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This vanilla ice cream is the best of the best, only four ingredients this vanilla ice cream comes together in just a few minutes for the perfect sweet scoop.
One of the things we registered for before getting married was an ice cream maker, and thankfully we got one! Almost 9 years later and that sweet baby is still running. With the ice cream maker, making homemade ice cream is so easy, you just have to remember to keep the ice cream bowl in the freezer, but there is no rock salt, or churning required.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker there are still some ways you can make this homemade vanilla ice cream. I have used these two methods, ice cream in a can, ice cream in a bag, and both seem to work well. Of course the ice cream maker will give you the creamiest results, but I understand you gotta do what you gotta do, when you just gotta have some ice cream and you don’t have one.
This vanilla ice cream is seriously so simple to make. To keep things simple this ice cream is a no custard base (which means no eggs, and no cooking involved) It’s only four ingredients, and a couple minutes of hand stirring, and your work is all done. (Unless you don’t use an ice cream maker of course.) All you need to make this homemade vanilla ice cream is milk, sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. There are a couple possible substitutes you can use based on what you have on hand, so let’s get into the details.
- Milk – the creamiest ice cream will come from using the fattiest cow’s milk available, like whole milk. I usually don’t have whole milk around though, so I just use one or two percent milk and haven’t had any problems. I’m not sure about substituting other non dairy milks, like almond milk, or soy milk, but I did use coconut milk in my coconut ice cream.
- Sugar – just stick with the simple plain white sugar, to keep the ice cream white, and nice and sweet.
- Heavy cream – you can also use half and half if you want to cut the fat levels down a little bit. Just like the milk though, it’ll be creamiest with heavy whipping cream.
- Vanilla – You can use vanilla extract, though all I require is that you use pure vanilla extract. You can also substitute vanilla bean paste (the one I use is a one to one substitute) or actual vanilla beans. If you want to scrape out your own vanilla beans, you’ll need about 1 vanilla bean pod for this recipe.
This vanilla ice cream is so delicious because it’s got the perfect vanilla flavor bursting in every bite. But it also makes a fun ice cream base if you want to try adding different mix ins. You could mix in some chopped brownies, pretzels, chocolate chunks, candy bar pieces, nuts, coconut, fresh fruit, and more! For the best results add them into the ice cream maker about 5 minutes before the ice cream is done mixing.
After the ice cream is done mixing in the ice cream maker, you’ll have more of a vanilla soft serve type consistency. So I like to freeze my ice cream in the freezer to make it a little harder and more scoopable. I recommend freezing it for 6 hours, or overnight, though it should stay good in the freezer in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks without any loss in flavor or texture changes.
You can of course top the ice cream with your favorite ice cream toppings after it’s all done and ready to eat as well. Some of my favorites are hot fudge, caramel sauce, and of course sprinkles.
This creamy vanilla ice cream is the perfect thing to scoop up on a hot summer day.
Looking for more Homemade Ice Cream Recipes?
- Cake Batter Ice Cream
- Coconut Ice Cream
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Brownie Ice Cream
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Recipe first posted on May 22, 2011. Photos updated on June 7, 2019.