Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe

I owe you a thousand apologies. For a large chunk of time, I thought that I had this – my very favorite recipe for homemade vanilla bean ice cream, which I make countless times per year – here on the website. I recently received an email from a reader looking for my vanilla ice cream recipe with a custard base (not the Philadelphia-style version I made a long time ago), and when I went to find a link I was appalled at myself for never having shared this recipe. It’s a staple in my freezer for most of the year and it’s been the building block of many of my favorite ice cream-based recipes, such as Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches, Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Sandwiches, Banana Split Ice Cream Cake, Homemade Klondike Bars and Fried Ice Cream. So, basically… you need this recipe in your life, and I’m terribly sorry for not sharing it with you sooner!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe

Philadelphia-style ice creams are made by churning together a mixture of milk, cream, sugar and flavorings; by contrast, custard-based ice creams (such as this one), are created by using egg yolks along with the milk, cream, sugar and flavorings (here, vanilla beans) for the base. This results in a much richer and creamier ice cream. While the former is quicker and easier to make (and a little lighter), there’s no doubt in my mind that custard-based ice creams are far superior in terms of taste and texture.

While I’ve used this vanilla ice cream recipe as a jumping point for many of the recipes mentioned above, it’s absolutely perfect for those spur of the moment, “I need ice cream right now” type of days. I’ve scooped it onto warm chocolate chip cookies and brownies, piled it on top of pies and cakes, and I’ve made impromptu sundaes that are absolutely phenomenal. You can’t beat this ice cream topped with homemade hot fudge, salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry. Sprinkles make any day brighter, right?!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe

One year ago: Hummingbird Cupcakes
Two years ago: White Sangria
Three years ago: Parmesan and Thyme Crackers

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Prep Time: 9 hours

Total Time: 9 hours 30 minutes

A fabulous recipe for rich and creamy vanilla ice cream, speckled with real vanilla bean.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the heavy cream and the salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk mixture and add the bean to the mixture as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and place a fine-mesh sieve on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.

3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula, a few minutes. The mixture should register 170 to 175 degrees F on an instant-read digital thermometer.

4. Pour the custard through the fine-mesh sieve and stir it into the cream. Place the vanilla bean into the custard, stir in the vanilla extract, and place the bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is cool. Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.

5. When ready to churn the ice cream, remove the vanilla bean from the custard and freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer.

(Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop)

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84 Responses to “Vanilla Bean Ice Cream”

  1. Mimi @ Culinary Couture on May 9, 2013 at 12:29 am

    I really wish I had an ice cream maker right now!

    Reply

  2. So simple, so classic, so amazing! I could go for a few bowls of this !

    Reply

  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 9, 2013 at 1:41 am

    It’s stunning! I know that creme anglasise/custard ice creams are way creamier and richer and all-around just the real deal, compared to Philly-style. Either way though, ice cream flavored with a real vanilla bean and sprinkles could never be bad :)

    And I saw both your waffles and your pound cake on the top row of FG, two days in a row. Nice job :)

    Reply

  4. Meg on May 9, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Googling ice cream maker attachments for my KitchenAid now… I’m feeling like summer is going to need some of this icecream! Yum yum xx

    Reply

  5. miss messy on May 9, 2013 at 5:20 am

    Apology accepted :P Looks super :) Wish i had an ice cream maker!

    Reply

  6. Arthur in the Garden! on May 9, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Simple is best. Sometimes just fresh made vanilla ice cream is the best stuff on earth!

    Reply

  7. Modern Jane on May 9, 2013 at 5:56 am

    It’s beautiful, especially with the sprinkles! I will have to try it in my ice cream maker!

    Reply

  8. Katie Brigstock on May 9, 2013 at 6:22 am

    This looks so yummy and oh so creamy! I have been looking for ages to find the perfect vanilla ice cream recipe so cant wait to try out this one!
    Katie x
    http://katieskitchenjournal.blogspot.co.uk

    Reply

  9. Jessica on May 9, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Thank you!

    Reply

  10. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on May 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Love vanilla ice cream, my favorite! I love the recipe, and now I think it’s time to dig out my ice cream maker!!

