3-Ingredient No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

When it comes to refreshing desserts in the summertime, nothing beats a big bowl of ice cream, complete with whipped cream and plenty of toppings. When it comes to ice cream flavors, you're likely biased. But the only thing that beats plain ole' vanilla is a batch of fresh, homemade plain ole' vanilla. Vanilla ice cream is one of the most popular ice cream flavors, second only to chocolate, according to YouGovAmerica. And thankfully, the process for making homemade ice cream is much easier now. While using an ice cream maker is a popular way to make it yourself, it's not the only way to get the job done. Recipe developer Mark Beahm has a technique that requires no special devices and just a few ingredients. When the process is done, it's sure to be one of your favorite desserts to whip up for your family.

There's a lot to love about this scrumptious recipe. One good thing about it is you don't need a bulky appliance in order to make it. Beahm says this ice cream can be mixed with an electric mixer or even by hand with a whisk and still turn out just as delicious. In addition, you don't need many ingredients to make it. In fact, you only need three items to make this mouthwatering ice cream that comes out creamy, with a sweet and very vanilla taste. Keep these ingredients on hand for a great last-minute dessert. So without further ado, let's get to it!

Gather the ingredients for no-churn vanilla ice cream

You'll be pretty excited and surprised to know that you will only need 2 ½ cups of heavy cream, 7 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to put this recipe together. While it does not seem like these items could make ice cream, Beahm says that whipping the heavy cream and milk mimics the aerating and churning action of an ice cream machine. He also adds that making ice cream this way is probably the closest you could ever get to the taste and texture of store-bought ice cream or made with an ice cream maker.

So now that you have all you need to whip up this treat, let's get started on this three-ingredient no-churn vanilla ice cream. After all, the sooner you make it, the sooner you can enjoy it!

Mix all of the ingredients together

You won't need to do much to pull these ingredients together. Simply combine the cream, condensed milk, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl, and proceed to mixing. Beat the mixture together on high speed with an electric mixer until thick and stiff peaks form. Beahm says that this process should only take a few minutes, adding that you only need to beat the ingredients until they thicken and reach a consistency that is much like whipped cream. It's hard to believe, but the richness of the cream, the sweetness of the milk, and a tablespoon of vanilla are all that is needed to give this ice cream all the flavor it needs to be a true delight. Your family and friends are going to be oh-so impressed with the finished product, and so will you.

Pour the cream into a pan, and place in the freezer

Once the cream is mixed well, you're ready to pour it into an 8x5-inch loaf pan. Beham says that he used a metal pan because the cream freezes quicker in a metal container. However, you don't have to use a metal pan or a loaf pan. You can use any bowl or container as long as it is considered safe for use in the freezer. When the cream is in the pan, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or a lid.

Now comes what might be the most difficult part of the process — waiting for the cream to harden. Place the pan in the freezer, and allow it to freeze solid. Beahm says in a metal pan, the freezing process takes about four hours, but it could take longer depending on the type of pan you use.

While your ice cream is in the freezer, it's a great time to think about fun bowls to serve it in. Be creative, and keep an eye out for some vintage cocktail glasses when you are tag sale shopping just to make the presentation of a dessert like this extra Pinterest-worthy.

Serve the ice cream with your favorite toppings

Once the 3-ingredient no-churn vanilla ice cream is solid, you're ready to enjoy it with your favorite toppings. Beahm says his favorite topping for vanilla ice cream is hot fudge or caramel. But you don't have to stop there! The options are endless. He suggests chocolate chips, sprinkles, or crushed cookies. If you're looking for a slightly healthier topping, you could always go with sliced fruit. If you'd rather go with a topping that has a salty flavor, you could try crushed-up pretzels or salted nuts. The sky is the limit, and you should be as creative as you'd like to be. Heck, you can even pick up some whipped cream and cherries! And don't forget, you can never go wrong by eating it plain. 

However you choose to eat it, this ice cream won't disappoint. In fact, this homemade ice cream recipe is so perfect to prepare for a special date night, an outdoor family movie night, or a dessert night with your best friends. Just keep in mind that Beahm notes you might want to let the container sit on the counter for a couple minutes before scooping. (The recipe yields 12 ½-cup servings.) Beahm also mentions that it'll keep for a few weeks if it's wrapped well or sealed in the freezer. Chances are, it won't be there for long, though. We are pretty certain you will be pulling out this recipe quite a few times throughout the summer!

3-Ingredient No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
4.9 from 36 ratings
You only need three items to make this mouthwatering ice cream that comes out creamy, with a sweet and very vanilla taste.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowls of vanilla ice cream
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 7 ounces (½ can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Beat on high speed with an electric mixer until thick, stiff peaks form.
  3. Pour the cream into an 8x5-inch loaf pan, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  4. Transfer to the freezer and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.
  5. Serve with your favorite ice cream toppings.
Calories per Serving 227
Total Fat 19.8 g
Saturated Fat 12.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 73.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 10.5 g
Sodium 39.9 mg
Protein 2.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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