Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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Hot summer months call for cold treats. This simple recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream in a machine will have you and your family cooling off in no time!

Even in Alaska, we have hot days during the summer. July can have temperatures in the 80’s if you can imagine. That’s a little too hot for us, we prefer cooler weather but we definitely appreciate the warmth while we can get it.

On those days when we are dragging from the heat, a cool treat is always in order. Homemade ice cream is one of our favorites and it doesn’t take long when using an ice cream maker. Plus, simple ingredients make it even better. Here’s my favorite method for making ice cream at home for our family.

Using an Ice Cream Maker

Almost ten years ago our family received an ice cream maker as a gift and we still love using it often. We have this Cuisinart machine and it works great to this day.

To use our ice cream maker, we simply mix up the ingredients, turn on the machine, and pour the mixture in. The machine will slowly rotate on the inside to stir the mixture until it eventually becomes ice cream. This only takes about 20 minutes, depending on how thick I want it. I check it a few times until I think it’s ready.

The hardest part is remembering to freeze the inner bucket so that it’s ready to use. Without the bucket being frozen, you can’t make ice cream. And it takes several hours in the freezer for this to happen.

After I kept forgetting to do this step (and disappointing the girls that we wouldn’t be able to have ice cream after all) I made a permanent home in our freezer for it to stay frozen at all times. After each batch of ice cream, I rinse out the bucket and immediately put it back in the freezer. It’s always ready to go whenever we want to whip up a batch during the day or while dinner is cooking.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine, there are other ways to make homemade ice cream without one. Once you have the ingredients mixed together, pour the mixture into a loaf pan or other baking dish. Carefully set the dish in the freezer. Check it after an hour to see if it’s starting to freeze then continue to check every half hour or so. This method takes longer but the result is just as delicious!

Ingredients for Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Heavy Cream– We skim ours from the top of our fresh, raw milk, generously given by our Jersey dairy cow.

Whole Milk-You’ll want to use whole for nice and thick ice cream.

Pure Maple Syrup-This adds a little sweetness without having to use refined sugar. I always keep a bottle on hand for baking with.

Vanilla Extract-I have kept my own bottle going for several years now. You can read about how I do that in this post.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Combine 2 cups of heavy cream, 2 cups of whole milk, 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in a large bowl. Stir until mixed well.

If using an ice cream maker, set it up according to the directions. Start the machine and carefully pour in the milk mixture.

Allow the machine to run until your ice cream has reached your desired thickness. I usually let our machine run for at least 20 minutes. I’ll test it every once in a while until I like the consistency.

Once the ice cream is finished, serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer for later.

Homemade vanilla ice cream in a machine

What to Serve with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

This recipe is delicious eaten just on its own but it’s always fun to add some yummy toppings. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Sliced bananas with a little extra pure maple syrup drizzled on top
  • Homemade cookies crumbled up
  • Peanut butter warmed up and drizzled
  • Chocolate chips

Homemade vanilla ice cream isn’t just for hot summer days. This makes a tasty treat any time of the year and is always a nice surprise for an afternoon snack or after supper. This recipe is the perfect blank slate for other flavors and endless toppings. It’s also a great dessert for older children to make on their own, and they can be creative with it!

Homemade vanilla ice cream pin

Vanilla Ice Cream

Hot days call for a cool treat. This homemade vanilla ice cream only has a few simple ingredients and is so easy to whip up for an afternoon treat!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes


  • Ice Cream Machine
  • Measuring cups and spoons


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  • Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Enjoy fresh from the machine or store in an airtight container in the freezer.

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