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This is the best vanilla ice cream - a great recipe that can be adapted for many other flavors. And so rich and creamy!

When Jack and I got married almost 9 years ago, one of our wedding gifts was an ice cream maker.  For an ice cream fanatic like myself, as you can probably guess, that gift was one of my favorites!

The first batch of ice cream I made was this recipe we’re sharing today called “The Best Vanilla Ice Cream,” and it’s been my go-to ice cream recipe ever since!  As much as I love chocolate, when it comes to ice cream, I’d choose a bowl of simple, delicious vanilla ice cream pretty much any day of the week.

This is a very rich (but oh-so-good!) vanilla ice cream made with heavy cream, whole milk, sugar and egg yolks, plus a generous amount of vanilla to give it that distinctively yummy flavor.   Please don’t be intimidated to make ice cream using eggs – it’s actually quite simple to do, and the rich creaminess you get from a custard-based ice cream is so worth it in the end!

This is the best vanilla ice cream - a great recipe that can be adapted for many other flavors. And so rich and creamy!

This vanilla ice cream is terrific with desserts like our Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Bourbon Poached Peaches, Brew Moon Chocolate Pudding, or our Indian Pudding.  I even used this recipe as the starting point for our Chocolate Malted Ice Cream, so it really is the best vanilla ice cream recipe to have in your collection!

Note: Like most food bloggers, we always try to give credit to the original source if we’ve adapted a recipe and published it here on A Family Feast.  Unfortunately, the printed version I’ve had in my recipe book for years does not include the link to the original recipe and even after searching online, I’ve been unable to find the original source.

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The Best Vanilla Ice Cream - A Family Feast

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Prep Time: 18 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 18 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart


  • 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat milk, heavy cream and sugar, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot. (This will take less than 5 minutes – do not bring to a simmer or boil.) Remove from the heat.
  3. Take about a cup of the hot mixture and very slowly drizzle it into the bowl with the egg yolks – constantly whisking while you add the hot mixture. (A slow drizzle will prevent the eggs from cooking as you add the hot cream mixture.)
  4. Once your egg mixture is smooth, slowly pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the hot cream mixture.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens a bit and coats the back of a spoon. (This will take less than 5 minutes as well, and again, do not bring the mixture to a simmer or boil, or it will curdle.)
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl (a large measuring cup like this one works great because you’ll have a spout for pouring the cooled custard into the ice cream maker once it has cooled). Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
  7. Cover the bowl with a large piece of plastic wrap, pushing the plastic down to touch the top of the custard. (This will prevent a skin from forming on the custard as it cools.) Refrigerate overnight.
  8. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. After churning, freeze again for 4-6 hours before serving.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

You may also like:

Chocolate Malted Ice Cream

Chocolate Malted Ice Cream - A Family Feast

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake - A Family Feast

Bourbon Poached Peaches

Bourbon Poached Peaches - A Family Feast

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  • Charity wrote:

    If was to make 6qts of this recipe would I need to x’s the recipe by 6 or do you have another recipe for making a larder amt? Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Charity – We don’t have a recipe for a larger quantity. I would just make multiple batches of the recipe until you have enough for your event.

  • amie silvas wrote:

    My kids loved this! I added crushed Oreo cookies to the mixture before I froze it. Thank you for a great base recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like a great addition Amie! Glad you enjoyed the ice cream!

  • Javid wrote:


    This recipe looks great, and I’d like to use my 6-quart White Mountain electric ice cream maker to churn it. The recipe indicates this is for 1 quart. In order to scale up, it seems I’d be using 24 egg yolks and a lot more milk, vanilla, and whipping cream than my usual recipe. That seems like too much! I wanted to check with you and see if you knew how much I would need to scale up the recipe for my 6-quart ice cream maker.

    Can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Javid – I’ve only made the recipe for the smaller quantity/1 quart. To be safe, if you are worried that my recipe will make too much, I’d consider making the recipe as written x4 (or x5?) to allow the extra room in your ice cream maker. Hope that helps!

