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Everyone should have a great recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream in their repertoire. Here’s my favorite, which you can serve with anything, from a freshly-baked fruit pie, a warm berry crisp, cherry compote, or simply smothered with dark chocolate sauce or caramel sauce and toasted nuts.

It’s said that vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream. But most people don’t know that vanilla is also the most labor-intensive of all crops which makes vanilla beans and pure extract a bit costly. Thankfully, a little vanilla goes a long way. In my vanilla ice cream recipe, I use both the bean and some vanilla extract since I find they’re slightly different flavors, and each compliments the other.

A noted food science writer agreed with my idea of using both (rather than just a vanilla bean), telling me that they’ve discovered that alcohol (which most vanilla extracts contain), even if cooked off, improves the way we sense the taste of things. That confirmed what my taste buds were telling me.

The three most common types of vanilla are Bourbon, Tahitian, and Mexican. Bourbon vanilla, from Madagascar, which has the boldest, strongest flavor. Tahitian is more floral and bit more elusive. Real Mexican is strong, yet creamy-tasting, perhaps my favorite of them all. Don’t use the cheap Mexican knock-offs since most contain coumarin, which is toxic and banned in the United States. True Mexican vanilla is priced similar to other vanillas and like all vanilla extracts, the good stuff is worth every cent.

The best way to tell if a bean is good or not is to take a sniff. The plumpness of a bean doesn’t necessarily mean it has more flavor or essential oils; it may just have more water. And if you smell anything smoky, that means the bean was cured quickly over the fire, rather than dried properly, and not of good quality.

Since vanilla beans are expensive, you want to get as much use out of them as possible. Once you’ve finished using it, rinse and dry the bean on a plate until it’s brittle, then burrow it in a container of sugar. (You can keep adding other vanilla beans to that sugar, as you use them in your kitchen.) Not only will they add their lovely scent to the sugar, but you can re-use the beans for anything, from adding to a pot when poaching fruit, to jam-making. You can also pulverize the dried beans with sugar in a food processor and use it in cake and cookie batters.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press) For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.
  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
  • To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
  • Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
  • Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
  • Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.

The Perfect Scoop

vanilla ice cream

Related Links

How to buy vanilla and vanilla FAQs

Vanilla Extract and Beans (

Ice Cream Making FAQs

Recipes to use up leftover egg whites

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream (Recipe)

How long does ice cream last?

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream (Recipe)

Hot Fudge Sauce (Recipe)

Tips for making homemade ice cream softer

Recommended equipment to make ice cream

Making ice cream without a machine

Meet your maker: buying an ice cream machine

Candied Bacon Ice Cream (Recipe)



    • Flavia

    David, I’ve been using vanilla beans from the Amazon, which are the same as the mexican ones. Actually, the origin from all of them but the Polinesian, is the Amazon (hey, I’m a proud Brazilian!!!) . Pierre Hermé taught me to use the 3 main types of beans since he thinks that all of them are slightly different and give different notes to the final product (like his vanilla macaron) . Anyhow, vanilla ice cream really is the best, non?? Best wishes from Rio (and the upcoming Carnival…) !

    • krysalia

    I had no idea there was mexican vanilla.

    I’ve been tempted sometimes to buy bulk vanilla on ebay, but it’s hard to know how to choose and what you’ll receive. it’s probably better to buy a vanilla that I can smell before buying. thanks for the advice about the smoke scent :)

    • eg

    Last year, I did buy vanilla beans on ebay for making vanilla extract. They were very nice organic beans and they smell absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, I bought too many and they are sitting in my coat closet all lonely and neglected….

    • Mama JJ

    When I was on a quick trip to Mexico with my then-boyfriend/now-husband and his sister, we came back with a CASE of half-gallon jars of vanilla. It lasted years, tasted fabulous, and now I miss it dearly.

    • Eileen

    Thanks for this tutorial on vanilla. With the high cost and many varieties, it’s important to make good decisions when purchasing, and extracting every ounce of flavor you can from the beans. Merci, David!

    • Barbra

    My if-you-were-stranded-on-a-desert-island dessert. You know, if there happened to be a freezer on the island. I suppose it could also be my desert island breakfast, so long as there was an espresso machine on shore.

    • Phoo-D

    I’ve never thought to use vanilla extract along with the bean but I have read a New York Times article highlighting Harold McGee’s findings, so it makes sense. I will try this recipe next time we make vanilla ice cream!

