No churn ice cream is easy to make — three ingredients are all you need! No ice cream machine required. Summer just got much easier.
Why you’ll love it: It’s creamy and delicious, and so easy to make!
How long it takes: 15 minutes to whip up, 6 hours in the freezer
Equipment you’ll need: electric mixer, refrigerator/freezer
Homemade vanilla ice cream is creamy, sweet and delicious, with flecks of vanilla bean dispersed throughout. It takes only minutes to make and that’s just the way I like things (and I bet you do too!).
What I really like about this ice cream is that you don’t need any special equipment other than a mixer. You don’t need to buy an expensive ice cream maker, or rock salt, or ice, or any of that stuff. There’s no churning involved.
Another good thing about this ice cream is that it takes literally only minutes to make and then it has to spend six hours in the freezer. You may ask, what’s good about waiting six hours? Well, you have six hours to think about toppings. You can probably handle it, but if you need ideas, I’m here for you.
Ben’s favorite ice cream topping is chocolate chips but that’s not my favorite. I think the chips get too hard when they’re ice cold. Not that I have anything against chocolate chips. They just have a place. Chocolate chip cookies, for instance. Or in chocolate chip banana bread or cake. Or by the handful.
I prefer chocolate syrup, or even better, homemade hot fudge (it’s THE BEST). Warm caramel sauce, especially when it’s made with a bit of bourbon, runs a close second. Add a few spiced pecans to that and I’m in ice cream heaven.
But hey! To each their own. I won’t stop Ben from doing his thing and he doesn’t give me the side eye when I put granola on my vanilla ice cream (it’s so good!). Or this 3-ingredient crunchy oat topping.
I’ll leave it up to you to choose how you want to top this vanilla bean ice cream. Really, it’s very good on its own or as a topping for homemade apple crisp. Although, if you need suggestions, I’d be happy to throw a few (hundred) ideas your way.
About This Recipe
You’ll need only three ingredients to make this no-churn ice cream. It’s really a shortcut ice cream recipe. Churned ice cream usually requires making a custard and then it’s churned to incorporate air into the mixture as it freezes so it doesn’t end up rock hard.
To make no-churn ice cream, you whip heavy cream and fold it into sweetened condensed milk. The air is already in the mixture before it’s frozen so it stays soft and scoopable. The texture is creamy, smooth, and perfect.
I’ll get you started on this easy recipe and give you extra tips. As always, look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: Make sure you look for sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk. You’ll need one 14 ounce can. Look for brands such as Carnation or Eagle Brand (store brands are fine, too); it’s usually found in the baking aisle.
- Heavy Cream (or heavy whipping cream): It should have at least 36% milk fat. Some whipping creams are lighter, with less milk fat, and won’t work as well. Make sure your cream is well chilled. It will whip up more easily.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: If you’re unfamiliar with vanilla bean paste, it’s sweetened vanilla extract which has been thickened with ground up vanilla beans. There are visible bits of seeds which add both flavor and visual appeal. It’s available in most grocery stores or on Amazon. It has all the punch of vanilla extract and vanilla beans smushed into one ingredient. Pantry staple, as far as I’m concerned.
How To Make No Churn Ice Cream
You’ll need a large bowl and an electric mixer, either a stand mixer or hand mixer. To freeze the ice cream, a loaf pan works best, either metal or glass.
Pour the chilled heavy cream into a large bowl. Beat the cream on medium high speed until it holds stiff peaks, about three minutes, slightly less with a stand mixer.
Gently fold in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste. Don’t get carried away, gently is the important word here. The mixture should be silky and smooth but don’t over mix it, causing the whipped cream to deflate. If you want to stir in any add-ins or flavors (see the suggestions below), now’s the time to do that.
Pour the cream mixture into a loaf pan and cover it tightly with foil. Put the pan into the freezer. It will need about six hours to firm up. It’s okay (encouraged!) to make no churn vanilla ice cream the day before you plan on eating it.
Serve vanilla bean ice cream with your favorite toppings or serve it as a topping for warm coffee cake with streusel, Kahlua brownies, or banana cake. You just have to have vanilla ice cream to top warm strawberry rhubarb crisp or apple blueberry crisp.
Most homemade ice cream recipes are churned with an electric ice cream maker. These recipes usually start with making an egg custard. Churning is necessary to incorporate air into the mixture as it freezes so the ice cream isn’t rock hard.
No churn ice cream is just that: no churning is required. Air is incorporated into the cream before it is frozen, using an electric mixer. It’s soft, scoopable, and delicious (and so, so easy!).
You’ll love the texture! It’s very creamy and quite soft, almost like frozen whipped cream. It has a rich mouth feel and adapts well to flavor stir-ins like crushed cookies, candy bars, or chocolate fudge.
I wonder if you may have omitted the sweetened condensed milk which is essential to this recipe. Why? Since sweetened condensed milk is evaporated milk (milk that has 60 percent of the water removed), there is very little water in the mixture which means that ice crystals don’t form as it freezes, giving the ice cream a very smooth creamy texture. The sugar in sweetened condensed milk adds luscious sweetness.
If you’d like to make your own sweetened condensed milk, Spruce Eats has an easy recipe with dry milk powder, sugar, butter, and boiling water.
Make It Your Own (Add-Ins)
It’s easy to stir in added ingredients for your own special ice cream creation. Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Cocoa powder
- Baking extracts (mint, maple, lemon, almond, etc)
- Mini chocolate chips
- Toffee bits
- Andes mints, chopped
- Toasted coconut
- Cereal such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Krispies, etc.
- Graham crackers, crushed
- Oreo cookies, crushed
- Chocolate chip cookies, crumbled
- Gingersnaps, crumbled
- Butter cookies, crumbled
Wondering how to store homemade ice cream? It will keep in the freezer for a couple of months if you transfer it to a freezer safe container that seals well.
More No Churn Ice Cream Flavors
- Double Cinnamon Ice Cream
- Chocolate Ice Cream (Double chocolate!)
- Coconut Hot Fudge Ice Cream
- Fudge Swirl Ice Cream
- Oreo Cookie Ice Cream
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups heavy cream, cold (36% milkfat is best)
- Pour heavy cream into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium-high speed to whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks (3 minutes – less if you’re using a stand mixer).
- Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste to whipped cream. Fold together until just combined and silky and smooth. A few small lumps may remain; it’s important not to over mix as that will deflate the mixture.
- Spread into a 8 or 9-inch loaf pan. Freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm (I cover with foil to prevent freezer burn).
- If desired, lightly fold in flavor variations before freezing. Some ideas: mini chocolate chips or M&Ms, toasted coconut, lightly crushed cereal or graham crackers, crushed Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, or butter cookies.
- To store, transfer ice cream to a freezer-safe container that has a good resealable lid. It will keep for up to 3 months.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.