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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

by on March 28, 2011 · 17 comments

When it comes to ice cream recipes, Bruce Weinstein’s Ultimate Ice Cream Book is my go-to guide. His Mint Chocolate Ice Cream is a family favorite, but this weekend I needed to use up some egg yolks and decided to make Extra Rich and Creamy Vanilla.

With 7 egg yolks, I worried that it might taste a little “eggy”.  It didn’t.  It was creamy, smooth and had a deep rich vanilla flavor.   While the vanilla bean version would have probably been better, my goal was to use ingredients on hand and what I had was some Watkins vanilla extract I’d bought earlier in the week.  I’d never tried Watkins before, but it has a fairly distinctive flavor and I can see why it has a loyal following, but since I’ve only used it in one recipe the jury is still out.

Vanilla Ice Cream

But back to the ice cream….

this was definitely one of the best vanilla ice creams I’ve ever made.  Do you have a favorite?  After surfing the Internet, I found a few others I’d like to try including David Lebowit’z vanilla ice cream and this one on which uses whole eggs.  One thing’s for sure, and that is I will stick with the custard base as opposed to the no-egg base.  Fresh eggs add a little flavor and give the ice cream the perfect texture.


Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rich and Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (scant, or a tiny bit less than 1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 large eggs yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and salt into the egg yolks until thickened and pale yellow. Set aside.
  2. Bring the half-and-half to a simmer in a heavy medium sauce pan or in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over but not touching boiling water. I used a bowl set over boiling water to ensure that I wouldn't scramble the eggs.
  3. Slowly beat the hot half-and-half into the egg mixture. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan saucepan, double boiler or bowl set over saucepan and stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.
  4. Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

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Published on March 28, 2011

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline March 28, 2011 at 8:28 am

Vanilla ice cream always reminds me of the summers at my grandparents when I was a kid. All my cousins would be there, and we’d have to take turns with the hand-crank ice cream machine because our arms would tire out long before the ice cream froze. I love all homemade ice cream, but I have a special place in my heart for vanilla. Yours looks so smooth and creamy, perfect!

Ryan March 28, 2011 at 9:00 am

Yummmm! :D That looks delicious!
I made the David Lebovitz recipe before (except without the vanilla bean cause I didn’t have any), and it was really good :D

Sheri March 28, 2011 at 10:21 am

So glad you posted this! I have that book, along with Lebovitz’s and the Ciao Bella book… and a few random others. I make a lot of ice cream, year round.

My go-to for all ice cream has been Lebovitz (the salted butter caramel from his web site is outstanding), and one of our favorites is a honey lavender that I make when my neighbor’s lavender plants are in bloom.

But ever since the Ciao Bella book came out, it’s now my favorite. Just made a maple gingersnap that my husband is nuts for. It’s a gelato base, so it’s got more milk than cream. The standard base is:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar

Made using the usual custard method – warm the milk and cream, whisk the yolks and sugar together, temper them with the warmed milk/cream. Then heat all of it up to 180 degrees and put through a strainer before chilling (I normally chill the base overnight before putting it in my ice cream maker). You can add vanilla or any other flavors (there’s a vanilla recipe in there).

I’m also looking forward to the Jeni’s book that’s coming out this year – her recipe is interesting but more involved and has cornstarch and cream cheese (

What ice cream maker do you have? I’ve got the Cuisinart (frozen bowl model) but switched over the the Kitchen Aid bowl last year and haven’t looked back. Although I’m eyeing the Whynter self-refrigerated.

Helena March 28, 2011 at 10:25 am

Homemade Ice Cream is always so good. And I can really recommend David Lebovitz’ recipe (just like all his recipes)! This one looks very rich, I really need to get my hands on some leftover egg yolks :)

Adam March 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

I’ve been meaning to make an egg based ice cream since receiving my ice cream maker for Christmas, but have only made the quick ones so far. My favourite was definitely a simple Peanut Butter ice cream. No shock to anyone that knows me :).

Joyce March 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

I have been looking for a good vanilla ice cream recipe! I’ve got to try this one, looks really good!! Yum!

Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy March 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I highly recommend David Lebovitz’s! It’s a definite favorite of mine!

Katrina March 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I’ve made the DL vanilla (both custard style and Philly style and both with just vanilla and vanilla bean). His IS my go-to vanilla ice cream. I like Philly style better.
The one you made does look super creamy. I bought some fresh mint recently (sure was nice having it growing in our yard in Kansas!). I need to use it up and your reminder of the mint chocolate ice cream makes me want to make that.

Farrah March 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Vanilla is my sons favorite flavor. I haven’t made it yet because he’d be the onl one eating it. To me its good just boring. I need some other things swirling about in it.

