You will enjoy the freshness and smooth, creamy texture of my classic No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream. There is something special about homemade ice cream; it tastes so much better than store bought varieties and it is very easy to make.
Why we love this recipe:
Whilst I’m yet to meet an ice cream that I don’t like, there is a special place in my heart for Vanilla Ice Cream. For a start, it is a great accompaniment to many desserts or can be topped with sauces such as my Easy Blueberry Sauce or Easy Strawberry Sauce.
As well, you will have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what it contains. When it comes to store bought, there are many additives which help preserve the ice cream and keep its creamy texture. If you’re like me, you will prefer to consume ice cream with natural ingredients. This ice cream is also naturally gluten-free.
This ice cream has a custard base, which means, it contains egg yolks and they are important for several reasons. They help to thicken the ice cream as well as giving it a rich, creamy, silky-smooth texture. In addition, they help prevent ice crystals forming which is why there is no need to churn this mixture. As well, they contain natural emulsifiers, mainly lecithin, which bind fat and water together in a creamy emulsion.
I love the convenience of this recipe which contains just 4 ingredients and does not require an ice cream maker. There is nothing lacking in the texture which is deliciously smooth and creamy.
My No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream is a versatile recipe. Whilst it is delicious as it is, it lends itself to being customised giving you endless flavour options. You could add crushed Oreos, chocolate chips, crushed candy canes or swirl through some caramel or chocolate sauce. As well, consider the addition of spice, such as ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Egg yolks – the egg yolks add richness and provide a smooth, creamy texture.
Caster/superfine sugar – I use this sugar as it dissolves more readily than granulated sugar.
Whipping cream – we have used heavy/whipping cream which contains 35% milk fat.
Vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract – I like to use vanilla bean paste as it includes the seeds of the vanilla bean pod. Alternatively, you can use good quality vanilla extract; just ensure that it is naturally produced from the vanilla bean and not synthetically flavoured.
Step by step instructions:
To begin, I place an airtight container, which will contain the ice cream, into the freezer to chill.
Then, prepare a double boiler by having a saucepan with lightly simmering water which will hold a heatproof bowl.
I pour the cream into a heavy based saucepan, place it over a medium heat and heat until it is just below boiling point.
Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and caster/superfine sugar in the heatproof bowl. Using a whisk or hand-held electric beaters, whisk them together until they are light, fluffy and lemon-coloured.
Slowly pour the near-boiling cream onto the yolk and sugar mixture, whisking vigorously. Do not pour too quickly, you need to temper the eggs.
When all the cream has been added, place the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water on the lowest possible heat. Stir with a wooden spoon in a figure of 8 until the custard begins to thicken. Don’t be tempted to speed up the process by using high heat. You may end up with scrambled eggs.
The custard is ready when it lightly coats the back of a wooden spoon. To test, run your finger along the back of the spoon – if it leaves a clear trace the custard is ready.
Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and leave to cool, stirring occasionally so that a skin doesn’t form.
When the custard is cool, flavour with vanilla paste or extract to taste. It is important to over-flavour as the ice cream will lose flavour once frozen.
Pour the ice cream into the chilled container and place in the freezer.
Remove from the freezer and for the next three hours, stir the mixture with a fork every half hour until the mixture is almost set.
Leave to freeze – it’s roughly a total of 4 hours.
Tips for success and FAQs:
Custard is not difficult to make, but it does require some vigilance and care. Cook the custard over a very gentle heat and stir continuously. Patience is required to obtain smooth, velvety custard. If you’re impatient to try your ice cream and try to speed up the process, you may end up with sweet, scrambled eggs!
One of the ways is by using egg yolks and not the whole egg. To prevent ice crystals forming, we want to eliminate as much water as possible and this means not using the whites of the egg which are approximately 90% water. As well, we use whipping/heavy cream with a minimum fat content of 35%. If you substitute with a cream with lower fat content, or use milk, the ice cream has the potential to become icy.
