Old Fashioned Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

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Our homemade vanilla ice cream recipe has been a summer staple for as long as I can remember. How to make it the old fashioned way using an ice cream maker.

My family’s vanilla ice cream recipe has been a part of every summer for as far back as I can remember. While it’s morphed from person to person, it’s pretty much the same ice cream I remember enjoying with family on special summer occasions gone by.

When we recently visited Boquillas, one of the main souvenirs we made a beeline for was a huge bottle of Mexican vanilla.

I used to bake with it as a teenager; it has the best flavor, and guess how much this huge bottle cost when we picked it up in Mexico? A little over $13. If you’ve noticed how much vanilla costs lately, you know that’s a bargain.

So far, we’ve made a batch of chocolate chip cookies with it, and then we made a big freezer of homemade vanilla ice cream. It has amazing flavor and makes the best vanilla ice cream ever.


If you’d rather skip all of my mixing tips, important recipe info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the scrumptious old fashioned ice cream recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

homemade ice cream in a green pioneer woman mixing bowl


  • Eggs*
  • Pure cane sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Salt
  • Whole milk
  • Ice
  • Rock salt


Before you get started, you may want to check out our complete guide to ice cream accessories and tools for making ice cream at home. It’s the ultimate list for every ice cream lover’s kitchen.

Mixer – A mixer will ensure you mix everything together really well.

Ice Cream Freezer – This is an ice cream maker recipe, so you’ll need a maker/freezer.

Food Storage Containers – We use dishes similar to these to store our ice cream in the freezer, especially when we have a big batch.

Ice Cream Scoop – Can’t have ice cream without a scooper.


Use a mixer to mix up homemade vanilla ice cream with eggs; this will ensure that the ingredients are mixed really well, especially the eggs*.

  1. Start by creaming (or mixing) the eggs and the sugar together.
  2. Then add in the vanilla extract. Did you know you can even make your own vanilla?
adding Mexican vanilla to mixer for homemade ice cream recipe
  1. Next, mix in the sweetened condensed milk, scraping all the ooey gooey liquid out of the can with a spatula.
adding sweetened condensed milk to mixer to make homemade ice cream with sweetened condensed milk
  1. Then add both cans of evaporated milk.
  1. Add in a good-sized dash of salt, which equals out to about a teaspoon.
  2. Mix everything together well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the metal canister of your ice cream maker.
  4. Finish topping off the canister with whole milk, making sure to fill it about 3/4 of the way full, leaving room for expansion as it freezes. Your metal canister should have a fill line.
filled ice cream maker canister with old fashioned ice cream mixture

Make sure your ice cream freezer, especially the canister, is washed out good. We store ours in the garage, so we always have to wash it before we use it.


Freezing the mixture to make homemade vanilla ice cream is fairly easy, especially once you get it going. You will need to stay with it so you can monitor if it needs more ice, rock salt, or needs unplugged when done.

While I always advise you to follow manufacturer instructions for your specific ice cream maker, here are a few tips.

  1. Put the lid on, place the metal canister down into the bucket of your ice cream maker, set the motor in place, and plug it in to turn it on and get the motor running, which will start to turn the canister.
  2. Crush a big bag of ice, gradually pouring ice around the canister. Tip: You can add up to a gallon of water if needed, as well. We sometimes do this because our motor will seize up. Adding a bit of water will help it keep turning.
  3. Add 2-3 cups of rock salt as you add the ice, making sure to top it off with rock salt.
ice cream maker with ice and rock salt, freezing ice cream
  1. Let the motor run until it stops. Once the ice cream is frozen, the motor on your ice cream maker will stop churning. Unplug it immediately. This should signal that the ice cream is completely frozen. Wipe any excess ice or rock salt off the lid and out from around the top of the canister. Then remove the lid.
creamy vanilla ice cream in metal canister of ice cream maker set in ice

Carefully remove the churning paddle, and let your kids battle it out over who gets it. Oh, the memories!

churning paddle in canister of old fashioned vanilla ice cream

Serve the ice cream immediately.

scooping vanilla ice cream out of an ice cream maker

If you’re not ready to serve it up just yet, you can always leave the lid on, remove the motor, top the canister off with ice, and place a towel or two over it to insulate it and keep it cold.

green bowl full of homemade vanilla ice cream

Homemade vanilla ice cream pairs really well with peach cobbler, blueberry cobbler, and apple crumb pie.


There are so many things you can mix into your ice cream to make it even more fun, especially with kids.

  • Fruit or Fruit Jam – We especially love mixing strawberry jam or blackberry jam into our ice cream.
  • Chocolate Syrup, Butterscotch Topping, Caramel Topping, etc. – With whipped cream and a cherry on top.
  • Oreo Cookies – I especially love crushing up Oreo Minis.
  • Chocolate candies – Like M&M’s, Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and more.
  • Brownies or Cookies
old fashioned ice cream in green pioneer woman bowl with spoon


We always have a lot of leftover ice cream when we make it homemade, so we purchased some of these freezer containers to hold all the leftovers. They’re big enough to hold 2-3+ servings of ice cream.

Then we just stick it down in the freezer. If you have an upright, I’d place it on the shelves, rather than the door, so it doesn’t melt or have a higher risk of freezer burn.

Homemade ice cream usually keeps for up to about a month in the freezer. You can use leftovers to make delicious homemade ice cream sandwiches.


  • Banana Ice Cream (our favorite!!!)
  • Strawberry Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
  • Homemade Peach Ice Cream

And if you want a no-churn recipe, my friend Kelly from Eat Picks makes a delicious no-churn cherry chocolate chunk ice cream.

green bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream with spoon


If you love this homemade vanilla ice cream recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

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