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Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 quart 1x


Here’s how to make the best homemade vanilla ice cream recipe! It’s got the perfect creamy texture and smooth, rich flavor.


  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Mix 2 tablespoons whole milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until fully combined, then stir in the sugar.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the 2 cups whole milk, the heavy cream and salt. Heat for 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat, whisking frequently, until steaming but not bubbling (and the temperature reads 180 degrees on a food thermometer*). Be careful not to let it boil.
  3. Turn off the heat. While whisking, ladle a bit of the milk mixture into the egg yolks and sugar, being careful to go slow so that the egg yolks don’t curdle. Continuing to whisk, add 2 more ladles of the milk mixture slowly. Then whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
  4. Slowly whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining milk and cream in the saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, adjusting the heat so it doesn’t come to a simmer, for 6 to 7 minutes until thickened (don’t let it go above 170 degrees Fahrenheit). Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. 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 (or even quicker, you can pour it into a 1-gallon zip-top bag, seal it, and place the bag in ice water for 30 minutes). Alternatively, simply place the bowl in the refrigerator and wait for 3 hours or until the temperature drops to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. 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.


*A food thermometer is not required; use the visual and time cues if you don’t have one. However, it’s helpful to the most precise recipe: use the temperatures provided in parentheses.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Vanilla ice cream. vanilla ice cream recipe, homemade vanilla ice cream