Vanilla Milk Gelato is creamy, dense, and packed with vanilla flavor. It's the perfect sweet treat for ice cream lovers!

It is snowing outside as I type this. Clearly it’s not gelato weather. But I don’t care. This winter has been a non-stop onslaught of polar vortex nonsense and I’m over it. I’m ready for the colorful flowers of spring, cherry blossom festivals and soft serve. This recipe is what I’m craving right now. This recipe is my protest against the snow. 

Vanilla Milk Gelato is creamy, dense, and packed with vanilla flavor. It's the perfect sweet treat for ice cream lovers!

Back in December I was browsing through the food section of a used bookstore and I came across several Donna Hay cookbooks. Jackpot! I have been a fan of Donna’s for years. Her recipes and food photography are a huge inspiration to me. She’s based out of Australia and I recently learned that her TV show will soon be airing in the US. I can’t wait.

I reached out to Donna’s editor who is kindly allowing me to adapt and share a few recipes from her cookbooks. This recipe for Vanilla Milk Gelato is from Flavours and I highly recommend picking up a copy. Each section is divided into ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon and chilli. I am a bit obsessed with the vanilla chapter so you might just see another vanilla recipe soon. Side note – for those who have been following my sugar detox journey, I haven’t abandoned it. I’m simply learning to work sugar back into my kitchen with a new level of control and moderation.

Vanilla Milk Gelato is creamy, dense, and packed with vanilla flavor. It's the perfect sweet treat for ice cream lovers!

Vanilla Milk Gelato
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: approximately 1 quart
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Place the milk, vanilla bean and vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until almost boiling. Beat together the egg yolks and sugar. Remove the milk from the heat and whisk slowly into the egg mixture. Return the pot to the heat and stir until the mixture thickens slightly, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the cream and allow to cool (I let it cool overnight).
  2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions until the gelato is frozen and scoopable. Alternatively, place the mixture in a metal container and freeze, beating at 1-hour intervals, until the gelato is scoopable.
Recipe (barely) adapted with permission from Flavours by Donna Hay


More Ice Cream Recipes

Savory Simple – The Ultimate Horchata Ice Cream
Savory Simple – Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream and Sorbet
Savory Simple – Espresso Coconut Ice Cream
Adventures in Cooking – Old-Fashioned Blood Orange Ice Cream
Top With Cinnamon – Double Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Reclaiming Provincial – Ginger Cookie & Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • fabiola@notjustbaked

    I am right with you, I will eat ice cream all year long. No matter how cold it is. Not sure why, but sometimes I crave it when it is colder:). Mind tricks!

  • Meg

    This sounds wonderful — and I would be all over the vanilla chapter of a cookbook, that’s for sure! I’m also quite ready for cherry blossoms and springtime air . . . we got another inch of snow today, a fact that pains me. Definitely over winter.

    • Jennifer Farley

      We did as well in Bethesda! I was really hoping we’d seen the last of it. 60s to freezing in less than one week. Thanks, mother nature.

  • Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    I think you need to move to California..we can open our own ice-cream truck!!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Love the flecks of vanilla bean!

  • Jennifer

    Who cares if it’s snowing? I’ll eat ice cream (or gelato) no matter what the temperature is outside. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  • Mary Frances

    I LOVE the contrast of the vanilla bean and the whites. Wow, can I say stunning?? Haha, anytime is gelato time for me – this looks and sounds incredible!

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

    It’s always a good time for gelato. Especially such simple and perfectly lovely gelato as this! Vanilla mmmmmm

  • Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)

    Donna Hay’s recipes are fab, aren’t they? Her pavlova recipe is my go to and it never fails. I’m sure this gelato would be wonderful too!

  • Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

    It’s always a good time for ice cream even if we are expecting a more snow in the DC area tomorrow. This sounds delicious!

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I love ice cream and gelato year round! This looks so luscious and creamy.

  • ThisBakerGirlBlogs

    I could eat gelato no matter what weather! This looks delicious :)

  • Kathryn

    I love the simplicity of this gelato – really letting the flavour shine through. And I’m pretty sure it’s never too cold for me to think about ice cream! Beautiful pictures too.

