How to Make Homemade Ice Cream

The promise of warm spring days is right around the corner, and it’s almost time to break out the ice cream maker again. There are endless variations of ice cream that you can make, but all of my favorites involve using egg yolks.

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream |
I love this chocolate version – especially topped with nuts!

Yes, you can make ice cream without any egg, like in our recipe for cinnamon honey ice cream, but the egg helps to keep ice crystals from forming in the dessert and keeps it creamy smooth. It also gives you the silky mouth feel that you simply can’t get without egg yolk.

I’m going to share with you the best base recipe I know. You can change this up a million different ways to make any number of ice cream flavors, and I’ll offer a few of my favorite variations as well.

You can add different extract flavors, chopped nuts, fruit purees, and so on. Make up your own crazy combinations! Just don’t let the idea of making the egg base frighten you off. It really will give you the best homemade ice cream.

Homemade Ice Cream Base |
Homemade Ice Cream Base
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.83
Rate this recipe!
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Homemade Ice Cream Base |
Homemade Ice Cream Base
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.83
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  1. In a small saucepan, combine cream, milk, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, and while whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/3 of the hot cream into the yolks to bring them to temperature (this is to avoid inadvertently making scrambled eggs).
  3. Then pour the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining cream. Return the mixture to a medium-low heat and cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate bowl. Cool mixture to room temperature, and then cover and chill your base at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  5. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can eat the ice cream right away, but it will be more of a soft serve ice cream. For a firmer product, allow it to continue to firm up in the freezer for a few hours, or overnight.
Recipe Notes

Homemade Ice Cream Base |

Vanilla Version

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream |

Once your base has reached the desired thickness, add two vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise with the seeds scraped out, and throw the split beans and their seeds into the mixture. Allow this to steep for 30 minutes before straining.

Salted Caramel Version

Salted Caramel Homemade Ice Cream|
I like to add some chopped walnuts or pecans to mine for an extra special treat.

In a medium pot over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup sugar with 3 tablespoons water, swirling the mixture frequently, until sugar turns a deep golden brown in color. Continue making the regular ice cream base in the same pot, using 1/2 cup sugar instead of the 2/3 cup the recipe calls for.

Make sure the caramel and cream mixture is completely smooth before adding your egg yolks. Then, continue with the basic recipe as described above. At the end of the churning process, sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt, and let it churn for another couple of minutes.

Coconut Version

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream |
Get creative with this! Use halves of coconut shells as serving dishes.

In a medium saucepan, toast 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut until it’s golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pot, toast up another cup of shredded unsweetened coconut until golden brown.

Proceed with the base recipe in the same pot, but replace one of the cups of cream with a cup of coconut milk. Let the custard steep off the heat for 1 hour before straining out the shredded coconut and other solids. Add the reserved 1/2 cup of coconut that you first toasted to the base during the last 2 minutes of churning.

Chocolate Version

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream |

Make the chocolate base by bringing 3/4 cup cream and 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to a simmer in a saucepan. Chop up a bar of semisweet baking chocolate and put 1 cup of the chopped chocolate in a separate heat-safe bowl. Pour the hot cocoa mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts, and the mixture is smooth.

Make the ice cream base using 1 1/2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and no cream. Then, stir the chocolate mixture into the cooked base along with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then strain and chill.

Chocolate Hazelnut Version

Chocolate Hazelnut Homemade Ice Cream |

Make the base with 2 cups milk, 1 cup cream, and only 1/4 cup sugar. Once the base has been cooked and strained, stir 1 cup of a chocolate hazelnut spread into the mixture, and stir well to fully incorporate. Chill and proceed as stated above.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor combo? Tell us in the comments!

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About Ashley Martell

Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.

58 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Ice Cream”

  1. It’s great to see a basic recipe that can be customzed towards your own preferences. The chocolate hazelnut version looks particularly simple and I can imagine it would taste great!