    Reply

  11. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on May 9, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I actually just bought some vanilla beans the other day! I’ll definitely have to try this out soon! :)

    Reply

  12. Becky @ A Calculated Whisk on May 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I should be getting my first ice cream maker next week, and just got a bunch of vanilla beans! This is at the top of my list!

    Reply

  13. Cate @ ChezCateyLou on May 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Sprinkles do make any day brighter! Your ice cream looks perfect. What a great recipe for a classic!

    Reply

  14. Tieghan on May 9, 2013 at 8:12 am

    YUM!! I love real vanilla ice cream. It is the perfect building base!

    Reply

  15. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on May 9, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I absolutely love vanilla ice cream and making homemade ice cream is the best way to go. You can do so much with it!

    Reply

  16. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on May 9, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Homemade ice cream is the best! Yum!

    Reply

  17. Mary Lynn on May 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for sharing and just in time for Mother’s Day. (It’s my Mother’s favorite) P.S. You are forgiven..

    Reply

  18. Eva @ Eva Bakes on May 9, 2013 at 10:13 am

    This is my go-to recipe for vanilla bean ice cream as well! I agree that the custard-based ice creams are far superior in terms of creaminess and taste.

    Reply

  19. Marcie @ flavor the moments on May 9, 2013 at 10:32 am

    There’s nothing like good, old fashioned vanilla bean ice cream. It’s a blank canvas for whatever flavors you’re in the mood for. This looks heavenly! Now I just need an ice cream maker.

    Reply

  20. marie @ little kitchie on May 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Nothing better than those beautiful black flakes from the vanilla bean – YUM!!!

    Reply

  21. Emily {Pink Tiger in the Kitchen} on May 9, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I JUST made this ice cream this weekend and it is AMAZING. “Plain” vanilla ice cream happens to be about my very ice cream flavor especially one that can stand on it’s own like this on can. If you ever feel really indulgent, bump up the vanilla just a touch. I happened to have an extra split vanilla bean that I had already taken the seeds out off. Heavenly!!

    Reply

  22. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on May 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Apology accepted (haha). So glad you finally shared this with us – I bet it’s amazing! I need an ice cream maker :(

    Reply

  23. Noreen on May 9, 2013 at 11:39 am

    So funny! I have wondered why you hadn’t put a custard base vanilla ice cream on your website but never thought to ask you. I have made so many of your ice cream recipes and always wanted this one. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    Reply

  24. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on May 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Just looking at the ice cream and sighing. Looks amazing.

    Reply

  25. lauramich on May 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    This is my go-to ice cream recipe. I’ve made it often enough that I don’t even have to look up the recipe anymore. However, I do cheat and use 1 T Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste rather than whole vanilla bean (and then skip the 1 hour of steeping).

    Reply

  26. Gayle on May 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Nothing says summer like vanilla ice cream with sprinkles! Thanks for sharing

    Reply

  27. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on May 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I love vanilla ice cream – homemade is always better!

    Reply

  28. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts on May 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I love vanilla ice cream with real vanilla beans that you can see! Great timing, I just ordered more beans!

    Reply

    • Lacey on July 13th, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Where do you order your vanilla beans from?

      Reply

  29. Leslie on May 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    A good vanilla ice cream recipe is a MUST. This sounds fab!

    Reply

  30. Sarah @ the magical slow cooker on May 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    It’s that time of year to get the ice cream maker out! Thanks for the recipe, nothing beats real vanilla ice cream!

    Reply

  31. Tracy {pale yellow} on May 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I’ve had an ice cream maker for a year now and have yet to make vanilla ice cream, this is some motivation!