    • Susan

    David, your vanilla frozen yoghurt is bliss in a bowl. Can only imagine how fabulous this must be!

    • Jenni

    Love vanilla ice cream, and there is nothing better than really good vanilla extract! My new favorite is made by Sonoma Syrups and is made of from a mixture of Madagascar and Tahitian beans w/wee vanilla specks all throughout it. It’s not syrupy like the Nielson-Massey syrup w/specks, so you have to shake it up before using. I gave some to my mom for Christmas, and rather than give her the two bottles I bought, I kept one and gave one. Very good decision on my part–and my mom is happy!

    • nithya at hungrydesi

    David, I just saw your twitter post and am dying to know what you’re cooking with ketchup. I use a healthy dose of it in a vegetable stock based marinade for tofu stirfry. I was initially embarrassed to admit that I used a household condiment for a stirfry sauce, but it tastes so good that I embraced it. I hope you share your ketchup cooking experiment! Btw this is my first time on your blog, and I nearly had no idea what city in France you live in ;-) D’oh.

    • Elra

    Nothing more delicious then a scoop or two of classic vanilla ice cream.

    • lindsey

    Yum, vanilla ice cream. My favorite thing to do with used vanilla beans is to dry them out and then, when I’ve got a stash, grind them up with raw (or granulated) sugar to make the most intense vanilla sugar!

    I’m still surviving on the dregs of once-used vanilla beans I took home from a certain faded SF restaurant at which I used to work…

    • Alisa – Frugal Foodie

    Vanilla is still my favorite flavor. I love how you don’t skimp on the ingredients, keeping it rich and creamy.

    • Paula Maack

    Mexican vanilla is my favorite, as well. Thank you for the vanilla breakdown – that was cool. And, thanks for the recipe!


    ~ Paula

    • Julie

    thanks for the recipe! yours was the one that i used to break in the ice cream maker i got as a birthday gift (grant it, i threw in some fresh blueberries into mixture… oh-so good!)

    • Dawn in CA

    @other side of the river: thanks for the link to the Jefferson recipe. I just love really old cookbooks/recipes, and if they have some historically significant element, well…that’s just icing on the cake.

    • Laura

    David, do you think it’s worth it to make your own vanilla extract? If so, what alcohol do you think is best to use? Vodka? Bourbon?

    • The Duo Dishes

    Vanilla bean paste has been our new fave flavoring. None of the alcohol flavor. But when we’re in a pinch, the extract is always a stand by. Making our own would be great though, so perhaps we’ll get a mini vodka bottle and give it a test.

    • Angry Brit

    Nielsen-Massey were selling a vanilla ‘sampler’ at Williams-Sonoma for about $20. It contains 3 extracts- Bourbon, Tahitian, and Mexican- and it has been on my wish-list for a long time. I do love vanilla ice cream, but it has to be really, really good. This recipe looks great. The last one I tried was icy and overly sweet. I must try this one.

    • Amanda

    I bought some good mexican vanilla beans and love them. And I made my own vanilla extract from them, too–because most of the better brands contain some kind of sugar or corn syrup, and I’m diabetic. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother. I love being able to throw used bean pods in my vodka bottle and continue the extract. Plus it’s good for sipping, dontchaknow.

    Thanks for the recipe–it looks very straightforward; I can convert it to sugar-free, and now that I’ve learned your no-ice-cream-maker method I can make it. Yay!

    • David

    Other side of the river: I love that link…thanks!

    Amanda: The vanilla extracts I have don’t contain sugar, although I bought them in the US. The ones in France have sugar, but no alcohol, and I prefer them without the sugar, too.

    I think there may be some law in France, or in Europe, that prohibits using alcohol in extracts since none of them contain it. Or maybe they don’t like it. But most Europeans use the beans for flavoring.

    Angry Brit: I buy my vanilla from Patricia Rain at She is changing her retail sales policy but her Mexican vanilla is amazing and is the best I’ve ever tasted. I’m pretty hooked on it.

    Laura: There are folks that make their own vanilla extract by steeping beans in vodka, or another alcohol base, but I find you don’t get the same highly-concentrated flavor that you find in pure vanilla extract. (Although it’s a good way to re-use vanilla beans.)

    I went to a presentation about vanilla extract and they showed how the finely-chop the beans to the get the most flavor out of them. (You can read more about vanilla extract production here.) So I reserve beans for using as they are, and buy extract.