  2. Whether it’s summer, autumn, winter or spring honestly is there anyone who can say no to ice cream? I’ve never tried making it a home by myself. Although my mother used to make it all the time I never bothered to learn the recipe from her. It really doesn’t seem complicated, I got an itch to try it now 🙂

  3. You had me at ice cream, Ashley. Generally, I love chocolate, but I have to say, salted caramel is running a close second. It’s delicious. I will be making some of this.

    I love the idea of making your own homemade base instead of using packaged mixes. This is going to be great.

    Now, it just needs to get warm outside. All this cold and snow makes it hard to think about ice cream. Well, it did until I saw this post!

  4. I’ve never really seriously considered of making my own ice cream. I’ve always thought that homemade was way too complicated. But the recipe here isn’t so. I love the fact that not only the base was covered, but that several alternatives were provided. These alternatives are truly great as it addresses the differences of everyone’s palate. I usually love my chocolate, but the salted caramel version mentioned here is just soo yummy to look at, and I bet it’s delicious too.

  5. This is great! This will make an awesome summer project for me and my kids. I always make it a point to bond with my kids over household activities, and what better way to to that than making homemade ice cream with them. I supposed they’ll go for the chocolate and that’s fine, but I was partial to the coconut flavor so I think I’ll make them both. My wife likes coconut too.

  6. I LOVE that you guys chose to make the base ice cream recipe the focus & the variations the accessories. It’s like the stone to build the house on. LOVE IT!

  7. Argh homemade icecream is just the best thing ever. I don’t have an icecream maker at home so I just try to put it into the freezer, but it never comes out quite right. Any ideas??

    • Hi Queenbellevue, I remember the kids doing something with 2 coffee cans and ice and salt at school. I don’t remember all the details, but it did make soft ice cream. There is no doubt a tutorial for it online somewhere.

      I remember that it was easy, obviously if kids could do it, lol. It’s cheaper than buying an ice cream maker, so I guess it would be worth a shot.

  8. I can’t wait to try this recipe out. I have been considering getting an ice cream machine for awhile now, I think it’s because I am constantly dreaming of summer! this past weekend we actually had an accumulation of snow so I made snow cream for the kids. Not the same as homemade ice cream, but it was fun!

  9. All these versions are what makes this so exciting Ashley. The creativity and different flavors really make me want to try them all. As a vegan, I eat creamy vegan ice cream ,without the eggs, all the time. But I am glad for your emphasis and guidance on how to make it creamy. I think the heat is important and the mixing process. I do not have an ice cream machine either, so I freeze it firm, but not solid and then mix it again really well and then freeze it again.

    • I just went to look up other methods besides an ice cream maker, and yours was another method that was suggested. It says take it out and use the mixer on it every couple hours. You can also freeze the base mix in ice cube trays and then pop them into the blender.

      They also sell a lot of other cool tools for making ice cream. One looks like a plastic ball for kids to play with, which would be great for making ice cream with kids. They can just roll it around and have fun with it and when they’re done playing, it’s ice cream! So cool.

  10. Your photograph’s are divine! Even as I sit here watching the rain fall with a chance of snow I can’t help but crave a creamy scoop. That coconut version you speak of sounds absolutely heavenly. Now rain rain go away, I need to make some ice cream!

  11. Cannot beat homemade ice cream! I think the chopped walnuts is a great idea, I have never tried that before but sounds really tasty! I am going to follow this recipe and see how it turns out! Desserts are not at all my strong point though!

  12. I have an ice cream addiction, to say the least, and I am a HUGE sucker for homemade. The one time I did it with my husband’s side of the family we used one of those hand-crank ice cream machine, and while it was hard work it was SO worth it!

    I’m definitely planning on investing in an ice cream maker at some point, and would love to try this recipe out. But maybe once it starts to get warm, I may just have to borrow my friend’s ice cream maker!

  13. I have a ice cream maker, and I tried one of the recipes. I’ll still stick with the recipe from the booklet, but this is a nice one for when my health-conscious friends come over.

