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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla is a classic for a reason. This is my go-to recipe, which also serves as the base for countless other flavors and varieties.

Vanilla Ice Cream

And while I love playing with flavors like lavender or coffee, there’s really nothing better than classic vanilla––especially if you’re serving it alongside a pie or other dessert (gooey skillet cookie cake, anyone?).

Another one of my favorite simple, go-to moves is homemade vanilla ice cream drizzled with an amazing olive oil and a sprinkling sea salt. I originally served this dish while catering for an Olsen party and it quickly became a crowd favorite.

Of course, you can always go store-bought––but once you see how simple it is to make it from scratch, you’ll probably become addicted. It doesn’t last quite as long so you’ll need to eat within a day or two (awful, I know :)), but the flavor is so much better when you make it yourself.

I love that you can create a completely organic ice cream by using organic dairy, and even play with different sweeteners instead of just sugar (adding honey to replace some works well). I’ve even replaced the milk with whole grass-fed yogurt, adding the yogurt at the end instead of heating it with the cream, for a super-delicious, tangy treat.

How To Do It

This is our go-to ice cream base recipe. It’s rich, creamy, and full of pure vanilla flavor. You’ll need a couple of mixing bowls, a strainer, and an ice cream maker (we use the Kitchenaid attachment below). You’ll need to make the custard base the day before you freeze the ice cream and serve it.


1-½ cups whole milk

1-½ cups heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped

¾ cup granulated sugar, divided

5 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon kosher salt


Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl or container that will fit your mixing bowl inside.

In a medium saucepan, heat milk, cream, and vanilla bean (including the pod) over medium heat. Add ½ cup sugar, whisking until dissolved. Don’t let mixture boil.

Meanwhile, whisk remaining ¼ cup sugar with egg yolks and salt in the mixing bowl, until nice and frothy.

Add a big splash of the dairy mixture to the eggs, whisking to combine. (This is called tempering; you’re slowly bringing the temperature of the eggs up so they don’t scramble right away.) Now, add all of the egg mixture back into the pot. Quickly rinse the mixing bowl so you can use it again for the next step.

Stir the custard constantly with a wooden spoon as it cooks. The custard will thicken to coat the back of the spoon in about 10 minutes or so. You’ll know it’s done when you see a lot of steam start to rise out of the pot. You don’t want to let it boil as this will scorch the dairy. Alternatively, you can use a thermometer and remove from the heat when it reaches 175 degrees F.

Quickly strain the custard back into the mixing bowl and place in the ice bath. The key to making great ice cream is cooling it as quickly as possible; this ensures a creamy texture rather than icy. Continue to whisk the custard to help cool it faster, until cooler than room temperature. Transfer to a container or cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Freeze using the instructions on your ice cream maker (the churn process typically takes about 20 minutes). Freeze for another 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Makes 1 quart.

Get the Goods

Turquoise Bowl, Set of 4

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Serve your ice cream in these pretty turquoise bowls.

Ice Cream Maker Attachment

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Use this attachment with your stand mixer to make homemade ice cream