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Homemade ice cream recipes?

I'm looking for a good recipe for classic vanilla ice cream and/or vanilla ice milk. Just bought an ice cream maker, and its included recipes haven't turned out so well. Thanks for any suggestions.


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  1. Bruce Weinstein's book The Ultimate Ice Cream Book has an amazing vanilla bean - sadly I'm useless in getting you the recipe - it's packed up with the rest of my kitchen but maybe someone else has it. It's a great book to have, I bought it for the green tea ice cream but it is my go to book for ice cream recipes.

    1. David Lebovitz has a great ice cream/frozen dessert book "The Perfect Scoop".
      He also posts some recipes on his web site www.davidlebovitz.com
      I've been reading the book cover to cover, the recipes look great. Soon to try some.

      5 Replies
      1. re: BeeZee

        this one gets my vote. I'm cooking (freezing?) my way through this book. The vanilla is really great - both the philadelphia style, and the french custard style. Although I slightly lower the sugar and yolk content in the custard one, because that seems to be the most popular variation with us.

        Like the others, I'm curious to know what you didn't like about the previous ice cream recipes you tried.

        1. re: Gooseberry

          We use the Lebovitz book as well. Every recipe so far has been a winner. I make the Philadelphia vanilla most often(using 2 c cream and 1 cup whole milk). It's great by itself or as a base for something else(we used it for delicious cherry vanilla last week).

          The hot fudge sauce in this book is also a real winner.

          1. re: ziggylu

            is the hot fudge the thing you swirl through the ice cream, too? I tried that, with disappointing results. Couldn't work out if I'd managed to burn the sauce, or if it was supposed to taste both cloying and sharp at the same time.

            1. re: Gooseberry

              It's the first hot fudge sauce in the book. I forget what he calls it...there's two different hot fudge sauces I believe. I've been using callebaut when I make it and it's really good. Nice and dark. Thickens up like a ganache.

        2. re: BeeZee

          You can find David's recipe for vanilla on his website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/recipes/...

          We are pretty nuts about our ice cream maker and use it at least two or three times a month. If you have room to keep the bowl in the freezer you will end up using it all the time! I have written about a lot of recipes including Bourbon pecan, country peach, creme fraiche with candied meyer lemon peel, and more if you're interested!

        3. I think vanilla is actually harder than other flavors. I can't make homemade vanilla better than store-bought vanilla. Other store-bought flavors have been easy to better. I would be curious what tips people have for vanilla.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mattm

            I totally agree. I can buy decent quality vanilla ice cream in the store, but in my machine, it's my moby dick.

          2. David Lebovitz has a wonderful recipe for vanilla frozen yogurt in his book The Perfect Scoop. I actually used half the amount of sugar he called for because I prefer it less sweet, and 2% Fage yogurt, because I prefer it less rich. So, some would say that's not his recipe...but he was the inspiration! It's not ice milk, but unless you dislike the flavor of yogurt, I daresay it's worth trying a batch.

            I haven't yet tried his recipes for vanilla ice cream, though the recipe for salted butter caramel on his website is weak at the knees, swooning delicious. I doubt you could go wrong with his book.

            1. This was my favorite ice cream as a child....a real Southern favorite. I haven't had it in years but my grandma made batches of it every week when I was young. I got this version/recipe from Texas Monthly as my grandma never had a "measured" recipe.

              Big Red Ice Cream

              1 quart whipping cream
              2 cans sweetened condensed milk
              1 ten-ounce package frozen strawberries (optional)
              3 cans of Big Red (36 fluid ounces)

              Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Pour into an ice cream freezer and fill freezer to fill line with milk.

              Yields: 1 gallon or 1 1/2 gallons

              2 Replies
                1. re: emilief

                  Big Red is a soda (mainly sold here in the south). See here: http://www.bigredltd.com/. It's bottled in Waco, Texas (also home to Dr. Pepper!).