  14. Yes, i am licking the screen while reading, my cravings have been triggered deeply and wholly…the page has been bookmarked, no qualms about that…i can see myself having a very interesting weekend, all busy up, trying out all these fantastic homemade ice-cream recipes…and once i ace them, the ones in the ice-cream store can wave me good bye 😉 plus i get to save me some kitchen money 😉

  15. Ashley, you are an ice cream genius! Thank you for sharing these recipes. I am going to be printing these out and using them later! I’m so excited to try the chocolate recipe because I’m crazy about it. Ice cream is one of my beloved things in life, and I think you have written a novel of ingredients.
    The pictures look amazing and delicious.

  16. I have always wanted to make homemade ice cream. There is something enchanting about ice cream made at home. It is old fashioned and reminiscent of the olden days. However, I have never attempted to make it. One of the reasons is that I don’t have an ice cream maker to churn it. I was wondering of there is anyway to make it without an ice cream maker. How id they do it on the old days?

    • It looks like some of the above comments have a few suggestions for homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker. Which is great, because an ice cream maker is a bit out of my budget at the moment. Plus I love the idea of being able to whip up some ice cream whenever I want, rather than having a half gallon sitting in my freezer for ages because I don’t crave it all that often. The coconut and chocolate hazelnut versions above do sound extra delicious, though…

  17. After seeing your pictures and reading the recipes, it’s way past time for me to break out my ice cream maker. I haven’t used it lately, but I love the consistency in the pictures, and the recipes and flavors sound delicious. I’m a huge fan of frozen custard, and that’s what these remind me of, so once I can get the ingredients and make some room in the freezer, I’ll be giving these a whirl.

  18. I live in Arizona, USA so I always have a frozen treat of some sort available year round. I made the salted caramel ice cream and it was delicious. I’m thinking about making matcha flavored for my next attempt.

  19. Whipping up your own ice cream in the comfort of your own home any time you want? I’m sold! I would prefer a recipe that doesn’t need a machine since that’s whole reason why I haven’t tried making my own at home, though. But these basic steps are amazing and I’m just dying to try these recipes out soon now that it’s getting warmer and warmer from where I’m from.

  20. This looks awesome and relatively simple. This also seems like a great way to curb over consumption because you actually have to make it yourself when it’s all gone haha.

  21. This is absolutely fantastic! My sister gave me her ice cream maker along with a couple other things she didn’t need when she moved last summer, but I had it for a whole year and never used it. Lately I’ve been entertaining the idea of using it for the first time, but I’ve seen a lot of “ice cream making gone wrong” horror stories. Maybe I’ll try sometimes soon. The first one I do will definitely be the chocolate hazelnut one; I’m a sucker for Nutella, and I always have a jar on hand. I’ll make sure to revisit this when I finally work up the courage.

  22. Every time I come to this site I end up breaking my diet lol. I’m trying to eat healthier and be more conscious since I’m pregnant. However, its ice cream! How can I say no to this? Plus, I can make it from home with things I already have sitting in the fridge. That’s the awesome part about it all. The hazelnut chocolate looks really good by the way so I’ll start there.

  23. I always tried to make my own but I always failed. Some of the recipes posted here look pretty good and I think I’m going to give it another shot. Thank you for your tips!

  24. That looks so good! I am wondering if you have to use whole milk. I’ve only ever tried home made ice cream in the blender to keep it healthy. I like that you added different flavors, even though we had the base recipe. I will definitely have to try this !

  25. Wow, these look yummy! I wonder if you could forgo the ice cream machine and process it in a vitamix, or use the kitchen aid attachment. I’d love to try to make these! This humid heat wave we’re having in the northeast has us all craving cool and refreshing foods!

  26. My dad makes some delicious ice creams but he said he won’t tell us the recipe!!:( Finally I got to know how to make it and I guess I will try it sometimes soon!! Can’t wait!!

  27. I’ve only tried to make my own icecream once and this was without and icecream maker. It didn’t turn out too badly though. These are some good flavors I look forward to trying on my own.

