Ultimate vanilla ice cream

Ultimate vanilla ice cream

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(32 ratings)

Ready in about 2 hours


8 big scoops
Is Angela Nilsen's vanilla ice cream the smoothest, creamiest homemade ice cream in history?

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per scoop

  • kcal269
  • fat21g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs18g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre0g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.1g
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  • 284ml carton double cream
  • 300ml full fat milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 115g golden caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 large free-range egg yolk
  • have lots of ice cubes at the ready


  1. Put the canister from the machine into the freezer a day before you want to make the ice cream. Next day, pour the cream and milk into a medium heavy-based pan, then tip in half the sugar. Slit the vanilla pod down its length with a small sharp knife and scoop out as many of the tiny black seeds as you can into the cream mixture. Cut the pod into three and drop it into the pan.

  2. Heat the cream and milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it almost boils – you’ll see a few bubbles at the edge. Take off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes so the vanilla can infuse.

  3. Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the rest of the sugar and beat with an electric hand beater for about 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened, is paler in colour and falls in thick ribbons when you lift the beaters. Using a measuring jug, scoop out about 125ml/4fl oz of the cream mixture and beat into the egg yolks to slacken them. Reheat the cream until it just comes to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the egg yolk mixture.

  4. Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, for 8-10 minutes, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Watch that it doesn’t boil – as soon as you see any bubbles about to burst to the surface, it should be thick enough, so take the pan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle.

  5. Pour the custard into a heatproof bowl, then sit it in a bigger bowl one third full of iced water to cool (this takes about 20 minutes). Stir occasionally to stop a skin forming. Put the bowl of custard in the fridge for 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, so it gets really cold.

  6. Get the ice cream machine running, scoop out the vanilla pod pieces, then slowly pour in the cold custard. Leave it to churn for 10-30 minutes (depending on your machine). When it stops, it is probably too soft to eat, so spoon into a plastic container, cover with cling film, then a lid, and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. (It will keep in the freezer for 3 months but don’t take it out, then refreeze.) Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.

  7. To make it by hand: in step 1, heat the milk, vanilla, and half the sugar without the cream (the custard will be slightly thicker). At the start of step 6, whip the cream so it’s light and floppy, not too stiff, and fold it into the cold custard. Freeze for 3-4 hours, stirring once an hour until almost frozen, then freeze as above.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (43)

klausrudolf's picture

Hi - With egg yolks, sugar and milk you have created a Sauce Anglaise (don't heat it beyond 65°C ). Adding corn flour, mixed with the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla, turns it into a custard. That mixture should be briefly boiled, it will not curdle due to the corn flour.

bunsinbows's picture

This is a very yummy ice cream. It’s so much nicer then shop bought!

Tiffany1983's picture

This really does make delicious and luxurious vanilla ice cream! I'm about to make the second batch in a fortnight.

The only thing I would mention is it defiantly takes longer than 3 hours in the freezer! We left it 5 hours but it still wasn't set, so I'm leaving it over night this time.

Absparrowhawk's picture

The recipe is really good! Perfect texture and flavour. It is also great as a base for other ice creams.

I've adapted it to make ruhbarb and custard ice cream.

SminkyPinky's picture

Hi David

If you struggle to control the heat, try putting the custard nix in a glass/stainless bowl sat over a pan of gently boiling water (same way you might melt chocolate); this keeps the heat more controlled, but may take a bit longer. It does not need to be too thick, and make sure it's a wooden spoon you test on! Try a health food shop for golden caster sugar. If you cannot get golden caster try a light brown or raw (unbleached) sugar; you'll be dissolving it anyway; if you want it finer just whizz it in a blender/processor. Cheers/MfG.

MrMangofresh's picture

Really good recipe but i seem to have a small problem. Maybe someone can help:

When i return the pan with the whole cream/ egg yolk mixture to the heat the custard just wont get thick enough. In stead it curdles pretty fast even on lowest heat.

Also if someone could explain to me exactly what golden caster sugar is that would be awesome. I'm german and it seems we dont that kind of sugar in our stores.

Greeting, David

vimse's picture

Hi David,
Dont worry if you dont have golden caster sugar, normal caster is good as well (kristallzucker), you can always add a small amount of soft brown sugar (brauner zucker ?) to get a more caramelised taste. Golden caster sugar is basically refined sugar from sugar beet with added molasses from sugar cane.
Good luck

dawesi's picture

make sure you're using 'full cream' milk... it's twice as expensive as the 'normal' fake full cream (added permeate or whatever they call it now - as they changed the process so they didn't have to call it permeate, but it's the same thing - watered down milk)

look at the fat content, and make sure it's high compared to the low fat (or supposed full cream milks)

itslel's picture

Hello David, I took mine back to the boil and left it, it was setting when I put it through the ice cream machine next day - and made the most beautiful creamy ice cream I've ever made - just made a double batch!!

stephensonds's picture

This was really good

burzulicious's picture

This was the first time I made ice cream with a machine...
And it was literally the best ice cream I have ever had in my life. I just made my first batch (it's a small ice cream machine) and at first taste I was in heaven... this recipe is a winner!

vls2002's picture

Amazing ice cream! I currently live in Angola and can't get fresh milk or cream so had to make this with UHT milk and cream and it still turned out a treat! Can't recommend enough. Will definitely be making this one again as everyone at my dinner party loved it.

gwills123's picture

Great recipe, although like others I did not read the recipe before I started and was surprised at the standing times required. I was worried it might be too eggy and rich. But not a bit of it. I used a Magimix ice cream maker and the result was fantastic - indulgently smooth and creamy without being too fatty. This will be my recipe of choice. Thank you.

riakon's picture

Great recipe. Easy and worked perfectly first time. Unbelievably my 5 year old prefers it to Haagen Dazs. Not as hard as lots of home made icecream - comes out with a great creamy texture. I'll definitely do this again

sooz71's picture

Great ice cream, the 1st time I made this me and my dinner guests devoured the whole lot straight from the tub smothered in homemade warm chocolate sauce, just gorgeous. This time I'm making it by special request and will double the recipe. One small downside I found it a little too sweet so will reduce the sugar this time but that is personal taste I suppose.

mimisuz's picture

Delicious ice cream, made more so by the inclusion of about 150g (maybe a bit more) of chopped halva, which I folded into the creamed mixture before putting it into the freezer overnight. Big hit!

smurfmurf's picture

also used single cream, vanilla paste as pods were not in shop, added chocolate chips

smurfmurf's picture

hi never made ice cream before but seemed to work out really well ice cream machine would not work so just whisked ice cream every hr r so while freezing

nledieu's picture

LOVED this! This was my first attempt of 'real' ice-cream and I did it by worked really well and was so creamy! I over whisked my custard, but it worked great and the custard is lovely just on its own! Will definitely make again!

aliemily66's picture

Amazing ice cream, delicious creamy and well worth the effort.


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