This simple, no-cook, homemade vanilla ice cream is creamy, refreshing, and so easy to make. It’s perfect all through the summer…and any time!
We are an ice cream family, and homemade ice cream is our most favorite. I grew up with homemade ice cream–it was standard summer fare at our house, and tradition on the 4th of July. I brought that tradition to my own little family, and now they love it as much as I do. It just wouldn’t be summer without it!
We have a lot of favorite flavors, but most often make vanilla ice cream. Then we add mix-ins as desired, for lots of different flavor combinations. It makes it easy for everyone to have the kind they want!
Easy, No-Cook Homemade Ice Cream Recipe
There are two kinds of homemade ice cream—one that uses eggs and has to be cooked first, and one that doesn’t. I don’t love to cook vanilla ice cream first, and greatly prefer this simple, no egg, no-cook recipe. For one thing, it’s much easier, and much faster. The egg recipe has been known to result in more of a custard-like taste, but I think this recipe is just as good. Honestly, I’ve not ever been able to tell the difference! This ice cream has a creamy texture, and the flavor is a rich vanilla taste.
All you need is just a few minutes to mix up the ice cream in a large bowl, then it goes into your ice cream freezer. I’m always a huge fan of anything that is yummy, easy, and quick to make–this one fits the bill!
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Simple Vanilla Homemade ice cream
If you use an ice cream maker like this Cuisinart, you can have homemade ice cream in 20 minutes! I like using an old-fashioned ice cream maker–it takes a little longer, but it makes a much bigger batch. With our family of eight, plus any guests we might have, we definitely need it. I have a wood one, but this one is adorable–I love the color! A larger batch in our ice cream freezer usually takes about 45 minutes.
Once you make homemade ice cream, you can never go back! My mouth is watering…I’m ready for some ice cream!
Ice cream mix-in ideas
My kids like mix-ins to add to their ice cream, and I’ll also offer them for guests or at a party. You don’t have to mix it in to the whole batch–just set out different options and everyone can add what they like! Just make sure to mix these in after the ice cream is finished in the ice cream freezer.
- Coconut, chocolate chips, pecans–swirl of caramel
- Andes mints or mint Oreos, chopped
- Oreos, chopped
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Fresh fruit: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or peaches
- Chopped candy bars…add your favorite! Butterfinger and Snickers are two of our favorites
- Chopped pretzels
- Mini marshmallows
Or…top with the BEST Hot Fudge EVER. 10 minutes and four ingredients to change your life! I also have a Caramel Pecan Sauce that is fabulous on vanilla ice cream. But don’t hesitate to just eat this plain–without mix-ins or toppings–it’s incredible all on its own.
If you’re making chocolate brownies or chocolate cake (or any dessert that goes with ice cream), consider making homemade vanilla ice cream to serve with it. It’s the perfect complement!
Ice cream in a bag…fun for kids
This is a perfect recipe to use when making ice cream in a bag–no freezer needed! Depending on how many kids you have, I’d use just 1/4 of the recipe. For each person making it, you’ll need a sandwich bag and a quart size bag, or a quart size bag and a gallon bag. (Two sizes, one smaller, one larger.)
Pour some of the ice cream mixture into the smaller bag (no more than halfway), then seal it tightly (try to get out all of the air). Place it inside the larger bag, then add crushed ice and rock salt (which helps it freeze). Then they can roll the bag around, squish it, and move it until it freezes. Add more ice and salt as needed. When finished, it’s their own self-serve portion! They can even add mix-ins to their bag and eat the ice cream out of it with a spoon.
It’s really fun to do, and a great (yummy) activity for a summer day.
Ingredients you’ll need…
- heavy cream
- half and half
- pure vanilla or vanilla bean
Just a few ingredients Is all you need to make this easy ice cream recipe, most of them you’ll probably already have. All during the summer months I make sure to keep them on hand, so we can make ice cream anytime. We love to whip up a batch when we have guests come over or host BBQs, and even just because.
For creamier ice cream…
You’ll notice that this recipe calls for heavy cream, half and half, and whole milk. All of them have a higher fat content, with heavy cream having the highest amount. This fat content is what creates a creamier ice cream consistency. While you can substitute the whole milk for 2% or even 1%, just know that it will not be as creamy. The lower fat content also has a tendency to end up being more icy after being stored in the freezer. Refrigerating the ice cream mixture before it goes into the ice cream freezer also helps it freeze faster and reduce the ice crystallization.
How to store homemade ice cream
- Use an airtight, freezer-safe container.
- Place a layer of plastic wrap over the ice cream before putting on the lid. This helps prevent iciness after freezing.
- Keep it in the back of the freezer to reduce graininess, and never the side of the door. The closer to the freezer opening, the more it warms and then re-freezes–a more consistent temperature helps to prevent that.
- Freezer safety guidelines state that your freezer should be at least 0 degrees, and keeping to that guideline will also help maintain your ice cream in the best way.
Simple Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 5 cups half and half
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- optional 3 vanilla bean pods (instead of extract)
- pinch of salt
Additional Items (to freeze ice cream)
- rock salt
- crushed ice
- In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together until well mixed. Stir until the sugar dissolves. When adding the vanilla flavor, you can switch out the vanilla extract for vanilla bean. It's so so yummy! Just split open the vanilla beans with a small knife, and scrape the seeds into the ice cream mixture and mix well. If you can, refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes or more (even overnight) for full vanilla flavor. It also helps it freeze faster! Pour the mixture into your ice cream freezer, and churn ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place the ice cream in an airtight plastic container, and store at the back of the freezer. You can eat the ice cream right away, but it's more of a soft-serve ice cream at that point. Freeze for a couple of hours before serving if you want to be able to scoop the ice cream.
More Yummy Recipes
- Fresh Peach Crisp
- Easy No-Bake Homemade Granola Bars
- Cinnamon Sugar Muffins
- Chocolate Brownies with Hershey’s Syrup