Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Machine

As I promised last week, here is a post on how to make french vanilla ice cream at home, no ice cream machine required.  This is basically a spin on a semifreddo, which I have made so many times I could do it with my eyes closed.  What’s with all the semifreddo in my life?  Well, after I tasted some, I simply didn’t care for storebought ice cream anymore.  Most of them are these atrocious guar gum xanthan gum whatever gum filled fakeries (exception: Haagen Dazs, which is pretty expensive), and this way I can put whatever I want in my ice cream for CHEAP.  I’ve done this as pistachio, mango, peanut butter, chocolate, melon, and so on, but today I’m going to show you how to make some good old vanilla, so you can take that Summer Berry Cobbler Ramekin Pie I posted the other day to the next level.

Start by whisking up eggs and sugar in a double boiler until thickened and frothy:

Fold whipped cream into the custard, and place it in a glass container:

Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard so a skin doesn’t form:

Freeze immediately for 4-6 hours, and enjoy!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Machine

Yield: 6-8 servings

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Machine


  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 4 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar+2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Start by setting up a double boiler (a heatproof bowl set over a pot with an inch of simmering water), and prepare an ice bath that the bowl can be set into later. Place the eggs, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt into the bowl. Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds, and add those and the scraped vanilla bean to the bowl as well. Cook for about 10 minutes, whisking frequently so the egg doesn't scramble**, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Immediately remove the custard and place it into the ice bath to cool, and remove the vanilla bean.
  2. **If you do happen to scramble some of the eggs, don't worry. Just strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve after it's reached 160 and beat air back into it with a hand mixer.
  3. In a medium bowl using a mixer, whip the heavy cream until a little frothy. Add in the 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract, and whip to soft peaks.
  4. Remove the egg custard from the ice bath, and add 1/3 of the whipped cream to it to lighten. Fold in the rest of the cream and pour into a container. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard so a skin doesn't form. Freeze immediately for 4-6 hours, depending on your freezer. Enjoy your homemade ice cream!!!!

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18 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • avatar fatbottomedfriends June 28, 2011, 10:46 am

    Joanne!!! This looks fantastic!! I can’t wait to try it… Thanks for thinking of us!! :)

  • avatar Mi Vida en un Dulce June 28, 2011, 11:11 am

    OH…ice cream without a machine, that is exactly what I need, it’s very expensive to have one here in my country, so I never make ice cream at home…now I can try. Thanks Joanne…!!!

    • avatar Joanne June 29, 2011, 7:18 pm

      I’m so glad! Let me know how it goes =)

  • avatar Meg June 28, 2011, 5:00 pm

    How creative and yummy! I’m a vanilla freak, so this is something I could definitely get behind. I would never have tried to make ice cream on my own (with or without machine), but I think I could handle this!

  • avatar magicofspice June 28, 2011, 5:17 pm

    Your ice cream looks wonderful!

  • avatar Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts June 28, 2011, 5:33 pm

    Great job! Sounds delicious! I have an ice cream maker I got YEARS ago, but nice to know you can make it without!

    • avatar Joanne June 29, 2011, 7:18 pm

      If I got one as a gift I would definitely use it, but for now, there’s not enough room in my kitchen/I’d buy a few other things before I bought an ice cream machine. But one day I’ll get one!

  • avatar Platanos, Mangoes and Me! June 29, 2011, 2:39 pm

    My mom would make this and we called it “limber”. She used to freeze them in ice cube trays

  • avatar Andrea July 1, 2011, 1:57 pm

    OMG I can’t wait to try this!! THanks, Joanne!

  • avatar caligirl August 30, 2013, 9:48 pm

    looks so delicious it’s hard to believe it’s so simple. i’ll give it a whirl.

  • avatar Maggy October 10, 2013, 9:03 pm

    I did this recipe and i only had Vanilla bean paste that 1 Tbsp equals to 1 whole vanilla bean. My family loved it so much they are already planning for me to do the next one. Excellent recipe would recommend.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 11, 2013, 9:35 am

      Hi Maggy, I’m so happy to hear your family enjoyed this recipe! And yes, vanilla bean paste is a great substitute!

  • avatar Francesca February 9, 2014, 6:44 pm

    SOO good! tried it tonight. Didn’t take 30 min to prepare… the longest thing was the wait – and it was definetly WORTH it. i didn’t have vanilla bean nor paste so i used more vanilla xtract – about 1-1/2 tbsp
    Thank you!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug February 10, 2014, 9:55 pm

      That’s wonderful Francesca, glad you enjoyed it!!

  • avatar Judy February 11, 2014, 8:07 pm

    Where do you get vanilla bean or paste?

  • avatar Emily August 14, 2014, 7:21 pm

    I would love to try this – after looking at quite a few ice cream recipes (all without ice cream machine), yours look the simplest! Yours doesn’t require frequent stirring after putting in the freezer – which most other recipes say to do (in order to prevent build up of ice in the ice cream). So your ice cream still turns out creamy without stirring while freezing? Thanks for sharing!

  • avatar Gary August 15, 2014, 10:26 am

    We made this last night and were so excited to try it, it was part of our breakfast this morning. OUTSTANDING and easy to make. I doubled the recipe and have a surprising amount of Icecream. I was concerned about the texture being “grainy” or “icy” but it is not! It’s smooth and creamy and better than store bought. Just an opinion but since you need vanilla beans (which can be expensive) don’t cheap out on the vanilla extract. Buy a good quality one …you’ll be glad you did as the flavor is so much more intense and pure. Thanks for the recipe!

  • avatar Emily August 15, 2014, 7:22 pm

    Ended up trying it yesterday and it was FANTASTIC!! Love the creamy texture, tastes like expensive ice cream, and best of all, it wasn’t hard to make! Would love to make other versions, such as chocolate, various fruits, etc. Can you tell us how? Can I just add cocoa powder?


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