    Reply

  32. Tracey on May 9, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    As much as I love tons of different ice cream flavors, there’s something about classic vanilla bean that just can’t be beat, especially when you add sprinkles :)

    Reply

  33. Renee @ Awesome on $20 on May 11, 2013 at 2:22 am

    The more I stop and consider, the more I realize that ice cream is my go to dessert. If I’m craving something sweet, I’ll grab a pint at the grocery store and a spoon will become my new best friend. And you’re so right about ice cream being so versatile. Having a go-to vanilla ice cream recipe that really knocks your socks off has to be indispensable. I still don’t have an ice cream maker, but that doesn’t stop me. I can’t wait to try this.

    Reply

  34. Kate on May 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Perfect! I just made a connection with a local farm for raw milk and I have chickens in my yard for the egg yolks…. Mmmmmmmmmm

    Reply

  35. Laura Dembowski on May 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    It does not get better than awesome homemade vanilla ice cream. I can’t wait to make this!

    Reply

  36. dkny on May 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I made this awesome vanilla bean ice cream and made it even more awesome by adding in at the very end of the churning – chopped Trader Joe’s pecan pralines and a few swirls of store bought butterscotch sauce. It tastes like the beloved Baskin Robbins Pralines and Cream flavor but the texture is richer and smoother. Thanks for the recipe.
    I mentioned to you before that when I print your recipes, the titles (such as the name of the recipe and the words ‘ingredients’ and ‘directions’ come out in undeciferable symbols. I can’t figure out anything at my end. Is it something in your programming?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2013 at 12:41 am

      I’m sorry you’ve had some issues with the printing. I just printed out this recipe as a test and everything printed exactly appears on the page with no issues. You might want to make sure that your computer is updated and there aren’t any software updates for your printer. I can’t find any issues on my end.

      Reply

  37. fardous on May 14, 2013 at 5:25 am

    summer is on so i will make those soon , thank u 4 sharing

    Reply

  38. Christine on May 14, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Love, Love, Love! Thank you Brown-eyed Baker/Ice Cream Maker. Made this ice cream for Mother’s Day — delicious! I have tried 2 of your ice cream recipes now (Vanilla Bean & Rocky Road) and have received rave reviews. The hardest part of the whole process is assembling my ice cream maker attachment to the KitchenAid Mixer! I highly recommend using Penzeys spices (vanilla bean/vanilla and dutch process cocoa for chocolate) — can’t go wrong with great ingredients and good recipes!

    Reply

    • Jessica Donnovan on May 14th, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Christine,

      Wow! We had the same idea. It’s just that my nephews and nieces surprised me first with their baked chocolate chip cookies during the weekend and me preparing this vanilla bean ice cream for them. It took me for about 30-45 minutes to prepare everything and freeze Le ice cream.

      Anyway, I also do recommend cashew nuts for this recipe as an add on.

      We enjoyed it so much that my nephews said that they’ll go for another round this coming weekend!

      Thanks a lot Browneyedbaker!

      Jessica :)

      Reply

  39. prince on May 17, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Hi Christine,
    My mom always had a vanilla ice cream and she really loves putting different toppings to her ice cream, then every time she had new recipe she showing it to us and she waits for our comment.

    During Mother’s day I’m surprised my mom, because I did something experiment in vanilla ice cream of my mom. I put small peace of banana, mallows, chocolate syrup and blueberry on the top with a matching cake candle. Then I tried 1 of your ice cream recipes your Vanilla Bean. My mom enjoys the ice cream that I did!

    Thank you so much Christine for sharing your recipe.
    Prince

    Reply

  40. Ice Cream Magic on May 27, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Thank you for sharing this recipe for vanilla ice cream. It would be good for someone looking for a simple dessert.

    Reply

  41. plasterer bristol on June 3, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Yummy recipe!

    Reply

  42. Becky @ A Calculated Whisk on June 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I just made this and it’s SO delicious! Thanks for the great recipe; I love your blog!

    Reply

  43. cooking up stories on June 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Hi!

