Classic Vanilla Custard Ice Cream Base (Perfect for Every Use)


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Create a classic vanilla custard ice cream base with personalized mix-ins

Learn how to make vanilla ice cream at home. This is the perfect recipe for every use because you can customize it with mix-ins or toppings of your choice! The homemade custard ice cream base is made with lots of egg yolks (for creaminess), cream, and milk. This is the best simple machine ice cream recipe to make at home no matter the occasion!

vanilla custard ice cream base.

Jump to:

  • What You’ll Learn In This Recipe
  • Ingredient You’ll Need
  • Tools & Equipment
  • Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
  • Classic Vanilla Custard Ice Cream Base
  • Other Recipes To Try

I know there are other people out there who are as obsessed with ice cream as I am! If you’re an ice cream lover, you have to try this classic vanilla custard ice cream base recipe. It’s one of the best basic recipes, especially for beginners, because you can add in whatever mix-ins or toppings your heart desires!

This recipe is part of our all things ice cream series. Throughout this series, you’ll learn how to make different homemade ice cream recipes, along with the best ice cream machine, and even popular ice cream flavors you should try.

What You’ll Learn In This Recipe

In each recipe on this site, I hope to teach you a new skill or tidbit that can help in the kitchen. This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe will teach you:

  • What makes a custard base ice cream?
  • How to change up this recipe to create new & unique flavor combinations.
  • The secret to prevent ice cream from getting icy.
  • How to properly temper eggs and cook an ice cream base.

Ingredient You’ll Need

vanilla custard ice cream ingredients with labels.

Many people think making ice cream at home requires a lot of ingredients. Really, there are only a few things you’ll need. Here are some of the ingredients and the science behind them.

Whole Milk: Make sure that you get whole milk (not 2% or skim). We need the fat in the milk to achieve the creamy texture of the ice cream. Milk also helps to add water to the ice cream which is necessary for the mixture to properly freeze in an ice cream machine.

Heavy Whipping Cream: Both milk and cream are considered butterfat. Most of the butterfat in the ice cream comes from cream. Since the cream is a lot higher in fat, we have to make sure it’s balanced out by the milk. If there’s too much butterfat in a recipe, you’ll get a greasy mouthfeel taste (we definitely don’t want that).

Egg Yolks: French-style custard base ice cream is known for its high percentage of egg yolks and cream. The eggs help give a rich and silky smooth texture in the ice cream. Since custard recipes have eggs, the base needs to be heated to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. Check out this video to learn how to properly temper the eggs.

Granulated Sugar: Obviously we need to add in sugar to get some sweetness in the ice cream. But, sugar also helps lower the freezing point of the water, which keeps the entire ice cream mixture from completely freezing up.

Mix-Ins: These are completely optional, but can be a fun way to change up the flavor of your ice cream. All you need to do is add the mix-ins during the last few minutes of the ice cream churning process. Just make sure to roughly chop the mix-ins to make them bite-sized. Here are some of my favorite ice cream mix-ins:

  • Sprinkles
  • Oreos
  • Reese’s
  • Twix
  • Brownies
  • Cookie dough
  • Caramel
  • Fudge
  • Chocolate chips
  • Fruit
  • Nuts
classic vanilla ice cream scoops in glass cup.

Tools & Equipment

Here are a few tools you’ll need for this recipe:

Ice Cream Maker: This recipe requires an ice cream maker (no exception). It’s necessary to help freeze the mixture and get the correct texture. If you’re looking to buy an ice cream machine, check out the full review of my favorite machines to decide which one is best for you!

Heavy Bottom Sauce Pan: We’ll be cooking the custard ice cream base before churning. Make sure to use a heavy bottom pan for this process. Here is my favorite one!

Mesh Strainer: You’ll need a mesh strainer to get any imperfections out of the ice cream base. This is a lifesaver in case you accidentally scramble bits of the egg while tempering it.

Recipe Frequently Asked Questions

vanilla custard ice cream scoops.

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Other Recipes To Try

Looking for other ice cream recipes to try? Check these out:

  • Peanut Butter Whiskey Milkshake
  • Birthday Cake Ice Cream
  • Orange Limoncello Sorbet
  • Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream
  • Black Cherry Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Moose Tracks Ice Cream
  • 10 Delicious Sorbet Recipes for an Ice Cream Maker

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest board for more popular ice cream recipe inspiration.

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