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. Fresh Mint Ice Cream is like no other mint ice cream you’ve tried in the past. 

Sweet chunks of edible cookie dough fill each scoop of this rich and creamy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream.

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

4.65 from 340 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
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!

{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. Tyler Armstrong says

    Wow the title says it all! I did this by putting the mix in one ziploc bag and putting that bag in another bag filled with ice and ice cream salt and mixing it the old fashioned way. Flavor and texture are both amazing, definitely plan to keep this recipe and try some variations.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Tyler – You caught my homemade ice cream bug! This is the base I use to create so many of my ice creams. Please let me know what you try.

  2. Molly says

    This recipe will not fill the container (canister) of my electric churner (White Mountain) which calls for one half gallon of mixture. I see no point in making less as our family easily finishes the frozen product. This is the ice, salt, filled around the canister and then plugged in to churn until it stops indicating the ice cream is set. Like hand cranked but electric. I’m wondering what maker only uses 3 cups of mixture as your recipe does not indicate which machine (maker) the recipe is geared to. Maybe l missed it but l looked twice. Thanks for sharing your experience making ice cream at home.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Molly! The standard electric machines (as I’ve linked to throughout most of the ice cream recipes here) churn 1.5 quarts. That’s the amount of ice cream that this recipe delivers. However, if you double the recipe, it will work nicely in a 4QT machine. You can also adjust the recipe amounts via the handy slider in the printable recipe card to deliver exactly the amount you want to make.

  3. Tracy Barrett says

    I’m going to try this recipe this weekend with a hand crank machine. Do you have an idea of how long it takes to hand crank 4 quarts worth?

  4. Monika S. says

    I have just tried this recipe today, and the ice cream turned out delicious, but in my opinion a bit too sweet. Next time I will reduce the amount of sugar a little. I have a 2Qt Cusinart ice cream maker, and the size was just perfect. I used ground vanilla (1/2 teaspoon) for the flavor. For add-ons I used some home-made cookie dough bites with mini chocolate chips (I used almond flour to make edible raw cookie dough).
    I am having my family over tonight, and I can’t wait to have them try this ice cream!5 stars

  5. Linda N. says

    Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. We added crumbled Oreos and the ice cream was delicious. My son even said it tasted as good as Premium ice creams. This will be our go to recipe from now on!5 stars

  6. Shanae Nelson says

    Wow i don’t think i’ll ever try another vanilla ice cream recipe again! This is perfect. It’s so creamy, but not too much cream at the same time. I love that it doesn’t even need eggs! Thanks for sharing 🙂5 stars

  7. Janet says

    I’m not a plain vanilla ice cream fan. But, this is my go to base for strawberry and peach ice cream. Delicious. I have a 4 qt electric machine. I usually double the recipe.5 stars

  8. John Benning says

    Excellent Recipe. Simple and delicious. I added a few drops of orange essence and it was great. Now I am adding some melted chocolate.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Janice – You sure can if you want too. Most ice cream recipes are a combination of cream and milk. If you use all cream you run the risk of ending up with a buttery taste and the heavy cream taste can overpower other flavorings you put it.

  9. Bethany says

    If you love coffee ice cream, sub milk for coffee and freeze right after churning because it will be a little runny! Absolutely delicious!5 stars

  10. Kathy Boone says

    Can I substitute granulated honey, regular honey, pure maple syrup for the sugar—trying to eliminate white sugar from my diet?

  11. Susan says

    I love this recipe!! When is best time to add the add-ins like cookies? Does adding fresh fruit work well? When to add fresh fruit?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Susan, It depends. But in general, I prefer to layer them at the end when I am putting it into the storage container. I have been known to overfill my ice cream machine and the mess isn’t fun. Enjoy your ice cream making.

  12. jenn says

    Math challenged and distracted here and accidentally added too much milk… Still going to go ahead and try I’ve cream maker etc. Any ideas on whether it’ll work or not?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Jenn – Depends on how much extra you added. A splash or so is no big deal, a cup might not freeze as well – You might consider scaling up the batch to double it all together and then make two batches of ice cream! Who doesn’t want more ice cream? Good luck!

  13. Penny Hamilton says

    Hi Mary, any chance of giving the recipes in millilitres too please – seems the cup sizes in Europe are not necessarily a standard measure!
    They look fab recipes, will try regardless 😁

    • Mary Younkin says

      I can appreciate your frustration, but unfortunately, that isn’t something I’m able to easily convert for 1500+ recipes, Penny. Luckily, there are conversion calculators available online to hopefully make it simpler when you’re cooking and need to convert something. Google’s calculator works great for this.

  14. Mark Swafford says

    Thanx for such an easy and really delicious homemade ice cream recipe! It reminded me of my Grandparents’ house in the summer when Grandpa Jake would call everyone on the kitchen wall phone and tell us “come over we’re making ice cream!”5 stars