    Just found your blog. All your recipes look great and I can’t wait to try them – but you had me at ice cream. Since I got a KitchenAid attachment a few months ago, the Philly vanilla is by far our favorite for its clean taste, but the texture is a mess. The flavor is perfect when it’s really soft (like a thick milkshake) but nine hours or so in the freezer and the cream layer separates leaving an icy milk layer. Using Lebovitz’s advice I’ve tried running it through the maker longer (35-40 minutes) and shorter (15 min.), even added a little alcohol and it seems to make no difference. It’s never as thick as the egg-based ice creams when its done mixing, and I expect it to be less smooth, but any advice on making it more edible? Mixing a second time after an hour or so in the freezer?

    Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to cook my way through your archive.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 13th, 2013 at 10:20 am

      I have to say, I’ve only made the Philadelphia-style ice cream twice; I really much prefer the traditional custard-based ice creams. I think they’re far superior in taste and texture. I’d give a custard-based recipe a try and see what you think!

      Reply

  44. Felicia Quiles on June 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Just got an ice cream maker as a gift. Giving this a try to break it in!

    Reply

  45. Eve Whitney on July 3, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    As a chemist, I love to play with my food in all sorts of crazy ways. I made this recipe and froze it with liquid nitrogen. It’s the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had, as a result of the way it was frozen. The vanilla flavor was phenomenal, and I’ll definitely be making it again.

    Reply

  46. Eve Whitney on July 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I noticed a lot of you said that you wish you had an ice cream maker right now. Although it may be a little harder to come by, freezing the ice cream with liquid nitrogen actually makes the ice cream have a smoother texture, and you don’t have to wait hours for it to freeze. It takes less than 10 minutes that way. Want an explanation as to how it’s smoother? Leave a reply :) and thanks for the amazing recipe!
    -Eve

    Reply

  47. Shayna on July 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I just made this and it is AMAZING. It was my first time making ice cream, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Reply

  48. Sunniva on July 30, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Hi, I’m making this right now for my mom’s birthday, however the custard came out very thin, almost like milk, maybe a bit like cream?? I don’t know, but is it supposed to be so thin? When i poured it through the sieve it was just pouring through very easily, because it’s a thin fluid. Do you think i will get lots of ice crystals?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 30th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Sunniva, As long as the custard turned out as indicated (coated the back of a spatula and/or reached at least 170 degrees F on an instant read thermometer), it is done. It is not meant to be extremely thick. The reason for straining it is to catch any bits of cooked egg that might be in the pan. I think your ice cream will turn out fine.

      Reply

  49. Todd on July 31, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Birthdays approaching next week and plan to make this…
    Can you substitute Heavy Cream for the Whole Milk to make an even richer version?!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 31st, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      Hi Todd, This is really pretty rich ice cream as it is, I would not recommend using more heavy cream in place of the whole milk.

      Reply

  50. Jenny on August 12, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I don’t have vanilla beans, can I use vanilla extract instead? How much should I use?

    Reply

  51. Fran@fransfavs.com on August 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I’m late to the party, but I finally made this fabulous vanilla bean ice cream–it’s truly to-die-for! I’m on an ice cream roll…. http://www.fransfavs.com/2013/08/vanilla-bean-ice-cream/#more-6529

    Reply

  52. kristi on August 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Also making your salted caramel sauce right now to go along with this soft serve custard ice cream. Thanks for the great recipes!!

    Reply

  53. JustOneMoreBite on September 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    The ice cream looks so creamy and delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Reply

  54. Danielle on September 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    How much does this make?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 26th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Danielle, As noted above, it makes 1 quart. All of the recipes will have a “yield” amount, right under the title. You can always find the number of servings or size of a recipe there.

      Reply

  55. Kathy on September 29, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Hello, in my city I can’t find vanilla beans that easily, can I substitute it with pure vanilla extract? If so, how much? I’m asking because the recipe asks for vanilla beans AND vanilla extract, so I wouldn’t know… :/
    Thanks:D

    Reply

  56. Rebecca on November 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I have never made ice cream (ever!) and was looking for a creamy vanilla bean recipe and came upon your blog. As a complete novice and not particularly baking-inclined, I was a bit nervous for the results (particularly when egg is involved.) Needless to say, I followed your recipe to a T and can easily say this is the BEST vanilla ice cream I have ever eaten in my life! My taste testing family also agreed they’ve never tasted vanilla ice cream this delicious. Thank you for the amazing recipe; It’s the only base I’ll ever use for future ice-cream maker adventures!