  • Bette wrote:

    Just made this for 4th of July family celebration! It was so delicious and everybody raved! Loved the creaminess and flavor. This will be my go to recipe forever!

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow – Bette! Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Natalie wrote:

    This ice cream turned out amazing! Thank you for creating the directions so straight forward. My husband calls this “creme brulee” ice cream. Winner! Found via pinterest.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you had success with this recipe Natalie. I love your husband’s description – fits perfectly! Thanks for taking the time to write to us today!

  • Mary De Shon wrote:

    I just made your Vanilla Ice Cream. It is sooooo good. Thank you for posting the recipe. AWESOME!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Mary! So glad you enjoyed it as much as we do!

  • josef wrote:

    a whole lot of people can make something really taste exceptionally good, and how they do it can be different, so here is our family recipe for making van-ice cream; used to be a family secret recipe, except I have given it to too many people over the years:
    5 fresh chicken eggs, separate yolks from whole egg
    3 cups of fresh whole cream,
    3 cups of fresh whole milk,
    1 3/4 cups of cane sugar (no less)
    1/2 tsp. of Penseys double strength Vanilla
    while beating the eggs yolks, slowly add I cup of the sugar, then set aside,
    whip the egg whites until they become stiff enough to form peaks, then fold into the beaten
    egg/sugar mixture,
    stir in the fresh whole cream and whole milk, and then
    stir in the remaining cane sugar.
    heat the ice cream mixture very slowly, while stirring, until if reaches 180 Deg. F (no more),
    cover and set aside until it is cool enough for refrigerating,
    place mixture in refrigerator, overnite.
    I use a White Mountain, hand crank, ice cream mixer as follows:
    place/layer bagged ice (small size ice pieces) around the metal mixing container, in the wooden
    mixing drum: 6 layers of ice and 5 layers of Kosher rock salt (~1 cup of salt); first layer of ice ,
    then salt ,until last layer of ice, at/over top of metal mixing container, cover top of ice, over
    the drum with a towel. turn mixer slowly to affect a thin film icing effect of the ice cream
    mixture in the metal container for 1/2-3/4 hr. or until mixture becomes stiff, as noticed at the
    near end of the cranking period.
    remove dasher from metal container and serve the ice cream; grandma and grandpa, first

    hope you try our way; the Italian angels and saints will smile, josef

    cover and place the ice cream mixture into the refrigerator, overnite.
    I use a WhiteMountain hand crank mixer

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds incredible Josef! I can tell from the amount of eggs and cream you’ve used, your vanilla ice cream must be exceptionally rich and creamy! Thank you for sharing – I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Mark wrote:

    Any way to shortcut the overnight thing? I’d like to make it tonight?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Mark- If you can chill the custard completely before churning in less time than overnight…it might work!!

  • Consuelo @ Honey & Figs wrote:

    I tried this recipe and it turned out wonderfully! Thanks for posting it, it’s truly the best ice-cream ever!
    Have a lovely day 😀

    • Martha Pesa wrote:

      Thanks Consuelo!!

  • monica wrote:

    Thank you! This is just what I was looking for….I’ve only made vanilla ice cream in my ice cream machine the simple way (no eggs, no stove top.) Time to try the more custard-based style–I’m so excited to see how it turns out! 🙂
    PS Found you through Pinterest.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Monica! I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Linda Harris wrote:

    This recipe is like one I used to make except I used the whole egg. I know the ice cream will be good. My recipe was the best that I have tasted and this one sounds best yet. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Linda! I hope it’s as good as yours! Thanks for visiting our site!

  • Barbara wrote:

    Can you make this recipe in an electric Cuisinart?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Barbara! Definitely – any kind of ice cream maker will work!

  • Roni Faida wrote:

    I haven’t made ice cream since I was a kid. This looks lush!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Roni!

  • Kathy wrote:

    I love my ice cream maker! I have yet to find a good vanilla ice cream though. I’ll have to give this one a try!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you like it Kathy! Thanks for visiting our site!

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