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Vanilla Ice Cream Base Recipe for Home Ice Cream Makers

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Use this Vanilla Ice Cream Base Recipe to create delicious flavored ice creams with your home ice cream maker.

I shared with you previously how my husband decided we needed a home ice cream maker. I was skeptical.

I have had ice cream makers in the past and felt like they were a lot of work for the reward. In fact, when I was a little girl we had a hand crank ice cream maker. We all took our turns cranking the ice cream maker, adding salt, and making a mess.

No thanks!

bowl of vanilla ice cream

But, I’m happy to report, today’s ice cream makers for home use are different – better and easier to use, in fact. So much better that I wrote an entire blog post singing the praises of our new Cuisinart ICE-21P1 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, and Sorbet Maker.

So, today I thought I’d share the “base recipe” for vanilla ice cream with you.

bowl of vanilla ice cream

Vanilla Ice Cream Base Recipe for Home Ice Cream Makers

You can consider this base recipe for vanilla ice cream for your home ice cream maker as the jumping off point for all sorts of delicious flavors.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about the ingredients, equipment, and supplies you’ll need.

Equipment Needed

Ingredients Needed

bowl of vanilla ice cream

Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream

Use Cold Ingredients

I like to use my 8 cup glass measuring cup as my mixing bowl. Why? Well, because it has a handle and a spout and it makes it really easy to mix, chill, and pour!

Speaking of chill, it’s really important that you use cold ingredients. Don’t skip the step of chilling the liquid ingredients for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Freeze the Bowl

If you have room in your freezer, it would be ideal to simply store the freezer bowl in the freezer in an upright position until you need it. Otherwise, you’ll want to freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours before using.

AND, leave the bowl in the freezer until you are ready to mix your ice cream.

Mix Well

I have made ice cream using my whisk and my hand mixer. By far, the sugar is incorporated the best when I use the hand mixer – no matter how well I think I’ve hand whisked the sugar into the milk. So, for ice cream that isn’t gritty, be sure to mix the sugar very well with a whisk or hand mixer.

Turn the Maker On First

Before you add your ice cream base to the freezer bowl, you’ll want to actually have the bowl in place and the machine turned on BEFORE you add the mix to the bowl. So, set the bowl on the base, insert the paddle and secure the cover. Then turn on the ice cream maker (the bowl will start to turn) and pour in the base.

Use Parchment Paper

Not that you’ll have ice cream leftover, but if you do, you may want to cover the ice cream with parchment paper before putting on the lid. If you’ll be storing ice cream in your freezer and want to prevent ice from building up on the top, use parchment paper.

Simply tear off a piece of parchment paper and press it down on top of the ice cream. You want the parchment paper agains the ice cream. Then seal the container.

I also use a permanent marker and write the ice cream flavor on the parchment paper.

Store Ice Cream in Airtight Container

When I make ice cream, I immediately transfer it to one of my ice cream storage containers. We bought these oblong containers. They are the perfect size for the amount (1.5 qt) of ice cream our ice cream maker makes. And the shape is just perfect for scooping ice cream!

And, trust me, you’ll want multiple containers.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Base Recipe

Vanilla Ice Cream

Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 20 minutes

This is a basic recipe for vanilla ice cream for the home ice cream maker. You can use this recipe as a base or jumping off point to create custom flavored ice cream at home!


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. If you haven't already, chill the freezer bowl in your freezer in an upright position for at least 24 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, sugar, and salt using a whisk or hand mixer set to low speed. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or up to 3 days.
  3. Place the frozen freezer bowl on the base of the ice cream maker. Place the paddle (round end up) into the bowl. Then put the cover over the freezer bowl, rotating it clockwise until it locks into place. Turn the ice cream maker ON.
  4. Pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened - about 15-20 minutes.
  5. The ice cream will have a soft and creamy texture. If you want a firmer texture, scoop the ice cream into your airtight container and place in the freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from the freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving.
  6. To store the ice cream in the freezer, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the ice cream, pressing it against the ice cream, then put on the airtight lid.


Yields 1-1/2 quarts of ice cream.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g

More Recipe Ideas

If you enjoyed learning how to make this Vanilla Ice Cream Base Recipe, you might also like these recipes from The Birch Cottage:

And be sure to pin the below image to your favorite Pinterest board to save this recipe for later or to share with family and friends!

bowl of vanilla ice cream

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