    Reply

  57. Dan on December 30, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I just attempted to make the custard and I think I cooked all the egg yokes trying to get to 170. How can you possibly get to 170 without boiling the mixture and cooking all the eggs? Is that a typo? I’m also a simple-minded guy and have never done this before, but my wife has to work and we’re hosting a big New Year’s Eve party so I have to do all the cooking. If I cooked all the eggs, can I sieve them out and try again or is this batch a wash?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 30th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Hi Dan, Over medium heat, the mixture should definitely not be boiling. Perhaps your stove runs a little hotter? Try doing it over medium-low, and be sure to stir and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula the entire time. It’s likely that you’ll have tiny little bits of cooked eggs that have stuck to the sides or bottom of the pan, but that’s why it’s imperative that you strain the mixture before proceeding.

      Reply

  58. Marseille on January 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful ice cream recipe! I made it last night, churned it this morning and it turned out amazing!!!!! I love so many of your recipes. Thank you for being an inspiration.

    Reply

  59. Mona on April 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Hi, I was wondering what ice cream maker you use.
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Mona, I use the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.

      Reply

  60. Alan Bowers on April 20, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Superb recipe.
    I froze half as it was and it was fabulous.
    Before freezing the rest I added to it the pulp of 3 alfonso mangos, a little honey and a tablespoon of lime juice and it made the best mango ice cream that i have ever tasted/
    Thank you so much for your recipe !!!!!.

    Reply

  61. Ange on May 24, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Hello Michelle,

    I am just intrigued, a step in the recipe requires that we let the custard/ice cream rest for 8 hours? Why is this step mandatory?
    Thank you very much!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 26th, 2014 at 11:32 am

      Hi Ange, This custard needs to be completely and totally chilled in order to churn up well.

      Reply

  62. Ange on May 26, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Hello Michelle,
    I would also like to know if I want to add some Macadamia nut brittle, when would it be the most appropriate time to mix it with the custard? Thank you very much. Ange

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 27th, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Hi Ange, I would add it at the very end of the churning time. Sounds delicious!

      Reply

  63. swetha_13 on May 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    hi michelle,
    I was wondering if you have any recipies for making ice cream without the ice cream maker? If so then can you send me link

    Reply

  64. Izzy on May 28, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I made ice cream 10 years ago and it was terrible. I never made it again. Then a co-worked suggested I make ice cream with a custard base. So the first person I thought of was you! Just finished churning it and it’s amazing! I am now excited to try the other flavors!!!! Thanks for turning me back on to home made ice cream!

    Reply

  65. Benjamin Butler on June 2, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Can this recipe be doubled successfully or are there needed adjustments?
    Thanks!
    Benjamin Butler
    Durham, NC

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 3rd, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Benjamin, Yes, just make sure that your ice cream maker has the capacity to handle a double batch!

      Reply

  66. Steph on September 13, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Delicious! My first icecream attempt in 15 years! How long does this one keep in the freezer once churned?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 13th, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Hi Steph, It depends on the type of container you use. You want to use the smallest one possible that will hold all of the ice cream – that will keep air out. Usually it keeps for at least a month. Once you start scooping, if you place plastic wrap or parchment on top of the exposed ice cream, it should keep longer.

      Reply

  67. Steph on September 15, 2014 at 2:15 am

    Great! Thanks Michelle.

    Reply

  68. Noreen on October 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Wanted to pass along..Trader Joe’s is carrying vanilla beans now in time for the holidays. 2 beans in a bag for $3.99 compared to the very stale ones in glass jars you find at grocery stores from $9.99-13.99! Stock up :)

    Reply

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