Homemade vanilla ice cream is the simplest sweet summer treat. It starts with whole vanilla beans steeped with a sweetened creamy custard until rich and delicious. This recipe is so simple and can be eaten immediately as soft serve or stored in the freezer for cold scoops during these hot summer days.
Summertime brings a couple of thoughts to my mind: BBQ, swimming and ice cream. What better way to celebrate these beautiful sunny summer days than making a big batch of cold homemade vanilla ice cream?
There is something about enjoying a scoop or two of cold ice cream on a hot summer day. It instantly cools you down and enlightens your taste buds. So delicious, my mouth is watering!
This actually isn’t the first batch I’ve made this season… or the second! Keeping ice cream in the freezer this time of year is necessary in our home. Eat it on its own or scoop some on top of your other favorite desserts like brownies or pie!
The best part about this recipe is that it can be used as a base for any and all flavors of ice cream. Just take this simple, easy recipe and add in optional candies, fruit or other flavorings. You seriously cannot go wrong with a plain ole batch of vanilla ice cream.
How do you get the vanilla flavor?
In this specific recipe I decided to go with two whole vanilla beans that I picked up from a local(ish) spice store. If you don’t know where to get whole vanilla beans and don’t want to go searching, here is a link to 11 whole vanilla beans on amazon and honestly the price on this link is WAY better than what I paid for! I wish I had ordered them off of amazon. I will next time for sure.
I’ve actually only recently started making this recipe with whole vanilla beans – I’ve only ever made it with vanilla extract. So, if you want to go the simpler route then by all means use your regular vanilla extract. I must add, you will be missing out on some serious flavor if you choose to do the vanilla extract over the beans. I will no longer make vanilla ice cream with just the extract. Mark my words!
Tips for making the best vanilla ice cream
- Opt for recipes, like this one, that use egg yolks. This is going to give you the richest, creamiest version of vanilla ice cream.
- Using whole vanilla beans over vanilla extract is going to give you that super vanilla flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love the flavor of vanilla any way I can get it really but there is something so darn delicious about using whole vanilla beans.
- Be sure to scald your milk mixture on low. You do not, I repeat DO NOT, want to burn your milk. It will make your ice cream taste nasty.
- Don’t rush the process! take your time for the best tasting flavor.
Tools you’ll need
Ice cream maker – if you have a Kitchen Aid like i do, utilize this handy ice cream maker attachment!
Whisk and bowl or hand/stand mixer
Freezer safe container
How to make homemade vanilla ice cream
Start by prepping the vanilla beans. With a knife and cutting board, slice the two beans in half length-wise. Then, use the blunt side of the knife to slide down the center of the beans to extract all the insides. That’s where the flavor is!
Don’t throw out the hulls of the vanilla beans just yet.
Next, in a large bowl or in your stand mixer bowl, separate 5 egg yolks. You can discard or save the egg whites for a future recipe. I started out doing the back and forth method of separating the egg yolks between the shells. I ended up just using my fingers. To separate yolks using your fingers just crack the egg into your hand allowing the yolk to cradle on your fingers enabling the whites to strain through into a separate bowl. Place all 5 egg yolks into your mixing bowl.
To the eggs add 1/4 cup white sugar. Turn mixer on medium/high and beat until the eggs become pale yellow.
While the eggs are beating go ahead and grab your medium sized sauce pan. To it, add the other 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 cup heavy cream, pinch of salt, and all the vanilla. Add the vanilla bean hulls to the sauce pan during the steeping process for maximum vanilla flavor.
Take the saucepan to your stovetop and continuously stir on low/medium heat. As I mentioned before, DO NOT let this mixture boil at any point in the process.
Combing the two mixtures
When the egg mixture is pale yellow remove the saucepan from the heat. Using your measuring cup, slowly ladle some of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. Do this with the mixer ON to prevent scrambling your eggs in the process. This is called “tempering” your eggs. When the egg mixture has been tempered, add it into the cream mixture and return to stovetop.
Continue to stir the mixture with your spatula. As you stir be sure to check the consistency. It is done when the cream coats the back of the spoon without running off. I hope that makes sense!
At this point you can let the cream mixture cool down to room temperature prior to adding it to your ice cream maker – or don’t wait. I didn’t wait, and usually don’t. It turns out the same either way.
Remove the vanilla bean hulls from the saucepan.
Pour the entire batch into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions. I added it to my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker and allowed it to mix and cool for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Once chilled, I added the soft serve vanilla ice cream to a freezer safe container and froze it until the next day. If you do not want to wait until the next day you can either serve it as soft serve ice cream, milkshake style or freeze it for a minimum of 4 hours for regular ice cream consistency.
Storage: store in freezer for up to 3 months.
Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Ice Cream maker
- Sauce pan
- measuring cups
- Whisk and bowl or hand/stand mixer
- Freezer safe container
- 1 cup Whole milk
- 1½ cup Heavy cream
- 2 Vanilla Beans
- ½ cup White sugar divided
- dash Salt
- 5 Egg yolks
- Separate egg yolks. Place yolks into bowl and add half of white sugar. Beat using whisk or mixer on medium/high speed until pale yellow.
- Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise and use blunt side of knife to remove insides. Add insides and vanilla bean hulls to sauce pan.
- To the same sauce pan add milk, cream, salt and other half of white sugar. Heat on low/medium heat until egg yolks are done beating. Be sure not to burn the mixture.
- When egg mixture is done beating, remove the sauce pan from heat. Using a measuring cup, ladle in portions of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture while the mixer is going. You do this to temper the eggs to prevent scrambling them.
- Once you've added about half the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, stop mixing. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the sauce pan and return to low/medium heat.
- Continually stir to prevent burning the cream and egg mixture. Do this for about 10 minutes. Once the mixture is thick and coats the back of your spatula it is done. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean hulls.
- You now have a few options: add straight to mixer, allow to come to room temperature or chill in refrigerator for 4 hours.
- When you're ready to add the batch to the ice cream maker, follow manufacturers instructions.
- When ice cream is made, serve immediately as soft serve ice cream or store in freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
- Enjoy alone or atop your favorite summer desserts!
Serving Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
When ready to serve, remove the storage container from the freezer and allow to thaw for 5-10 minutes. This lets it soften enough for your spoon or scoop to glide through with ease.
Enjoy this delicious homemade vanilla ice cream on top of your other favorite summer desserts!
Other ice cream variations
This simple homemade vanilla ice cream recipe can be used a base for any and all other ice cream variations. You can choose to still use the vanilla bean and then add in your favorite candies/goodies. Alternatively, you can omit the vanilla beans and use a simple store-bought chocolate syrup to flavor it as a chocolate ice cream.
This ice cream recipe is so versatile and easy to make any time of year – especially during these hot summer months.
I hope you enjoy this yummy recipe and don’t forget to save/pin it for later, y’all!