Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (No-Churn)

Homemade vanilla ice cream is the ultimate in decadence. And guess what? You don’t need any special equipment to prepare this rich, creamy no-churn version. It’s also egg-free which means there’s no cooking involved. You basically whisk everything together, stick it in the freezer and give it an occasional stir. In no time, you’ll be enjoying an amazing homemade vanilla ice cream recipe. 

No-churn homemade vanilla ice cream

I share a lot of homemade ice cream recipes, and one of the most frequent questions I get is “how can I make this without a machine?” If you’re not planning to make ice cream from scratch on a regular basis, I understand why it might seem silly to buy another gadget that could possibly wind up collecting dust in the corner. We all have one of those.

I have good news! You can prepare any of my ice cream recipes without a machine following the freeze and stir method below. However, this particular ice cream recipe is very different than what I typically share; it’s not custard-based. There are no eggs involved.

This is the easiest ice cream recipe you’ll ever make, and it’s great for beginners. At the end of the day, I personally prefer custard-based ice creams, but this is a worthy substitute and I certainly enjoyed my fair share of it!

How to make homemade vanilla ice cream without a machine

You’ll find a lot of no-churn homemade vanilla ice cream recipes online, and in my opinion most of them are cloyingly sweet and over-the-top rich. I say this as someone with a major sweet tooth. The base is typically sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream, which is what I’ve used. However, I cut the sweetness and heaviness with evaporated milk.

A bowl and whisk with ingredients for no-churn ice cream, including sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla.

To prepare this recipe, all you do is whisk together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and a bit of salt, until frothy. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until you get stiff peaks.

Whipped cream being folded into the other homemade ice cream ingredients with a spatula.

Gently fold the whipped cream and liquid ingredients together, taking care not to deflate the cream since this is what gives the ice cream its bulk in place of the custard.

Pour the mixture into a loaf pan (or a container with a minimum capacity of 8 cups), cover, and place in the freezer. Stir every 45 minutes, making sure to scrape along the sides, until the mixture is frozen but scoopable. This will take around 5-6 hours, making this a good weekend activity.

Using a spoon to stir the homemade vanilla ice cream, which is in a 9x5 loaf pan.

No-Churn Ice Cream Tips

  • After the ice cream has been sitting untouched in the freezer for a few hours (post-stirring), it will firm up slightly more than a custard-based ice cream. Before serving, let it sit for a couple minutes on the counter and/or run your ice cream scoop under hot water.
  • Adding 2 teaspoons of vodka to the recipe along with the other liquid ingredients can also help keep the texture more scoopable, since alcohol lowers the freezing point. You can’t taste the vodka.
  • You can add optional extras like chopped cookies or peanut butter cups (or whatever you like). I’d aim for around 2-3 cups of chopped ingredients, but eyeball out what looks right to you. Wait until the ice cream has been chilling for at least 2-3 hours before adding extras, otherwise they’ll sink to the bottom. As you can see from the photos, this filled my 9×5-inch loaf pan to the top, so you’ll want to use a larger pan or divide the ingredients between two pans in you add extras.

The finished ice cream in the loaf pan with two scoops portioned out and an ice cream scoop.

More Ice Cream Recipes

Want to try this technique with some of my custard-based ice creams? You can find all of the recipes in my ice cream archives. A few of my favorites include mint chocolate chip ice cream, buttermilk ice cream, Bailey’s ice cream, and cookies and mascarpone cream. I also love this Vietnamese Iced Coffee Ice Cream from Love and Olive Oil!

5 from 5 votes
Homemade vanilla ice cream recipe
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Prep Time
10 mins
Inactive Time
5 hrs
Total Time
5 hrs 10 mins
 
Homemade vanilla ice cream is the best! You don't need an ice cream maker to prepare this rich, creamy no-churn vanilla ice cream recipe. It's so easy!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, British
Servings: 8 - 10 (approximately)
Calories: 215 kcal
Author: Jennifer Farley
Ingredients
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract, or seeds from 2 vanilla beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups (473 ml) heavy cream, cold
  • See notes about optional add-ins
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated vanilla and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Using a bowl and whisk, electric mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip the cream or it will lose its smooth, shiny appearance.

  3. Mix 1 cup of the whipped cream into the liquid mixture with a rubber spatula until combined, then gently fold the lightened mixture into the whipped cream until evenly combined.
  4. Pour into a chilled 9x5 loaf pan (or any pan with a minimum 8 cup capacity), cover, and place in the freezer. Stir every 45 minutes, making sure to scrape around the edges of the pan since that’s the area that will freeze first. Ice cream should be solid and scoopable after around 5-6 hours.
Recipe Notes

This ice cream will ultimately be firmer than custard-based ice creams when you first take it out of the freezer. Let it sit for a few minutes and/or run your ice cream scoop under hot water for a moment. Adding a tablespoon of vodka to the recipe along with the other liquid ingredients can also help keep the texture more scoopable, since that lowers the freezing point.
  
You can add optional extras like chopped Oreos. Wait until the ice cream has been chilling for at least 2-3 hours before adding extras, otherwise they’ll sink. As you can see, this filled my loaf pan to the top, so you’ll want to use a larger pan or divide the ingredients between two pans.
  
This stirring technique will also work with custard-based ice creams. Cover, freeze, and stir every 30-45 minutes until scoopable.

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About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

Homemade vanilla ice cream is the ultimate treat! You don't need an ice cream machine to prepare this decadent, creamy no-churn vanilla ice cream recipe. It's incredibly easy! #icecream #nochurn #frozendessert #savorysimple

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  • Thank you for this!!! We’ve been wanting to try homemade ice cream without having to invest in a machine. Nothing like classic vanilla.

  • Oh yum! This really sounds like an amazing recipe and l like your addition of the evaporated milk.
    I love making ice cream in the summer especially, and who can say no to a bowl of ice cream especially home made.
    I do own an ice cream machine similar to yours. Can l use it for this recipe. Since l have it, it would only make sense for me to let the machine do the work, l’m just not sure if the beaters would deflate the mixture and ruin the final texture.

    • That’s an interesting thought about potentially deflating the whipped cream. I think it would be ok since the machines usually chill the mixture quickly, but to be safe, you could freeze it for 30-45 minutes before adding it to the ice cream maker to give the whipped cream a chance to firm up slightly.

  • We love plain vanilla ice cream. There’s always ways to dress it up, but real vanilla is my husband’s favorite. Being without an ice cream machine, this is perfect! Thank you!

  • I can’t even believe that I haven’t made one ice cream recipe this year. I’m going to fix that by making your homemade vanilla ice cream recipe tomorrow for labor day. Better late than never, right?