No Churn Ice Cream (Vanilla Bean)

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Video Three ingredient ice cream

No churn ice cream is easy to make — three ingredients are all you need! No ice cream machine required. Summer just got much easier.

Homemade vanilla ice cream is creamy, sweet and delicious, with flecks of vanilla bean dispersed throughout. It takes only minutes to make and that’s just the way I like things (and I bet you do too!).

What I really like about this ice cream is that you don’t need any special equipment other than a mixer. You don’t need to buy an expensive ice cream maker, or rock salt, or ice, or any of that stuff. There’s no churning involved.

Another good thing about this ice cream is that it takes literally only minutes to make and then it has to spend six hours in the freezer. You may ask, what’s good about waiting six hours? Well, you have six hours to think about toppings. You can probably handle it, but if you need ideas, I’m here for you.

Ben’s favorite ice cream topping is chocolate chips but that’s not my favorite. I think the chips get too hard when they’re ice cold. Not that I have anything against chocolate chips. They just have a place. Chocolate chip cookies, for instance. Or in chocolate chip banana bread or cake. Or by the handful.

I prefer chocolate syrup, or even better, homemade hot fudge (it’s THE BEST). Warm caramel sauce, especially when it’s made with a bit of bourbon, runs a close second. Add a few spiced pecans to that and I’m in ice cream heaven.

But hey! To each their own. I won’t stop Ben from doing his thing and he doesn’t give me the side eye when I put granola on my vanilla ice cream (it’s so good!). Or this 3-ingredient crunchy oat topping.

I’ll leave it up to you to choose how you want to top this vanilla bean ice cream. Really, it’s very good on its own or as a topping for homemade apple crisp. Although, if you need suggestions, I’d be happy to throw a few (hundred) ideas your way.

About This Recipe

You’ll need only three ingredients to make this no-churn ice cream. It’s really a shortcut ice cream recipe. Churned ice cream usually requires making a custard and then it’s churned to incorporate air into the mixture as it freezes so it doesn’t end up rock hard.

To make no-churn ice cream, you whip heavy cream and fold it into sweetened condensed milk. The air is already in the mixture before it’s frozen so it stays soft and scoopable. The texture is creamy, smooth, and perfect.

I’ll get you started on this easy recipe and give you extra tips. As always, look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.

What You’ll Need

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Make sure you look for sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk. You’ll need one 14 ounce can. Look for brands such as Carnation or Eagle Brand (store brands are fine, too); it’s usually found in the baking aisle.
  • Heavy Cream (or heavy whipping cream): It should have at least 36% milk fat. Some whipping creams are lighter, with less milk fat, and won’t work as well. Make sure your cream is well chilled. It will whip up more easily.
  • Vanilla Bean Paste: If you’re unfamiliar with vanilla bean paste, it’s sweetened vanilla extract which has been thickened with ground up vanilla beans. There are visible bits of seeds which add both flavor and visual appeal. It’s available in most grocery stores or on Amazon. It has all the punch of vanilla extract and vanilla beans smushed into one ingredient. Pantry staple, as far as I’m concerned.
Overhead view of the three ingredients needed to make recipe.

How To Make No Churn Ice Cream

You’ll need a large bowl and an electric mixer, either a stand mixer or hand mixer. To freeze the ice cream, a loaf pan works best, either metal or glass.

Pour the chilled heavy cream into a large bowl. Beat the cream on medium high speed until it holds stiff peaks, about three minutes, slightly less with a stand mixer.

Gently fold in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste. Don’t get carried away, gently is the important word here. The mixture should be silky and smooth but don’t over mix it, causing the whipped cream to deflate. If you want to stir in any add-ins or flavors (see the suggestionsbelow), now’s the time to do that.

Pour the cream mixture into a loaf pan and cover it tightly with foil. Put the pan into the freezer. It will need about six hours to firm up. It’s okay (encouraged!) to make no churn vanilla ice cream the day before you plan on eating it.

Ice cream in a loaf pan.

Serve vanilla bean ice cream with your favorite toppings or serve it as a topping for warm coffee cake with streusel, Kahlua brownies, or banana cake. You just have to have vanilla ice cream to top warm strawberry rhubarb crisp or apple blueberry crisp.

Ice cream being scooped.

FAQs

More No Churn Ice Cream Flavors

  • Double Cinnamon Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Ice Cream (Double chocolate!)
  • Coconut Hot Fudge Ice Cream
  • Fudge Swirl Ice Cream
  • Oreo Cookie Ice Cream

Or if you would rather make a churned ice cream, try this Chocolate Cocoa Nib Ice Cream or Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.

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