Learn how to make homemade ice cream with rich vanilla flavor, creamy texture and without a “milky” taste. It’s one of the best ice cream recipes without a machine.
One of the easiest ice cream recipes is the 3-ingredient homemade ice cream recipe which is made without an ice cream machine and you just have to beat 2 cups of heavy cream until fluffy and then add one can of sweet condensed milk and some vanilla extract.
And yes, it is pretty good, but is it the best? To my humble opinion, no. And I’m saying no, because I find that it has an intense “milky” taste and also lacks the depth and complexity of the traditional ice cream made with egg yolks. So, how can you make it better? My simple solution is to add one cup of custard cream.
The custard cream not only gives depth and improves the flavor, but it also increases the quantity of the ice cream to 6 cups, which means more ice cream for you and your family. And if your family want more flavors make sure you offer them this homemade, no-churn chocolate ice cream and this real pistachio ice cream (also a no-churn recipe!).
How can I make ice cream at home?
If you want to make homemade ice cream you just need some basic ingredients and a good recipe. The basic ingredients are
- cream or milk
- sugar or another sweetener
- egg yolks
- and flavorings (usually vanilla or cocoa)
For recipes that require churning you have to cook the milk/cream with the egg yolks and the sugar until you get a thick, velvety custard. After you chill it in the fridge you churn it and you enjoy your delicious summer dessert.
For no-churn recipes you usually beat the cream until stiff peaks form, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Beating the cream makes the mixture fluffier and aerates it, something that reduces ice crystals. For the same reason, almost all no-churn recipes use cream instead of milk, because of the higher fat content (fat also prohibits the formation of ice crystals in your ice cream).
Your third option is to make these healthier tahini and chocolate banana popsicles.
How do you make homemade ice cream without a machine?
- First, you have to whip the heavy cream until medium/stiff peaks form. The cream (and preferably the bowl also) should be very cold.
- Then, you add sugar or another sweetener like sweet condensed milk and the flavor of your choice. Whisk again until the mixture aerates and becomes very fluffy.
- Transfer it to a freezer safe bowl. This is a good time to add things like chocolate chips, crumbled cookies or fruit jams.
- Store in the freezer overnight.
For the best taste and an authentic vanilla ice cream flavor I like to combine 1 cup of homemade vanilla custard to the sweet condensed milk before I add it to the whipped cream. It makes ALL the difference!
Is no churn ice cream good?
Yes! This recipe produces a creamy, velvety ice cream with no ice crystals at all and a deep, complex vanilla flavor. Just make sure to use a real vanilla extract and make it according to the directions. It will become your favorite.
How do you make homemade ice cream thicker?
There are some tricks you can use if you want your ice cream to be thicker.
First, cornstarch. Cornstarch binds the water molecules and thickens the mixture creating softer and more velvety texture. That’s why it is very important, especially in no churn ice cream recipes. To work its magic you have to cook it with some of the milk/cream of the recipe.
Egg yolks also help with the consistency, but sometimes they can create an “eggy” taste, especially if they are too much or cooked for too long. In this no churn vanilla ice cream, Stella Parks uses a lot of eggs compared to the quantity of the cream, but she cooks the mixture until warmed to 160°F (71°C) to avoid the eggy taste.
Another thickening agent that contributes to a creamier mouthfeel is glucose syrup. What glucose does, is that it doesn’t let the ice cream become icy. In this recipe, the sweet condensed milk plays the same role.
Lastly, beating the heavy cream to stiff peaks will also help because it adds tiny air bubbles to the mixture making it fluffier and softer.
How do you make homemade ice cream soft, creamy and not icy?
- Felicity Cloake in her article “how to make the perfect no-churn ice-cream – recipe” likes to use a couple of tablespoons of alcohol, and she has a point. Alcohol lowers the temperature at which the ice cream mix solidifies. In other words, it helps it remain soft and not hard as a rock.
- Use cream with high fat content. You will need heavy cream with at least 35% fat.
- Whisk or beat with an electric mixer in order to incorporate enough air and make it fluffy.
- Use enough sugar or glucose. Sugar, glucose, honey and sweet condensed milk help the ice cream remain soft and creamy.
- Use cornstarch. It absorbs extra moisture and stops the formation of ice crystals.
- Use milk powder or white chocolate (white chocolate contains milk powder, cocoa butter and sugar something that makes it perfect for making ice cream soft and not icy). If this sounds appealing, don’t miss the chance to make this roasted almond and white chocolate no churn ice cream.
Why is my homemade ice cream hard?
If your ice cream is hard then probably one of the following happened:
- Not enough air was incorporated into the mixture, meaning the cream wasn’t beat to medium stiff peaks (be careful though, because if you over-beat it it can curdle and become butter and buttermilk)
- The recipe didn’t have enough fat. Make sure to use heavy cream with at least 35% fat (check the nutritional information). Don’t use half and half, evaporated milk, or light cream.
- The recipe didn’t have enough sugar. Sugar is crucial for the best texture. Unfortunately you can’t substitute it with low-calorie sweeteners.
- Too much moisture. Use moisture binders like cornstarch, gelatin, or milk powder.
How to customize this basic homemade ice cream
Do you want to customize your basic recipe for homemade ice-cream? Try adding one (or a combination) of the following ingredients:
- 1.5 cups crushed cookies or wafers
- 1.5 cups brownies cut in small cubes
- 1.5 cups chocolate chips or chocolate shavings
- 1.5 cups chopped roasted nuts
- 1 cup chopped candied cherries (maybe soaked in liquor?)
- 1 cup of fruit jam (I prefer it swirled and not completely mixed)
- spices and zests to your liking (cinnamon, cardamom, tonka bean, citrus zest, lavender, mint, earl grey, matcha)
Don’t forget to serve it with this salted dark and white chocolate magic shell!
- 1/3 cup (70 grams) sugar
- 4 teaspoons (10 grams) cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 cups (180 grams) heavy cream, 35% fat
- 1 can (400 grams) sweet condensed milk
- 2 cups (480 grams) very cold heavy cream, 35% fat
- 2 tablespoons (30 gram)s brandy, cognac, rum or vodka
- a pinch of salt
- 2-3 teaspoons (8-12 grams) vanilla extract
Make the custard: Transfer the sugar and the cornstarch to a small pot or saucepan and stir to combine. Add the yolks and the cream and mix with a whisk. Turn the heat to medium-medium/high and cook stirring constantly until the cream thickens and starts to bubble.
Transfer the custard to a bowl, add the sweet condensed milk and mix well. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and transfer it to the fridge until cold (about 2 hours).
Make the base: Transfer the cold cream to the bowl of your electric mixer and beat until medium stiff peaks form. Add the alcohol, the salt and the vanilla and beat until combined.
Make the ice cream: Add the custard mixture to the base in three additions, beating well after each addition until you get a fluffy mixture.
Freeze: Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight. Scoop and eat!
- Chill the bowl of your mixer in the fridge for the best results.
- I’ve made the custard with one whole egg instead of two yolks, with whole milk instead of cream and without alcohol. Although each of the variations was good, the recipe as written has the best texture and taste.
- Customize your basic ice cream recipe by adding: cookies, brownies, coffee, fruit jam, roasted nuts, chocolate chips, dulce de leche, candied cherries.
- If your freezer is too strong, let the ice cream rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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