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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Updated on May 17, 2016
relache profile image

Raye gardens organically, harvests rainwater, strives to eat locally, and honors the gods from her home in the Pacific Northwest.

Vanilla might be white with flecks of bean or it could be the deep yellow of egg-rich French vanilla custard.
Vanilla might be white with flecks of bean or it could be the deep yellow of egg-rich French vanilla custard. | Source

A Brief History of Ice Cream

The history of modern ice cream has its roots in Europe, where cooks first experimented with freezing sweetened milk, pudding and custards. Fresh ice cream only needs some milk or cream, a bit of sugar for sweetening and a thickener to give it some texture. Making ice cream yourself is technically easy, with the only hard part becoming the physical effort of freezing the mixture. A manual ice cream mixer or a modern electric one both work by keeping the milk/cream actively mixing while it chills in temperature. This action prevents the formation of ice crystals, where the water in the mix freezes faster than the other ingredients. And that's just about all there is to it for making your own homemade ice cream.

Ready to give making your own homemade ice cream a try?

Try scooping your homemade vanilla ice cream onto a fresh, hot crepe and then drizzle with chocolate sauce
Try scooping your homemade vanilla ice cream onto a fresh, hot crepe and then drizzle with chocolate sauce | Source

My Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

This is a very simple recipe for ice cream, which uses corn starch as the thickener for the ice cream. (Most recipes use eggs) You can get a LOT of flavor and texture variations just by changing the ration of milk to cream. Using just reduced-fat milk, you can still get a very creamy ice cream, but if you start to blend in some half-and-half or light cream you will get results that more closely resemble higher-quality commercial ice creams.


  • 2 1/2 Cups milk, half-n-half, light cream or a blend

  • 1/2 Cup sugar

  • a pinch of salt

  • 3 Tbsp corn starch

  • vanilla bean, vanilla paste or extract

Cooking Directions:

  1. Pour 2 of the cups of milk/cream into a pot and put over medium heat. Blend in the sugar and the pinch of salt. If you are using whole vanilla bean, now is when you add the beans and pod to the milk mixture. Heat gently until the mixture is steaming slightly. Then strain out the bean pod.

  2. In another bowl, mix the last 1/2 cup of milk/cream and the cornstarch. Blend or whisk until there are no lumps. Then add this mixture to the sweetened milk, whisking frequently and heat until the mixture is almost boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking mixture as it thickens. If you are using vanilla paste or extract, add it after the mix gets thick.

  3. Remove thickened milk from heat and allow to cool (this can take several hours). You get better freezing from using a cooled-down mixture. Once milk mix is cold, pour it into your ice cream mixer and freeze according to the instructions for the mixer. (this step can take a half hour to several hours)

DIY Ice Cream

Flavor Variations for your Homemade Ice Cream

Are you a chocolate ice cream fan? - substitute a good organic chocolate milk for the regular milk and you'll get a light and rich homemade chocolate ice cream!

Lemon or orange ice cream - substitute buttermilk for the regular milk, as it gives a great tangy character to the basic ice cream. Then just before freezing, add a 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed juice and a tablespoon of fresh zest to the mix.

Nuts & chocolate - add 1/2 cup chocolate shavings or chopped nuts right before freezing. If you do chocolate chips, get the miniature ones, as they melt faster in your mouth when you eat the finished product. (whole frozen chips can be a bit too crunchy for some folks)

Fruit flavors - add 1/2 cup of fresh chopped fruit bits or good quality jam to your milk mix before freezing.

Herbal ice cream - making your own mint chip is easy, just add a 1/2 cup of freshly and finely chopped mint to your mix. Or try something more exotic like lavender!


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    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 6 years ago

      Wow. yummy..

    • profile image

      alidia 6 years ago

      is there any ice cream recipes out there just using milk or condensed milk rather than cream help plz

    • jamterrell profile image

      jamterrell 6 years ago

      All ice creams are very delicious!

    • gajanis786 profile image

      gajanis786 7 years ago

      Good....let me try it also.

    • profile image

      Amy 7 years ago

      I really like ice cream thanks

    • apricot profile image

      apricot 7 years ago from Italy

      Excellent! I've finally found an egg free ice cream recipe! Thank you very much indeed! It sounds delicious!

    • denzelwillis profile image

      denzelwillis 8 years ago

      I tried it. It's delicious

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 8 years ago

      great hub/ love ice cream :D

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 8 years ago from Georgia

      mmmm...I bet this is so goooood!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Annie, you CAN use yogurt but you'll have to find what ration of ingredients gives the texture you like.

    • Annie Couture profile image

      Annie Couture 9 years ago from Colorado

      really great hub, what about frozen yogurt? can you use the same recipes but replace with yogurt??

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 9 years ago

      I used to like the idea of making ice cream. I changed my mind when I couldn't find an ice cream maker. :)

    • Patricia Bedard profile image

      Patricia Bedard 9 years ago from Venice Beach

      I bought an ice cream machine not to long ago, I should start using it. Great Hub!

    • 02SmithA profile image

      02SmithA 9 years ago from Ohio

      I don't think good ice cream can be beat! It has always been my favorite dessert! That French Vanilla recipe looks great!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Fruit-flavored ice cream made at home really does put the commercial stuff to shame!

    • Cailin Gallagher profile image

      Cailin Gallagher 9 years ago from New England

      Now, I want an ice-cream maker!! After college, I worked down outside Atlanta for a trucking company. The local women made home-made peach ice-cream that was so scrumptious. I've never tasted better, and I live in Massachusetts, one of the top consumers of ice-cream in the country.

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 9 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      I agree, sounds good really good right now. My friends and I still use the kick the coffee can around method with rock salt,etc,. just for fun with the kids. Of course we're the big kids. Thanks. It'll be a nice switch.

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 9 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Graet, a nice vanilla ice cream would really go down right now.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      This sounds good. We just got a new ice cream maker, and have only tried strawberry. I'll have to print this out.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      The mom of my best friend in high school had an old-fashioned ice cream maker, where you packed it with rock salt and ice and turned the handle for hours. She used to enlist a whole pack of us kids on hot days, and we'd sit in the garage where it was cool and take turns cranking the mixture. When it got too difficult for anyone to turn, it was done.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Vanilla the best. Love the old er....what do you call it churn something like that.

      Great want to try it now too.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      We've got a big family dinner coming up later this summer, so I spent part of the 4th of July holiday weekend testing recipe variations and polling everyone as to what they liked from the taste tests. It was great to really have a chance to play with the milk/cream ratios and get feedback from eager tasters.

    • Cindy Lietz profile image

      Cindy Lietz 9 years ago from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

      Oooh I love the new recipes! I make homemade ice cream all the time in my little ice-cream maker.

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 9 years ago from Pakistan

      I simply love ishh cream.I have tried a number of homemade ice cream recipes, but only the chocolate recipe worked well,this looks simple too,I would definitely try it out with all the flavour variations.Thanks for the hub

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I think vanilla is a flavor that goes best with a lot of other foods. Plus, it is the flavor of choice for root beer of my faves!

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

      Vanilla is my fave.

    • sadonna23 profile image

      sadonna23 9 years ago from Alabama

      sounds so yummy! i wish i had some right now!