I’ve recently just finished off it Watkins vanilla extract that I picked it up while waiting for my Nielsen-Massey was getting shipped. I didn’t mind the Watkins. I used it in various cookies including sugar cookies and you could taste the vanilla. I won’t give it up for my Nielsen-Massey though!

Tessa March 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I agree with you completely on using eggs in the ice cream. They seem to help it keep that “creamy” rather than “crystally” texture. I will have to look for the Ultimate Ice Cream Book!

Upstate NY Native March 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I love Watkins products and have been using them for years. Since we’ve moved to IL I have to get them through mail order but it’s worth it to me.

The Deutsch Girl March 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

We have a family recipe that we love. Homemade ice cream is a HUGE thing in our family. I’ll have to post it to my blog soon…if not for the whole giving up sweets for Lent, I’d make some right now!

Anna March 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Thanks for the ice cream recommendations. Based on the fact her favorite was David Lebovitz’s until she tried the Ciao Bella recipe, I’m going to have to make Sheri’s Ciao Bella recipe (above) next.

Adam, I used to make a condensed milk based peanut butter ice cream a long time ago. It was very good, but I made it so often I got tired of it. Plus, I’m the only one in our family who really likes peanut butter.

Caroline, I tasted hand-cranked ice cream once as a kid and I still remember the flavor. This ice cream reminds me of that.

Stacie, Ryan and Helena, thanks for the DL recommendations. I’ll try his after the Ciao Bella.

Katrina, I’m really surprised you liked Philly style better. Must be a good recipe. Right now I’m convinced ice cream needs eggs.

Farrah, I know what you mean about thinking you’d be bored with vanilla, but if it’s made right, vanilla is not boring. Of course as a chocoholic, I always scoop a tiny bit of chocolate along with it just in case.

Tessa, the book is on Amazon. I hope you like it.

Mary, I used the Watkins again today in some frosting. It’s growing on me. It reminds me of the homemade vanilla I used to make by putting a vanilla bean in some Vodka. A

DG, I’m looking forward to seeing your family recipe for ice cream. Hope you are enjoying Chicago.

Katrina March 28, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I like the simplicity of Philly style, that and that it is lower in fat. I agree that egg ice creams are good, but I feel so guilty eating it and can have more Philly style. ;)
Watkins is not my favorite vanilla. But definitely to each his own. My SIL gave me a bottle of some Mexican vanilla that I am in love with right now.

Anna March 29, 2011 at 9:09 am

Katrina, I think ounce for ounce both types ice creams are about the same in terms of fat.

I put David Lebovitz’s Philly Style Ice Cream and Bruce Weinstein’s Extra Rich Ice Cream (this one) into Mastercook and got the following numbers:

Egg Type — Rich and Creamy (1 oz/28 grams) = 84 Calories; 6g Fat (58.6% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 65mg Cholesterol; 27mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

No-Egg Type (Philadelphia Style) 1 ounce (28 grams) = 87 Calories; 7g Fat (70.7% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 26mg Cholesterol; 10mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

So I’m not saying ice cream with eggs is the healthy choice, but you shouldn’t feel guilty choosing an egg type over the non-egg types because they are both equally bad for you.

Of course if you just like the taste and texture of one over the other, that’s different. Just don’t feel guilty about choosing one over the other.

Also, I’m not sure if I told you this already but you can cut the calories in one serving of ice cream considerably by having a very small scoop of a low fat ice cream (like Dreyer’s Slow Churned French Silk or whatever your favorite low fat ice cream is) combined with a very small scoop of rich, homemade ice cream. It’s visually satisfying because the extra air in the store bought makes it seem like you’re getting more, but you get the satisfaction and enjoyment of eating the good stuff as well. A good combo is 1/4 cup of store-bought ice cream and 1/4 cup homemade. It’s filling and only about 230 calories as opposed to the 370ish you’d get from a half cup of all regular.

Barbara April 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I’ve always had trouble with custards, no matter how careful I was being the eggs always cooked a little. I’ve been craving vanilla ice cream lately and thought I’d give this recipe a try, especially since I can practice custard again. I have one question though: Do you know how I could do this without an ice-cream machine? could I just freeze the custard in the freezer, maybe stirring it occasionally? Or the really old school way where you fill a big ziploc bag with ice and salt and put the ice cream mixture in a smaller bag, put it inside the ice bag, and toss it around?

Anna April 28, 2011 at 8:10 am

Barbara, I don’t know how to do it without an ice cream maker, but I know people have various methods. Maybe you should get an ice cream maker. They don’t take up much room because the canister lives in the freezer.

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