  28. Ice cream!!! I’d love to make this on summer! I’ll just bookmark it, hope I actually do remember this post 🙂

    (Actually… I want to make it right now or tomorrow or just some day nearer than summer. But… I’ve got a lot more recipes to cook (or practice cooking/baking) for Christmas and New Year’s! Oh man, I’m starting to get busy, but I’m loving it 😀 )

  29. I have a cuisnart ice cream maker but I feel like it never comes out as good as the store bought versions. Overall I don’t think the machine is worth it. The refills are also expensive to purchase. I rather just go to a local shop.

  30. Well, this gives me a reason to break out my old ice cream maker and try these recipes out! I really like the coconut flavor version and would love to try combining it with chocolate candy or maybe brownie pieces in the ice cream itself. It would certainly beat buying overpriced ice cream at the store when I can make my own at home and they taste better!

  31. Spring is still a couple months away and there’s snow on the ground right now, but it looks like I’m totally making ice cream this weekend 😉 As soon as I saw the coconut version I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist, that’s one of my favourite flavors in a dessert.

    It will finally give me a chance to use my poor neglected ice cream maker, too! I bought it two summers ago and used it once and it’s been sitting in the closet ever since. I can’t wait to give it another try 🙂

  32. Sounds nice!

    I also really like making nice creams – they are dairy free banana ice creams – frozen banana and any fruit together with some almond milk topped with cocoa powder or peanut butter. Perfect healthy snack!

  33. Yummy. I have images from my childhood filling my head right now. My grandma used to get out her ice cream maker every so often during the summer and we would have bowls of the most delicious ice cream ever. It was better than Dairy Queen for this little country kid. 🙂 This recipe makes me wish I had an ice cream maker myself.

  34. Over the weekend, my boyfriend’s grandmother made some homemade ice cream and i swear it was the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. She used an old-fashion recipe to make the best ice cream, along with an old ice cream maker. We also used some other methods as well to make ice cream.

  35. Instead of cups of melted sugar, why don’t you add cups of fresh raw honey, sugar cane or brown sugar or even vanilla flavoring extracts?

  36. I received a ice cream maker as a gift for Christmas and since then I’ve been looking for good recipes while it’s been taking dust on my kitchen counter. I loved the idea of a basic recipe that can be adapted to everybody’s tastes and preferences, it’s brilliant! Now that I’ve read your post, I’ll make sure to try all of these variations and surprise my family with delicious treats. I’m especially intrigued by the salted caramel version, the coconut version and the chocolate hazelnut version, I’m sure they will be a huge it with my family and my guests, thank you!

  37. I made this for my whole family. My mom tried it while it was still in the slushy stage and said, that it is way better than store bought ice cream, It turned out good. My only complaint is it takes so long to make. But other than that it taste great. When it comes to this recipe, I would advise you to have a motorized machine, or all the time in the world lol

  38. Ugh! This is so great. The kids will be with me all summer so we will definitely be trying this. I’m looking for education things to do not just fun in the sun. Thanks! !!

  39. This looks absolutely beautiful, and I am certainly going to be using your recipes with my children while they’re off school during the summer holidays. I often find that the holidays can be an expensive time of year when you’re trying to keep them entertained during the course of the day, but with this I can help them to make the ice cream in the morning, then let them play outside (maybe even have a water fight) whilst it’s setting in the freezer, and then eat it in the evening when it is finished. Cooking with children is very special, and I can’t think of anything better than ice cream to make with them during the summer months.

  40. The ice cream looks delicious, especially the chocolate one! It seems like homemade tastes a lot better than store bought, so I really want to try these recipes, but I have a question. Can I make this without an ice cream maker? I know it sounds like a stupid question, but is there anything that is similar to an ice cream maker that is more common in households? I could just purchase one, but I don’t think I would use it enough to make it worth it.

  41. This is much more work than I anticipated it to be but thank God this article breaks the steps down pretty easily. The way I ‘make’ ice cream is by adding whipped cream, vanilla extract, sugar and some more ingredients in a blender and mixing it up until it becomes creamy. Then I’d take it out, put it in a bowl and freeze it. It usually doesn’t taste that good but I’d rather do that than drive to the store to get myself an overpriced pint of ice cream.