              1. I'm wondering what you didn't like about those that you have tried? I personally love the fresh flavor of the basic vanilla Cuisinart recipe. But it comes out of the machine a bit thicker than soft-serve or can be frozen for an hour to firm up. One thing it doesn't do is hold for a long time in the freezer due to the fact that it doesn't have gums and other things found in store bought ice cream. Do you not like the texture? the flavor? the color?

                1. I just made a vanilla ice cream with 2 c. cream, 1 c. milk, 3/4 c. sugar and a vanilla bean. It ended up making 1 qt. of ice cream and after 2 days in the freezer (half of its gone now) it's still scoopable (hard, but not rock hard) and so good.

                  I will say that the flavor is not like the store-bought vanilla (maybe if you make a custard based vanilla ice cream) but more like the sweet cream flavor at Coldstone. It's just fresh and light tasting with a hint of vanilla. The texture's nice and creamy, without being too "buttery" and leaving a coat on your tongue.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: leanneabe

                    This is almost exactly the recipe I've used for years, except I use a full cup of sugar. The other day, though, I switched the ratios of cream/milk, so it was 1 cup of cream and two cups of milk. The fat content is reduced quite a bit, and the end product is still pretty good.

                  2. 1 cup milk
                    1 cup cream
                    3/4 cup sugar
                    6 egg yolks
                    Up to 3 vanilla beans

                    Cook like a creme anglaise.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cookiejesus

                      I'm with cookiejesus. That looks just about right. I use one good vanilla bean (scraped) and let it sit in the custard the entire time it cools.

                      And when you want a variation, ditch the vanilla bean and laboriously rub that sugar into some fragrant organic lemons until the sugar is quite yellow. Add a little lemon juice to the custard. And smile while eating. Just using zest isn't even comparable.

                    2. For vanilla ice cream, I think you need vanilla bean. The flavor of a vanilla extract just isn't the same.

                      1. I love vanilla ice cream, and I love how it turns out in the cuisinart. I've made it by cooking a custard w/ vanilla bean, but am happiest not cooking the custard and using good quality (Penzey's) vanilla extract.
                        Ben and Jerry have an ice cream book that is simple and fantastic, called: Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book. More lowbrow than Lebovitz, but I use it more.
                        2 eggs, 3/4 c. sugar, 2 c. heavy cream, 1 c. milk, 2 t. vanilla extract. What could be easier? And I find it quite satisfying.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: NYchowcook

                          I was just about to suggest the Ben and Jerry Book...it is my go-to recipe book for my ice-cream maker every time and has never let me down.

                          1. re: LJS

                            I use their Sweet Cream Base all the time. It's as easy as it is excellent.

                            In the summer when ripe fruit is so good I make double the recipe and keep a pitcher of it in the fridge to add fruit purée or crushed fruit to 2 or 3 cups of it at a time and freeze it up.

                          2. re: NYchowcook

                            I have a batch of this cooling in the fridge, thanks for the recipe. I think French style is too eggy and Philly style is too icy, so this seems like a good middle ground. Bonus points for ease of recipe too:) Think I need to add the Ben and Jerry book to my collection...

                          3. For me, it's all about flavors that you can't find in the shops. Honestly, a chocolate ice cream that's in the store is going to taste just as good as the one done at home, so why bother? But I can't find hazelnut or almond ice cream in the shops. Vanilla ice cream with real vanilla beans is awsome as well. I think it's about finding a recipe with a good base and flavor it from there.

                            Personally, I use Heston Blumenthal's ice cream recipe where the base is sugar, egg yolks, powdered milk, and milk. No cream. The ice cream passes through your mouth swiftly, and the flavor doesn't linger in the mouth the same way as ice cream made with cream. It's good for ice cream, but it's not good for a-la-mode applications. Since the taste comes and goes so quickly, you actually can't taste the ice cream against the brownie or whatever you're eating the ice cream with. Too much info, but I thought it was pretty cool...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: phan1

                              So is your preference for the HB base a calorie thing? or ease of prep?

