Confession #126: I don’t do “vanilla”… Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

by alexandra

Post image for Confession #126: I don’t do “vanilla”… Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I have nothing against vanilla. I liberally pour vanilla extract into just about everything I make and I’m pretty sure even an awesome chocolate chip cookie would be lacking without it. Buttt… things that are just vanilla flavored? Ehh, no thanks. Too often that just seems to mean plain and therefore boring. I’ll take chocolate, thank you very much.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream |

So I know there’s this great vanilla/chocolate divide between people, and clearly I’m on team chocolate, but please don’t hate me for that! Especially because today I’m rooting for team vanilla. :D Homemade vanilla bean ice cream is seriously a different animal than all the boring vanilla desserts I’ve had in the past, and I love it. Typically, if you were to offer me vanilla ice cream, I would either a) ask you for some chocolate magic shell, chocolate fudge sauce, or chocolate SOMETHING, or I would b) just say thanks, but um, no thanks. But just like I learned when I made Vanilla Bean  Ruffle Cake, vanilla done right can be so, so good. And trust me, this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is done right.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream |

I think the secret to vanilla desserts is to seriously load them with vanilla, pack it in so that there’s no doubt vanilla is playing the leading role. For me, that means pulling out 3 things: vanilla beans, vanilla sugar, and good ol’ vanilla extract. It’s a triple threat, you see. So naturally, this ice cream has all three of those lovely vanilla ingredients, and it’s the most creamy, pure, and luscious vanilla ice cream you could ask for. And as much as I love French-style ice cream (aka custard-based), I tend to think Philadelphia-style is more up my alley when it comes to vanilla ice cream, which is good news here. Philadelphia-style = faster and easier, always a good thing when it comes to ice cream. So yes, this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is simple and easy to make, delicious, creamy, loaded with vanilla, perfectly sweet, addicting… need I go on?

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream |

Vanilla isn’t even usually on my dessert radar, but this ice cream deserves center stage. ;)


Vanilla Bean Ice Cream |

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • Yield: about 1 quart


This smooth and creamy ice cream is packed with vanilla for a pure, sweet vanilla treat. It’s the perfect accompaniment for summer desserts!


  • 16 1/2 ounces (2 cups) heavy cream, divided
  • 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) vanilla sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 8 1/2 ounces (1 cup) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a small or medium saucepan, combine 8 1/4 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream with the vanilla sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds. Stir together, using a spatula to press any clumps of vanilla bean into the sides of the saucepan to disperse. Add the vanilla bean pod* and warm the mixture over medium, heat, stirring constantly with a heat-safe spatula, just until the sugar dissolves. (If you wipe your finger down the spatula, you shouldn’t feel any sugar granules). Remove from heat.
  2. While stirring, slowly pour in the remaining 8 1/4 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream and the whole milk. Stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer mixture to an airtight container and chill thoroughly (about 8 hours, or overnight).
  3. Before churning, remove vanilla pod from mixture and lightly stir or whisk mixture to smooth out. A film of cream may have developed on top during chilling, but this should stir smooth. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an airtight container with a layer of plastic wrap placed directly on top of the ice cream, under the container’s lid. I also like to keep the container in a freezer-safe bag for extra protection.


*It goes without saying, but be extra careful to not get pieces of the vanilla pod in the ice cream mixture. I accidentally did the first time I made this ice cream, and it’s not that fun trying to fish it out. :/

Recipe Adapted From The Perfect Scoop via Annie’s Eats

Since it is officially the start of summer now, I’d just like to point out that this ice cream is not only appearing right on time, but it’s absolutely perfect for adding to summer desserts. I mean, it is vanilla ice cream after all! I’ll be it would be awesome with this apricot almond galette, if only I had any ice cream – or galette – left!

Every summer I realize how much of an ice cream addict I am – seriously. Last year two of my favorite recipes were Java Chip Ice Cream and S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches. I’m totally smitten with both!

Java Chip Ice Cream | S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches |

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Aya @sukarah June 22, 2013

I love that this recipe does not contain eggs. For some reason, all homemade vanilla ice creams I ever had tasted like eggs. This one is on my must try list.
Aya @sukarah recently posted..Chocolate Orange Swirl Bundt Cake #bundtamonthMy Profile

alexandra June 22, 2013

Thanks Aya! Like I mentioned, I love ice cream with eggs, but with vanilla ice cream it just tastes too eggy for me too. I think it needs a stronger flavor to mask that eggy custard flavor. This was awesome without the eggs though; you should try it!!

Consuelo @ Honey & Figs June 22, 2013

If my ice-cream machine wasn’t working right now, I’d surely go and make this :(( It looks absolutely amazing: I’m all in for all things vanilla, yum!! xx
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alexandra June 22, 2013

Put it on your list!! For when you can make it, you know? It’s really good!

Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic June 22, 2013

Although I’m usually a chocolate gal to the end, I’ve learned to appreciate a very simple, great-quality-ingredient vanilla ice cream = Just like this one, which looks amazing!
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alexandra June 22, 2013

EXACTLY how I feel :D

Ashley June 24, 2013

Although I love so many ice cream flavors, I always come back to vanilla bean. It’s still one of my very favorites. Especially when it’s on top of something else … like a warm chocolate brownie perhaps??
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Rachel Cooks June 25, 2013

Simple perfection. Love.

alexandra June 27, 2013

Thanks Rachel!

Todd September 7, 2013

One question. In step #1 you say to “add the vanilla bean pod*…” The asterisk at the bottom says to “be extra careful not to get pieces of the vanilla bean pod in the ice cream mixture.” In step #3 you say to “remove vanilla bean pod from mixture…” Could you please clarify this. I would LOVE to try this recipe!!!

alexandra September 7, 2013

Hi Todd,
Sorry for confusing you! What I mean is that you do put the vanilla bean pod into the mixture, but just make sure that when you slice it to get the seeds out, you don’t get those little bits of pods stuck to the seeds that then get loose in the mixture. I always tend to have small fibers that stick to some of the seeds, and those are a bit tricky to fish out if they get in your ice cream.

Carol Richmond November 26, 2013

Best vanilla ice cream recipe!

alexandra December 2, 2013

I think so! Have you tried the recipe then?

Dani December 28, 2013

Thank you so much for this recipe!! I absolutely love it! Have made a couple batchs already and will continue.
Also found an amazing Lavendar Vanilla Bean Sugar that just adds the perfect touch.

alexandra December 30, 2013

Awesome! I’m so glad you like it as much as I did. :) Thank you for letting me know!

Bob January 31, 2016

Yours is the first recipe I’ve ever tried, with my first ice cream machine that I bought this week. Cuisinart. I have researched a lot of recipes, and yours looked most promising to me.

The only modifications I made were using “Sugar in the Raw” (turbinado) instead of vanilla sugar, for cost practicality, and I ended up not adding any vanilla extract because the bean was extremely potent! :) my plan had been to add the extract while churning because I’ve heard people say (justifiably) that extract with alcohol will inhibit freezing. But when the time came, I decided to skip it.

This was the best vanilla ice cream I can recall, and I am very picky.

Thank you for posting!

alexandra February 2, 2016

Yay – so happy to hear that! Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

Jen June 11, 2016

How essential are all 8 hours of chilling? I really want this for dessert tonight but that only gives it 4 hours to chill before it gets in the mixer :)

alexandra June 14, 2016

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to respond earlier, but for reference, the full chilling time is very important! You need the mixture to be really cold before you churn it in order for it to freeze properly.

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