    Glad I stumbled upon this though, will be using this recipe from now on. Especially the vanilla one, looks delicious!

  42. This was a very good recipe. I used the chocolate hazelnut and honestly it was the best ever. And yes I mean EVER! Cant wait to try some of the other recipes.

  43. It’s literally a SAUNA in my house now! The El Nino in my part of the world is really making us sweat and so humoring myself with ice cream delights here at Foodal! It’s a pity that I don’t have an ice cream maker (it’s not a very common kitchen equipment in my country – only few people have it). Nevertheless, I am very much enjoying the many different flavors of ice cream presented here. I’m a CHOCOLATE fanatic, so it’s hands down the chocolate version and the chocolate hazelnut version will be my top pick. The salty caramel version also piqued my interest though. I can imagine the contrast of the sweet and the salty. Happy Ice Cream eating!

  44. Few years ago my mother bought us an ice-cream maker but we never dared to open it – why?. It’s only because we couldn’t find a base recipe that would be easy. The ones we got with the machine were really hard to make so we didn’t even bother to try, ending up buying a packet of that sweet dessert from the store since it was way easier. This recipe seems to be a bit easier, thought! I bet homemade ice-cream tastes a lot better than the ones that you can buy straight from the store. I’m going to make sure to try this out this summer!

  45. I’ve yet to succeed in getting the consistency correct. I wonder if I’m using the wrong type of cream. I use what we call “double-cream” here in France – what do you mean by “heavy cream”?

    My favourite flavour combo is mango and pistachio.

  46. One word: Awesome!

    You know those cooking shows like come dine with me?

    Whenever they are serving ice cream the guests always say ‘I bet this wasn’t home made!’ Or ‘is this home made’ I never saw the big deal in it to be honest, but I understand kt now 🙂

    It seems awesome, I don’t mind using egg and I definitely don’t mind seen as I just learnt that it helps to use egg 🙂

    Will definitely help me stay cool this summer and help me recreate the ice creams I loved when I was a kid 😛

  47. Nothing is more refreshing than homemade ice cream. I am from south Georgia and typically you don’t catch people down here making their own because it is so convenient to walk in a store and purchase it. I really want to try out one of these flavors because nothing tops made from scratch. My mouth is watering lol.

  48. Is an ice cream maker really necessary? I’ve made ice cream before without it, but never with egg yolks. Not sure what would happen in this case.

    I’ll keep in the safe side and research alternatives to the machibe!

  49. I’ve always wanted to make my own but I’ve never found the time. But with these recipes it seems really simple, I’m dying to try the coconut and chocolate versions.

  50. I have never tried coconut ice cream before. However, I am interested in trying the version that is listed on this post. All of them look so delicious. I normally buy praline flavored because of the caramel so I will be trying the salted caramel. Thanks for this post because I have been looking for some recipes. Blue Bell was our go to brand but after the listeria scare I think I want to make my own so I know what is in it. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  51. Oh my god, there are actually a lot of versions of it, yay for versatility! I have to confess that I have never made an ice cream before, I don’t even own an ice cream maker, but I think that it’s already time to take the big step. I’m a big fan of lemon ice cream, I guess that I should start from there and then keep going to this ice cream, I really hope to do all the variations of it! 🙂

  52. I love ice cream and love this recipe that you can use for so many different flavors!
    The one with the coconut and the walnut ice cream seems the most appealing to me.
    Now that it is summer it would be such a perfect project to do with my kids since they love ice cream as much as I do.

  53. Well it has been pretty brutal outside here the last couple of weeks, and so the amount of time in the kitchen has also seemed to go down a bit, but I have to say that this is a little inspiration to get back in there. I have only made my own ice cream about once or twice before, and from what I remember it went poorly, so I think I am due to give it another shot. Thanks for sharing.

  54. This is absolutely wonderful and amazing. My five year old daughter is so going to love this. Whenever I learn something new that I think might be fun for us to try and make together, she is thrilled.

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