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. 

With normal ice-cream recipes, you want to refrigerate your mixture before putting it in the ice-cream freezer. However, since this is a no-cook recipe, the milk and cream should still be plenty cold. If you store the bowl of your ice-cream maker in the freezer, you can have great homemade vanilla ice cream in about 15 minutes. Keep in mind, however, that your machine may require that the finished ice cream is frozen for a while after churning. While that may delay your homemade treat a bit, the ease of preparing this recipe is still worth it.

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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

Tips

  • 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.

Recipe Variations

  • While vanilla ice cream is great, it's even better when made with a real vanilla bean. If you have one available, it’s easy to substitute it for the vanilla extract in this recipe: 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.
  • You can turn this vanilla ice cream into any flavor you can imagine. Add cocoa powder to make chocolate ice cream or add your favorite ice cream treats.
  • Crumble sandwich cookies into the finished product, toss in chocolate chips, or swirl the ice cream with a ribbon of caramel. The mix-in possibilities are endless, so get creative.

How to Store Ice Cream

  • Once you perfect your ice-cream technique, make multiple batches so you never run out. When properly stored, ice cream keeps well for about two months.

How to Make Ice Cream Without a Machine

You can still make ice cream from scratch without a dedicated ice cream maker, and this is a perfect recipe for that. It will take more time and effort, but it will still taste great. Follow our step-by-step instructions that show you how to freeze your ice cream without buying another small appliance.

What's the Secret to Creamier Homemade 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. 

Why Does Homemade Ice Cream Freeze So Hard?

Many people notice that homemade ice cream freezes harder than store-bought ice cream. That's often caused by ice crystals that are too large. These can form if your mixture is not cold enough or if it's not churned fast enough in the machine. Try chilling the mix for 30 minutes to an hour (or more) and see if that helps. Since the machines vary so much it may take some experimentation to find the right approach for your system as well. Adding too much sugar or reducing the fat with different versions of cream or milk can also harden the ice cream. Finally, ice cream stored in a deep freezer will be more solid than if it's in a refrigerator's freezer. If you're storing lots of ice cream, transfer a pint to the fridge unit about a day before eating. Setting hard ice cream out on the counter for five to 15 minutes makes it easier to scoop, too.