The Best (and Easiest) Ice Cream You’ll Ever Make

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Homemade Ice Cream is the quintessential summer treat, isn’t it?

This homemade ice cream recipe can also be called the easiest (and best!) ice cream you will ever make or taste. I’ve been making this ice cream at least once a month for over 5 years now.

The BEST and easiest vanilla ice cream you will ever make! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Can anyone ever turn down a scoop of rich and creamy vanilla ice cream? This ice cream recipe is the easiest once I make and it’s adaptable for whichever add-ins you’re craving.

I try to keep a stash of crumbled cookies, brownies, and other treats in the freezer so that I can toss in a few handfuls whenever I’m making a fresh batch of ice cream.

Don’t miss our Ice Cream Maker Review for all the information you need to find the BEST Ice Cream Maker for your needs! Spoiler alert – our top-rated machine under $50 just might surprise you. It sure surprised me!

HOMEMADE ICE CREAM

While ice cream is a staple in our freezer year round, the add-in potentials for this particular ice cream are endless. I’ve filled this ice cream with chunks of brownies, bits of cookie dough, pieces of oatmeal cookies, and swirls of salted caramel sauce.

I’ve also topped this ice cream with warm chocolate sauce, and my favorite of all this simple berry sauce. There has yet to be a combination that we didn’t love.

I probably don’t even need to mention it, but this Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream is a pretty much dream come true for topping Southern Peach Cobbler, Grandma’s Cherry Flop, an Old Fashioned Apple Crisp, or this Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch.

You only need FIVE ingredients to make the best and easiest homemade ice cream! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

How To Make Homemade Ice Cream

With just five simple ingredients, you can have this smooth and creamy vanilla ice cream at your fingertips as well.

When I first started making homemade ice cream, I initially followed the recommended recipes and tried several custard-style ice creams. Traditionally, many ice creams begin with an egg custard.

While a custard base does make for an amazing ice cream, don’t get me wrong, custard ice cream is rich as can be and I quickly found that it just isn’t my thing.

Besides, I’ll be honest, I like to make things simpler and not more complicated in the kitchen wherever possible.

When I discovered Philadelphia-style ice cream, it was a complete game changer. Philadelphia style ice cream is simply ice cream made with no eggs.

I’ve played with the basic ratios and the method over the past few years and I’m telling you now that this recipe is hands down, the BEST simple vanilla ice cream I have ever made.

The most popular question I get is whether it’s possible to make ice cream without a machine. The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine. Find the full directions here!

Homemade Ice Cream is like no other! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

This ice cream is dead simple. Stir everything together in a saucepan, simmer, Stir, Chill and Freeze; less than 10 minutes of actual prep time.

If I put the mixture together in the morning, refrigerate it, and then churn it in the afternoon, we are easily having this for dessert the same evening.

However, if you are in a rush, you can simply stir everything together cold and pour it into the machine. I can’t deny that simmering it just long enough to dissolve the sugar and then cooling it again does makes it even better.

Truthfully though, I’m impatient about half the time, so I skip the simmer step frequently. This is fantastic ice cream however you make it.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream is like no other! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

This ice cream works beautifully in every ice cream maker I’ve tried. Hand crank, electric crank, freezer bowl, and ice cream compressor. Homemade Ice Cream turns out great in each one!

(And yes, I may have a wee bit of a thing for ice cream, because I have each of those machines and love them all!)

Ice Cream Recipes

Once you have an ice cream maker in your kitchen, get ready for all the ice cream recipes you can handle.

These recipes for Rocky Road Ice Cream, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Blueberries and Cream Ice Cream, and Cafe con Leche Ice Cream all need to be on your list to try.

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream by The View from Great Island and Peanut Butter Ice Cream by Pint Sized Baker both look delicious as well.

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

  1. Pour 1 cup of the cream into a saucepan and add the sugar, salt. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the pot and then add the vanilla pod to the pot.
  2. Warm the mixture over medium heat, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the remaining cream, milk, and vanilla. Stir to combine and chill in the refrigerator.
  3. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla pod, whisk mixture again and pour into ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and place in the freezer until ready to serve.

