Learn how to make homemade vanilla ice cream with creamy texture and no milky taste.
It's like an old-fashioned recipe but without a machine.
There are many homemade ice cream recipes that don't need an ice cream machine.
The easiest of them is a simple no-churn recipe with just 3 ingredients, where all you have to do is to whip some heavy cream and add a can of sweet condensed milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
An example of this recipe is this 3-ingredient homemade ice cream from biggerbolderbaking.com.
And although this is a very good recipe, to my humble opinion it's not the best because it usually tastes a lot like chantilly cream.
I also find that it has a strong “milky” taste and lacks the depth and complexity of the traditional, old-fashioned vanilla ice cream made with eggs.
So, the question is, how can you make this easy recipe better?
My simple solution is to add one cup of custard cream.
The custard cream gives depth and improves the flavor, making this taste like the best french vanilla ice cream. It also increases the quantity to 6 cups, which means more ice cream for you and your family.
Needless to say that you don't need an ice cream maker to make it!
- White granulated sugar
- Egg yolks
- Heavy cream 35% fat (also known as heavy whipping cream)
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Vanilla extract
- Brandy, cognac, rum or vodka (optional)
Follow this easy step by step guide for how to make vanilla ice cream without a machine.
Step 1. Make the custard: Transfer all of the ingredients to a pot or saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and start to bubble.
Step 2. Make the ice cream base: Mix the homemade vanilla custard with 1 can (400 grams) of sweetened condensed milk.
Step 3. Whip the heavy cream using an electric mixer until medium/stiff peaks form. The cream (and the bowl) should be very cold.
Step 4. Make the ice cream: Add the alcohol, the salt and the vanilla extract to the whipped cream and beat with the mixer until combined. Then, with the mixer running, gradually add the custard base to the whipped cream mixture and beat until you get a light and fluffy mixture.
Step 5. Freeze: Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe bowl. This is a good time to add things like chocolate chips, crumbled cookies or fruit jams. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and store in the freezer.
Variations - Substitutions
Caramel: For a homemade ice cream with light caramel notes, substitute the sweetened condensed milk with caramelized sweetened condensed milk. Additionally, add a cup of caramel sauce to the ice cream mixture just before freezing, and very briefly marble it with a fork.
Instead of vanilla extract you can use vanilla bean paste. If you want to use a vanilla pod, cut it in half lengthwise, scrape the seeds with a knife and add it to the pot with the custard ingredients.
Ideas for what else to add:
- 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
This ice cream will last for at least 2 months in the freezer when stored in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap on the surface.
If the texture becomes a bit harder after the first few days, let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before scooping.
This homemade vanilla ice cream is delicious even served plain.
However, some ideas for how to serve it to make it more of a dessert, are the following:
- Olive oil lemon cake and blueberries or other fresh berries
- Salted dark and white chocolate olive oil magic shell and sprinkles
- 5-ingredient flourless chocolate cake with nut butter
- Grandma's apple crumble pie and hot fudge
Tips for the best texture
- 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.
Homemade vanilla ice cream recipe without machine
For the custard cream:
- ⅓ cup (70 grams) sugar
- 4 teaspoons (10 grams) cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks
- ¾ cups (180 grams) heavy cream, 35% fat
For the ice cream base:
- 1 can (400 grams) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups (480 grams) very cold heavy cream, 35% fat
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) 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. Cook over medium heat, 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 ice cream base: Pour 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 ice cream 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!
- 1 scoop is about ¼ cup or 60ml.
- Chill the bowl of your mixer in the fridge for the heavy cream to whip faster.
- Leftover egg whites freeze very well. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and use them in omelets or dessert recipes like this white chocolate vanilla cake and these Italian almond cookies (soft amaretti).
- If your freezer is too strong, let the ice cream rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.
When an ice cream is high on milk or heavy cream, and no other flavors are used, then it will probably taste milky.
To fix this, you can add some flavorings like coffee, caramel, mint extract, etc., or you can add some vanilla custard to give it depth and complexity.
However, changing the ingredients will alter the texture of the ice cream, so it's best to follow a tested recipe.
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.
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.
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.
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