Simple No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

No cook vanilla ice cream recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Churn and Freeze time: 2 hrs 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 4 to 5 servings
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
248 Calories
19g Fat
17g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 248
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 34mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 87mg 7%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 112mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Made-from-scratch vanilla ice cream is a real treat, and it can be the base for many delicious frozen desserts. This easy vanilla ice-cream recipe doesn’t require eggs or cooking, so it comes together quickly. Depending on how long your ice cream maker takes to churn, you could have ice cream in as few as 15 minutes!  (If you want to try a recipe that does start with an egg-based custard, try this step-by-step ice cream recipe.)

The 4 Simple Ingredients in Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

This vanilla ice cream recipe calls for just four ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Because this recipe is all about the vanilla flavor, you'll want to use the best pure vanilla extract you can find, and steer clear of imitation vanilla. To really take your vanilla ice cream to the next level, you can substitute a vanilla bean for the vanilla extract. Here's how: Using a paring knife, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them and the pod to the cream, milk, and sugar. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes (overnight is better). Remove the pod and freeze your ice cream as normal.

How to Make This Ice Cream

Making this ice cream is as simple as dissolving sugar in milk, then stirring in the cream and vanilla and transferring it all to your ice-cream maker to churn according to your machine's directions.

With ice-cream recipes that start with a custard, once you've made the mixture you typically need to refrigerate it before putting it in the ice-cream maker. However, since this is a no-cook recipe, the milk and cream should still be plenty cold, so you can go straight from mixing up the base to churning it, which can take as little as 15 minutes! Keep in mind that your machine may require the finished ice cream to be transferred to the freezer for a while after churning—while that may delay your homemade treat a bit, the ease of preparing this recipe is still worth it.

Tips for the Best Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Chill your tools: Store the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer to get a jump start on the freezing process for your ice cream.
  • Choose whole milk for the creamiest ice cream: Many ice cream recipes use egg yolks for flavor and color, and the egg custard helps prevent ice crystallization, which makes it creamier. In egg-free ice cream recipes, you can get that same creaminess by choosing whole milk. While any kind of milk will work, the extra butterfat in whole milk helps retain the texture of your ice cream while it's stored in the freezer. For example, after two days in the freezer, an ice cream made with 1 percent milk can become a little too icy. While it still tastes great, the texture might be a bit of a disappointment. 
  • Don't over-whip: Don’t whip the mixture too much once you've added the heavy cream. You don’t want to beat too much air into the mixture before it goes into the ice cream maker, or it will change the texture of the finished product.
  • Churn long enough: If you find your ice cream gets too hard or has large ice crystals, try churning the mixture longer. Every machine is different so you might have to experiment to find the sweet spot.
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“The simple no cook vanilla ice cream is delicious as is or a fantastic base for stirring in more ingredients. I used a bourbon based vanilla extract and was happy with the results. Next time I will stir in vanilla bean paste to enjoy the visual of those beautiful vanilla bean specks.” —Mary Jo Romano

Simple No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for no-cook vanilla ice cream
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Whisk together the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

    Whisk together milk and sugar
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Gently stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

    Gently stir in heavy cream and vanilla
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Churn according to the directions of your ice-cream maker's manufacturer. Enjoy immediately or freeze in a covered container to your desired firmness, at least 2 hours or overnight.

    Freeze ice cream
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations


You can turn this vanilla ice cream into any flavor you can imagine. The mix-in possibilities are endless, so get creative. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Add cocoa powder to make chocolate ice cream.
  • Crumble sandwich cookies into the base.
  • Toss in chocolate chips.
  • Swirl the ice cream with a ribbon of caramel.

How to Store Ice Cream

  • Once you perfect your ice-cream technique, make multiple batches so you never run out. Be sure to use an air-tight container for the ice cream, and press a layer of plastic wrap or wax paper directly on the surface of the ice cream. Properly stored ice cream keeps well for about two months.