    • Dorothy

    How long would this stay good in the freezer?

    Check out my post How long does ice cream last?, which gives guidelines on that. -dl

    • margaux

    Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been meaning to do a little research on the differences between Tahitian, Mexican and Bourbon vanillas, and there it is! I’m saving up to buy an ice cream maker for the summer…this recipe is one of the first I’ll try!

    • Blushing Hostess

    Glad you’re doing ice cream again! I don’t have a receipe for vanilla I thought was better than my favorite vanilla commercial brand, so I am pleased to try again with yours. It is one of the most simple and pleasant joys in life – a scoopp of vanilla ice cream in an old fashioned sugar cone… I can taste Cape Cod summers…

    • Collette

    Hilarious, there was an ad for Vanity Fair bras just below your beautiful photo of two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

    Can’t wait to try this, actually have all the ingredients on hand, and the ice cream maker canister in the freezer just waiting … last ice cream I made was vanilla and rum based, and I served a Mexican chocolate (Ibarra) sauce and carmelized bananas.

    • Lynn

    I love your vanilla ice cream recipe! I just made some. My son-in-law pouts when I run out. Thanks for your self-sacrificing labor of love putting together The Perfect Scoop. In my opinion, it’s The Perfect Ice Cream Plus Book.

    • Lars Kiilerich

    It doesn’t matter how many kinds of ice cream we have in the freezer, my daughter always picks the vanilla ice cream. I can’t really blame her, if she knew what i paid for the pods, she would probably think twice. (not that a 3 year old cares anyways).

    My recipe looks similar to yours David, however I use 2 pods, and no extract. I use Tahiti beans from Raiatea Plantation that won Medaille D’Or a few year ago. I think they’re worth the extra money, but my wife was astounded when i forked out 80 euros for 250g vanilla pods.

    • Salpy Kabaklian

    So funny that you should blog about this because I JUST made a quart of your vanilla ice cream (Philadelphia style, not French–was feeling le tired), and paired it up with some fudge ripple. It made a pretty crappy weekend end on a great note. It has also pretty much disappeared already…though I suppose that’s not exactly a shocking statement.

    What are my chances of making gelato in a Cuisinart ice cream maker?

    • Cakespy

    I had been wondering about the difference between the types of vanilla. This beautifully cleared it up. I am one of those many who count vanilla as their favorite flavor–so amazing how one flavor can have so many beautiful variations.

    • SimplePleasure

    hey, David! Love your blog. A question though, what’s the difference between a French Vanilla Ice Cream and a Vanilla Bean Ice Cream?

    If I grind up the vanilla pods up to what ratio of sugar per pod? What I’m doing now is just stick the vanilla pods in my sugar bin. Thought might give that grinding idea a try, might intensify the vanilla flavor.

    • David

    SimplePleasure: French vanilla ice cream usually refers to ice cream made with egg yolks, a custard base, like this one. Philidelphia-style ice cream is made without eggs and is less-rich.

    • The Italian Dish

    This is basically my go-to vanilla ice cream recipe. Thanks for the overview of vanilla beans.

    • StuffCooksWant

    It was 80 degrees F here today, so I’m ready to break out the margaritas and ice cream. Every summer, I search for a to-die-for vanilla ice cream recipe, but have yet to find one that is truly delicious. Plenty of pretty good ones. We love the vanilla, because frankly, you can add anything to it and everyone is happy. Crushed peppermints for the man, and chopped candy bars for the boys. I will definitely try this one…maybe today!

    Thanks for the info about vanillas. I get so annoyed every time I try to buy vanilla in the grocery store because they are all imitation vanilla. Puh-lease. I’m not using that if I can help it. Went to Mexico last year and brought back a ton of Mexican vanilla…but running low. I will check your mexican vanilla link and see if I can find some. Thanks!

    • Tartelette

    One can never have too many vanilla ice cream recipes!

    • Kristin

    Mille mercis David!
    I am going to pull out my shiny new ice cream maker and give this a try this weekend! It is still -25C here, but I’m thinking spring already! And seriously, ice cream is good anytime!

    • Collette

    Churned the batch this AM, will enjoy tonight.

    Quick question, David — your chocolate sauce calls for Dutch processed cocoa, which for some reason is fairly difficult to find here in central Ohio. My understanding is that Dutch processed cocoa is used in recipes where there is also baking powder used, but obviously, there is none of that in your chocolate sauce. Is there a taste difference?

