Vanilla Frozen Custard Recipe {Easy Small Batch Homemade Ice


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The most delicious homemade ice cream? Cooked vanilla custard makes a great base for this Vanilla Frozen Custard recipe. Add your favorite fruits or candies for an easy summer dessert. You may also love our chocolate oreo ice cream.

A bowl of ice cream

Summer means ice cream! Have you ever tried making homemade ice cream? Back about 5 years ago, we were close to pros. OK…that may be exaggeration, but we could make a mean batch of homemade ice cream. We actually fell in love with a custard recipe instead of traditional ice cream. You’ll need an ice cream maker for this recipe, but with updated electric ice cream makers, this recipe is easier than dragging the family to the store when the ice cream craving hits!

How is frozen custard different than ice cream?

Frozen custard is a rich, smooth textured ice cream. Both ice cream and custard have cream, sugar and milk, but custard has one ingredient that ice cream traditionally does not have. Eggs. Some recipes call for using whole eggs, but this recipe only uses the yolks which makes a rich, smooth dessert.

Is frozen custard better for you than ice cream?

Of course it depends on your recipe and what you are adding, but in general, custard has less calories and fat than homemade ice cream. Can we call it “good for you”? Maybe not…but homemade frozen custard often doesn’t have the additives that storebought ice cream has.

How to Make Vanilla Frozen Custard

There are a few important things to remember when making homemade custard ice cream.

  1. Plan ahead. Because custard has eggs, you cook the ice cream base together on the stovetop. Then you have to refrigerate it until it has cooled down. Only at that time is it ready for the ice cream freezer. You’ll need to refrigerate the base for at least 4 hours.
  2. Use heavy cream and whole milk for the creamiest custard. Yes, these are higher in fat. Yes, you can use lower fat milk, but your ice cream won’t be as rich and creamy. I suggest first trying the recipe as written, the if you’d like you can lower the milk fat content as you continue to test.
  3. Temper the eggs. Be sure to follow the recipe step by step and don’t be tempted to just start dumping ingredients in. (More on tempering eggs below.)
  4. Cook over low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Don’t think it will be pudding thick. You are just looking for the mixture to start to thicken. It will still seem a little runny. Don’t overcook the mixture or it may curdle.
  5. If you have an electric ice cream maker, be sure the drum that holds the ice cream is frozen. You’ll want this in the freezer for at least 24 hours before churning ice cream.
  6. Straight from the ice cream maker, the frozen custard will be soft. If you’d like it harder, transfer it to an airtight container and freeze it until it has reached the texture you’d like.

collage of milk and eggs in a pan

What does it mean to temper food?

When you temper food, you slowly raise the temperature of cold or room temperature foods by adding a small amount of hot food or liquid and whisk it in quickly. You’ll do that in this recipe with the eggs. Crack the eggs into a bowl, then slowly drizzle ½ cup hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking the entire time you are drizzling.

It’s only after this that you add the egg mixture back into the entire hot milk mix.

Tempering eggs prevents the egg from cooking. No one wants scrambled eggs in their ice cream!

How long should homemade ice cream churn?

You’ll need to plan between 20-30 minutes for the ice cream to churn in the maker. The exact time will depend on the temperature of the milk mixture and the exact texture of vanilla frozen custard that you desire.

frozen custard in ice cream maker

Other Ice Cream Recipes

  • Dulce de Leche Caramel Ice Cream
  • Funfetti Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Bubblegum Ice Cream
  • Ultimate Ice Cream Pie
  • Reese’s Stuffed Ice Cream Sandwiches

You’ll LOVE this countertop electric ice cream maker! Get it on Amazon.

A bowl of food, with Ice cream

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