Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream

You will never get store bought ice cream again!  This french vanilla ice cream is creamy, rich, smooth, everything you ever wanted homemade ice cream to be.



Ready In:

2hrs 45min



Good For:



About this Recipe

By: Kelli South If you are an ice cream fan, or occasional eater, homemade is always the way to go!  Not only is the flavor better, the texture is creamier and softer than its store bought counterparts.
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup milk, preferably whole, but 2% works nicely
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
French vanilla ice cream is called French vanilla not because of the type of vanilla, but because of the French style of making vanilla ice cream.  Typically, ice cream is named after the place it came from, Mexico, Madagascar and Tahitian are big vanilla examples.  When it comes to French vanilla ice cream, that is not the case.  The French like to make ice cream using a custard base made with egg yolks, while other ice creams are made without eggs and just use the cream and milk as thickeners.  I LOVE making custards for my recipes.  I use a custard base when making chocolate mousse or puddings, so why not my ice cream too!
First, start with a medium sauce pan, add the 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of milk to the sauce pan and turn on medium heat.  You are just wanting to heat the cream mixture until a light simmer, we want it hot but not boiling.  While your cream is heating, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt.  Once that cream begins to simmer, you are going to slowly temper it to the cream to the eggs.
Tempering is when you slowly pour a stream of cream into the eggs while you are continuously whisking.  Make sure you scrape the sides down and incorporate all of the egg mixture into the cream.  If you do not scrape the sides down, the eggs will cook and harden to the side of the bowl.  I always put a towel under my bowl of eggs to keep it from spinning on the counter as I whisk.  The light stream of cream and the whisking makes sure the eggs fold into the cream and do not want to scramble.  Once all the cream is mixed in, you can return it to the same sauce pan on medium-low heat.  You are going to heat the custard to 160 degrees but make sure you are constantly stirring, getting to all the sides, corners and bottom.

So once the custard is heated to temperature, you are going to pour it through a strainer into a medium size bowl.  You might have a few chunkies, but as long as they are soft and shiny, not hard and scrambled egg looking, you can push it through the strainer.  Having a strainer makes a world of difference in texture for any custard recipe.  Stir in the vanilla and cover and place in the fridge to thicken up overnight, or at least 8 hours.  Letting the custard set gives it a creamier texture and richer flavor.  (Make sure you put your ice cream freezer bowl in the freezer to freeze overnight)

Lastly, turn on your ice cream maker, then pour the custard into the freezer bowl and mix until thickened, 15 minutes.  I like the 15 minute point with this amount of custard.  When the ice cream is finished, it will look exactly like soft serve when it is finished, and that is exactly what you want. Transfer it to an air tight, freezer safe bowl, I usually use a large Tupperware bowl, and freeze for at least 4 hours.  Since you are freezing the ice cream for a few hours, it will thicken up to the perfect consistency.  You may think that it looks to soft-serve-like, but just wait!  Put it in the freezer, trust me 🙂  Once you eat this, you will never go store bought again.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Heat heavy cream and milk in a medium sauce pan, stirring regularly.  While the cream is heating, whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt until fully combined (Use a large bowl).  Once the cream is hot, slowly temper it into the egg mixture.

Step 2

Return the custard mixture into the sauce pan and set to medium-low heat.  Continuously stir the custard, making sure to get all the sides, corners and bottom of the pan.  Heat the custard to 160 degrees and take off the heat.

Step 3

Pour through strainer into medium bowl with lid.  Scrape the bottom of the strainer to get all the custard off, then stir in the vanilla, and cover and let sit in the fridge overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

Step 4

Turn on your ice cream maker.  Pour the custard into the freezer bowl and mix until thickened, 15 minutes.  The ice cream will look like soft serve.  Transfer it to an air tight, freezer safe bowl.  I usually use a large Tupperware bowl.  Freeze for at least 4 hours.  Serve and enjoy!

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