Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
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!
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?!
One year ago: Hummingbird Cupcakes
Two years ago: White Sangria
Three years ago: Parmesan and Thyme Crackers
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 1 cup (244 ml) whole milk
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (476 ml) heavy cream, divided
- Pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I have made this ice cream for about 7 years now. I love the custard- based ice cream. It was the first (and only) recipe I tried when I bought the bowl for my mixer and it’s worked every time.
Help! I have made several brown eyed baker ice cream recipes and I’m getting something wrong in the cooking stage. The egg like…separates. When I go to strain it it’s too chunky to even strain well. It looks fine in the pan but when I start pouring its curdle-y. What am I doing wrong? Cooking too long? Too hot? Thanks!
Oh no! So a couple of things… I would try turning down the heat, be sure you are stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan while cooking, and if you have a thermometer, I would use that, in case visual cues are causing it to overcook.
Just made this for the fifth time! Always a crowd pleaser, and always results in requests for the recipe, which I’m happy to provide. Tomorrow’s dinner will see a variation; it will be balled, covered in nuts, coconut and a vanilla-wafer crust, and then deep fried and served with either hot fudge or creamy caramel sauce. Gild that lily!
I am at this moment making this recipe for the third time, the first two having been unanimously praised around our table as the finest my guests had ever tasted. I follow the recipe to the letter, and it is consistently rich, delicious and flawless.
I am loving this recipe. Literally making it for my third time right now. (First time making it was less than two weeks ago!) Do you have favorite recipes for using the egg whites?
So happy to hear you’re loving this! As for egg whites… pavlovas are a great dessert! Recipes here:
You could also save the egg whites up to a few days and use for an omelet.
How far in advance can I make the custard?
Hi Carolyn, You can make it up to 24 hours in advance.
Made this ice cream and it’s good but not enough sugar. I used 2% milk because it’s what I had.
The ice cream is good and has a nice consistency but lacks that sweet flavor. I added a little condensed milk after tasting near the end.
So I just finished making the base. It’s chilling in the fridge and tastes delicious. I can’t wait to get it in the churn. Thanks for sharing.
I’m known for my culinary skills, but honestly, it’s only because I can follow recipes. When I search the net for recipes, which I do almost daily, I always seem to be attracted to Brown Eyed Baker. It’s not because I seek this site out intentionally, but because it just seems to have the best recipes out there. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes and tips. Every recipe I’ve tried on this site is fool proof and can ensure all who visit here, that this is the one stop shop for great recipes on the web. Thanks again and KEEP IT UP!
Hi Kathleen, Thank you so much for the sweet comment, xo
This recipe sounds delicious. Could you have doubled the recipe and used the kitchen aid ice cream maker or would it be too large a volume for the maker?
I doubled the recipe hoping to make 2 quarts of ice cream. Can I cook the entire doubled recipe and then just put 1/2 into the ice cream maker and use the other half a day or so later, allowing the bowl to refreeze??
I must say this is the first recipe in which I find the directions a bit confusing.
Do the last 2 cups of cream get cooked?
Does everything end up in the one saucepan or is it done in 2 sauce pans. I know you have made this many times, but perhaps you will see what I am referring to.
Hi Maureen, You could work in batches, but I wouldn’t leave it in the fridge longer than two days. As for the heavy cream, no, only 1 cup gets cooked in the custard mixture. The other cup is placed in a bowl and gets stirred into the custard mixture.
This looks great and I really want to start making my own ice cream; I have never done it before! I am considering purchasing the kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment, but decided to search for recipes first to see if I can buy the ingredients I need in the remote area I live in. So, one question which I hope you answer, and it may be a simple one, but what is heavy cream? Can you please give me an example?
Thanks and much appreciated!!
Hi Karen, I’m not sure if you live in the U.S., but if you do, it’s a very common product sold in the dairy aisle – it’s usually labeled as heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. Some brands are generic store brands, Land o Lakes, Dean’s, etc.
Can I just add more cream and milk to increase amount of ice cream made?
Hi Aaron, If you want to increase the amount of ice cream, you should increase all of the ingredients by the same ratio.
First off my family and I love your ice cream recipes. So far, I have made Butter Pecan, Rocky Road, Strawberry and I have Vanilla whrilling now. I am curious to know why, the BP custard is cooked in a double boiler and the others I have tried aren’t? Is it whole eggs to just yolks that makes the difference? Thanks.
