Best Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is rich and creamy with a deep vanilla flavor. Watch the video and follow our step-by-step instructions to learn how to make this 5-ingredient vanilla bean ice cream recipe!

best vanilla ice cream in a glass dish


Is there anything more classic than vanilla ice cream? Serve it on top of pies, crisps, cobblers, crumbles, inside cookie ice cream sandwiches, or enjoy it on a cone in all it’s vanilla-infused glory. 

This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is the best of the best. The ice cream base is made with both vanilla beans and vanilla extract, which impart an irresistibly rich flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious. 

Trust me when I say this is the best vanilla bean ice cream you’ll ever eat! It’s rich and creamy and better than your favorite ice cream shop. Serve it in a bowl drizzled with chocolate sauce or caramel sauce!

3 scoops of vanilla ice cream on a sugar cone

Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream recipe
  • Half and half/heavy cream. This recipe calls for 3 cups of liquid dairy. You can change the ratios of half and half : cream if desired, as long as the total amount equals 3 cups. You can also substitute some of the liquid with whole milk. 
  • Granulated sugar. Organic cane sugar works well in place of white granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla Bean. Technically you could omit the vanilla bean, but I do not recommend it. You can use vanilla bean paste in place of the actual vanilla beans. 
  • Egg Yolks. There is no substitution for egg yolks in this recipe. 
  • Vanilla Extract. Pure vanilla extract yields the best flavor, I don’t recommend using imitation. 
  • Sea Salt. A pinch of sea salt goes a long way. Any fine salt works well in this vanilla ice cream recipe. 
front view of a glass dish with scoops of vanilla ice cream inside

How to Make Vanilla Ice Cream

Let’s discuss how to make this vanilla ice cream recipe, we’ll walk through the process step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Begin by warming the half and half, salt and sugar over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Then slice a vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. 

two overhead photos showing how to make vanilla ice cream

Remove the half and half mixture from the heat. Scrape vanilla beans seeds into the mixture and stir. Place vanilla bean pods in the mixture. Cover and let sit for 1 hour to infuse.

two overhead photos showing how to make vanilla ice cream

After 1 hour, remove the vanilla bean pods from the infused mixture. 

overhead photo showing how to make vanilla ice cream

Re-warm the infused mixture over medium heat. Be careful, you do not want it to get too hot before it’s combined with the egg yolks. 

Beat the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl, add ½ cup of the warm mixture to the egg yolks whisking during the addition. Then add that mixture to the warm half and half on the stovetop.

two overhead photos showing how to make vanilla ice cream

Cook the custard over medium-low heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.

Place the heavy cream into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer on top of the bowl. Then, strain the custard into the heavy cream. Discard the custard remnants left on the strainer. 

Next, add vanilla extract to the mixture and stir to combine.

two overhead photos showing how to make vanilla ice cream

Cool the Vanilla Ice Cream Base

Transfer the vanilla ice cream mixture to the refrigerator and cool completely (preferably overnight).

Churn

Churn in an ice cream maker until the vanilla bean ice cream is thick and the consistency of frozen yogurt.

Freeze

Transfer the vanilla ice cream to a glass container with a lid and freeze for at least 4 hours, or until hardened. 

two overhead photos showing how to make vanilla ice cream

Serve

There is no wrong way to enjoy this homemade vanilla ice cream recipe. Serve it all by itself on a cone, in a dish with a dollop of fresh homemade whipped cream, chocolate sauce or caramel sauce. Use it in a root beer float. It’s also incredible in this homemade ice cream cake recipe.

I also recommend serving it with your favorite dessert recipes to make them a la mode: 

up close overhead photo of vanilla bean nice cream being scooped

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe FAQS

Here are some of the common questions I get asked about this recipe!

What kind of ice cream maker do you have? 

I have this Cuisinart Ice Cream maker. I bought it at a garage sale and got a great deal on it! This summer I purchased a new one, this Cuisinart Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker because it’s bigger and has a few other more desirable features.

How do you store homemade ice cream? 

I store our homemade ice cream in a glass tupperware with a lid.  There are also great containers that are made for storing ice cream, like these 1-quart storage tubs and this jumbo 2.5 quart container (for larger batches). 

scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream in a glass dish

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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Laura
This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is rich and creamy with a deep vanilla flavor. Watch the video and follow our step-by-step instructions to learn how to make this 5-ingredient vanilla bean ice cream recipe!
5 from 11 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings (1/2 cup each)
Calories 317
Prep Time1 hour 20 minutes
Chilling/Churning12 hours
Total Time13 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Heat half and half, salt and sugar over medium heat until it just begins to boil.
  • Remove from heat. Scrape vanilla beans seeds into the mixture and stir. Place vanilla bean pods in the mixture. Cover and let sit for 1 hour to infuse.
  • After 1 hour, remove vanilla beans from the mixture.
  • Re-warm the mixture over medium heat.
  • Beat egg yolks in a small mixing bowl, add ½ cup of the warm mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Then add that mixture to the half and half on the stovetop.
  • Cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
  • Place the heavy cream into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
  • Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Discard what is left on the strainer.
  • Add vanilla extract, stir to combine.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and cool completely in the fridge (preferably overnight).
  • Once chilled, churn until thick and frozen.
  • Transfer the vanilla ice cream to a glass container with a lid and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Half and half/heavy cream. This recipe calls for 3 cups of liquid dairy. You can change the ratios of half and half : cream if desired, as long as the total amount equals 3 cups. You could also substitute some of the liquid with whole milk. 
  • Granulated sugar. Organic cane sugar works well in place of white granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla Bean. Technically you could omit the vanilla bean, but I do not recommend it. You can use vanilla bean paste in place of the actual vanilla beans. 
  • Egg Yolks. There is no substitution for egg yolks in this recipe. 
  • Vanilla Extract. Pure vanilla extract yields the best flavor, I don’t recommend using imitation. 
  • Sea Salt. A pinch of sea salt goes a long way. Any fine salt works well in this vanilla ice cream recipe. 
Ice Cream Maker
I have two ice cream makers- this Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and this one too Cuisinart Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker.
Store
Store homemade ice cream in a glass tupperware with a lid in the freezer. There are also great containers that are made for storing ice cream, like these 1-quart storage tubs and this jumbo 2.5 quart container (for larger batches). 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 113mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 814IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made the vanilla, strawberry, & chocolate ice cream recipes. They were all fantastic!

    1. I would also like to know if you use vanilla bean paste as a substitute, do you still add the vanilla extract? Also would about 2 teaspoons be the correct amount of vanilla bean paste to add?

  2. hello!i have one question:what is half and half?hafl cream half milk?what can i use instead?thanks in advance for your answers

  3. 5 stars
    I have been trying different ice cream recipes for years until I found this one- no reason to look any further!! Great taste and easy to make. My adult kids and husband say its the best vanilla ice cream!!

    1. 5 stars
      Fantastic recipe. I would classify it as a French vanilla on account of the rich colour from the 5 egg yolks as opposed to the usual 3 in most ice cream recipes. I plan on pairing it with a peach crisp as it’s peach season in Ontario.

      I’ve also made your chocolate ice cream which did not disappoint! Noticing a lot of other great recipes on your website and I’ll be sure to try more soon!

  4. 5 stars
    WOW! The creamiest, richest, most delicious ice cream I’ve ever made! SO GOOD!! If you haven’t made it yet, you should!! p.s. the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker is awesome too!!!

  5. 5 stars
    This is amazing!!! I cannot imagine any vanilla ice cream recipe that could beat this! And if you don’t have a Cuisinart ice cream maker you need to get one!