                              It is the ease of prep and speed that I like in the Ben and Jerry book, but their base is not a cooked custard style. It is great if you are sure of your egg supply as I am ( the eggs are not cooked). I use this for family, but I would not serve to someone who has a immune compromised system as salmonella is a possibility (though slim).

                              1. re: phan1

                                I had a similar experience with custard bases made only from milk, with no cream. very light, but there was no lingering flavour after I swallowed. I now do a mixture of cream and milk, to prolongue the mouth feel and flavour, but not enough fatto give a greasy feel.

                              2. i just made this in the last couple weeks, it was great, light and refreshing.

                                Lemon Ginger Frozen Yogurt


                                3/4 cup water
                                3/4 cup sugar
                                1/4 cup light corn syrup
                                2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
                                1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
                                1 cup low-fat buttermilk
                                1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
                                1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel


                                Bring water, sugar, light corn syrup, and grated ginger to boil in medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 2 minutes. Strain into medium bowl and chill until cool. Whisk in yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions; cover and freeze.


                                1. I'm kind of known as the ice cream queen in my dinner party circle. Enjoy your purchase! I have used recipes from Weinstein's book quite successfully (a minorly tweaked ginger ice cream recipe from his book is one of my favorites). I've recently gotten the Lebovitz book and made the vanilla bean recipe to raves from my friends. I only used 5 egg yolks (should've checked the carton first!) and I accidentally bought 2% milk instead of whole, so I used that. Still, it was wonderful. Here's his recipe:

                                  Vanilla Ice Cream (~1 qt.)

                                  1 cup whole milk
                                  ¾ cup sugar
                                  2 cups heavy cream
                                  Pinch salt
                                  1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped from it
                                  6 egg yolks
                                  ¾ tsp vanilla extract

                                  Put canister is freezer at least 24 hrs. prior to churning the ice cream.

                                  Warm milk, sugar, half of the cream and salt in saucepan. Add vanilla seeds and the bean halves into the warm milk mixture. Cover, remove from heat, steep for 30-60 min.
                                  Put rest of cream into large bowl with a fine strainer on top of the cream. In separate bowl, whisk yolks, then slowly pour milk/vanilla/cream mixture into egg yolks, whisking all the while. Pour this entire mixture into the saucepan.
                                  Cook and stir mixture over medium heat. Stir constantly (use heatproof spatula). When thickened enough to coat spoon or spatula, pour this custard mixture into first bowl using the strainer. Stir in vanilla extract and the vanilla bean pieces and let cool (Lebovitz suggests an ice bath, but to me that’s a bother).
                                  Chill thoroughly overnight in fridge. Remove vanilla bean pieces and freeze according to instructions for your ice cream maker.

                                  1. I just made this ice cream on Sunday to celebrate my garage sale find of a perfectly new and unused Cuisinart ice cream maker for $12. It was unbelievably good - the ice cream, that is (but also the machine). Best vanilla I've ever made or, for that matter, eaten. Creamy and rich. The recipe contains, among other things, corn starch and cream cheese but no egg. You don't taste the cream cheese at all - apparently it just contributes to the scoopability, and the corn starch thickens the liquid mixture just a bit. Dinner guests were stunned into silence.


                                    1. I haven't gone wrong using Alton Brown's 9-8-3-2-1 recipe as a base: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                                      1. I'm a bit allergic to eggs and don't like the "eggy" taste associated with most homemade ice cream so I use a traditional Italian gelato recipe. Here's my recipe.

                                        Vanilla Gelato:
                                        One whole vanilla bean de-seeded but keeping the husk
                                        3 egg yolks
                                        1.5 Tbls cornstarch
                                        1 tsp of vanilla extract (or one whole vanilla bean)
                                        ½ cup of Sugar
                                        1/8 teaspoon of salt
                                        2 ½ cups of liquid (half and half, milk, cream, skim ect) I used 2 cups heavy whipping cream and ½ cup 2% milk.
                                        Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling - Yield: 1 generous pint.
                                        This is also a great base recipe for fruit flavored gelato. If you want to make fruit, make sure it’s pureed and drained and don’t add additional sugar to the fruit. I use 3 cups of fruit puree.

