This vanilla ice cream is a summertime classic. It’s simple. Made of a sweet custard base and real vanilla– vanilla bean if you have it.
It’s creamy and sweet, rich but not cloying.
It begins humbly, with egg yolks and sugar.
I’ve made this recipe a few times. Five yolks (suggested in the original recipe) make for an incredibly rich, gelato-like experience. Three make it much lighter, but less creamy and a little icy. Four yolks and you land somewhere in the middle. I suggest trying five yolks the first time, for something extra-special and decadent. Maybe try four the next time, if five is too rich for you. Ultimately, it’s up to you— do what your heart wants.
Churned to perfection.
I picked up this ice cream maker from Amazon for under $30, and it does everything I need it to. The richer your ice cream base, the less powerful your machine needs to be. And this Cusinart, which looks a little sturdier, is still a great value at $55. I think we can all agree that this beauty is the champion of ice cream makers, but it’s the kind of thing you splurge on only once you know that you really really really love homemade ice cream. Whatever ice cream maker you choose, it will likely work amazingly for this recipe. You really can’t lose.
Pour your soft-serve consistency ice cream to a container, maybe an empty plastic ice cream pint, or a glass dish. Freeze it until it’s scoopable.
Creamy, homemade vanilla ice cream. Flecked with fragrant vanilla bean seeds. A hundred times better than store bought because you made it yourself. And definitely blue ribbon-worthy.
Blue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream
A classic vanilla bean ice cream made with a rich custard base.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 5 large egg yolks (see note)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (again)
- Combine the cream, milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod or add vanilla extract. Bring mixture just barely to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat. If using vanilla bean, cover and let sit 30 minutes.
- Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in ½ cup warm cream mixture. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream mixture. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 3-5 minutes.
- Strain custard into a medium bowl. Let cool, stirring occasionally. You can speed up this process by placing the bowl over an ice bath, or you can place the mixture into the refrigerator overnight. If refrigerating, cover with a layer of plastic wrap in contact with the custard to prevent a skin from forming.
- Churn the custard base in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
The original recipe calls for 5 egg yolks. I felt that 5 egg yolks made the custard very rich. Three made the ice cream lighter but icy. Four will land somewhere in the middle. I recommend using the full 5 for a rich and decadent ice cream, but cutting down to 4 if you want something slightly lighter.