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

4.64 from 288 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
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 5/22/18 – recipe notes and photos updated 7/1/21}

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. Cole says

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks for posting this. I know above you mention that this is a common question but can this particular recipe and method you describe here work without the ice cream maker?

    I ask because in the instructions you’ve linked for making ice cream without a maker the actual recipe itself is different. Just curious if you can follow these initial steps for the flavor, but then transition into the manual ice cream making method you describe in the link.

  2. Kathleen says

    Thank you for this recipe! I’m excited to try it! I’m new to ice cream making so forgive me if the answer to this question seems obvious, but when is the best time to add the add ins? After the churning process or do you add them into the maker to churn along with the ice cream?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Yes, that will churn and freeze, Melody. You’ll want to sub the half and half for BOTH the cream and the milk in the recipe. It still won’t be quite as creamy as the original, but it will work.

  3. Kris says

    This ice cream is delicious but mine turned out rock hard. Maybe my old manual ice cream maker was too cold because I had a hard time churning it and ended up stirring it using a spatula in the frozen cylinder because the handle got stuck. I also stored it in a glass container and when we were ready to eat it I actually had to hammer and chisel it to break it into pieces. Looked like a mess but it is tasty.4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      That’s very unusual for this ice cream, Kris. Did you by any chance adjust an ingredient? Maybe reducing the cream amount? I’ve never had it freeze that firmly.

  4. Amanda says

    Hello and thank you! I doubled and made this recipe (mixed and chilled last night then churned today) and I habe to admit it is better than all of the ice creams I made last summer. Who’da thunk a “no egg” recipe could ever be better than one which includes them? This recipe does take much longer to freeze but enduring the sound of that churning motor will pay off. Let it ride and oh boy…heaven.

  5. Tammy says

    This was okay. For me I think it was a little too much heavy whipping cream as it sort of tasted like whipped cream. It also left a film in my mouth like whipped cream does. Was much better with fruit in it though. Turned out super thick which is just how I like it. I think next time I make it, I’ll sub for just half and half for both the milk and heavy whipping cream. Thanks for the recipe!!3 stars

  6. Gerard says

    Lovely recipe. Thank you. My “invention” was to add half a tin of coconut cream. Adds another flavour dimension – and still whips up well. Thanks again Mary. G

  7. Candace says

    Perfect for creamy root beer floats in small mason jars for summer game night. Kiddos gave rave reviews, and I love that it didn’t require the extra step of egg yolk fussing. Thanks for the keeper Mary!5 stars

  8. TTaylor says

    So easy! I made it in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. I used the no-cook method and we had delicious soft serve ice cream in 30 minutes. I whisked in a couple scoops of dark cocoa powder and a scoop of PB2 powder. It was so creamy and chocolatey and delicious. It tasted like a chocolate malted. Next time will try vanilla with black cherries. Thank you!5 stars

  9. Sharon Yancey says

    Looking forward to making this but I have a question which I did not see the answer to. How much ice cream does this recipe yield? I have a 6 quart ice cream maker and want to fill it full!

    • Mary Younkin says

      This recipe will fill a 1.5QT machine. I would triple the recipe for a 6 QT machine, though you might get away with quadrupling it, Sharon.

  10. Susan says

    This may have been asked before, not sure Can I use Half and Half pulse whole milk instead of whipping cream?

    • Mary Younkin says

      You can substitute all half and half for BOTH the cream and the milk. You could sub it for just the cream, but the resulting ice cream will be much icier and not as creamy.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Bless your heart for taking the time to tell me how to manage the FREE recipe content I provide on my personal website. The recipe and the full ingredient list is always provided at the bottom of the page, as is standard with every recipe website these days. Feel free to scroll down to the bottom of the post, if that’s all you need. And if you aren’t interested in scrolling through the post, I recommend making use of the handy “jump to recipe” button at the top of the post.

      I do my best to provide as much information as possible to avoid the multitude of questions that tend to be inevitable for many recipes, this also helps tell Google and other search engines that all relevant information has been provided – sometimes even more than some people might need/want.

  11. Tina says

    This ice cream is yummy! What would you suggest to use to make peanut butter or peanut butter fudge ice cream?5 stars

  12. Kay says

    I made this and using eggs made it a great texture. However I didn’t trust the peanut butter so I chopped up Reece’s peanut butter cups. It was excellent thanks.5 stars

  13. Frank Hasty says

    Not only do we think this is the best ice cream recipe but it is by far the easiest.

    We have made it even easier by e mploying old plastic mayonnaise jar (5 stars

  14. Laura says

    We enjoyed the ice cream. However I never could get it to solidify it remained soupy. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Are used a electric ice cream maker with a frozen bowl. Any thoughts? Thanks!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      It sounds like there might be a problem with the machine or perhaps it was exceptionally warm in the house. Was the bowl frozen absolutely solid (at least 24 hours) before churning? The freezer bowl machines can be frustrating to troubleshoot. The mixture would have frozen without churning in the freezer, so it isn’t an ingredient issue. Some machines simply don’t firm up the ice cream that well and the very soft mixture can benefit from a little time in the freezer afterwards as well.

  15. Angie says

    This is DELICIOUS. We made the New York Times ice cream recipe the other day that was supposedly “the best ice cream recipe you’ll ever eat,” and this is way better. Truly. Thank you for sharing this recipe.5 stars

  16. GBaldwin says

    This was my very first time ever making homemade ice cream. I did the no cook option and I must say I did great!!!! I doubled the recipe because it just didn’t look like it would be enough and I’m sooo glad I did. I used vanilla bean paste instead of extract. My kids absolutely love it!!! I will definitely be making this recipe again!!!5 stars

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