How to Make Homemade Ice Cream {VIDEO}

Learn how to make this homemade ice cream using the ice cream maker method. This is my best recipe for vanilla ice cream that can be used as is or as a base recipe for endless variations. The creamiest ice cream is made with a cooked custard and is aged, then churned and frozen.   |  Pin it for Later »

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe Overview

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Techniques Used: Cooked Custard

The best homemade ice cream is made from a custard base. A custard is a mixture of milk and sugar thickened with eggs. This makes a very rich and dense style of old-fashioned ice cream.

You know when you get an ice cream at the grocery store and it melts so quickly while you are eating it and it seems very light and airy? Compare that to a high quality ice cream from an ice cream shop. A high quality ice cream won’t melt as fast because it doesn’t have a lot of air whipped into it.

Premium ice cream contains a high percentage of fat and are not churned in a way that incorporates a lot of air. This creates a very dense and rich ice cream, like this recipe creates.

Using an Electric Ice Cream Maker

If you want to make the best homemade ice cream you really need an electric ice cream maker. The way an ice cream maker works is that it churns the ice cream base as it is beginning to freeze. This movement breaks up the ice crystals as they form, creating a really smooth final texture.

There are many recipes out there, I even have one myself, for no-churn ice cream. This style of ice cream can be great when in a hurry, but it is much airier and does not have the same premium ice cream texture.

I have the Cuisinart 1 1/2 Quart Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. It is the perfect size for homemade ice cream and it is a very easy to use machine. Cuisinart was so kind to send me this machine to use for this recipe, but this is actually the machine we used when I was a private chef. I absolutely love it.

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream

This recipe is a great base recipe for simple homemade ice cream. The vanilla flavor is great on its own, but it can be used to make endless varieties of flavors.

Watch the Video Tutorial!

Pre-Freeze the Bowl of Your Ice Cream Maker

It is very important that the bowl of your electric ice cream maker is completely frozen before you churn your ice cream. I leave mine in the freezer at all times, but it should freeze for at least 24 hours before churning your ice cream. This will ensure that it is frozen enough to begin freezing your mixture as it churns.

Heat the Milk & Cream for the Ice Cream Custard Base

To make the base of this ice cream, we are making a simple vanilla custard. This is actually the exact same recipe used to make the dessert sauce called creme anglaise.

To start making the custard you want to heat up your milk and heavy cream just under the boiling point. I also add vanilla bean paste to my ice cream base. If you have access to whole vanilla bean you can use that instead or substitute vanilla extract.

Whisk the Egg Yolks

While the milk and cream is heating up, separate your eggs. We are only going to be using the yolks for the ice cream because this will add richness as well as help thicken the mixture. There is actually a range that can be used here for how many egg yolks you want to use. I find 3 to be the perfect amount for texture and flavor. But if you like a more frozen custard style of ice cream you can increase to egg yolks to 4 or 5.

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they become light in color and increase to double the volume. This will improve the final texture of the ice cream.

Temper the Egg Yolks

Tempering the egg yolks helps to bring the egg yolks temperature up slowly so they do not start cooking. To do this, slowly stream in about 1/4th of the hot cream mixture while whisking. It can help to nestle the bowl in a towel to steady the bowl while whisking.

Heat the Custard Mixture

Pour the egg yolks into the pan with the rest of the cream and heat it on the stove over low heat. Stir the mixture continuously and bring it up to about 170 F (77 C). You do not want the mixture to boil. You will know the mixture is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line in it with your finger without the mixture coming back together.

Strain & Chill the Mixture

Pour the ice cream custard base through a fine mesh sieve to catch any lumps that may have formed. Place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of it so that a skin does not form, and place it in the refrigerator for 3-12 hours.

Chilling the ice cream base is a process called “aging.” This process serves to make sure the mixture is chilled enough to begin freezing in the electric ice cream maker, but it also helps improve the final texture. As the mixture chills, tiny crystals form around the fat globules present in the base which will give the mixture a very smooth final texture. Aging the ice cream base overnight is desired, but 3 hours is minimum.

Churn the Ice Cream Base

Position the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker in place and turn the machine on. Stream the chilled ice cream base into your ice cream maker and allow it to churn until you have about soft serve consistency. This should take about 20 minutes.

Once the ice cream has started to thicken up you can add mix-ins like chocolate chunks, nuts, or sprinkles. If you want to swirl in anything like caramel sauce or fudge sauce then I suggest doing that after the ice cream has churned and been transferred out of the machine. I just pour the sauce over top and swirl it in with a butter knife.