Store the ice cream in the freezer in a freezer-safe, shallow, airtight container. As an extra precaution against the formation of ice crystals, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream. Without the additives of commercial ice cream, I have found that homemade ice cream does not keep well. To me the real pleasure is to enjoy the fresh produce; I think, after 5-7 days, it loses its texture and flavour.
How to store the egg whites:
You can store egg whites in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze them for future use. Add the whites to airtight containers suitable for the freezer. Be sure to label them with the date and the number of egg whites. Or, freeze individual egg whites in an ice cube tray. When frozen, transfer the whites to a container or zip-lock bag.
Ways to use the egg whites:
Use up your leftover egg whites in some delicious ways, such as these recipes:
- Individual Lemon Curd Meringues
- Almond Cookies – Gluten and Dairy Free
- Chewy Amaretti Cookies
- Mini Meringues with Berries and Cream
- Individual Strawberry Meringues
- Chocolate Almond Cookies
Here are some of our favourite things to enjoy the No Churn Gluten-Free Vanilla Ice Cream with:
- Decadent Chocolate Brownies
- Brandied Oranges
- Spiced Poached Plums
- Fresh Pineapple Crisp
- Easy Strawberry Sauce
- Easy Blueberry Sauce
- Peach and Plum Crumble
- Mini Plum Tartlets
- Chocolate Raspberry Brownies
- And with a shot of Espresso to make an Italian Affogato.
Whilst nothing beats an icy cold ice cream on hot summer days, my No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream is a classic recipe, perfect to enjoy throughout the year, not just during summer. Make this for your family and friends and they will feel special. Such a gesture is a clear declaration of your affection for them.
This post was originally published in September 2018. It has been updated with new photos and more information. The recipe remains the same.
No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream
- 4 egg yolks See Note 1
- ¼ cup (60 gm) caster/superfine sugar
- 1 ¾ cup (420 ml) whipping/heavy cream See Note 2
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract (or to taste) See Note 3
For accuracy, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
- Place an airtight container, which will contain the ice cream, into the freezer to chill.
- Pour the cream into a heavy based saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring the cream to just below the boil.
- Prepare a double boiler by having a saucepan with lightly simmering water which will hold a heatproof bowl.
- Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and caster/superfine sugar in the heatproof bowl. Using a whisk or hand-held electric beaters, whisk them together until they are light, fluffy and lemon-coloured.
- Slowly pour the near-boiling cream onto the yolk and sugar mixture, whisking vigorously. Do not pour too quickly, you need to temper the eggs. See Note 4
- When all the cream has been added, place the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water on the lowest possible heat.Stir constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure of 8 until the custard begins to thicken. Don’t be tempted to do this over high heat. You may end up with scrambled eggs.
- The custard is ready when it lightly coats the back of a wooden spoon. To test, run your finger along the back of the spoon – if it leaves a clear trace the custard is ready.
- Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and leave to cool on the kitchen bench, stirring occasionally so that a skin doesn’t form.
- When the custard is cool, flavour with vanilla paste or extract to taste. It is important to over-flavour as the ice cream will lose flavour once frozen.Pour the ice cream into the chilled container and place in the freezer.
- Remove from the freezer and stir the mixture with a fork every half hour for about 3 hours until the mixture is mostly set.Once mostly set, leave to freeze completely – it’s roughly a total of 4 hours. – see Note 5
- Before serving, remove the ice cream from the fridge for about 10 minutes to allow it to soften slightly.Store the ice cream in the freezer in a freezer-safe, shallow, airtight container. As an extra precaution against the formation of ice crystals, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream. The ice cream will have the best flavour for 5-7 days.
- I use large eggs.
- We have used heavy/whipping cream which contains 35% milk fat.
- I like to use vanilla bean paste with seeds; it has a pure, sweet vanilla taste and gives the finished product the speckles of vanilla bean seeds. If you prefer, you can use good quality vanilla extract which is naturally produced from the vanilla bean. Avoid those which are synthetically flavoured.
