vanilla ice cream with blueberry cake

How to Make Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (+ Recipe)

Since a couple of years now we have an ice cream machine. It’s been used plenty, for all sorts of ice creams. Since I don’t like doing the same recipe over again and again (some exceptions though, this bread has been made tons of times), I tend to change something different everytime I make ice cream. And even though I prefer making chocolate ice cream, I’ve made a lot of vanilla ice cream as well, simply because it fits with a lot of recipes and is a flavour most of us really like! It also combines great with all sorts of other baked goods (apple pie for instance…).

If you want to learn about the science of ice cream, have a look at my post of the freezing point depression, the use of cornstarch instead of eggs and on phase diagrams. Today, we’re taking it easy, just a recipe, although, if you’ll read one of the other posts after this one, I’m sure you’ll understand a little more of why ice cream is made the way it is.

Vanilla bean ice cream recipe

When making vanilla ice cream, at some point the question rises: which type of vanilla? Should we use a vanilla bean, vanilla extract, or vanillin? Good thing we discussed the differences of the three before.

For this ice cream recipe you’ll see I’ve used a vanilla bean to make it taste vanilla. However, using vanilla extract (for instance home made one) works well also. In that case, add the extract to the milk and warm them together. Do not leave to soak. Instead, you can pour the warm milk on the eggs instantly.

vanilla ice cream with blueberry cake

Vanilla bean ice cream recipe

Yield: 8 portions
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml whipping cream (35% fat)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75g sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean


  1. Mix the eggs and the sugar in a separate bowl.
  2. Slice the vanilla bean in half along the length. Scrape the powder out of the bean into the milk, add the vanilla bean to the milk as well.
  3. Bring the milk to the boil slowly to allow the vanilla bean to seep into the milk. It's best to turn off the heat once it's boiling and leave it aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Bring the milk back to the boil after it has steeped.
  5. Once boiling, pour the milk through a sieve and into the eggs and sugar, whisking continuously.
  6. Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to the boil slowly, while whisking continuously. This is easiest if you're using a double boiler (au-bain-marie), which is simply a aluminium bowl placed on top of a pot with boiling water.
  7. You will see the custard thickening slightly, however, it will not actually get thick. You will know it's thickened enough if it doesn't run down a spatula completely.
  8. Once the custard has thickened enough take it from the fire and whisk through the cream.
  9. Leave to cool down to room temperature (or, if you're patient enough, place it in the fridge to cool).
  10. Pour the mix into the ice cream maker and use the settings of your equipment.
  11. Put in the freezer once the ice cream maker has finished.
  12. If you don't have an ice cream maker: do not pour the cream with the boiled custard. Instead, wait for the custard to cool in the fridge. Once it's coold, whisk the cream and fold it through. Freeze this and mix a few more times during freezing to ensure air is incorporated.

Why make the custard?

A custard gives the ice cream a very rich and creamy texture. It will also stabilize the ice cream once it has been frozen and churned. The reason it does so is because of the egg yolks. This works very similarly to the custard in the lemon bars actually.



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  1. Or

    You could put the egg yolks into a saucepan and whisk them to a light yellow, then add the sugar to the eggs a little at time whisking until all the sugar is incorporated and the egg mix is at the ribbon stage. Then add all the dairy, milk and cream, to the saucepan along with the vanilla “powder” and the bean and using an instant read candy thermometer, cook to 170°F stirring frequently. Remove the bean and pseudo homogenize with an immersion blender for 30 to 45 seconds and then place the saucepan into an ice bath. Remove the vanilla bean. When chilled to 40°F cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight and the next day churn in an ice cream maker to a soft serve consistency, transfer to a freezer container, placing plastic wrap on the surface and harden in a freezer overnight.

    • Hi Robert,
      Thanks for this addition! There are so many ways to make vanilla ice cream aren’t there?!

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