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This homemade ice cream recipe is irresistibly creamy! It’s perfect as vanilla or use it as a base for other flavors.

Homemade Ice Cream

Sure, you can find dozens of ice cream brands at the store. But the best type in the world? Homemade ice cream! This homemade ice cream recipe is an easy way to make irresistibly delicious ice cream in your own home using all natural ingredients. It’s got a bold, sweet flavor and a lusciously creamy texture. This simple method works for any type of ice cream maker and you can add mix-ins to your heart’s content (that’s our favorite part!). Here’s how to do it!

Ingredients for this homemade ice cream recipe

This homemade ice cream recipe is a simplified version of our classic vanilla ice cream. It doesn’t use egg yolks, so it’s not quite as rich as that recipe: but the tradeoff in ease is worth it! This recipe is quicker and easier to make, and the flavor is boldly vanilla-scented. It’s got a lusciously creamy texture that holds up well in the freezer. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Whole milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Cornstarch
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
Homemade Ice Cream

Required equipment: ice cream maker

This is a classic ice cream recipe, so you’ll need (you guessed it!) an ice cream maker! You’ll find it’s a great investment you can use to make sorbetssherbet and ice creams all year round. Here are a few notes on different types of ice cream makers and how to work with them:

  • Top choice: a freezer bowl ice cream maker. Here’s the 2 quart freezer bowl ice cream maker we use. It’s very durable and has held up well over the years. For this method, you’ll need to make sure to freeze the base of the ice cream maker overnight before making this recipe.
  • Expensive but easy-to-use choice: automatic ice cream maker. Do you make ice cream often? You might want to consider this automatic ice cream maker, which is larger and more expensive. However, it requires no pre-freezing, so you can make ice cream any time you please! You can also make multiple batches back to back without needing to freeze the base again. (This is the type we use, but only because this is our job!)

How to make homemade ice cream (basic steps)

This homemade ice cream recipe has no shortcuts: it’s the classic method for whipping up this popular dessert. Here’s how to make homemade ice cream:

  • Make the custard (5 minutes): Simmer the cornstarch, whole milk and sugar 4 to 5 minutes, taking care that it doesn’t boil. Then add in the heavy cream, more milk, vanilla and salt.
  • Cool the custard (1 to 3 hours): Cool down the custard before churning it. Transfer the mixture to a large metal or glass bowl and place the bowl in a smaller bowl of ice water for 1 hour. Alternatively, place the bowl in the refrigerator and wait for 3 hours or until the temperature drops to 40°F.
  • Churn (25 minutes): Then churn the ice cream in the ice cream maker. After 25 minutes, it makes a soft serve texture you can eat immediately.
  • Freeze or “ripen” for hard ice cream texture (at least 2 hours): Or, freeze the ice cream for 2 to 4 hours for a scoop-able, hard ice cream texture (as shown in the photos).
Homemade Ice Cream

Mix-ins and variations

The best part about this homemade ice cream recipe? Customizing it with mix-ins! We’re huge ice cream mix-in people over here, so we love the chance to customize. Here are some ideas for what to during in the last few minutes of churning:

  • Chocolate chunks: Melt ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Once melted, place half of the ice cream in the container then drizzle in a bit of the chocolate. Mix it into the ice cream with a spoon to break it into chunks. Do this a few times, then add the other half of ice cream and repeat.
  • Cookie dough: Make a half recipe Edible Cookie Dough with mini chocolate chips, then break into small bits or balls and add to the ice cream in the final moments of churning.
  • Crushed Oreo cookies
  • M&M candies
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Strawberry puree
  • Peach puree
  • Caramel sauce
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
The chocolate chunk method above makes tasty chocolate chip ice cream

Storage for homemade ice cream

How long can you store homemade ice cream? This ice cream recipe stores for up to 2 weeks (or more). Place it in a loaf pan with a parchment sheet over the top, or simply scoop it into a sealed container. The texture is lusciously creamy for the entire storage period, not icy like other methods.

More ice cream recipes

Love homemade ice cream? Try these other tasty flavors:

This homemade ice cream recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Ice Cream

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x


This homemade ice cream recipe is irresistibly creamy! It’s tasty as vanilla or use it as a base for other flavors.


  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. In a small saucepan, slowly whisk the cornstarch into 1 cup whole milk, then whisk in the sugar. Heat over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, whisking frequently, until it’s almost simmering and the mixture thickens.
  2. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining ½ cup whole milk and the heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl in a smaller bowl of ice water for 1 hour, making sure not to splash any water into the custard. Alternatively, simply place the bowl in the refrigerator and wait for 3 hours or until the temperature drops to 40°F.
  4. Churn according to your ice cream maker instructions, about 25 minutes for soft serve consistency. For hard ice cream texture, transfer to a loaf pan or sealed container and freeze in the freezer for at least 2 hours (or up to 4 hours). Store in a loaf pan with a parchment sheet over the top or a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Homemade ice cream, homemade ice cream recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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