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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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Raye gardens organically, harvests rainwater, strives to eat locally, and honors the gods from her home in the Pacific Northwest.

Vanilla might be white with flecks of bean or it could be the deep yellow of egg-rich French vanilla custard.

Vanilla might be white with flecks of bean or it could be the deep yellow of egg-rich French vanilla custard.

A Brief History of Ice Cream

The history of modern ice cream has its roots in Europe, where cooks first experimented with freezing sweetened milk, pudding and custards. Fresh ice cream only needs some milk or cream, a bit of sugar for sweetening and a thickener to give it some texture. Making ice cream yourself is technically easy, with the only hard part becoming the physical effort of freezing the mixture. A manual ice cream mixer or a modern electric one both work by keeping the milk/cream actively mixing while it chills in temperature. This action prevents the formation of ice crystals, where the water in the mix freezes faster than the other ingredients. And that's just about all there is to it for making your own homemade ice cream.

Ready to give making your own homemade ice cream a try?

Vanilla Ice Cream Recipes

  • Homemade Ice Cream
    Ice cream is the modern descendant of chilled egg custards. Although most of us are used to ice cream as something you just go and get from the freezer section, it can be fun and delicious to make your own homemade ice cream!
  • French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
    The reason I like this ice cream is because you can freeze it and it is like the store bought hard ice cream.
  • Organic Rose Vanilla Ice Cream
    Rather than make it with rose water, she uses 2 drops of Rosa damacena high grade therapeutic essential oil. It's practically flavorgasmic.
Try scooping your homemade vanilla ice cream onto a fresh, hot crepe and then drizzle with chocolate sauce

Try scooping your homemade vanilla ice cream onto a fresh, hot crepe and then drizzle with chocolate sauce

My Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

This is a very simple recipe for ice cream, which uses corn starch as the thickener for the ice cream. (Most recipes use eggs) You can get a LOT of flavor and texture variations just by changing the ration of milk to cream. Using just reduced-fat milk, you can still get a very creamy ice cream, but if you start to blend in some half-and-half or light cream you will get results that more closely resemble higher-quality commercial ice creams.


  • 2 1/2 Cups milk, half-n-half, light cream or a blend
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • vanilla bean, vanilla paste or extract

Cooking Directions:

  1. Pour 2 of the cups of milk/cream into a pot and put over medium heat. Blend in the sugar and the pinch of salt. If you are using whole vanilla bean, now is when you add the beans and pod to the milk mixture. Heat gently until the mixture is steaming slightly. Then strain out the bean pod.
  2. In another bowl, mix the last 1/2 cup of milk/cream and the cornstarch. Blend or whisk until there are no lumps. Then add this mixture to the sweetened milk, whisking frequently and heat until the mixture is almost boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking mixture as it thickens. If you are using vanilla paste or extract, add it after the mix gets thick.
  3. Remove thickened milk from heat and allow to cool (this can take several hours). You get better freezing from using a cooled-down mixture. Once milk mix is cold, pour it into your ice cream mixer and freeze according to the instructions for the mixer. (this step can take a half hour to several hours)

DIY Ice Cream

Ice Cream Alternatives

  • Vegan Soy Ice Cream
    This vegan soy ice cream recipe is easy to make, infinitely customizable, and has a luxuriously creamy texture.
  • Super Simple Nutella Ice Cream
    Hazelnut spread and evaporated milk combine to make a delicious dessert!
  • Yummy Low Sugar Ice Cream
    This isn't totally sugar free, but if you want some good ice cream without so much sugar, this is a great recipe, and it's quick to prepare.
  • Low-Carb Ice Cream Recipe Collection
    Our favorite ice cream recipe is very simple and we freeze it in one of the "freezable cylinder" ice cream makers. My husband is addicted.

Flavor Variations for your Homemade Ice Cream

Are you a chocolate ice cream fan? - substitute a good organic chocolate milk for the regular milk and you'll get a light and rich homemade chocolate ice cream!

Lemon or orange ice cream - substitute buttermilk for the regular milk, as it gives a great tangy character to the basic ice cream. Then just before freezing, add a 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed juice and a tablespoon of fresh zest to the mix.

