Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for HOMEMADE vanilla ice cream! This homemade vanilla ice cream is easy to make and might just be the easiest ice cream you’ll ever make!

Yes, you can buy vanilla ice cream at the grocery store, however, it’ll never taste as good as homemade. I’ve been on the ‘make everything homemade’ train for awhile now. So while I know not everyone will want to make homemade vanilla ice cream, I can promise you, it doesn’t get any easier than this! Homemade, rich and creamy, and packed with a ton of vanilla flavor, even chocolate aficionados will love. Really the best part is that this ice cream is only 5 ingredients and 15-ish minutes of hands-on prep. The hardest part will be waiting for the ice cream to set. However, once you taste this ice cream I think you’ll agree it’s worth every second of waiting. Ice cream is a quintessential summer treat.

As a dietitian I am constantly having the conversation with patients about including desserts. Quality and quantity may come into play when selecting desserts, however, it’s important to include them as they are part of social gatherings and celebrations. My homemade vanilla ice cream has half the amount of added sugar as compared to most recipes that I’ve seen (and even up to 3/4 less than others). Our taste buds adapt over time and adjust to less and less added sugar. Identify your sources, confirm how much added sugar you’re taking in and aim to decrease the added sugar you’re consuming where you can on a day-to-day basis. Desserts for me will always have added sugar, but the takeaway is to enjoy them bite by bite (and monitor your portions and frequency!)


  • Heavy cream – Yes, heavy cream. This will create the rich ice cream base. Ice cream is not low in fat. Fat provides flavor and why ice cream tastes as delicious as it does!
  • Whole milk – Yes, whole milk. Not the time to use reduced fat or skim (and I haven’t made a vegan version yet). The higher fat content in whole milk ensures that the homemade ice cream comes out creamy and not icy.
  • Granulated sugar – As mentioned above, the amount used is WAY less than other recipes online. Trust me it still tastes sweet enough.
  • Vanilla Bean – Scrape the vanilla bean for not only the vanilla bean flavor but also the specks of vanilla throughout. If you don’t have a vanilla bean you can always just use the vanilla extract.
  • Salt – It’s just a smidge, but it IS necessary to help all the flavors come together.
  • Q: What about eggs? I created this recipe so you wouldn’t have to make an egg custard base. Eggs and/or egg yolks make a thicker and richer ice cream. However, I was aiming for simple and easy. Not to mention that this is just as delicious as a custard base (in my opinion). Trust me!
  1. First things first – FREEZE the bowl of your ice cream maker. During the summer I always have it in the freezer ready to go for whenever I might need it. Because if I’m being honest this is a step I’ve forgotten to do many times and then end up not making ice cream. The bowl has to be fully chilled in order for the ice cream to firm up.
  2. Make the ice cream base – I recommend doing this step anywhere from 2 to 24 hours in advance. If you do it less than 2 hours ahead, the ice cream won’t have time to thicken quite as nice when you churn it. The name of the game in this recipe requires a little bit of planning/logistics, but other than that, it’s beyond simple!
  3. Combine – the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla beans, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Warm for 5 minutes, whisking often, until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is warmed through. You do not want to heat it too warm or else it can form a film on top and you don’t want that.
  4. Chill – the ice cream base. Transfer the ice cream base to a heatproof bowl, cover, and chill for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  5. Churn – when you’re ready to make the ice cream, churn the ice cream mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ~20-25 minutes.
  6. Note: The ice cream will have a soft texture immediately after churning, similar to soft serve. While it is delicious that way, I prefer it (and think it’s better!) after 2 hours in the freezer. That way it will be perfect to scoop, great in a cone, or on its own with toppings.
  7. Transfer: Use a spatula to transfer your ice cream from the ice cream maker into a quart-size airtight container.
  8. Freeze for at least 2 hours and up to a month (if it lasts that long!) The ice cream will be easy to serve on the first day, but you will need to let it sit at room temperature for several minutes before you scoop it as it does get firmer the longer it is in the freezer.

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