious treat right at home.

This recipe is perfect for those hot summer days when you crave something sweet and refreshing. You’ll love how customizable it is; you can add your favorite toppings or mix-ins to make it truly your own. Whether you’re new to making ice cream or a seasoned pro, this homemade version is sure to impress.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make delicious homemade vanilla ice cream, you’ll need a few simple ingredients. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Heavy Cream: This gives the ice cream its rich and creamy texture. You will need 2 cups of heavy cream.

    Possible Substitute: Half-and-half can be used, but it may result in a slightly less creamy texture.

  2. Sweetened Condensed Milk: This provides sweetness and helps create a smooth texture. Use one 14-ounce can.

    Possible Substitute: You can mix regular milk with sugar, but the texture won’t be as smooth.

  3. Vanilla Extract: Essential for that classic vanilla flavor. Use 2 teaspoons.

    Possible Substitute: You can use vanilla bean seeds for a more intense flavor.

  4. Salt: Just a pinch to enhance the flavor.

    Possible Substitute: Sea salt or kosher salt can be used.

  5. Granulated Sugar: Sometimes included in recipes to adjust sweetness (optional).

    Possible Substitute: Brown sugar for a deeper flavor.

Ingredients Summary

Heavy Cream2 cupsHalf-and-half
Sweetened Condensed Milk14 ouncesMilk + Sugar
Vanilla Extract2 teaspoonsVanilla Bean Seeds
SaltPinchSea Salt/Kosher Salt
Sugar (optional)Adjust as neededBrown Sugar

By using these basic ingredients, you can create a delightful batch of homemade vanilla ice cream with or without an ice cream maker. Enjoy!



  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt


  1. Mix Ingredients: In a saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt.

  2. Heat Mixture: Warm over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. The mixture should be hot but not boiling.

  3. Add Vanilla: Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

  4. Chill: Pour the mixture into a container and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

  5. Prepare Ice Cream Maker: Set up your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  6. Pour Mixture into Ice Cream Maker: Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream maker’s container.

  7. Mix: Turn on the ice cream maker and churn the mixture until it thickens into ice cream. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

  8. Freeze: Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving for a firmer texture.

Enjoy your homemade vanilla ice cream!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

1. Use Fresh Ingredients:
Always use fresh milk, cream, and vanilla. Fresh ingredients make a noticeable difference in taste.

2. Chill Your Equipment:
Place your ice cream maker’s bowl in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Chilling a metal bowl and utensils before use helps too.

3. Proper Freezer Storage:
Store your ice cream in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Press a piece of plastic wrap firmly against the surface of the ice cream to keep ice crystals from forming.

4. Fill It Right:
Don’t overfill your ice cream maker. Only fill it 1/2 to 2/3 full to give the mixture enough space to expand and churn properly.

5. Ideal Freezing Temperature:
Keep your freezer at the coldest setting, around 0°F (-18°C). Storing the ice cream in the back of the freezer ensures it stays consistently cold.

6. Frequent Stirring:
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, stir the mixture every 30 minutes during the initial freezing phase. This helps keep the texture smooth.

7. Add Mix-Ins Late:
Fold in any chocolate chips, nuts, or fruit after the ice cream is churned but before it’s hardened in the freezer.

8. Avoid Grainy Texture:
Don’t let your ice cream melt and refreeze repeatedly. It leads to an unpleasant, grainy texture.

9. Patience is Key:
Give your ice cream at least 2 hours in the freezer after churning for the best scooping consistency.

10. Easy Scooping:
Allow the ice cream to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before scooping if it’s too hard to scoop right away.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Recipe Variations

Classic Vanilla Bean:
Use a vanilla bean instead of extract. Split the bean, scrape out the seeds, and add both seeds and pod to the milk mixture. This adds richer, deeper flavor.

French Vanilla:
Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract. Temper the yolks with hot milk before combining everything in a saucepan.

Nutty Delight:
Add crushed nuts like almonds or pecans to the mix. Stir them in during the last few minutes of churning.

Fruity Twists:
Berry Swirl: Add a berry compote, like raspberry or strawberry, by folding it in after churning.
Citrus Zest: Mix in lemon or orange zest for a fresh, tangy twist.

Serving Suggestions

Hot Fudge Sundae:
Top with hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry.

Fruit Parfait:
Layer the ice cream with fresh fruit and granola.

Cone or Cup:
Serve in a waffle cone or a bowl, with optional sprinkles for decoration.

Pour a shot of hot espresso over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful treat.

Blend a few scoops with milk to make a creamy milkshake. Add chocolate syrup or malt powder for extra flavor.

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.