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.

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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

4.66 from 421 votes
Rich and creamy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that only requires five ingredients!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
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. Rick says

    Mary, I plan on trying this recipe soon. What I’m confused on is the vanilla portion of it.

    In the ingredients list you say extract OR beans, but in the steps it says to use beans.

    My dad made me some home made vanilla extract and I’m wondering if I can get good results with just using that, or if I should take the extra steps with the beans.

  2. KC says

    While the ice cream was delicious, the high amount of HWC caused a film of milk fat to form on the roof of your mouth while eating. I wonder if adjusting the HWC to milk ration a bit would help? Again, taste was wonderful as was the texture. The high fat content was our only issue.4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’ve found that when churning ice cream in different machines, the high fat content is more apparent. You can definitely reduce that amount of HWC and replace it with milk, if your machine was producing that film. I know exactly what you’re talking about and I try to avoid it myself when possible.

  3. Lisa says

    Thank you for the recipe! I hace made it three times in the last few days. It’s so simple and fool proof. I don’t have vanilla beans on hand, so I used my homemade vanilla extract. It was so yummy. Now I plan to experiment with some add ins and maybe even use stevia instead of sugar.5 stars

  4. Leeny says

    This turned out so well!
    It was flavourful, creamy, and oh so easy!
    I followed the recipe as written, (used pure vanilla extract not the beans), and made sure that I let it firm up in the freezer for a few hours before serving. I will definitely be making this again.
    Thanks for the recipe, and easy to follow instructions.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m happy to hear that you liked the ice cream. Letting it firm before serving can be challenging as it gets warmer outside, but it’s worth it in the end. Enjoy, and happy cooking!

  5. Anna Marie Hood DuBois says

    I have not tried making it yet but I want to add fruit to it. Do I need to make adjustments in some of the ingredients?

    • Mary Younkin says

      You’ll want to puree the fruit first and stir it in at the end of the churning process. Otherwise, you’ll want to follow a recipe specifically created for fruit ice cream.

  6. Lena says

    Love this super easy ice cream recipe. I’ve used reduced fat double cream. Even without churning, it had turned out to be great and tasty! Thank you!5 stars

  7. Sherry says

    The ice cream was fantastic! I used vanilla extract and it turned out great. I used this recipe for homemade hot fudge ice cream cakes.5 stars

  8. Mare says

    I’d give this recipe ten stars if I could. It is a wonderful creamy treat. I used vanilla bean paste in it for the flavoring and it worked great. I did notice with all the natural ingredients sans all the additives, this ice cream melts faster once served than store bought ice cream. (o: Already made this a coupe times, on my second go I had some fresh cherries that I pitted and coarsely puréed with a little almond flavoring. Added into the base when it was just about done churning. It was awesome! Thanks for posting such a great recipe.5 stars

  9. bara says

    Why most recipe websites waterboard their readers with a few pages of reading before they get to the actual recipe?
    The recipe is great, thank you for that. Please include recipes first and the rest afterwards.4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hello! There is a button just underneath the title that says “Jump To Recipe”. If you click that, you can skip to the recipe card without needing to read any of the rest.

  10. Cassidy says

    Hi! I plan on trying this recipe with a group of friends and I was wondering if the ice cream would be ready to serve straight out of the machine after churning, or if it’ll be too soft and need to be frozen to firm up.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi, Cassidy! It depends on your machine, but this is a soft serve ice cream. It won’t be runny; you should be able to serve immediately after. I hope you and your friends love the recipe! Happy cooking.

  11. Gretchen Evans says

    I would like to use this recipe to make mango ice cream. Using smashed mangoes, would I need to adjust any of the ingredients in the basic homemade vanilla recipe?

  12. Stephanie says

    Thank you for the recipe, but the user experience on your site is maddening with the amount of ads and pop ups. I’m sure this is how you make money, but just very frustrating for the user. Appreciate the recipe though, thank you.5 stars

  13. Terry Wilson says

    Hello Mary. I love homemade Ice Cream. My Mom has a great recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream but she will not share it with anyone. So now I’m looking for your help. I’m going to try your recipe. I wish you had a video tutorial to watch4 stars

  14. Denise says

    My first time making ice cream with this recipe and wow this was so delicious thank you sooo much for sharing this recipe!!! My husband and daughter loved this so much, I can never go back to buying store bought ice cream after tasting how fresh and creamy this recipe is. On top of it – it was so easy to make will definitely be making more of your ice cream recipes!!Thanks again!!!5 stars