Homemade Ice Cream

Discover how to make homemade ice cream. It only takes a few ingredients.

Coconut Ice Cream

Photo by Valerie’s Kitchen

Egg-Free Ice Creams

Ice cream comes in two basic styles: Custard (or French custard-style) and Philadelphia (also called “New York” or “American”).

Unlike custards, Philadelphia-style ice cream contains no egg yolks and does not require cooking. It’s based purely on cream and sugar, and is very delicate-tasting, with few ingredients.

Vanilla Ice Cream V

Photo by Deb C

Custard Ice Creams

Custard ice cream is, as the name suggests, made from a custard base. Egg yolks or whole eggs are whisked together with hot milk or cream and sugar, and cooked gently until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Egg yolks are natural emulsifiers, and the resulting custard makes an ice cream that is remarkably smooth and rich. Chill the custard for at least one hour before freezing.

Peach Ice Cream

Photo by SunnyByrd

Adding Flavor

Start from a simple base of cream, milk, eggs, and sugar, and then mix in ripe summer fruits, chocolate, and toasted nuts to create your own flavor combos. Other good choices? Vanilla beans, lavender, green tea, fresh peppermint, and candied ginger.

  • To get the most flavor from a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the milk.
  • After the bean has steeped, remove the pod and rinse in cold water and pat dry.
  • “Used” vanilla beans are still powerfully aromatic, and can be stored in a canister of plain granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar.
  • Infuse herbs and spices into the mixture as you heat the milk.
  • Extracts, liqueurs, and flavoring oils (citrus, peppermint, cinnamon) should be added after the custard has cooled slightly.
  • Add perfectly ripe fruits and berries to your ice cream base: sprinkle fruit with sugar and crush it with a potato masher before mixing it in. This adds much more flavor than plain chunks of fruit stirred into the mix.
  • To add nuts, chocolate, crumbled cookies, or whole berries, let the ice cream reach the consistency of soft-serve, and then stir in the garnishes; pack in airtight containers and freeze until firm.
Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream

Photo by ZAKIAH

Ripening and Storing

When the mixture has thickened and is hard to stir, remove it from the ice cream maker and transfer it to a freezer container. If you can resist the urge to devour it while it’s still in this “soft-serve” stage, let it harden in the coldest part of your freezer for several hours or overnight. Your patience will be rewarded.

Tip: To keep your ice cream from becoming super-hard in the freezer, make sure both the ice cream maker and the mixture are kept ice cold as you’re making the ice cream.

Store leftover ice cream in an airtight container with a layer of plastic wrap pressed onto the surface to prevent it from absorbing odors.

Turning Crystals into Creaminess

Mix cream and sugar together and freeze it, and ice crystals will form. By agitating the mixture and adding air to increase its volume, ice cream machines create the light, smooth, creamy texture we crave.

Premium ice creams have a low “overrun”–that is, the volume of air added to the mix. That’s why the cartons feel so heavy, because the ice cream is very dense. Some lower-grade ice creams that consist of half air, half ice cream have a 100% overrun. Those cartons are lighter.