                                        1. Heat 2 cups of the cream on medium-low (If using a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into liquid, then add husk.) until it starts to make small bubbles around the edge and it starts to steam. Turn off the heat (remove vanilla husk and discard).

                                        2. In a Pyrex, microwave ½ cup 2% milk for 30 seconds. Mix in cornstarch with a spoon until dissolved.

                                        3. Whisk egg yolks with ½ cup sugar in a medium glass bowl until the mixture is a bit fluffy and a yellow color.

                                        4. Whisk in milk/cornstarch mixture, vanilla and salt thoroughly for a smooth texture without lumps.

                                        5. Add ½ cup of the warmed cream from the pan to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to temper the eggs.

                                        6. Add the egg mixture to the warm cream in the pan and incorporate thoroughly.

                                        7. Cook on medium-low just until the mixture starts to bubble. Be sure to frequently whisk or the mixture will start to burn at the bottom.

                                        8. When the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat. (Can wisk in 2 cups fruit at this point if you are using it)

                                        9. Fill kitchen sink ½ way with very cold water and place pan with the pudding mixture into the sink, make sure no water gets into the pan. You might have to change the water after about 5 min.

                                        10. Once chilled to room temperature or colder, pour the mixture into a clean glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the plastic wrap sit directly on top of the pudding to avoid a skin forming.

                                        11. Refrigerate until fully cooled. About 12 hours for the best texture.

                                        12. Place mixture in your ice cream maker (along with the last cup of fruit if you are using it) and let it mix for 20-25 minutes.

                                        13. For soft serve you can eat it right away. For firmer ice cream, place in a container and freeze for at least 3 hours.


                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: foodlove

                                          foodlove: Looks like we're both posting to a 2007 thread. Maybe we can get it started up again.

                                          Lebovitz' Perfect Scoot was COTM a while back. Here's the link to the main thread. There are others regarding specific chapters that you can find by searching.


                                          So I'm addicted to frozen yoghurt made with Seville oranges. I posted about this as well, but am too lazy to look for it now. I use juice and zest and vanilla. Wonderful flavor. I adapted it from an old Nigella recipe. Can't remember the cookbook...maybe Feast? Domestic Goddess?

                                          I also wonder if anybody uses a Donvier hand cranker? It's the one that uses a cannister that's kept in the freezer at least overnight. The consistency is soft-servish which I love.

                                          Lebovitz' website is also a great source for ideas. It's also a fun and interesting blog which I read several times a week.

                                          1. re: foodlove

                                            Eek! Forgot to add, strain the pudding mixture before you cool it!

                                            1. re: foodlove

                                              One of the things I like about ice cream is how forgiving it is: As you can see from the above, you can use almost mixture of milk/cream/half-and-half/eggs with a vanilla bean or two and turn out a fine product.

                                              My standard mixture (adapted from "The Cake Bible") is:

                                              2 cups cream
                                              2/3 cup milk
                                              5 egg yolks
                                              2 small vanilla beans
                                              Pinch of salt
                                              1/2 cup sugar
                                              1.5 TB of vodka (works like anti-freeze--clever idea--add this AFTER the mixture is frozen and process it just a little further until it is mixed in)

                                              The only truly important do's/don'ts that I follow are:

                                              1) If you want ice cream, it needs a fair bit of fat in it, or the texture suffers. Less than 50-50 mixture of cream and milk is my usual cut-off below which it gets grainy/icy. If you want a lower fat version, make gelato instead--the cornstarch helps with the texture.

                                              2) Don't overcook the custard. This scrambles the eggs. I use medium to medium-high heat, an instant read thermometer, and lots of constant stirring. Before you get the feel of it, you would be safer to use no more than medium heat. I have a strainer and a bowl set up right beside the stove, so I can quickly dump it in when it hits 77 degrees Celsius (170 degrees F).

