Ultimate vanilla ice cream

Ultimate vanilla ice cream

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(58 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…

  • 115g golden caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 large free-range egg yolks
  • 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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NGK Firm's picture
NGK Firm
19th Jun, 2020
Loved them! Vanilla Ice Cream
23rd Feb, 2020
Fantastic recipe- I've tried a lot of different ice cream recipes and this is definitely my favourite. It is super creamy and smooth with wonderful vanilla flavour and doesn't leave a film on your tongue like some other ice cream recipes do. You can make it with a generous half teaspoon vanilla extract and a generous half teaspoon vanilla bean paste if you don't have any vanilla pods, and it still tastes delicious!
Rosy Jones's picture
Rosy Jones
27th Jul, 2018
Incredibly creamy vanilla ice cream recipe! My favourite so far. Simple to follow with a great outcome.
1st Nov, 2017
Delicious! Quantity was perfect for a dinner party for eight as an accompaniment to pudding. I used vanilla bean paste instead of a fresh pod and halved the sugar - worked perfectly.
19th Feb, 2017
Fabulous. Very rich though so will save this recipe for special occasions.
31st Jul, 2016
This is the first home made ice cream I've made and its so good I would never give my grand children shop bought now, there's no comparison . I've made it about 6 times now, it never fails. My family are putting in orders now its so creamy and smooth. I've added chocolate drops, strawberries and rhubarb to it (...not at the same time of course) and still had great results.
6th Nov, 2015
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.
21st Aug, 2016
Crème Anglaise is still custard, it's just a lighter pouring custard, thickened with egg yolks and no cornflour. This makes it perfect for fluffy, light ice-creams. Heavier, thicker custards, made with cornflour can of course be used to make ice-cream, but who wants it that heavy? There's many ways to make an ice-cream base, this is just one of them ;)
23rd May, 2015
This is a very yummy ice cream. It’s so much nicer then shop bought!
Tiffany1983's picture
21st Feb, 2015
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.


lauren28052007's picture
2nd Jul, 2019
If I added a homemade caramel with salt in it to this ice cream recipe, would it make salted caramel ice cream?
Seán Murphy's picture
Seán Murphy
5th Jun, 2019
Can i make this Ice Cream ahead of time and freeze it before serving?
goodfoodteam's picture
5th Jun, 2019
Thanks Sean, yes this ice cream will keep well for up to 3 months in the freezer.
19th Oct, 2018
Hi. I was wondering if this recipe would work if you replaced the vanilla with cinnamon sticks and made a more spicy ice cream? Thanks :)
goodfoodteam's picture
23rd Oct, 2018
Thanks for your question. If you're after a cinnamon ice cream, we recommend trying the following: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1098/cinnamon-ice-cream
24th Oct, 2018
Thank you.
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