  • Julia @Vikalinka

    So sorry about the horrible weather you guys are having! We were in Canada shortly just a couple of weeks ago and all my romanticised notions of beautifully snowy winter disappeared as soon as all of my breathing passages seized from brutal sub-zero temps! This gelato however is an honourable way to fight the winter blues. :-) Looks lovely.

  • Caroline Hurley

    I’m a fan of Donna Hay too! I’m so excited to hear we’ll be able to see her shows soon! This is so beautiful. I love gelato so much more than ice cream. It’s snowing here right now too and I’m freezing, but, let me tell you…I’d love a bowl of this right now!

  • Liz@Virtually Homemade

    This ice cream almost looks like a snowball! Beautiful ;) Hope it warms up soon!

  • Sarah

    I LOVE your beautiful photography and inspirational recipes, pushing my own to greater and greater heights. As for ice cream weather, here in the UK we almost never have ‘ice cream weather’ so I just shrug my shoulders and eat it anyway… wrapped in a woolly jumper… with the heating turned up.

  • Todd | HonestlyYUM

    I agree with Gerry, come to California!! Although we’re about to get hit with 4 straight days of rain. Regardless, gelato is perfect for any weather. I don’t care what anyone says. Especially THIS gelato!

  • Sarah

    I LOVE your photography and inspirational recipes which push me to try better and better on my own blog. As for when to eat ice cream, we hardly ever have ice cream weather in the UK so if I feel like ice cream I just go for it… and put on a warm jumper… and turn up the heating!

  • Donalyn@The Creekside Cook

    Ice cream, gelato, fudgesicles – good all year, I don’t care what the weather is! And this would be like giving the finger to those piles of inedible snow out there – as you eat a white, sweet, freeze-y thing inside the warm house. Yum!

    [also loving these photos – wasn’t it you who was just telling me not long ago that you struggle with light backgrounds? sure doesn’t look like it…]

    • Jennifer Farley

      Practice helps!

  • Cate @ Chez CateyLou

    This gelato looks so simple and perfect!! I want a scoop right now, polar vortex be d*mned!

  • cheri

    I actually love to eat ice cream in the winter, not sure why, just do. Amazing pics!

  • Sarah | The Sugar Hit

    These photos are really beautiful, I can almost taste the gelato!

  • Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen

    I could eat ice cream anytime of year and vanilla is one of my favorite flavors.

  • Meredith

    So simple and yet amazing!

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Simply flawless, Jennifer! This gelato looks like a scoopful of heaven. I’d love to try it… and then go crazy topping it with chopped nuts and chocolate! Sorry, can’t help it.

  • Laura Dembowski

    Yes, this winter needs to end. Now! Until then, I’ll enjoy this fabulous gelato!

  • Stephanie

    Gelato is definitely good every day of the year! This looks amazing.

  • Alina

    These pictures are stunning! I love the way the vanilla beans pop off the white! And YUM, who doesn’t love gelato all year round.

  • Mary Happymommy

    This looks heavenly.

  • Gina Guthrie

    Gelato is one of my favorite desserts. Love this easy recipe.

  • Trish F

    Oh darn for me. Don’t get me wrong this looks and sounds delicious but I am on a strict no sugar or dairy diet. Hmmm….I wonder how this would come out using coconut milk and xylitol, stevia?

  • Nancy J

    Oh, I must try!!!

  • Megan Miller

    This looks delish!

  • Kris

    So simple and so beautiful. I’m going to add this to my list of things to make.

  • Kenzie

    LOVE gelato, and I totally just got an ice cream maker, yay me!! I’m making this.

  • Nicole Untz

    Looks absolutely delish!! :)

  • Cinda Brown

    Looks amazing! I’ve never had gelato before so this would be great to try.

  • Natalie C

    That looks so good, and since I live in Florida, it’s gelato weather here, I never thought about making it at home, thanks for the recipe

  • Betty Baez

    Easy recipe sounds good! The cookbook sounds great I think I would love the vanilla section!

  • Cris B

    This looks so good. I need to try it!!

  • Nutmeg Nanny

    Um, to me any weather is gelato weather ;) love this recipe!!

  • Nini

    This looks so good! Yummy! I’m going to try it!

  • Meg @ The Housewife in Training FIles

    This is perfection. The most delicious flavor combined with gelato. I cannot wait to make this.