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. April says

    I tried this and it was delicious! I added about 1/8 tsp of xanthan gum which enhanced the creaminess and helped with preventing ice crystals when freezing!5 stars

  2. Mike T. says

    This was the first recipe we tried in our new electric ice cream maker. We were blown away—so good! Can you tell me what the serving size is for the nutrition facts provided?

  3. Diane says

    Yes I made this Ice cream & yes it does stand up to its name! Easy(to make & eat!), creamy & delicious. Thank you for your post. Diane5 stars

  4. Ramon & Alycia Nichols says

    Hi there! Your recipe was our first ever attempt (as adults without parental supervision 😁)at making homemade ice cream. I’ve had a Kitchen-Aid mixer for about 25 years, but had no idea there was an ice cream attachment. Anyhoooooo…we followed your recipe but added finely chopped strawberries to the mix when it was about 2 minutes away from being completely churned. BEST ICE CREAM EVER!!! We are so proud of ourselves, because at ages 70 and 64 respectively, my husband and I made ice cream without our parents help!!!😜 (God rest their patient souls!) Tonight we’re going to tackle peach ice cream using your recipe. Someday we’ll get around to making straight vanilla, but for now with summer fruits still available we are going wild! Thank you for your great recipe with such concise instructions. You rock!!! We have a new hobby we can do together now!😄5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      This gave me the biggest smile! You are now hooked! I can’t wait to see your reviews on some of my other ice cream recipes. Try the chocolate cookie dough ice cream recipe. It’s amazing!

  5. Carmen says

    I just want to know how much of ice and salt do you used to put the Ice Cream Maker to work. For you attention thank you very much

    • Mary Younkin says

      My favorite ice cream maker does not use ice and salt. But for those that do use it, it usually depends on the size of the device. I would check the manufacturer’s suggestion for the correct amount.

  6. Rachel Barney says

    Lives up to its name and claim! Easy enough to do with my two year old son and we both voted delicious! Thank you so much!5 stars

  7. Patti says

    This is Melissa Clark’s recipe from the NY Times, with very minor alterations. The original calls for 2 cups cream and 1 cup milk; this variation reduces the cream by 1/4 cup and increases the milk by 1/4 cup, and adds a little more sugar. I’ve been making The NY Times ice cream for years, it has over 3,000 reviews and it’s one of their all-time favorites.

    Try it. The NY Times recipe is easy to find (so easy even Mary Younkin found it!) Some things are better in their original (non-plagiarized) form.1 star

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hey Patti, there are many delicious homemade ice cream recipes. Considering ice cream has the same basic ingredients of milk, cream, and sugar it isn’t surprising there are other similar versions published. Find the one that works for you and go with it. This happens to be our favorite and the favorite of many others as well.

      And for what it’s worth, I just googled Melissa’s recipe. The recipe is custard based and requires both eggs and a cooked custard base. So, uhm, yeah, it has milk and cream and sugar – as does pretty much every other ice cream recipe. There are only so many ways we can combine them. But this recipe remains an egg-free favorite for me.