    Hi Collette: I use Dutch-process cocoa in that recipe for the darker color (and usually they taste better, but not always-don’t buy Hershey’s European-style cocoa, which is too brusque), but you can use natural cocoa powder if that’s what’s available. -dl

    • Stephanie

    I agree. Vanilla is the best ice cream. I’ve knew all that stuff about vanilla beans and extract. Thanks for the lesson.

    • Emily (La Derniere Miette)

    Yum. Don’t they say the measure of a good ice cream maker is their vanilla ice cream?
    Once a man at the Bastille market stepped out of nowhere and sold me 10 very fragrant vanilla beans for €5, but very unfortunately was never to be seen again…..
    Where do you think the best bargain for vanilla is in Paris?

    • NAOmni

    This post is awesome! Thanks for writing it!


    • David

    Hi Emily: I usually get vanilla beans at G. Detou since I they’re reliably good. And online source for Tahitian vanilla is Tahiti-Vanilla (recommended by Clotilde).

    I’m not sure what’s considered a bargain, but these are two reliable sources in France.

    • Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    NON NON NON, Daveeed.
    well… yes. Maybe.
    Bourbon Vanilla may be from Madagascar, but also from the Comoros Islands or Reunion Island, one of the French departement d’outre-mer. It’s called “Bourbon” because the secret to fertilize vanilla flower (an orchid) artificially to obtain a bean (its fruit) outside of Meso America (where it originates and where it has a natural specific pollinator) was discovered on Reunion Island at a time it was called Bourbon.
    It involved a thorn from a local palm tree.

    Of course, as a Reunionese, I know there is no better Vanilla in the world than Vanille Bourbon de la Reunion!

    • am wildwood

    We received ‘mexican’ vanilla as gift from my brother-in-law while he was on his honeymoon in Mexico. It was dreadful – it made homemade frosting taste like the stuff from a can. The vanilla contained real extract, vanillin, and something else. After showing my husband, we threw it out. I had plenty of great extract from Penzeys incld their mexican vanilla (awesome), but didn’t think the gift extract would be so bad when I used it.

    • David

    am wildwood: Yes, folks get excited about the great deal they got on a quart of vanilla in Mexico but if there’s a toxin in it, to me, that ain’t much of a bargain.

    I use a lot of vanilla extract and it takes me about 2-3 years to go through a quart. Most home cooks I would imagine go through a lot less so spending $10 or so on a bottle of terrific extract that’s going to last a few years doesn’t seem like too much of an indulgence or luxury.

    Sylvie: Thanks and yes, I know that Bourbon vanilla comes from the Comoros Islands, including Reunion and Madagascar. But it’s almost always labeled as “From Madagascar” which is how it’s sold in stores. Mais j’adore le vanille de Reunion, aussi!

    • Erin

    Your vanilla ice cream is the only one I’ll make! I bought a copy of ‘The Perfect Scoop’ last year when I bought the ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid. I’ve been addicted to it ever since. I’m not particularly fond of vanilla ice cream, especially out of the grocery freezer section, but every time I make this I say over and over how much I love it. I find it to be a great base for other new recipes as well (most recently: pumpkin and cookies and cream). Thanks for sharing!

    • Haley

    Just curious- why do you have to wash the vanilla beans before putting them in sugar? Why can’t I just throw them in the sugar?

    I usually buy Madagascar vanilla these days, but I can’t help but think fondly of the Mexican vanilla we had at my house forever. About the time I was born, some cousins of my parents went to Mexico and brought back this giant bottle of vanilla (it was over a foot tall). Anyway, my parents said they quickly discovered that it was STRONG. Apparently they put a teaspoon of it in a pound cake and it made the cake taste like a solid block of vanilla. Since it was so strong, you only had to use a drop of it for the equivalent of a teaspoon of normal extract. Anyway, that bottle lasted until I was seventeen years old. I miss that vanilla. I tried to order the same brand online, but my brother warned me about Mexican vanilla scams. Of course now I have to wonder if that vanilla really was the fake kind, but the flavor was so wonderful I can’t imagine it being fake.

    • David

    Haley: I wash the vanilla beans to remove the custard which is clinging to them, after you’ve used them to make ice cream.

    If you get Mexican vanilla extract from a trusted source then you’ll know it’s real. I’m very fond of the Mexican vanilla extract from Patricia Rain. There are other brands, though, which you might be able to find locally. In general, real Mexican vanilla extract is comparable in price to Bourbon or Tahitian extract. So if it’s substantially cheaper I’d be doubtful.