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The Best and Easiest Ice Cream Recipe

The Best (and Easiest) Ice Cream You’ll Ever Make

4.62 from 260 votes
Rich and creamy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that only requires five ingredients!
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 6 servings (about 1.5 quarts)

Ingredients 

  • cups heavy cream
  • cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split in half lengthwise or
  • Optional: 2 cups of add-ins – soft brownies, cookies, and blondies work great

Instructions

  • Pour 1 cup of the cream into a saucepan and add the sugar, salt. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the pot and then add the vanilla pod to the pot. Warm the mixture over medium heat, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the remaining cream, milk, and vanilla extract (if using extract). Stir to combine and chill in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to churn, remove the vanilla pod, whisk mixture again and pour into ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and place in the freezer until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Notes

Feel free to skip the simmer step and simply whisk everything together, then pour directly into the ice cream maker. The ice cream is absolutely delicious this way, as well as when simmered and chilled first.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal · Carbohydrates: 30g · Protein: 3g · Fat: 27g · Saturated Fat: 17g · Cholesterol: 100mg · Sodium: 97mg · Potassium: 119mg · Sugar: 28g · Vitamin A: 1103IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 103mg
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The Best and Easiest Ice Cream Recipe you will ever make! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Anne S says

    Hi, i am giving my 14yo son an ice cream maker for Christmas.
    He is going to be thrilled to make your recipe. Ive already printed it!
    Thank you!

  2. chrysanthia Carr-Seals says

    Question regarding the vanilla bean and pod in this easy ice cream recipe: If I should choose to use the vanilla extract, must I also use the vanilla bean and pod in the recipe? Or must I use both the vanilla extract and the vanilla bean/pod as the instructions indicate?

  3. Ary says

    I made this & it came out the perfect texture & flavor. But there was one issue! One of the ingredients as I was eating the ice cream was like sticking to my mouth. Not the ice cream itself. But it was like one of the ingredients was separating & coating the roof of my mouth. I’m not sure if I did something wrong while making it or what ingredient was getting stuck. Can someone tell me what might have happened?4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      That can happen if a batch is over-churned, however, it’s unusual to see it happen with most modern machines. Also, while I typically use either heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, there are brands of heavy “whipping cream” that turn out that way. Heavy cream is definitely best here. I think that “oily film” situation has happened twice in the hundreds of times I’ve made this ice cream. Whipping cream often has slightly less fat and occasionally has stabilizers that aren’t necessary and can throw the recipe off.

  4. Giovanna Alvarez-Negretti says

    I went through so many recipes online and settled for this one as it seemed the most easy to understand and do! I was right! Really easy! and really yummy! Thank you!

  5. Don Ratzlaff says

    I just made a batch of this ice cream today. It was very good and soon was all gone. My wife seemed to notice something sticking to her teeth and the roof of her mouth. Similar to what Ary wrote about in the Dec 22, 2020 post. I didn’t notice that but I did notice something sticking to my spoon. However, I may have over churned it as I was using a 4 qt canister and it was difficult to tell when it was done. So I stopped it after 25 minutes. The ice cream was very solid. It was good and I will make it again, soon.5 stars

  6. Dee says

    How would your recipe need to be modified to make a full 4qt freezer full of ice cream? I’d like to try your recipe but need to make a full container. I’ve seen other recipes that just say fill remaining with whole milk but I think that would be too much milk added to your original recipe.

    • Mary Younkin says

      This is definitely not a recipe written for extra milk. You can double it for a little over 3 quarts of ice cream. 2.5x the original recipe should fill a 4 quart machine.

  7. Paige says

    If I want to use vanilla powder at what point should I add it? And can I substitute coconut sugar or maple syrup for the sugar and this recipe still work? I stay away from refined sugar.

  8. Kristin says

    This is SO easy and so good (reminds me of Bryers ice cream). I’ve made it three times in the last two weeks and my kids just love it 🙂5 stars

  9. Elaine says

    Hi, ours came out very soft even after leaving it in the freezer after for two hours. I used heavy whipping cream (I didn’t realize there was a difference!!) – can that do that?

    Thanks!

    • Mary Younkin says

      I use both, Elaine, and it honestly shouldn’t have made that much of a difference. It sounds like it may have been an issue with the ice cream maker. Does it typically churn ice creams fairly well?

  10. Samantha Savage says

    Forever I looked for ways to make goats milk work as an icecream and then to make it sugar free. I even conned a friendly goat farmer come cheesemaker/icecream maker to use her commercial icecream machine with my choice of (supplied) natural sweetener. The results were ok but fast melting so I thought a custard base was the only way to get scoopiness. Since then I’ve found my tummy loves Guernsey Milk (lots of A2) and this recipe!
    My first go I did everything except the sugar which I subbed for xylitol & I used vanilla extract. The result was delicious and creamy BUT it did take 2 full days in -18oC freezer before it firmed up to a respectable spoonful. I was never so lazy before but I think sometimes you have to just give in to it and ditch the hours of careful whisking and temperature checking in favour of this gem of a recipe.4 stars

  11. Barb says

    Love this recipe! Have been sent to others. If I wanted to make this chocolate can I just add cocoa powder 1/2 cup? Thank you!5 stars

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