Hi Jackie, If memory serves, that recipe comes from Joy of Cooking, which is a little more old-fashioned. The newer recipes don’t call for a double boiler, but they do call for straining the custard.
how much does this recipe make of ice cream?
Hi Bonnie, You can find the servings/yield for any recipe at the top of the recipe box. This recipe makes 1 quart of vanilla ice cream.
Just wondering if this can be made without an ice cream maker?
Hi Georgia, Yes! Here is a tutorial: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/how-to-make-homemade-ice-cream-without-an-ice-cream-maker/
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 :)
Great! Thanks Michelle.
Delicious! My first icecream attempt in 15 years! How long does this one keep in the freezer once churned?
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.
Can this recipe be doubled successfully or are there needed adjustments?
Hi Benjamin, Yes, just make sure that your ice cream maker has the capacity to handle a double batch!
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!
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
No specific recipes, but I do have this tutorial on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/06/21/how-to-make-homemade-ice-cream-without-an-ice-cream-maker/
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
Hi Ange, I would add it at the very end of the churning time. Sounds delicious!
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!
Hi Ange, This custard needs to be completely and totally chilled in order to churn up well.
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 !!!!!.
Hi, I was wondering what ice cream maker you use.
Hi Mona, I use the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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… :/
Hi Kathy, Yes, you can substitute with vanilla extract… the amount can be found here: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/substitutions/
How much does this make?
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.
The ice cream looks so creamy and delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Also making your salted caramel sauce right now to go along with this soft serve custard ice cream. Thanks for the great recipes!!
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
I don’t have vanilla beans, can I use vanilla extract instead? How much should I use?
Hi Jenny, You can substitute vanilla extract; see the conversion on this page: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/substitutions/
Birthdays approaching next week and plan to make this…
Can you substitute Heavy Cream for the Whole Milk to make an even richer version?!!
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.
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?
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.
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!
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!
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.
Just got an ice cream maker as a gift. Giving this a try to break it in!
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.
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!
I just made this and it’s SO delicious! Thanks for the great recipe; I love your blog!
Thank you for sharing this recipe for vanilla ice cream. It would be good for someone looking for a simple dessert.
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.
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!
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!
summer is on so i will make those soon , thank u 4 sharing
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?
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.
It does not get better than awesome homemade vanilla ice cream. I can’t wait to make this!
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
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.
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 :)
I’ve had an ice cream maker for a year now and have yet to make vanilla ice cream, this is some motivation!
It’s that time of year to get the ice cream maker out! Thanks for the recipe, nothing beats real vanilla ice cream!
A good vanilla ice cream recipe is a MUST. This sounds fab!
I love vanilla ice cream with real vanilla beans that you can see! Great timing, I just ordered more beans!
Where do you order your vanilla beans from?
Beanilla.com has great beans at amazing prices.
I love vanilla ice cream – homemade is always better!
Nothing says summer like vanilla ice cream with sprinkles! Thanks for sharing
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).
Just looking at the ice cream and sighing. Looks amazing.
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!
Apology accepted (haha). So glad you finally shared this with us – I bet it’s amazing! I need an ice cream maker :(
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!!
Nothing better than those beautiful black flakes from the vanilla bean – YUM!!!
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.
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.
Thanks for sharing and just in time for Mother’s Day. (It’s my Mother’s favorite) P.S. You are forgiven..
Homemade ice cream is the best! Yum!
I absolutely love vanilla ice cream and making homemade ice cream is the best way to go. You can do so much with it!
YUM!! I love real vanilla ice cream. It is the perfect building base!
Sprinkles do make any day brighter! Your ice cream looks perfect. What a great recipe for a classic!
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!
I actually just bought some vanilla beans the other day! I’ll definitely have to try this out soon! :)
Love vanilla ice cream, my favorite! I love the recipe, and now I think it’s time to dig out my ice cream maker!!
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!
It’s beautiful, especially with the sprinkles! I will have to try it in my ice cream maker!
Simple is best. Sometimes just fresh made vanilla ice cream is the best stuff on earth!
Apology accepted :P Looks super :) Wish i had an ice cream maker!
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
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 :)
So simple, so classic, so amazing! I could go for a few bowls of this !
I really wish I had an ice cream maker right now!