Finish Freezing Your Ice Cream

Ice the ice cream has churned you can go ahead and eat it at a soft serve consistency or go ahead and finish freezing it to a solid ice cream in the freezer.

Ice Cream Flavor Variations

This ice cream base can be used for endless flavor variations! Here are a few ideas for you, but let your imagination run wild!

  • Mint Chip Ice Cream: Add 1 tsp mint extract into the milk/cream mixture. Churn in 1 cup of mini chocolate chips once the mixture begins to thicken. You can also add 2-3 drops of green food coloring if you want it to be a green color.
  • Buttermilk Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream: Swap the whole milk for buttermilk. Cut up a pint of strawberries and toss them with about 1/4 cup of sugar and let them macerate while your ice cream base chills. Pour the strawberries and the juices into the mixture as it is churning.
  • Butter Pecan Ice Cream: Chop up 3/4 cup of pecans and toast them in a pan over low heat with 2 TBSP of butter until fragrant. Churn the pecans along with any butter remnants into the ice cream base as it is starting to thicken.
  • Mocha Chip Ice Cream: Whisk in 2 TBSP espresso powder and 2 TBSP cocoa powder into the cream/milk before heating it. Churn in 1 cup of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks into the ice cream once it thickens.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Base

This is a recipe for a traditional homemade ice cream base that can be used for vanilla ice cream or endless other flavors. This is a recipe to be used with an ice cream maker and results in a very creamy and dense style of ice cream.

Did you make this recipe?

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (16 fl oz, 473 ml) heavy cream, whipping cream, or double cream
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz, 237 ml) whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg yolks (you can increase to 4 or 5 egg yolks if you want more of a custard flavor)
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz, 98 gr) granulated sugar

Directions:

  • Prep: At least 12 hours (preferably 24 hours) before churning your ice cream, put the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer.
  • Heat the Milk & Cream: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, milk, vanilla, and salt. Bring the mixture just under a boil.
  • Whisk the Egg Yolks/Sugar: While the milk/cream mixture is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until lighter in color and the mixture is double in volume.
  • Temper the Egg Yolks: Slowly stream about 1/4th of the milk/cream mixture into the egg yolks while whisking continuously. This will bring the egg temperature up slowly without cooking it.
  • Heat the Custard Base: Pour the egg yolks into the milk/cream mixture and heat until slightly thickened over low heat. Stir continuously and check the thickness by coating the back of a spoon and drawing a line through the cream. If the cream stays separated then it is ready. You want it to be about 170 F (77 C). If it comes to a boil it has gone too far!
  • Strain & Chill: Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the mixture so a skin doesn’t form. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours at the very least, but 12 hours is best! This is called “aging” the ice cream base and creates a better final texture.
  • Churn: Place the frozen ice cream maker bowl in place and turn the machine on. Pour the chilled ice cream base into the ice cream maker and churn it for about 20 minutes until it becomes soft serve consistency. Once the mixture is starting to thicken you can add chocolate chunks, nuts, or other mix-ins. I like to swirl sauces and jams into the mixture, by hand if I am adding them, after the mixture has churned.
  • Freeze: Place the churned ice cream covered in the freezer to harden completely. Store for up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes:

Variations

  • Mint Chip Ice Cream: Add 1 tsp mint extract into the milk/cream mixture. Churn in 1 cup of mini chocolate chips once the mixture begins to thicken. You can also add 2-3 drops of green food coloring if you want it to be a green color.
  • Buttermilk Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream: Swap the whole milk for buttermilk. Cut up a pint of strawberries and toss them with about 1/4 cup of sugar and let them macerate while your ice cream base chills. Pour the strawberries and the juices into the mixture as it is churning.
  • Butter Pecan Ice Cream: Chop up 3/4 cup of pecans and toast them in a pan over low heat with 2 TBSP of butter until fragrant. Churn the pecans along with any butter remnants into the ice cream base as it is starting to thicken.
  • Mocha Chip Ice Cream: Whisk in 2 TBSP espresso powder and 2 TBSP cocoa powder into the cream/milk before heating it. Churn in 1 cup of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks into the ice cream once it thickens.
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3 comments on “How to Make Homemade Ice Cream {VIDEO}”

  1. Right on time for summer! Homemade ice cream is the best <3 Thank you for sharing
  2. Can Splenda be used in this recipe? (I hope, I hope, I hope!)
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