Creamy, fluffy and flavored with pure vanilla, this no-churn ice cream will change your life like only ice cream can. This recipe is sure to spark memories of your beloved childhood scoop, each silky dollop coating your palate and delivering sweet creamy undertones. Best of all, made with just three ingredients, this heavenly dessert is quick, easy, and requires no ice cream maker.
How, you may ask. Well, let’s start with a quick explanation of the two types of ice cream – Philadelphia and French. Philadelphia-style (also known as American or New York-style) ice cream is made by churning (shaking or mixing) milk, cream, and sugar. Flavors and blends vary, but that’s how you make the standard base. French ice cream starts with an egg-based custard, which results in a creamier texture and yolk-tinged crema. Philadelphia ice cream is generally faster and easier to create because there is no custard to make.
The recipe below is reminiscent of the color and consistency of Philadelphia-style ice cream, but no churning is required, meaning there’s no need for an ice cream maker.
To ensure great results, be sure to use the right three ingredients.
Use heavy cream. This recipe involves whipping heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks, which is a firm structure that you can’t achieve with half and half or milk.
Use sweetened condensed milk. This recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk instead of granulated or powdered sugar for two reasons. First, using sweetened condensed milk eliminates the risk of grainy ice cream, which can happen with granulated sugar. Second, sweetened condensed milk adds the perfect amount of sweetness, while using powdered sugar can make your ice cream too sweet.
Use pure vanilla extract. Since there are only three ingredients in this ice cream, quality matters. For the best vanilla flavor, use pure vanilla extract.
How to make different flavors of ice cream
This vanilla ice cream is fabulous on its own, but it also makes a perfect base for other flavors. The vanilla flavor goes well with virtually any variety of ice cream, so I suggest leaving it out or replacing it with other flavors like almond extract or mint.
When it comes to supplements, your options are endless. Choose candy, nuts, fruit, jam, Nutella, pretzels or whatever you like.
When it comes to packing your pints, I have purchased pint sized containers to store my ice cream, but they are not required. Any airtight container will do. But classic paper containers make for a fun, slightly more traditional presentation.
Recipe: Vanilla ice cream without churn
Make sure your heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk are cooled before use. This ensures that you will get the most volume possible in your whipped cream. To be even more certain that your cream is whipping perfectly, you can also refrigerate your mixing and whipping bowl.
Makes: About 2½ pints, more with mixes
- 3 cups heavy cream, cold
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional: blends
Place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the sweetened condensed milk. Add the vanilla extract and mix until just blended. Do not add any additional ingredients at this stage.
Transfer the mixture to a large zip-top freezer bag, squeeze out the air and seal. Put the bag in the freezer, flat, and freeze until firm, about three hours.
Take the ice cream out of the freezer and break it into pieces. Working in batches to avoid overfilling, transfer the pieces to the bowl of your food processor or high power blender and blend until smooth.
If adding blends, fold them by hand or add them to a food processor or blender and blend until you reach your desired consistency.
Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.
How to Make Ice Cream Variations
The measurements below are for a full batch of ice cream, i.e. the amount needed if you process the entire vanilla ice cream recipe above. If you want to make a variety of flavors, adjust the measurements accordingly. For example, if you want half vanilla ice cream and half chocolate ice cream, use half of the chocolate ice cream ingredients below to mix it with half of the chocolate ice cream recipe. vanilla above.
Mint ice cream with chocolate chips
Add ½ cup regular or semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 2-3 drops green food coloring (food coloring is optional).
Strawberry ice cream
Combine 2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries and 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small saucepan and set the saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the strawberries are very tender. Allow to cool before mixing them into your ice cream, rather than mixing them completely into the ice cream. You can use any fresh or frozen fruit you prefer, including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or peaches.
Chocolate ice cream
Add ¾ cup of sifted cocoa powder and 4 ounces of melted (cooled) chocolate.
Ice Rocky Road
Prepare the chocolate ice cream above and add 1 cup mini marshmallows and ½ cup chopped almonds or peanuts.
S’mores Ice Cream
Add 10 crushed graham cracker squares, 1 chopped chocolate bar and ½ cup marshmallow fluff.
Mocha ice cream
Add ½ cup of sifted cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder.
Pecan Butter Ice Cream
Add ¼ cup molasses, 2 tablespoons browned butter and ½ cup chopped pecans. To make brown butter, place 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Cook until the butter gives off a nutty aroma and you see small brown bits in the pan. Transfer the butter to a shallow dish and let cool before adding it to the ice cream.
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