An old fashioned vanilla ice cream recipe that everyone loves! This creamy custard base homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is made from five ingredients and is even better than an ice cream parlor favorite!

Creamy Vanilla Custard Ice Cream Recipe from

Vanilla ice creams come in more varieties than you might think! It’s made with five simple ingredients and turns into such a rich, creamy, delicious and decadent ice cream. Just look at those real vanilla bean specks!

It’s an old fashioned vanilla ice cream recipe that was passed down from my aunt many years ago. It’s a custard base that tastes even better than the best ice cream parlor ice cream you’ve ever had.

I enjoy my other types of ice cream recipes too. But when I want the most creamy, most vanilla, best vanilla ice cream, this one is it!

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

My family has always loved making ice cream in the summer. It gets really hot here in the south and enjoying homemade ice cream with family and friends is so much fun! I make many different ice cream flavors and recipes, but as far as vanilla goes it’s this velvety, old fashioned custard type ice cream or my two ingredient No Churn Vanilla.

How to Make this Vanilla Ice Cream

To make this ice cream, you will need these ingredients:

  • Egg yolks
  • Sugar
  • Whole Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Vanilla Bean Paste or Vanilla Extract

Make the Ice Cream Custard

Start by adding the egg yolks and sugar to a medium saucepan. Whisk the until it’s a light yellow color and is well combined.

In another small sauce pan, heat the whole milk over medium-low heat until it just begins to simmer. Do not stir the milk.

Then gradually add the heated milk to the pan with the egg and sugar mixture and stir constantly. Return the combined mixture to heat until it reaches 165º F, but do not allow it to come to a boil. As soon as it reaches the correct temperature, remove it from the heat.

Pour custard base into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until it chills to 65º F. The longer the custard base chills, the creamier your ice cream will be.

Finish With Ice Cream Maker

Once the custard base is ready, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract). Then, pour it into your ice cream maker and process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Scoop and Enjoy!

This is perfect for ice cream cones! Although I happily enjoy it in a bowl if cones aren’t around. The scoops hold up well and don’t immediately begin melting the moment they are scooped onto the cone.

How Much Ice Cream Does this Make?

This recipe makes 1 quart as written.

Can this Recipe be Multiplied?

Yes! You can easily double this recipe for a 2 quart ice cream maker. It can easily be multiplied for a gallon container too!

The Two Types of Vanilla Ice Cream

Both this old fashioned ice cream and my no churn ice cream have their places in my ice cream making life. They are both incredibly delicious, easy to make and I make them both often.

More Ice Cream Recipes

No Churn Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

And so many more ice creams to love!

Here’s my Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

An old fashioned vanilla ice cream recipe that everyone loves! This creamy custard base homemade vanilla ice cream recipe tastes like an ice cream parlor favorite.
4.86 from 64 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Course Dessert
Calories: 198kcal
Serving Size 0.5cup
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch



  • Add egg yolks and sugar to a medium saucepan and whisk until a light yellow color and well combined. In another small sauce pan, heat milk over medium-low heat until it just begins to simmer. Do not stir. Gradually add milk to egg and sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Return to heat until it reaches 165º F, but do not allow it to come to a boil. As soon as it reaches the correct temperature, remove it from the heat. Pour custard base into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until it chills to 65º F. The longer the custard base chills, the creamier your ice cream will be.
  • Once the custard base is ready, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and pour it into your ice cream maker and process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.


Yield for recipe as written: 1 quart
This recipe can easily be doubled for a 2-quart ice cream maker or multiplied for a gallon container.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 72mg | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Robyn xo

Originally published in 2013.

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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286 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Could you chill the custard overnight or would that be to long ? I am thinking of making this for a family barbecue as well as some of your other recipes.

    1. This is my go-to vanilla ice cream recipe – its deliciously thick and creamy. I think the custard base is key to great ice cream.

      I’ve also adapted this recipe to make sticky toffee ice cream by substituting soft brown sugar for the white sugar and then adding 1 tbsp of black treacle alongside. Delicious!

      1. You don’t heat just the yokes and sugar. You would just whisk them until light color. You will heat the milk, then add the heated milk to the egg and sugar mixture and gradually heat to 165ºF.

  2. So quick easy to make with a great flavour , I made with semi skimmed milk the first time and it came out great, the second time I made with duck eggs and add chocolate chips and caramel, yummmm .

    1. I was just wondering if I wanted to make this into a coffee ice cream then how much coffee would I add and should it be instant coffee powder or a brewed coffee. I love this ice cream and I would prefer to use this ice cream and just adapt it to other flavours, rather than using another recipe. I hope this makes sense. Thanks

      1. Joshua weissman simmered coffee beans in the milk ( I think that’s a waste of coffee.) I would grind beans up and put in a reusable tea bag or coffee filter, then steap in the simmering milk. Or go with instant. Using brewed coffee will contain water and most likely add more ice crystals to the finished product than desired.

