Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream made from cream, sugar, and vanilla extract is indulgently sweet, creamy, and the perfect classic dessert topper.

I kind of love topping everything with vanilla ice cream including Ultimate Apple Crisp, a microwaved bowl of Easy Banana Bread with a few chocolate chips, and warm Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake!

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream is an absolute classic, made from wholesome cream, sugar, and vanilla. It’s rich and creamy, and the perfect pairing to other indulgent desserts like Flourless Chocolate Cake, with a generous portion of my Easy Whipped Cream on top.

I love this Philadelphia-style ice cream recipe because it’s a really quick to throw together. There’s no heating or egg yolks to worry about, and you’re using one bowl plus the ice cream maker so cleanup is easy, too. It’s the perfect kid-friendly activity for a rainy day!


This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe has no eggs. If you want an even more indulgent and creamy ice cream, you can start with a custard base.

In a mixing bowl whisk 3-4 egg yolks with the sugar. At the same time in a saucepan over medium-low heat, add the cream and half and half.

When the cream starts to simmer, pour 1 cup of it slowly into the eggs while whisking (this is called tempering). Then pour everything back into the saucepan and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Strain and allow to cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then whisk in vanilla and pour into the ice cream maker as usual.


French vanilla ice cream is made with an egg custard, while regular vanilla ice cream is made with just cream and sugar. This is why french vanilla ice cream is more yellow in color. It also makes the vanilla itself seem more creamy and indulgent, which is where the confusion over the type of vanilla comes in.

Creamy Easy Vanilla Ice Cream



There are two ways I’ve successfully made ice cream without an electric ice cream maker.

  • Freeze a glass or metal bowl.
    • Mix all of your ice cream ingredients together, then transfer to a frozen medium bowl and put back in the freezer for 30 minutes.
    • When it’s just starting to freeze, hit it with an electric hand mixer, and repeat every 30 minutes until you can’t mix it easily anymore. Serve or return to freezer for later.
  • Fill a large plastic container halfway with ice and 1/4 cup of rock salt.
    • Add your ice cream base to a large plastic bag and seal tightly.
    • Place your ice cream bag inside of the ice container and seal the lid tightly.
    • Shake the plastic container until you have ice cream, about 10 minutes. This is the perfect time to get the kids to help!
    • Rinse the bag before opening.


  • Use whole-fat cream. This gives the ice cream the creamy indulgent consistency that we’re looking for.
  • You can add other flavors or pureed fruit if you want to branch out from just vanilla.
  • If you do make a custard base first, add the vanilla after everything has cooled for the most vanilla impact.
  • Add mix-ins like pecans or almonds with a drizzle of caramel while in the ice cream mixer, once the base has started to freeze.
  • For an adult version, add a splash of your favorite liquor or liqueur, like brandy or peppermint schnapps. Don’t add too much or it won’t freeze, stick with a few tablespoons for flavoring.
  • If your ice cream maker calls for freezing the bowl beforehand, don’t skip this step. Preferably freeze it the day before, or you’ll have a hard time getting your ice cream to freeze.

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Creamy Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
5 from 1 vote

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream made from cream, sugar, and vanilla extract is indulgently sweet, creamy, and the PERFECT classic dessert.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vanilla ice cream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Freezing Time 3 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 385 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar


  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl before adding to your ice cream maker then freezing for at least 3 hours to harden before serving.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Ice Cream
Amount Per Serving
Calories 385 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 103mg34%
Sodium 47mg2%
Potassium 123mg4%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 1090IU22%
Vitamin C 0.9mg1%
Calcium 102mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Vanilla Ice Cream

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

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    1. Half and half is sold in the US, it’s called half cream in UK. It’s just equal parts whole milk and light cream. Enjoy!