Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

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Sweet, delicious, and creamy homemade French vanilla ice cream is a delightful treat. This rich homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is made using whole vanilla beans, organic whole milk, heavy whipping cream, eggs, and sugar. It’s an easy homemade treat perfect for summer or really any time!

vanilla ice cream recipe

Over the last few months since buying an ice cream machine, my older sister, my nephew, and I have had fun experimenting with this recipe to get it just right. We made so many batches of ice cream but each time they got better and better. They have experimented with putting M & Ms, kit kats, Oreos, chocolate chips, and more inside of their ice cream. We have fun and we have a delicious treat to eat afterward!

old fashioned vanilla ice cream

If you have never made homemade ice cream I hope you try it soon, it is easy to make and tastes incredible. 

A few ways you can serve this ice cream is with homemade chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, over a warm apple crisp, or baked spiced pears.

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

how to make homemade vanilla ice cream

Vanilla bean

The fresh vanilla bean is really the star of this homemade ice cream. Whole vanilla beans can be a little pricey, but they are so worth the cost for how delicious of an ice cream you will have. Plus it’s so fun to see all the little vanilla bean seeds inside of the ice cream. 

However, you could also use 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract if you like!

I used to watch cooking shows all the time with my younger sister growing up. They would always scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean and it was really fun to actually be able to do it for this recipe. 

If you want to use a whole vanilla bean for this recipe, here’s a quick tutorial on how to do it!

How to Prepare Vanilla Bean for Ice Cream

Using a sharp knife cut the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise. Run your knife along the cut side of the vanilla bean to scrape out all the seeds of both halves of the bean. Add the seeds and the vanilla bean into a medium pot, then set aside. 

Heavy Cream and Milk

When I was developing this recipe, it was a little tricky to get the right heavy cream to milk ratio. You need a good amount of heavy cream to make the ice cream rich and creamy, but you don’t want it to taste almost buttery, but not in a good way. 

Having both the heavy cream and the milk provides a nice rich and creamy ice cream.


It might sound weird to put eggs inside of ice cream, but it really makes the ice cream so creamy and custardy. 

The eggs are tempered into the milk/ cream mixture and are then cooked for a while on the stove. 

Tempering the eggs or adding a hot liquid to an egg mixture a little at a time so as to not scramble them, was another common technique I saw used on cooking shows. 

Tempering the eggs is an important step – here is how you do it!

How to Temper Eggs for Ice Cream

After you have separated the egg yolks into a large mixing bowl and whisked them together with the sugar until they are smooth and pale yellow, it’s time to temper the eggs. 

Pour most of your hot milk/ cream into a measuring cup. Then while whisking, slowly pour a few tablespoons into the egg/ sugar mixture. Once you have fully whisked in the milk/ cream, slowly pour a little bit more into the egg/ sugar mixture. Pausing to fully combine the milk/cream into the egg/ sugar mixture. Repeat until all the milk/ cream is mixed with the egg/ sugar mixture. 

This process helps to slowly bring the eggs up to the same temperature as the milk/ cream without producing scrambled eggs. 

Churning the Ice Cream

The churning process is really fun because this is the part where it actually starts to look like ice cream. My nephew loves to taste the ice cream, and taste the ice cream, and taste the ice cream during this step. Lol. 

You want the ice cream to look like soft and creamy soft-serve ice cream. 

Ice Cream Storage

southern homemade ice cream

After the ice cream is finished churning, we like to store it in these freezer-safe ice cream containers. They are pint-sized and you can label and decorate the tops, so you know what delicious flavor they are! We also use these reusable freezer ice cream containers. They are 8oz and are the perfect size!

Homemade Ice Cream Tips:

  • Dairy Cream and Milk: I have only used dairy heavy cream and whole milk for this recipe. I won’t recommend substituting anything else, because it might not be as rich and creamy. 
  • Completely Chill Ice Cream Base: Make sure you completely chill the ice cream base before churning. Otherwise, the ice cream may not churn properly causing your ice to be less creamy.
  • Cook Ice Cream Base Low and Slow Until it Reaches the Right Temperature: Make sure when you cooking your ice cream base that it reaches 170 – 175F degrees before you strain it or start to chill it. If your ice cream base doesn’t reach this temperature it can cause your ice cream to not churn properly or not be as creamy. 
  • Completely Chill the Ice Cream Bowl: Make sure the ice cream bowl is completely chilled before churning – this can impact churning as well. 
  • Hot Environment Can Impact Churning: If you are churning in a hot room it can cause the ice cream to not churn properly.
homemade ice cream recipe

