How To Make Vanilla Ice Cream From Scratch

For something as simple as ice cream, it’s really amazing the number of ingredients you can find on some of the cartons. Even some of the allegedly “premium” brands.

My current peeve is how hard it is to find food without corn syrup. By the way, did you know most ketchup has more calories per ounce than ice cream does? It’s the corn syrup. Are you sure you want your kids to finish those nuggets (with ketchup) before they’re allowed to have ice cream?

There are exceptions. One of the few kinds of ice cream I feel good about buying and feeding to my kids is Breyer’s vanilla. Four ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, vanilla. Just how it should be. And, not coincidentally, exactly what I put in mine. (And no, I’m not getting paid to say that. Though if anyone from Breyer’s wants to send me a few gallons to thank me for the mention, I can be reached via email 🙂


2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla


First step is to mix the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. You can do this by hand, but I don’t have the patience. So I throw it in the mixer on low speed and walk away for five minutes.

Yes, it really can take that long for sugar to dissolve in cold milk. Or you can start checking it after a minute and keep turning it back on and checking again every thirty seconds. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cream. You still have it on low speed, right? We’re not making whipped cream here.

My wife does a lot of Christmas cookies, so we got the larger bottle of vanilla. It can pour pretty quickly, and cookie recipes tend to be really precise. So to control it better, instead of removing the entire seal I opened it like you used to do with cans, before everything had a pop-top.

The recipe I started from said one to two teaspoons of vanilla. I go on the low side, maybe even a little less than a teaspoon. If the girls weren’t already excited about having vanilla, I was going to leave it out completely. Last time I made it, I tasted the sweetened cream/milk mixture before adding the flavor. It was pretty good already. Maybe next time.

Here’s where I break from other recipes I’ve seen. Don’t pour the mixture directly into the ice cream maker. Pour it into the container the finished product will go in.

Then put it in the freezer. Check every ten minutes or so to see how close it is to freezing. When you start to see it freezing around the edge, mix that back in with the rest.

When it is very nearly frozen all the way through, then you pour it into the ice cream maker.

It’s a little hard to see in these videos, but when I first turned the machine on the cream was still pretty thin.

Within 5 minutes it was nearly finished.

When the cream is piling up on the mixer instead of flowing back down like a liquid, pour it back into the container you’re going to store it in.

Then put that in the freezer for several hours, or overnight. After pouring it out, there will be some frozen to the inside of the ice cream maker. Scrape this out with a stiff rubber spatula. It should be enough for one serving. Don’t tell the kids. Mine believe there’s none ready until hours after I turn the machine off.

I’ve added chocolate chips for the girls before, but I prefer dark chocolate. Like 85% cocoa. Lindt made these super-thin wafers of it, which go just great with the vanilla ice cream.

With really dark chocolate, and really rich ice cream, this little bit is really all you need.

It looks so pretty, I almost felt embarrassed to eat it with my fingers. But I got over it.

And that’s it.

Come back soon to see why I really made this: An apple crisp that is so easy your kids can make it.

Oh, and I’m writing this several days before it’s supposed to be published. If you’re reading it during the week it was posted I’m on vacation. So if I don’t respond to your comments right away, it’s because there’s no WiFi reception at the pool.