    • dalmacija moja inspiracija

    vanila ice with green pepers…and ginger sourcream…your photo’s are nice,nice…

    • nyc/caribbean ragazza

    There is nothing like homemade vanilla ice cream.

    The tips about what to do with the beans after are great.

    • Aaron

    How about replacing 1/3 of the sugar with invert syrup. I find it improves flavor and texture?


    • David

    Aaron: Yes, you could, although invert sugar is sweeter than granulated sugar (if it’s in liquid form) so I’d cut the amount by roughly 20%. It sounds like something that you’re familiar with using, so you likely know proportions. I’ve only used the dry invert sugar for candymaking and don’t have much experience with it.

    • Sunshinemom

    Thanks for the tip! I threw away some used vanilla beans but hopefully some will be salvaged now!

    • Arundathi

    Thanks for a lovely recipe. We don’t get vanilla beans here in India. Can I replace the beans with more extract? And since I don’t own a machine I was wondering if I could do the whole thing manually?

    • David

    Arundathis: Yes, you could add more extract to taste, depending on the strength of the extract available where you are. Some folks use the calculation: 1 bean=1 tablespoon of extract, but to me, that seems like an awful lot of extract. Simply tasting is the best way to go.

    And check out my post, How to Make Ice Cream Without a Machine for tips and techniques.

    • Arundathi

    Thanks so much for your quick response. I guess I’ll go with 1.5 tsp and add on from there. I did check out the link for the ice cream without a machine and it was exactly what I was looking for!! Thank you so much for that.

    • ritu

    I know it is a bit late for commenting on this post, but I just wanted to say that I used the Perfect Scoop recipe for the Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream and it was absolutely amazing, even though I made mine with a mixture of nut and soy milks. We’d be making it every day if we didn’t have a Cuisinart ICE-20 that needs to be refrozen each time. I want to upgrade immediately. Regarding vanilla, Frontier distributes an organic Ugandan vanilla that has a very distinctive smell and taste. I think it is my favorite so far.

    Ritu: You can buy extra canisters for that model, although they’re nearly the price of a new machine. I love my ICE-50. The only problem is, is that I find myself making ice cream too often! -dl

    • ritu

    David, Wow, quick response! I have considered buying the extra canisters, though they do take up a lot of freezer space (still cheaper than a self-refrigerating unit). I am just being covetous. The ICE-20 does make perfectly good ice creams and sorbets — and frozen margaritas. I used it a lot last summer trying out recipes from Perfect Scoop, from which everything seems to turn out perfectly. I will probably mull this over a while longer. You’re quite right, I’m sure we’d be making a little too much ice cream/sorbet if there was no waiting period. Regards, Ritu

    • Jeannette

    After reading how much you like the Cuisinart Ice-50 machine I hinted and acquired one for my birthday last year! I love the ice-cream I make in it and although it is noisy I get around that by placing it in the utility room and closing the door! However, I find that the machine seems to struggle after about 35-40 minutes and almost stops as though the mixture is too stiff for it to churn any longer, is this normal? In the handbook it says to set it for 40 mins. for softer ice-cream and 60 mins. for a stiffer mixture. I don’t think it would churn for that long, it seems to struggle. Just wondering if yours is the same.

    Hi Jeanette: If you want to see some photos of mine coming out of the machine, visit my Flickr ice cream photos, as some of them show the consistency of the ice creams and sorbets in the freezing canister. Hope that helps. -dl

    • barbra r.

    Wow! With my newly acquired ice cream attachment for the KitchenAid, I made my very first ice cream using this French vanilla recipe. We are so happy with it!
    thank you! I can’t wait to make more and more and more…!

    • Regina Marette

    Hi. I just found your site a few weeks ago and really enjoy it. I want to make this ice cream to go with a chocolate cake for Easter. Fortunately, I am able to visit Mexico frequently and have some really great Mexican vanilla extract. How much extract would I use if I want to omit the bean? Thanks.

    Hi Regina: I would add 1-2 teaspoons additional extract. Since beans vary in strength, there’s not absolute substitution. Start with the smaller amount and add more, if desired. Happy churning! -dl

    • Regina

    of course, now i notice the 3-11 post! it was even in bold…..