Nuts & chocolate - add 1/2 cup chocolate shavings or chopped nuts right before freezing. If you do chocolate chips, get the miniature ones, as they melt faster in your mouth when you eat the finished product. (whole frozen chips can be a bit too crunchy for some folks)

Fruit flavors - add 1/2 cup of fresh chopped fruit bits or good quality jam to your milk mix before freezing.

Herbal ice cream - making your own mint chip is easy, just add a 1/2 cup of freshly and finely chopped mint to your mix. Or try something more exotic like lavender!


WillSteinmetz on October 20, 2011:

Wow. yummy..

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alidia on October 06, 2011:

is there any ice cream recipes out there just using milk or condensed milk rather than cream help plz

jamterrell on August 07, 2011:

All ice creams are very delicious!

gajanis from Pakistan on February 20, 2011:

Good....let me try it also.

Amy on July 31, 2010:

I really like ice cream thanks

Bengali Bratisha from Italy on June 18, 2010:

Excellent! I've finally found an egg free ice cream recipe! Thank you very much indeed! It sounds delicious!

denzelwillis on February 24, 2010:

I tried it. It's delicious

nikki1 on December 25, 2009:

great hub/ love ice cream :D

Erin Bower from Georgia on October 01, 2009:

mmmm...I bet this is so goooood!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 29, 2008:

Annie, you CAN use yogurt but you'll have to find what ration of ingredients gives the texture you like.

Annie Couture from Colorado on July 29, 2008:

really great hub, what about frozen yogurt? can you use the same recipes but replace with yogurt??

BeatsMe on July 26, 2008:

I used to like the idea of making ice cream. I changed my mind when I couldn't find an ice cream maker. :)

Patricia Bedard from Venice Beach on July 25, 2008:

I bought an ice cream machine not to long ago, I should start using it. Great Hub!

02SmithA from Ohio on July 21, 2008:

I don't think good ice cream can be beat! It has always been my favorite dessert! That French Vanilla recipe looks great!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 18, 2008:

Fruit-flavored ice cream made at home really does put the commercial stuff to shame!

Cailin Gallagher from New England on July 18, 2008:

Now, I want an ice-cream maker!! After college, I worked down outside Atlanta for a trucking company. The local women made home-made peach ice-cream that was so scrumptious. I've never tasted better, and I live in Massachusetts, one of the top consumers of ice-cream in the country.

Barb Johnson from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula on July 17, 2008:

I agree, sounds good really good right now. My friends and I still use the kick the coffee can around method with rock salt,etc,. just for fun with the kids. Of course we're the big kids. Thanks. It'll be a nice switch.

Rodney Fagan from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City on July 13, 2008:

Graet, a nice vanilla ice cream would really go down right now.

Whitney from Georgia on July 12, 2008:

This sounds good. We just got a new ice cream maker, and have only tried strawberry. I'll have to print this out.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 11, 2008:

The mom of my best friend in high school had an old-fashioned ice cream maker, where you packed it with rock salt and ice and turned the handle for hours. She used to enlist a whole pack of us kids on hot days, and we'd sit in the garage where it was cool and take turns cranking the mixture. When it got too difficult for anyone to turn, it was done.

Eileen Hughes from Northam Western Australia on July 11, 2008:

Vanilla the best. Love the old er....what do you call it churn something like that.

Great want to try it now too.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 11, 2008:

We've got a big family dinner coming up later this summer, so I spent part of the 4th of July holiday weekend testing recipe variations and polling everyone as to what they liked from the taste tests. It was great to really have a chance to play with the milk/cream ratios and get feedback from eager tasters.

Cindy Lietz from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on July 11, 2008:

Oooh I love the new recipes! I make homemade ice cream all the time in my little ice-cream maker.

hassam from Pakistan on July 11, 2008:

I simply love ishh cream.I have tried a number of homemade ice cream recipes, but only the chocolate recipe worked well,this looks simple too,I would definitely try it out with all the flavour variations.Thanks for the hub

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 11, 2008:

I think vanilla is a flavor that goes best with a lot of other foods. Plus, it is the flavor of choice for root beer of my faves!

Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on July 11, 2008:

Vanilla is my fave.

sadonna23 from Alabama on July 11, 2008:

sounds so yummy! i wish i had some right now!

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