  3. I miss read the recipe and added the cream when I added the milk.  I hope it comes out ok.  Any idea if it will be ok?  I’m going to proceed with the recipe.  I’ll report back with the results 

      1. I’m sorry, Crystal, but I haven’t added the heavy cream with the milk so I’m not sure how it will turn out. Good luck! Let me know how it does.

      2. I’ve made this ice cream several times and it’s always a big hit. So creamy and super easy to make.

  4. Going to try this for the 4th of July.  Any tips one hw to avoid ice crystals if making (and freezing) in advance?  I read about using 1tbl of vodka but not sure if that’s a good idea. Hoping you’ll know 🙂

    1. Hi Liz,
      I place the ice cream in an airtight container, then place a sheet of plastic wrap tightly directly on top of the ice cream, then freeze. Hope this helps and hope you like the ice cream! Happy 4th!

      1. Can someone please tell me where they have found heavy cream for sale? I have only been able to find heavy whipping cream in local stores. Thank you. 

      2. Hi TK,
        Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are basically the same. So, you can use heavy whipping cream in this recipe if that is what you can find in your store. Hope you enjoy the ice cream. Thanks!

    1. @Diana, thinking of making it this week for my hubby. We have a 4 quart maker as well. How did yours turn out?

    1. Hi Beth,
      I don’t add any extra milk to my recipe. This recipe makes a quart of ice cream. If your ice cream maker makes 1 1/2 quarts, you would need to make 1 1/2 times the recipe and if its 2 quarts, you would need to double the recipe. Hope this helps. Enjoy!

  5. I may have cooked my custard a little too much. It tastes slightly “eggy”. Do you think it will be ok after frozen?

  6. I want to try making this but I don’t have an ice cream machine. Can this recipe be made without a machine?

  7. This recipe turned out beautifully – this one will be stored in the permanent file. The only thing that I would change next time we make it is to decrease the sugar to 1/3 or even 1/4 cup since the final product (and most desserts in my opinion) was a bit too sweet for my tastes. Hopefully, that still works with the ratio of egg yolks.

  8. This may be a dumb question but do you heat the egg and sugar mixture before adding in the heated milk? It says add to saucepan but doesn’t say to heat like it does for the milk.


    1. Hi Diana,
      You add eggs and sugar to a cold saucepan and mix. Set aside. In a second saucepan, you heat the milk and then pour into the saucepan with the sugar and eggs. You then heat that mixture over medium-low heat. Hope this helps!

  9. No lie – this is incredible, family and extending family were impressed. I don’t allow my children anything but homemade ice cream now. much healthier

  10. One of my favorite homemade ice cream recipes. I often make it for my family and they just love it :-). I get inspired by your wonderful recipes and the gorgeous photos you make help a lot too. By the way, do you know if this recipe can be made into a paleo or keto version? I would really like to try and make a paleo version of this delicious vanilla ice cream. Thanks a lot in advance!

  11. This recipe is so creamy and delicious. I love it! I do have a question about the milk. Why aren’t you supposed to stir it? Not stirring resulted in a thick skin on top and a burned mess stuck to the pan on the bottom before the milk simmered. I had to sieve out the skin and do some serious scrubbing on my pan after it finally simmered.

    1. Bridget, too high heat will cause the milk to burn on the bottom of the pan and a film to appear on the top of the milk. You need to heat the milk over medium-low heat just until it is heated throughout. Hope this helps!

  12. Just wanted to say THANK YOU! This was my first time making proper ice-cream and it turned out perfectly. I followed your recipe to the letter with only one change. Swapped sugar for Erythritol as am doing KETO and it was delicious. I got 4 single portion ice-cream tubs. I used an Emma ice-cream maker and let it run for 60 minutes.

    Will continue to experiment with adding different flavours and berries.

    1. Judith, you should be able to make this vanilla ice cream according to your ice cream maker instructions. I’m sorry but I don’t have recipes specific to any ice cream maker. If recipes for that ice cream maker were not included with the instructions, you might want to contact Sunbeam.

  13. So delicious I made it today for thanksgiving dessert. I let the custard base sit for 2 days in the refrigerator. I make my own bourbon vanilla so I used that. Thank you so much for this amazing and simple recipe. I’m not buying ice cream at the store because of this ☺️

  14. This recipe is beyond amazing! It’s probably the best ice cream/custard I’ve ever had! I’ve made it two years in a row for Thanksgiving to go with apple pie and it’s soooo good! It has such a beautiful texture and the taste is so unique! Only changes, I did a quart and a half (x1.5) so I changed the quantities for that, but used closer to the original half cup of sugar. I also used a vanilla bean (6″) instead. I misread the recipe and added the heavy cream with the milk and had no issues doing it like this. I chilled mine in the fridge 3 hours (would have done longer, but because of timing had to do it then). My husband said it was “on point” and cannot wait for the rest of my family to try it tomorrow. Will continue to use this recipe!! Thanks so much! Happy Holidays.

    1. Place the ice cream in an airtight container, then place a sheet of plastic wrap tightly directly on top of the ice cream. Place the container in the back of the freezer where it is coldest. You may be able to keep the ice cream without any crystallization up to about 2 months, Nicole.

