Creamy, smooth and perfumed with pure vanilla, this no churn ice cream will change your life in a way that only ice cream can. This recipe will surely elicit memories of your beloved childhood scoop, each silky spoonful blanketing your palate and delivering nuances of sweet cream. 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 ice cream (also known as American or New York style) is made by churning (agitating or mixing) milk, cream and sugar. Flavors and mix-ins vary, but that’s how you make the standard base.
- French ice cream starts with an egg-based custard, which yields a creamier texture and yellow-tinted cream. Philadelphia ice cream is generally quicker and easier to create because there’s no custard to prepare.
The recipe below is reminiscent of Philadelphia-style ice cream in color and consistency, but there’s no actual churning required, which means there’s no need for an ice cream maker.
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To ensure great results, be sure to use the right three ingredients.
1. Use heavy cream. This recipe involves whipping heavy cream until stiff peaks form, which is a firm structure you can’t achieve with half-and-half or milk.
2. Use sweetened condensed milk. This recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk instead of granulated sugar or powdered sugar for two reasons. First, using sweetened condensed milk eliminates the possibility of grainy ice cream, which can happen with granulated sugar. Second, sweetened condensed milk adds the perfect amount of sweetness, whereas using powdered sugar can make your ice cream overly sweet.
3. Use pure vanilla extract. Since there are just 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 the perfect base for other flavors. The taste of vanilla pairs well with virtually every ice cream variety, so I suggest you leave it in or swap it out for other flavorings like almond extract or mint.
When it comes to add-ins, your options are endless. Choose candy, nuts, fruit, jam, Nutella, pretzels or whatever else you like.
When it comes to packing up your pints, I purchased pint-size containers to store my ice cream, but they’re not mandatory. Any airtight container will do. But the classic paper containers make a fun and somewhat more traditional presentation.
Recipe: No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream
Make sure your heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk are chilled before using. This ensures you’ll get the most volume in your whipped cream. To be extra certain your cream whips up perfectly, you can also chill your mixing bowl and whisk.
Makes: About 2½ pints, more with mix-ins
- 3 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional: Mix-ins
Place 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 additional ingredients at this point.
Transfer the mixture to a large zip-top freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and seal. Put the bag in the freezer, lying flat and freeze until firm, about three hours.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and break it into chunks. Working in batches to prevent overfilling, transfer the chunks to the bowl of your food processor or high-powered blender and pulse until smooth.
If adding mix-ins, fold them in by hand or add them to the food processor or blender and pulse 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, meaning the quantity needed if you’re transforming 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 into half of the vanilla ice cream recipe above.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Add ½ cup regular or mini semisweet chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon peppermint extract and 2 to 3 drops of green food coloring (food coloring is optional).
Strawberry Ice Cream
Combine 2 cups offresh or frozen strawberries and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Cook until the strawberries are very soft. Cool before mixing into your ice cream, rather than completely blending them 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 sifted cocoa powder and 4 ounces melted (cooled) chocolate.
Rocky Road Ice Cream
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 sifted cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder.
Butter Pecan 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 little brown bits in the pan. Transfer the butter to a shallow dish and cool before adding to the ice cream.
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