This homemade vanilla bean ice cream is sweet, creamy and bursting with specks of vanilla bean. It’ll forever be a favorite!
This isn’t your grandma’s hard and icy vanilla ice cream!! It’s simple, super smooth and creamy, with an intense vanilla flavor. It goes perfectly with all the treats—give Texas Sheet Cake Skillet, Triple Chocolate Brownies, or Classic Apple Pie a try!
Not Your Grandma’s Vanilla Ice Cream!
I’m not ashamed to admit that I LOVE vanilla ice cream. Don’t get me wrong, I really like chocolate, but good vanilla ice cream is kind of amazing on so many levels.
I mean, it’s pretty much impossible to eat pie, crisp or cobbler without it. And everyone knows that nothing can top vanilla ice cream smothered in hot fudge and caramel sauce.
I’ve used vanilla ice cream as a base to several of my “loaded” ice cream recipes, and it’s always been hard to tell if it’d be awesome all on its own, or if everything else crammed into it was helping. So I set out to come up with a recipe that could & would be made solely for the purpose of eating vanilla ice cream. Guys. This is it. And it’s perfect.
What’s the difference between vanilla and vanilla bean? Vanilla bean ice cream uses real vanilla beans sometime during the process, whereas plain old vanilla ice cream uses extract or more processed vanilla flavorings. Vanilla bean has a more intense vanilla flavor than regular vanilla ice cream. It is more flavorful and worth the extra effort in this recipe!
How To Make Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
MILK MIXTURE. Combine half and half, 1 c. of heavy cream, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Heat in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, until warm (if using vanilla beans, add the scraped seeds, whisk in, cover and steep/sit for 30 minutes, re-warm the mixture and continue as follows).
COMBINE & COOK. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the eggs. SLOWLY pour the warm mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly (Go really slow so you don’t scramble them!). Gradually pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Constantly whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens and reaches a temperature of 165 degrees.
STRAIN & CHILL. Pour mixture through a mesh sieve set over a medium size mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining heavy cream and the vanilla bean paste. Set bowl over an ice bath to cool the base down as quickly as possible. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight)
ICE CREAM TIME! Remove the ice cream base from the refrigerator. Pour into a prepared ice cream machine or attachment bowl. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions (about 25 minutes). When the ice cream is firm, place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.
- Use a high quality ice cream maker.
- Whisk in the eggs slowly so you don’t scramble them.
- Add in more delicious toppings or mix-ins for extra flavor (see suggestions below)!
Ingredient Tips & Toppings
Is it safe to eat with the eggs in it? As long as the ice cream mixture reaches 160 degrees, it kills any bacteria that causes salmonella, which is what makes raw eggs dangerous. I recommend using pasteurized eggs that have already been processed in a way that kills the bacteria.
You can always add some mix-ins or extra toppings! Here are some suggestions:
- Fresh fruit & berries, or purees
- Candied nuts
- Waffle cone or graham cracker pieces
- Crushed candies or cereal
- Cracker jack and pretzels
- Bacon and nutella
How to Store
Ice cream has a large window in terms of how long it will keep. The colder the freezer, and the more secure the container, the longer the ice cream will last. Here are some tips for storing your homemade vanilla bean ice cream:
- Keep the ice cream towards the back of the freezer where it is coldest.
- Store it in a shallow, air-tight container
- Cover the ice cream in plastic wrap within the container
- Don’t store the ice cream in the freezer door—it’s too warm there and won’t provide a steady cold air source
For more Ice Cream Recipes, check out:
- No Churn Ice Cream
- Buttermilk Peach Ice Cream
- Caramel Cashew Ice Cream
- Brownie Fudge Swirl Ice Cream
- Pistachio Ice Cream
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 cup heavy cream - divided
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp kosher sea salt
- 1 whole egg
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tbsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste OR 2 vanilla beans, scraped OR 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the half and half, 1 c. of heavy cream, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
- Heat until warm (if using vanilla beans, you'll want to add the scraped seeds, whisk in, cover and steep/sit for 30 minutes, re-warm the mixture and continue as follows).
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, slowly pour the warm mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Go really slow so you don't scramble them! Gradually pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Constantly whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens and reaches a temperature of 165 degrees.
- Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve set over a medium size mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining heavy cream and the vanilla bean paste. Once this is done, I generally set my bowl over an ice bath to cool the base down as quickly as possible.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove the ice cream base from the refrigerator and pour into a prepared ice cream machine or attachment bowl. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions (about 25 minutes).
- When the ice cream is firm, place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.
- The longer you let the ice cream base chill in the fridge, the more flavorful and intense the vanilla flavor will be.
- You don't have to add the corn syrup, but it helps keep it extra creamy without it turning icy after a few days in the freezer.
- I have both the KitchenAid attachment bowl and a Cuisinart ice cream maker. I've found that the Cuisinart produces a thicker, creamier ice cream.