Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Boards are done, I’m officially a 3rd year, and now I get to enjoy my whopping week-and-a-half of summer break. It’s going to be HOT here in Connecticut, like upper 90s, so to beat the heat, we’re headed down to Georgia. Okay, so that’s a joke – but I’m still excited to get away, explore Savannah, and be a part of one of my closest friend’s wedding in Augusta. Because of these oppressive temperatures, I’m sharing an ice cream recipe this week. I think everyone who makes their own ice cream should have a go-to vanilla ice cream recipe to whip up whenever there’s a berry crisp or apple pie screaming for some a la mode. I turned to David Lebovitz, again, for this recipe, and I definitely found my new go-to for this classic flavor.

Now I don’t always use whole vanilla bean when recipes call for it, I’m all for substituting with pure vanilla extract, especially when vanilla is not the main flavor player. But in this case, it’s all about the vanilla, so it’s worth the splurge on a pricey bean. Plus you really can’t beat the flecks of black scattered throughout the ice cream – that’s my favorite! I’ve been enjoying experimenting with custard-based ice creams recently, I’ve gotten the hang of the process and really enjoy the extra creaminess from the egg yolks. I know the thought of 5 egg yolks in an ice cream recipe can be scary, but they’re tempered (slash slightly cooked) so you don’t have to worry about any microbial issues. And if you’re worried about the cholesterol, well sorry, I can’t really help you there — everything in moderation my friends!

If you have a blueberry crisp on the menu this weekend (I highly recommend this one), please give homemade vanilla ice cream a try with this custard-based recipe. Your family, friends, and guests will be so impressed and pleased. There’s nothing like homemade pie, but there’s really nothing like homemade pie served up with homemade ice cream!

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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

Yield: 1 quart


1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Make sure your ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 12 hours.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, salt, and sugar.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk and add it all, including the pod, into the milk mixture. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit for one hour.

Set up an ice bath by placing a medium-sized bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour cream into that bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk for a few minutes and then gradually pour about 1/4 of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly (this is important!) and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Be careful not to let the mixture curdle.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, then add the vanilla extract. Chill mixture overnight.

Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you don't want to bother with a custard-based ice cream, try this cream-based recipe without the oreos!

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12 Responses to “Vanilla Bean Ice Cream”

  1. #
    Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 — July 20, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

    Yum! I just bought some vanilla beans and I’ve been looking for a great vanilla ice cream recipe. Thank you!

  2. #
    Mikelle — July 24, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    Yum! i love a good vanilla and this one looks amazing! where do you get your containers? i use my Tupperware but it’s not so great for scooping.

  3. #
    Valhe — August 11, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

    Can I ask you, how many deciliters is one cup? We use almost only deciliters…

    Thanks already! ; )

  4. #
    Erica — August 12, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    Valhe, 2.36 dL in a cup!

  5. #
    Valhe — August 13, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    Erica, Thank you! C :

  6. #
    Ade — December 28, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    Do i still need to churn the mixture in the ice-cream maker?

  7. #
    Erica — December 29, 2011 @ 1:35 am

    Ade, the ice cream maker should do the churning for you!

  8. #
    Anonymous — May 8, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

    thank you !

  9. #
    Anonymous — May 8, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

    wE LOVE your website !! It is awesome! i love ice-cream <3

  10. #
    DZShort — February 10, 2013 @ 2:27 am

    I am making this tomorrow but need to know how to do it with a Kitchen Aid ice cream mixer please. Could not tell by directions when to put it on to mix. Thanks!

    • Erica — February 10th, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

      After the mixture has been in the fridge overnight, you can put it in the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker and run it for about 20-25 minutes until it’s a good consistency. Does that make sense? Good luck!

  11. #
    Rhondi — July 7, 2013 @ 12:42 am

    I found this recipe on Pinterest last week. I made it for my husband’s birthday the other day to go with his favorite snickerdoodles. My family raved that it’s the best ice cream they’ve ever eaten in their lives, and they are serious ice cream connoisseurs! It was also very refreshing after swimming all day in this Texas heat. Thanks for an awesome vanilla ice cream recipe! I will be making it often.

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