- To temper the eggs, you slowly add the hot liquid to the egg mixture. If you just added the eggs to the hot cream you would end up with cooked eggs. The intention is to slowly raise the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them.
- Freezing time is approximate. Total freezing time will depend on the size of your container and the temperature of your freezer.
- Please note, the nutritional information is based on the ice cream being divided into six serves. The nutritional information is an estimate only.
The nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
I’m so glad I tried this recipe because now I know I can get great ice cream without an ice cream maker! This was my first time making ice cream at home and couldn’t believe how simple and easy it was. The flavor’s spot on and even better than my favorite brand of store-bought ice cream. So good!
Hi Lilly, thank you for your lovely comments on the Vanilla Ice Cream. I am so pleased that you found it easy to make and enjoyed it more than store-bought! You just can’t beat what you make yourself. 🙂
I used honey instead of sugar (healthier sweetener and easier to mix). Also, instead of the double-boiler, I just heated the mixture up on low heat and kept stirring it. Easy, quick, and absolutely delicious! Thank you for the amazing recipe and very detailed instructions, Alex 🙂
Hi Natalie, thank you so much for your fantastic feedback on the No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream. What a great idea to use honey! I do appreciate your comments. 🙂
Sylvia R Iniguez
Could I add any flavor to this recipe?
Hi Sylvia, you sure can. These are some of the ideas we suggest in the post:
You could add crushed Oreos, chocolate chips, crushed candy canes or swirl through some caramel or chocolate sauce. As well, consider the addition of spice, such as ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Wow this was so delicious! Love how easy it is to make too.
Thank you, Catherine!
The texture is so smooth and it tastes creamy and delicious. My family loved it!
I am so happy you enjoyed it, Angela!
Wow! This is so much better than store bought ice cream! This was my first time making ice cream at home and I wish I had known it was going to be this good! It was definitely worth getting the vanilla bean paste. The flavor was outstanding!
Hi Ciera, I am so pleased that you enjoyed our Vanilla Ice Cream. It really isn’t difficult to make it at home and that way we know exactly what goes into it. Thank you for letting me know. 🙂
Lovely. Such an easy recipe.
Thank you, Natalie!
I love the creaminess of this recipe! So good!
Thank you, Amanda!
I’ve never added egg yolks to an ice cream recipe before but now I’m going to add them to all my ice creams! The texture was so smooth and creamy! This is what I’ve been missing all these years of making ice cream. Thank you so much for the tip. It turned out amazing!
Hi Ella, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed our Vanilla Ice Cream and liked the traditional custard-based method we used to make it. I love that it is no-churn; it makes it so easy. 🙂
I wish to use this recipe with fruit (such as cantaloupe), could you pls tell me in what proportions I need to change my ingredients?
Hello Queenie, unfortunately, adding cantaloupe to this recipe will spoil the creamy texture. Cantaloupe contains a lot of water which will become icy when frozen and I feel it would be best to look for a recipe that is specifically for this fruit. I hope this helps. Kind regards, Alex 🙂
I’m in the US, and have powdered sugar and granulated sugar. Which is the better replacement for caster sugar? Also would you recommend against adding in mix-ins to the ice cream? If it would be okay, at which step would it best to add? Thanks! Excited to try this recipe 🙂
Hi Katie! Thanks for the question. Caster sugar is also known as superfine sugar, so the closest would be to use granulated sugar. You can actually turn your granulated sugar into caster/superfine sugar by whizzing it in a food processor for a short time if you wish. The granules will become smaller. Just don’t whizz it too long or it will become powdered/confectioners’ sugar. Regarding adding ingredients to the ice cream, I haven’t personally done this but it would be best to add them when the custard is cool, at the same time as adding the vanilla. I imagine chocolate chips, Turkish delight, crushed cookies would all work. Enjoy – love to know what you think if you give it a try!