Recommended Tools


Large mixing bowl

Kitchen thermometer

Fine mesh sieve or strainer

Ice cream machine

Ice cream machine bowl

Freezer- safe Ice cream storage containers

Reusable Freezer Ice Cream Containers

Making homemade ice cream is a fun way to get kids into the kitchen. If they are anything like my nephew they will especially like the churning part, where they can taste, and taste, and taste the delicious treat they created.

I hope you try this recipe and let me know how it went. Did you add anything extra? Or did you let the vanilla bean shine? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram (@themidwestkitchenblog). Enjoy!

homemade vanilla ice cream

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homemade vanilla ice cream

Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

This rich homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is made using whole vanilla beans, organic whole milk, heavy whipping cream, eggs, and sugar.  A few ways you can serve this ice cream is with homemade chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, over a warm apple crisp, or baked spiced pears.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Freezing time: 10 hours
Total Time: 11 hours
Servings: 8 servings or 4 cups
Calories: 330kcal
Cost: $15



  • 1 whole vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar


How to Prepare Vanilla Bean for Ice Cream:

  • Using a sharp knife, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise. Open up the vanilla bean, and run your knife along the inside to scrape out all the seeds. Repeat with the other half of the vanilla bean. Add the vanilla bean seeds and pods to a medium pot. 1 whole vanilla bean

How to Make the Ice Cream Base:

  • In addition to the vanilla bean or vanilla extract add in the heavy cream, whole milk, and salt. Mix together. Heat the milk/cream mixture until it starts to steam, but not boil or simmer. This will take about 10 minutes. 2 cups heavy whipping cream 1 cup whole milk 2 pinches salt
  • While you are waiting for the milk/ cream mixture to warm up, start separating your eggs. The easiest way to separate the egg yolks from the whites is to crack the whole egg into one bowl. Using your hands, gently scoop out the yolk. Allow the egg whites to fall down into the bowl through your fingers. Then add the egg yolk into a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the other 4 eggs. 5 egg yolks
  • Next, add the sugar and whisk the eggs and sugar until it becomes pale yellow in color, light and fluffy, and has a silky ribbon consistency, for 2 - 3 minutes. It will be chunky at first but keep whisking. ¾ cup granulated sugar

Temper the Eggs:

  • Pour 2 cups of your warm milk/ cream mixture into a measuring cup. Add a few tablespoons of the milk/ cream to the egg mixture, then whisk to combine. Add a few more tablespoons, whisk. Then add ¼ cup and whisk. Repeat until all the milk is gone from the measuring cup.
  • Next, pour your egg/ milk/ cream mixture back into the pot, whisking in the remaining milk in the pot. Cook this mixture on low heat until the ice cream base has thickened a little and has reached a temperature between 170F and 175F degrees, mixing occasionally. Your mixture will look creamy and will start to steam. This will take about 20 minutes.
  • Once your mixture is up to temperature, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve/ strainer into a large mixing bowl, to remove any egg chunks and the vanilla bean pod.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the ice cream mixture to cool on the counter for 2 hours, then transfer it to the refrigerator to cool completely for another 2 - 4 hours. 

Churning the Ice Cream Base:

  • Churn your ice cream base according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Your ice cream should look soft, fluffy, and incredibly creamy, like soft-serve ice cream. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
  • Transfer your homemade ice cream into freezer-safe containers to completely freeze, for about 6 - 8 hours. Enjoy!


Homemade ice cream can last for several weeks in the freezer.


Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 192mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 115mg | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1086IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 0.4mg

All nutrition information is automatically generated and should be only used as a rough estimate. This recipe card may contain affiliate links.

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  1. 5 stars
    This vanilla ice cream was SUCH a great base for my cookie butter ice cream! I crushed about 10 Biscoff cookies and whisked in about a quarter cup (or less) of cookie butter to this recipe while it was churning. It turned out SO FLUFFY AND CREAMY. I’m using it as a base for a chocolate chocolate cookie ice cream now, and I know it’ll be just as amazing as the last. Thanks so much!

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