Let me tell you a love story. It starts with a trip to the freezer aisle at the grocery store and ends with a pint of ice cream in my possession — to cherish, care for, and devour in the night. But as much as I love my little excursions to browse the ice-cream aisle, there's something about making it from scratch that also gets me excited. Even though you have to put in some work, just think of the smooth and sugary treat that awaits you on the other side.
Not to freak you out, but there are approximately one million recipes for ice cream. Some swear by an ice-cream maker to deliver the best frozen desserts, while others, quite literally, make a single-serving of ice cream in a plastic bag. And depending on your preferences and dietary habits, you may lean toward different styles of ice cream. For example, there are different types of ice-cream bases: custard ice-cream base, a Philadelphia-style base, an egg-free base, or a no-churn base (aka no ice-cream maker required). Ahead, we walk you through the steps to create no-churn vanilla ice cream at home using just three ingredients, but feel free to add things (Reese's Peanut Butter Cup chunks, anyone?) and customize it however you like!
- Get all of the ingredients. Read through the list of ingredients you'll need to bring your ice cream to life. For a no-churn vanilla recipe, staple ingredients are sweetened condensed milk (one can), pure vanilla extract (two teaspoons), and heavy cream (two cups). Consider getting the ingredients in bulk because there's a good chance you'll be recreating this over and over again. Also prepare a chilled metal loaf pan — that's where you're going to be storing all of your ice cream (as well as what you might find yourself eating out of at 2 a.m.).
- Get your whisk on. Grab a large bowl and whisk up the condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Once you're done, place the bowl aside — we'll come back to that shortly.
- Get mixin'. Whip up heavy cream with a mixer on medium-high speed. Keep doing this until the whipped cream stands high and straight up (without folding over at all) when you pull the beaters out of the mixing bowl. This process should only take about three minutes. Consider watching a YouTube tutorial if you're new to whipping cream.
- Combine your ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold a cup of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture, then fold in what's left of the whipped cream in after that.
- Get pourin'. Quickly pour the finished result into a metal loaf pan, cover it, and stick it in the freezer. After about two hours, the ice cream should look thick and, well, like ice cream!
- Add any mix-ins. Now's your opportunity to get creative. Grab those Oreos in the cabinet or maybe your favorite cereal and crush 'em up into small pieces. Mix them in and then continue to let it freeze, despite the urge to eat it. Seriously — resist. It will be even better later.
- Wait it out. The hardest part of all is waiting. Keep your ice cream frozen until it's totally solid. This process should take about three hours. To ensure it's ready to eat, make it in the evening and then leave it to freeze overnight. Breakfast, anyone?
- Enjoy! Now that you've created your very own ice cream, feel free to make it over and over again.