                                              3) If I didn't have vanilla beans, I wouldn't bother making vanilla ice cream. In a pinch a good quality extract would be acceptable, esp. if you were serving it with something else (so the ice cream doesn't have to shine quite as much).

                                              4) If I want a less eggy version, I use two whole eggs instead of the 5 egg yolks.

                                              1. re: zamorski


                                                Your point about less fat more icy is usually correct, but I have found that not to be true in the soft-servesque stuff I make in my Donvier hand-crank. I've used almost entirely non-fat yoghurt, with just a bit of full fat yog or even low fat yog with great results.

                                                I've developed this method because I often don't want to wait while the ice cream/fro yo goes back into the fridge for a final firming up, which is necessary using the Donvier...well, they say it is anyhow.

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  I also like frozen yogurt straight out of the ice cream maker, and I've had very creamy results using all nonfat Greek yogurt. I haven't made any since last summer, but then I made a great plum frozen yogurt using the blueberry frozen yogurt recipe in The Perfect Scoop and nonfat Greek yogurt (I just subbed chopped plums for the blueberries).

                                                  I also love this mocha gelato recipe, which happens to be low fat, and is intended to be eaten straight from the IC maker (I add all the chocolate to the milk mixture instead of using some as "chips": http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                  It probably does benefit from the cornstarch, as zamorski suggests (it has no eggs).

                                          2. Made this Lemon-Buttermilk Sorbet from epicurious last night and it was amazing-

                                            I didn't have enough buttermilk, so I subbed 1 cup of Fage to make up the difference. Am trying it today with grapefruits, I'll let you know how that goes.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: yamalam

                                              yamalam, you might also be interested in this dead-easy blackberry-buttermilk sherbet from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich: Mash 3 cups of blackberries (fresh or IQF, thawed, with their juices). Stir in 1 cup plus 2 T. sugar; add 3 cups buttermilk and stir until the sugar dissolves. Chill, then freeze in ice cream freezer (it only freezes to a slushy texture in mine, so it goes into the freezer to firm up). She says it doesn't keep well, so should be eaten up within a few days. That is *not* a problem!

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                That sounds awesome, thanks. Especially since it is fast approaching blackberry season!!! I adore buttermilk, in savory dishes, in baking, and now in frozen dessert, apparently.

                                                BTW, the grapefruit buttermilk sorbet came out well, just a little oversweet, I didn't compensate enough for the grapefruits being sweeter than the lemons in the original recipe. Still a keeper!

                                                1. re: yamalam

                                                  I have some in the freezer now, made from frozen blackberries from Trader Joe's. The flavor is great.

                                            2. Basic Sweet Cream Recipe (add fresh vanilla to taste)
                                              2 Cups Whole Milk
                                              2 Cups Heavy Cream
                                              1 Cup sugar
                                              Vanilla to your taste

                                              This recipe is incredibly versatile and EASY! Just mix ingredients together, keep chilled in fridge until ready to use. When your KA bowl is frozen, add mixture to kitchenaid mixer bowl (KA Ice Cream Maker Bowl Attachment - Freezer bowl) and churn/mix for 25-20 minutes. Scrape bowl and place into two shallow, freezer safe containers and freeze for 4 hours. SO delicious. No playing around with eggs or other ingredients. Make about 1/2 gallon of sweet, refreshing ice cream. Not too sweet, not too bland, absolutely perfect. Great for those of us who don't like the eggs. Also great as a base for other flavors like chocolate (add 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder) and voila - chocolate bliss.

                                              I have a whole article I just wrote about this recipe and using the Ice Cream maker attachment. I've also included ideas to variations/different flavors this recipe could be adapted to fit. If you are a beginner with making ice cream, THIS is the recipe for you -simple, pure ingredients and a good starting point.


                                              1. This recipe involves a bit of work but is worth the effort. Try adding some vanilla extract too to compliment the flavour from the bean.