  15. This is good but definitely not 8 servings unless you plan to give everyone 1 cereal spoon sized scoop. Will definitely double this recipe next time to serve 8 people.

  16. I made this ice cream and we fell in love . It’s so easy to make and delicious too .it is a favorite go to meal. I will definitely be making it my go to recipe for ice cream. 5+ stars.

    1. If you were going to add bananas to this how many would you add and would you make sure they were really mashed up well?

  17. This recipe produced the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever made. I let the custard base chill overnight and it came out really nice and creamy. Flavor was incredible. Thanks for the great recipe!

  18. I’ve been trying a lot of different ice cream recipes and this was the best I’ve made. Thank you! It was so creamy and smooth. Also froze well without getting rock hard or icy.

  19. Best and easiest ice cream recipe I’ve tried. So creamy. Question if I wanted to make this with limes (have heaps.) when do I put the lime juice in and how much for this recipe.

  20. I would give this recipe 10 stars, if I could! We made this recipe for my grandchildren, son, and daughter in law this afternoon. We used my late parents’ old churn to make it. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out-haven’t used that churn for about 30 years. It was amazing—rich, velvety, and creamy yet it scooped into bowls perfectly!
    It will be a family favorite for years.
    Thank you!

  21. I made this ice cream for food tech at my school. I 100 % recommend trying this if you can, it tasted so good. 🙂

  22. Yum! This is so good and I have made it multiple times. Quick and easy to make too. Delicious by itself and just as nice when I add other flavours to it – frangelico, cocoa, etc
    Thank you for sharing

    Christine (Melbourne, Australia)

  23. I misread your recipe; warmed up both the milk and the cream together, then added to egg/sugar mix. Do i need to start all over?

  24. I heated the milk and cream together accidentally but I gave it a shot anyway and it didn’t work for me. Either my cuisinart ice cream maker wasn’t cold enough (but it had been in the freezer overnight) or mixing it did something to the custard. I will try again tomorrow. It did reach 165 degrees really quickly, so I’m wondering if I should have cooked it until just before simmering. I’m excited to taste the deliciousness.

      1. No mixing the cream & milk and heating them together is not the problem. I did it by accident, and most cooked ice cream recipes I’ve seen call for doing it that way. Mine churned up just fine. Perhaps Heather didn’t let the base chill long enough before churning. I have seen 40 degrees recommended in other recipes. I also recommend simmering the vanilla extract with the milk/cream. I could taste the alcohol in the vanilla extract because it wasn’t cooked off.

  25. Decided to try this recipe with a brand new electric ice cream churn we just bought for a 4th of July gathering, and took a chance that it would be good. It was amazing, everyone loved it. We doubled the recipe and my wife started making it first thing in the morning and we had it in the fridge chilling by noon after it cooled somewhat on the counter in a covered container.

    That evening after dinner, at around 7pm we started making the ice cream. The churn started struggling at around 35 minutes, and at the 40 minute mark it bogged down and then we started eating it. It was a little softer than we liked, but we didn’t care. The flavor was incredibly good. Smooth, rich, creamy and full of vanilla flavor. We used some authentic vanilla extract from Mexico with the vanilla beans in it, and the flavor is just sooo much better with it.

    After freezing about an hour in the freezer, it was more solidified and closer to “store-bought” ice cream, but still much tastier. By the next morning, it was just as solid as the commercially available kind and the taste is amazing, with the texture still nice and creamy even while being very dense. So, my suggestion is to plan accordingly, and make it ahead of time and then freeze it if you want a much firmer texture, or just do like we did and enjoy it in several different forms.

    You can’t go wrong with this recipe. It tastes like Mom used to make back in the ’80’s, and that’s what we were hoping for!!

    1. Thank you so much, Mike and Cissy. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe as much as my family always has. We love that the leftover ice cream, if there is any, stays so nice and creamy after being in the freezer for several days. xo

  26. I just made this ice cream. I used vanilla bean paste as the vanilla. This is really good. It sets up nicely and has a great flavor. If you like a really vanilla flavor you may want to up the vanilla. This isn’t subtle but I used about 1 TBSP. Highly recommend. Ensure you chill the custard.

  27. Hi! I am allergic to dairy but really want to try a delicious, creamy custard-based ice cream just like this! Would it be feasible to substitute coconut milk & coconut cream for the dairy? Any tips? I haven’t been able to find dairy free (but not vegan) ice cream recipes. Thanks!

    1. I haven’t made this recipe with coconut milk, Katie, but I think you should be able to substitute. Just make sure you use the canned full fat coconut milk. Let me know how it turns out.

  28. I made this ice cream as the recipe and everyone loves, I also did a variation by adding the juice of half an orange plus glug of grand marnier orange liqueur (omitting the vanilla) ; an ice cream to die for, great with a chocolate tart.

  29. We had a family get together today and everyone loved this recipe. after mixing everything to churn (we doubled the recipe) we added 2 mashed bananas. OMG!!! Everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing.

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