    • Jane

    I must have been living on a desert island and not Manhattan or Boca Raton because I never tried homemade ice cream…..
    But I purchased an ice cream maker and made your vanilla today…..
    I also bought your book, The Perfect Scoop….
    I just love the book and your vanilla ice cream….
    I can’t wait to make the chocolate….
    I wish there was a recipe for people who are lactose intolerent…..
    I just love the ice cream and your life stories…..

    Hi Jane: I am lactose intolerant as well. I eat small portions of ice cream and have never had any problems. For those who avoid milk, there are plenty of recipes in The Perfect Scoop without dairy, including a whole chapter of granitas and another chapter brimming with recipes for sorbets, which are fruit-only. In addition, there are lots of frozen yogurt recipes, too. Happy churning! -dl

    • Hayley

    Hi David, I love this recipe, and was wondering how you would go about adding strawberry puree to the mix? How much would you use, and when would you add it, and all that good stuff? Thanks so much!

    • Anna

    Step 1. Heat the milk – but how warm/hot???
    Step 3. Rewarm the milk – how warm is warm???

    Would love to try this recipe but wonder how crucial the initial heating/warming is??

    • David

    Hayley: You could add strawberry puree, sweetened 1:4 part sugar to puree, to the custard before freezing. I can’t say the exact amount as I haven’t tested it with this particularly quantity, but you can find strawberry-based ice creams and frozen yogurt in The Perfect Scoop.

    Anna: You can heat the mixture until it feels warm to the touch; it should be steaming slightly in both steps.

    • Anna

    Thank you for the recipe and comment David. I probably heated the milk a bit more than I should have but it didn’t matter because I’ve just finished churning the ice cream and it’s the most divine ice cream that I’ve ever eaten. There’s not as much left as there should be for my boyfriend’s dessert tonight!! Luckily I saved about a third of the custard mix in the fridge for tomorrow night.

    • Thai Massage Boulder

    This was seriously the best vanilla ice cream ever! We ate it all in one sitting! Thank you so much for this delicious recipe (and the recipes to use up extra egg whites).

    • Aylin

    I just found this site for the 1st time & I LOVE IT! David, I want your life! Paris is my favorite city in the world (the histroy, the art, the culture, the people, the architecture, the language, the food, the romance, etc, etc, etc)… I plan on moving there as well as soon as my daughter moves out! I can’t wait to try your macarons recipe as well…

    Question: Would you/could you use the leftover “Vanilla Sugar” to sweeten your coffee?

    • Lannie

    This is a fabulous recipe!

    However, I have a question about which kind of container to store the custard in for cooling in the refrigerator. The first time I made it, I put it in a covered glass bowl. This time, I put it in my stainless steel mixing bowl, and noticed a slight metallic flavour to the ice cream. Just wondering if there is a correlation. Or, could that metallic taste be from the vanilla bean?

    I have no idea what would cause that. Stainless should be flavor-free. I use plastic bowls, though. -dl

    • catherine

    Hi David,

    I am going to make your fresh mint ice cream with the chocolate cookies this weekend. Because of our large family, I need to double the recipe (1 quart will not do!)
    Do I double all ingredients? 10 egg yolks sounds like a like.


    • david

    Hi Catherine: Yes, double everything. Some ice cream recipes call for nearly that many yolks–per quart! (You could reduce it by 2, although you’d sacrifice a bit of texture.)

    Also in the book I mentioned that the infusion will turn green. Not all mint will do that, so if it doesn’t, it will taste just as good : )

    • Karen Seiger

    We used this recipe this weekend and added in a tablespoon of Early Grey French Blue loose leaf tea (from Marriage Freres in Paris – we load up whenever we’re there) during the heating of the custard. After it cooled, we added a bit more for crunch and for the pretty blue leaves. It turned out beautifully. Next time, we’ll try pulverizing the tea to help infuse it even more.

    • Kimberly

    This vanilla ice cream is amazing! I’ve made it a few times already, and people’s eyes start rolling back in their heads after the first bite!

    • Robin Scattini

    I found your site while searching for a vanilla ice cream recipe. I just finished reading “The Sweet Life in Paris”. I was completely riveted and had so many laugh out loud moments. So similar to our experiences living in Belgium. Right now I’m off to the fig stall at the market so I can make your oven-roasted figs. Thanks for sharing your insight and recipes.

