This no-churn vanilla ice cream recipe is quick and easy to make, with only 3 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep! It’s rich and creamy, flavored with real vanilla bean for the ultimate summer treat.
Why you’ll love it: Make your own homemade vanilla ice cream all summer long, no ice cream maker needed! Use this easy vanilla bean ice cream recipe as a base for even more delicious flavors.
How long it takes: 15 minutes to whip up, 6 hours in the freezer
Equipment you’ll need: electric mixer, refrigerator/freezer
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 The Best Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
- 3 Why You’ll Love This Ice Cream Recipe
- 4 What does no-churn ice cream mean?
- 5 What You’ll Need
- 6 How To Make No Churn Ice Cream
- 7 Tips for Success
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Toppings and Ways to Serve
- 10 Make This Ice Cream Your Own
- 11 How to Store Homemade Ice Cream
- 12 More No Churn Ice Cream Recipes
- 13 Get the Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (No Churn)
The Best Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
Homemade vanilla ice cream is creamy, sweet, and delicious, with flecks of real 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).
This is really a shortcut ice cream recipe. You whip heavy cream and fold it into sweetened condensed milk. The texture is creamy, smooth, and perfect.
I’ll leave it up to you to choose how you want to top and serve your homemade vanilla bean ice cream. It’s the perfect frozen treat all on its own, or as a topping for homemade apple crisp. And if you need suggestions, I’d be happy to throw a few (hundred) ideas your way!
Why You’ll Love This Ice Cream Recipe
- No churning. You don’t need any special equipment other than a mixer to make rich and creamy vanilla ice cream. You don’t need to buy an expensive ice cream maker, rock salt, ice, or any of that stuff. There’s no churning involved.
- Quick and easy. This recipe takes literally minutes to make and then it’s ready for the freezer. You’ll have about six hours to dream up some delicious toppings! If you need ideas, I have you covered below.
- Versatile. This vanilla ice cream is great to use as a base for even more homemade flavors. See below for easy variations!
What does no-churn ice cream mean?
Most homemade ice cream recipes involve churning an egg custard base inside an electric ice cream maker. No churn ice cream is just that: no churning is needed to make creamy, smooth ice cream. Air is incorporated into the cream before it is frozen, using an electric mixer. It’s soft, scoopable, and delicious (and so, so easy!).
What You’ll Need
You need only three ingredients to make this creamy no-churn vanilla ice cream. Below, you’ll find a quick overview. Be sure to scroll to the printable recipe card for complete ingredient amounts and recipe instructions.
- 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 that 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. A 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 a hand mixer. To freeze the ice cream, a loaf pan works best, either metal or glass. Let’s make some vanilla ice cream!
- Whip the cream. 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.
- Combine. Gently fold in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste. Don’t get carried away, gently is the important word here. If you want to stir in any add-ins or flavors (see the suggestions below), now’s the time to do that.
- Freeze. 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.
Tips for Success
Below are some of my final tips for making ice cream at home:
- Use full-fat ingredients. For best results, choose heavy whipping cream with at least 36% milk fat and full-fat sweetened condensed milk. Lower-fat creams have a higher water content, which can lead to ice crystals in the finished ice cream.
- Don’t over-mix the ingredients. The mixture should be silky and smooth but not overly mixed, as the whipped cream may deflate. Mix the ingredients and stir in add-ins gently.
- Chill the ice cream for long enough. It’s okay (encouraged!) to make no-churn vanilla ice cream the day before you plan on eating it. This way, it has at least 6-8 hours to chill in the freezer before serving.
The difference between churned and no-churn ice cream is that the former calls for churning in an ice cream maker. No-churn ice cream is made by whipping heavy cream with condensed milk and then freezing the mixture.
No-churn ice cream is 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.
Make sure you’re using full-fat sweetened condensed milk and cream. The less water in the mix, the better, as ice crystals won’t form as the ice cream freezes.
Toppings and Ways to Serve
Everyone has their own way of personalizing their vanilla ice cream in our house! If you’re looking for some topping inspiration, try these:
- Chocolate: Chocolate chips are a family favorite. Meanwhile, I prefer chocolate syrup, or even better, homemade hot fudge (it’s THE BEST).
- Caramel: 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.
- Granola: I always get the side eye for putting granola on my vanilla ice cream (it’s so good!). Or this 3-ingredient crunchy oat topping. Try it, you’ll see!
- Serve vanilla bean ice cream with your favorite toppings or serve it as a topping for warm coffee cake with streusel, Kahlua brownies, or warm strawberry rhubarb crisp.
Make This Ice Cream Your Own
It’s easy to stir in added ingredients for your own special ice cream creation. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Cocoa powder: Add cocoa powder to this recipe for homemade chocolate ice cream.
- Cinnamon: A pinch of cinnamon gives this vanilla ice cream a lovely warm flavor. Try my recipe for no-churn cinnamon ice cream!
- Flavoring extracts: Flavor your ice cream with baking extracts like mint, maple, lemon, almond, etc.
- Add-ins: Fold in mini chocolate chips, M&Ms, toffee bits, toasted coconut, or chopped-up Andes mints.
- Cereals: Add in crushed-up Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Krispies, etc.
- Cookies: Graham crackers, chocolate chip cookies, or make your own Oreo ice cream with chopped-up Oreo cookies.
How to Store Homemade Ice Cream
This homemade vanilla ice cream will keep in the freezer for a couple of months, however, it’s best enjoyed within a week or two. Make sure to transfer it to a freezer-safe container that seals well. To help protect it from icing over, gently press cling wrap directly against the top of the ice cream before closing the lid.
- 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.