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Easy Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream

Has the summer heat been getting to you? There's no better time to make delicious ice cream at home.  A quick Google search for favorite ice cream flavors in the United States reveals vanilla ice cream as either in first or second place depending on the source.

Since vanilla ice cream is such a favorite flavor, let's cool off with some creamy, homemade, vanilla ice cream!

Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream in Your Ice Cream Maker

How to make vanilla Ice cream in an Ice cream machine

I'm not a fan of single-use kitchen appliances but I make an exception for my ice cream maker. It's so easy to use that a child could operate it! Just add the ingredients, push the on button and 20 minutes later you can have creamy ice cream.

Kids love to make ice cream.  That's another reason I have an ice cream maker. Making ice cream with my grandkids is fun! I also appreciate the ease of making delicious ice cream with the ingredients I want to use.  No weird chemicals need to be used.

This recipe for vanilla ice cream is one I have been making all summer.  It's made with simple ingredients you probably have on hand. You'll see I've added a surprise ingredient.  It's a tiny bit of vodka.  It keeps your ice cream scoopable in the freezer and I think you'll love that.  Go ahead and leave it out but I suggest you give it a try.

My recipe also includes a pinch of salt.  I like to use sea salt.  You can leave the salt out, too, if you must.

Vanilla Ice Cream Q & A

Do you need to heat the ice cream base?

Many recipes will tell you to heat your mixture to dissolve the sugar.  I find it readily dissolves during the chilling time in your refrigerator.

How long does it take to make vanilla ice cream?

Unfortunately, you can't make ice cream on a whim.  It does require planning ahead to freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker and to chill your ice cream base. It will take your ice cream machine 20-30 minutes to churn the ice cream to soft serve consistency.  You will most likely want to transfer the ice cream to the freezer to firm up for 2-3 hours.

Do you have to use heavy cream?

You can substitute lower-fat dairy and non-dairy products to make ice cream.  I like to use heavy cream for its density and creaminess. Feel free to experiment. Sometimes I'll use a little more or less almond milk or heavy cream.

What can I substitute for the almond milk?

You can use whatever "milk" product you prefer.  Your result will be different but it should work. I haven't tried all the options.  I'll usually substitute whole milk.

Where are the eggs?

I personally don't like to use eggs in my ice cream.  You can find ice cream recipes with eggs elsewhere.

Can you omit the vodka?

You sure can.  I add it because I like how it keeps my ice cream scoopable and reduces ice crystals as it hardens in the freezer.  I believe my ice cream "ages" in the freezer better when I use a little vodka.

Tips for Ice Cream Success

Follow the directions for your ice cream maker. They may vary.

Use fresh, quality ingredients. Your ice cream will taste better.

Chill your ice cream base before churning.  You'll find that the mixture thickens a bit as the ice cream base chills in your refrigerator.  The sugar dissolves and the flavors combine.

Don't over-churn your ice cream base.  As your ice cream churns ice crystals form. The longer the ice cream churns the larger the ice crystals.

Check out my vanilla ice cream video.

How to Store Your Homemade Ice Cream

If you are making your ice cream in advance you'll want to store it in your freezer before serving.  I like to transfer my ice cream to plastic quart containers like these that have been made for freezer storage.

If you want to use add-ins, layer them into your container as you transfer the ice cream from your ice cream maker. This is also the way to add swirls of sauces, like fudge sauce or peanut butter sauce.  This keeps the sauce from blending in with your ice cream.

Chocolate chips, crumbled cookies, and chopped candies can also be added as layers with your ice cream if you wish.  

Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

ice cream recipe, how to make ice cream with a Cuisinart Ice cream machine
Yield: 8
Author: Donna Urso
Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream

Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream

Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinInactive time: 3 HourTotal time: 3 H & 30 M
Creamy vanilla Ice cream made in your ice cream maker



  1. Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker for at least 24 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the almond milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream, vodka, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
  3. Turn on your ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 20-30 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place it in the freezer for about 2 hours.


The purpose of the vodka is to reduce ice crystals when freezing. It helps to keep your ice cream creamy. You can leave it out but let your ice cream sit for 10-15 minutes before scooping.

Nutrition Facts



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Nutritional information is approximate.


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