    • Shawn Askinosie

    David – I was inspired to try making ice cream at home after reading this post

    I made your vanilla with our grand kids (9 and 4) yesterday evening and it turned out great. They had a lot of fun! Instead of infusing the vanilla from the bean I used chopped up whole vanilla bean bits that we had left over for the chocolate bar we make for Zingerman’s called “El Rustico”. These vanilla beans were sourced from Papua New Guinea, have a great flavor and texture.

    Trying your chocolate ice cream recipe today!! Thanks for all you do.

    • mipmup

    this may be anathema to you, but is it possible to make this recipe no-cook and eggless? i need to for various reasons. thanks.

    • David

    mipmup: I don’t have an eggless or no-cook Vanilla ice cream recipe on the site at this time, but there is one in The Perfect Scoop, if you have a copy.

    Shawn: Yes, but try the Chocolate Sorbet, too!

    Robin: Glad you liked the recipe. And the book, too : )

    • permanent make up

    Mister David, thanks for sharing this recipe, so far this is the best and the easiest one I saw. Thanks a lot.
    “What city in France does David live in? (required)” The best anti-spam question as well.

    • Dawn Krause

    I just wanted to share a cookie recipe with you that goes great with this, and of course the lavender honey ice cream from your book. It”s a short bread type cookie.
    350 oven. cream 1 stick of room temp butter with 2 tsp lavender and 1/2 cup sugar (i use a scant 1/3 cup). Then add 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla. Beat well. Combine 1 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt, add to butter mixture, beat until dough holds together. Shape dough on wax paper into a roll about 1 1/2 ” in diameter and chill for an hour or until firm. Slice dough into rounds 1/2″ thick. Place 1″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet; bake about 10 minutes or until edges are slightly colored. cool on baking racks. makes around 25 cookies.. Anyhow I thought you might enjoy these.

    • B

    This was the best ice cream ever. The custard was so smooth, and barely required any straining. And it froze well and tasted awesome. Thanks a bunch for sharing the recipe.

    • Marie

    David ,I’m new to ice cream making, and was wondering if it makes a big difference if heating the cream together with milk and sugar instead of mixing the cold cream and the warm custard afterwards? I have only tried one other vanilla ice cream recipe and then i heated it all together..

    • David

    Marie: Sure, you can do it that way as well. However be aware that the custard will take longer to cook as well as longer to cool down, so be sure to have an ice bath handy to finish it.

    • Marie

    Thank you for such a quick reply, David! You’ve got an amazing blog, witty, inspiring and useful. Thanks for sharing! One more question, though, I’ve noticed that some use glucose in their recipes for sorbets and ice cream and some do not: will the result differ greatly? What are the pros and cons?
    I wish you a happy Easter.

    Check out my post Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer. -dl

    • Kris

    It is my birthday today. For dinner I requested that my family indulge in only homemade ice creams with a few fun toppings. Toddlers through grandparents enjoyed making and eating 6 gallons of ice creams using your recipes from The Perfect Scoop. We enthusiastically devoured every spoonful on this warm Arizona afternoon. Our favorites were Chocolate, Strawberry Frozen Yogurt, Raspberry (we used fresh blackberries), White Chocolate (we made a sour cherries sauce to top), and Peanut Butter. Each recipe was creamy and smooth…and we found that the flavors were so delicious and rich that for once, hardly any toppings were used. We can hardly wait to try more of your recipes. Thanks for your blog and for your delightful books.

    • Maureen

    OMG, I have just taken this out of the ice cream freezer and I could hop in the bowl. It’s creamy, and cold and smooth as a baby’s bottom.

    Sadly I gave my husband a teaspoonful and said, “I know you won’t like it.”

    He liked it.

    Now I have to share.

    • ZH

    I tried this today… can’t believe how fabulous it is!!!

    • Marta

    David, can I use milk instead of heavy cream? Here in Latvia we only have light whipping cream(with 35% fat) but I have made ice cream before using milk for the custard sauce and there weren’t any problems.

    • David

    Marta: I strongly advise against using milk in place of the heavy cream (which in the US and in France, is about 30-35% butterfat). The resulting ice cream, upon resting in the freezer, will be quite icy and very hard to scoop.

    • Ruth

    Thank you for this recipe. I used Tahitian vanilla beans and this ice cream is nothing short of a miracle! You’re the best.

    • Natasha

    Hi David, I’m reading your ‘The Perfect Scoop’ at the moment and I love your little anecdotes. I especially love how you started off the book. So many great ideas in there and I can’t wait to try the Rice recipe too… actually I think there’s a post-it on every other page at the moment, I can’t decide which to try first.

