How to Make the Best Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Particularly velvety smooth and light ice cream that bursts in your mouth in a deluge of dairy-good comfort, not overwhelmingly sweet but with a nice vanilla kick to keep things lively. 

I only recently caved and bought an ice-cream maker, after years of making ice cream the good old-fashioned way and what a revelation. 

Instead of a slow process spread out over hours and hours, in which I had to set frequent alarms to remind me to take the ice cream out and beat it as it froze, I was able to make a batch of ice cream in less than an hour from start to finish. 

Did someone say game-changer? 

These days I’m like the genie of ice creams. My wish is my command. A deep and unctuous rum and raisin ice cream? Done. My favourite salted caramel ice cream? All. Freaking. Over. It. 

That said, it’s also given me the chance to really work on creating the perfect homemade vanilla ice cream and to say I’m happy with the result may well be the understatement of the year. 

Enough talking already, let’s get to it. 

Practical Tips for Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream 

Use Good-Quality Vanilla 

If you’re making vanilla ice cream, it makes sense to get your hands on the best-quality vanilla that you can right? 

That means either buying vanilla pods and scraping the seeds from them, buying good quality vanilla seed paste or, at a push, vanilla extract. 

Stay away from vanilla essence, which weirdly, isn’t generally made from vanilla at all and is chemically created to just taste like vanilla. 

Don’t Be Tempted to go Overboard on the Cream

It’s called ice cream, so the best ice cream will be made with just cream right? Wrong. 

If you’ve ever tasted ice cream that’s been made solely from cream, you’ll know that it tastes greasy and heavy, like an oil slick that coats your mouth with an unpleasant texture. 

The high fat content and cold temperatures also makes it difficult for flavours to come through. So, not that great then. 

Even though it’s counterintuitive, I’ve found that the best ice creams contain more milk than cream – that’s why I’ve kept the amount of cream in this recipe relatively low. 

Can I Make This Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker? 

Yes, absolutely – you can try your hand at homemade vanilla ice cream without an ice cream maker. 

You will have to take the ice cream batter out of the freezer every 20-30 minutes for the first three hours (or until it is frozen) and mix it manually to stop ice crystals forming as it freezes. Don’t be gentle, really break apart any clumps or lumps in the ice cream – the end result will be a lot smoother and lighter.

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