    Just one question, 6 egg yolks is perhaps more than I want to use for my average ice cream, but I’m not entirely sold on the no eggs style, Philadelphia ice cream either. Is there a happy medium in between that uses 3 egg yolks, or something I can substitute egg yolks for?

    • Erin

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I made it today and chopped white peaches (which are in season right now) into the churned ice cream right before freezing it. Amaazing! My family also loves your Chocolate Sherbert.

    • Heather

    I actually bought an ice cream maker in order to make this recipe. I made it last night and it is the most amazing ice cream I have ever tasted. I can’t get over how perfectly creamy and flavorful it is! This recipe is pure heaven.
    This weekend I can’t wait to try the mint chip ice cream recipe!

    • Danelle

    Made it twice in one week. A treat for the whole family. Wonderful recipe. Thank you.

    • joann

    David, (may I call you that?),

    I just made the custard base and put in the fridge to sit overnight. I plan on putting it in my ice cream maker tomorrow, to be served on Saturday.

    I just need to tell you that I had to stop myself from “tasting” this nectar of the gods right into extinction.
    I forced it (entire bowl) out of my hands – covered it, placed it in fridge, closed the door, and leaned against the refrigerator with my arms spread across the width of the door as I flung my tasting spoon into the sink.

    Phew!…it may have never made it to the freezer without a self-intervention.

    Do I sound crazy?

    Because I easily could have been carted away from my own kitchen…in a straight jacket…

    But really, I need to share that I absolutely love vanilla ice cream…I feel it sets the standard for all other flavors. I mean, it’s easy to make something taste good when you throw in a bunch of other ingredients. But to get vanilla just right…let’s just say it takes talent, and a deep love for all things sublime.

    In this recipe, my friend, (oh yes, anyone who can make something this incredible is my friend) you have done it.

    The perfect vanilla ice cream.

    Which is actually a frozen custard. And the last time I had frozen custard was about 40 years ago when my mom used to take my sister and me via subway from Queens into Manhattan, and right there, on the 59th street platform it would be awaiting our arrival – the frozen custard stand!
    Standard procedure : buy a cone topped with the creamy swirl, and venture into the city… good times…great ice cream.

    I don’t recall the precise moment it was dismantled, never to bring joy to a little girl again, but alas, because of your recipe, I can relive that feeling in my own home today.

    Thank-you, David, for exciting my palate, and for the wonderful memory.

    • Linda Reilly

    Hi David,

    I LOVE your site and your books – thank you for everything you do! I made ice cream for the first time last week and used your salted butter caramel ice cream recipe and was immediately transported back to Paris – delicious.

    I’m making the base for the vanilla ice cream and the milk appears to be curdling; it is not past it sell by date. Is this because of the salt? Should I omit it, or is it because my milk is not fresh enough?



    • The Knitting Archaeologist

    Whoa! I have been lurking on your site for a few months. I made the flourless chocolate cake, and LOVED it, but for whatever reason, waited to make anything else. A good vanilla ice cream can make any day bearable, and when I saw your recipe, I decided to make it. It is hands-down the best ice cream I have EVER put in my mouth. I can’t thank you enough. I’ll never buy vanilla ice cream again. (Oh, and I plan to buy a few of your cookbooks this weekend as well!)

    • Aimee

    I didn’t have any vanilla bean so I just used the vanilla extract and I still thought the flavor was great. I added in chopped Oreos to make it Cookies and Cream. Fabulous!

    • mugsy

    This cake was unlike any other ‘apple cake’ out there. Also made your Philadelphia-style Vanilla Ice Cream in my Cuisinart ICE-21. Easy peasy! It makes one feel guilty taking all the compliments.

    A friend brought me a bottle of D’Ls pure vanilla from Mexico. Smells wonderful and label states 100% natural/No Coumarin. Should I trust it?

    • mugsy

    Oops! Should have been on apple cake post. But wanted to address the vanilla label.

    • Razzy

    We just made our Vanilla Ice Cream and it was AMAZING! the texture is so creamy and it is so beautifully rich. I should give you all fair warning though, our vanilla bean cost us $7.00. After adding up our bill the quart of frozen custard cost us a little over $12 but it was well worth the money.

    Over all i have never tasted ice cream OR frozen custard that was better than this. Definitely going in our recipe book!


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