Go Back
+ servings
vanilla ice cream scoops in clear glass.
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Classic Vanilla Custard Ice Cream Base

The homemade vanilla custard ice cream base is made with lots of egg yolks (for creaminess), cream, and milk. This is the best simple machine ice cream recipe to make at home no matter the occasion because you can customize it with mix-ins or topping of your choice!
Prep Time42 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Chilling Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 42 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 1 ¼ quarts
Calories: 2888kcal
Author: Jessica Mode



  • Fill a large bowl with ice to use later as an ice bath. Place an empty bowl on top of the ice. Set aside.
  • In a heavy bottom saucepan combine heavy cream, milk, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat until mixture is steaming and small bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot, around 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Once the milk and cream mixture is steaming, stream a ladle full of the hot mixture over the eggs while quickly whisking.
  • Add the egg mixture back into the saucepan with milk and cream. Whisk to combine. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the ice cream base reaches 180°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Place a fine mesh strainer over the empty bowl on top of the ice bath. Strain ice cream base. Chill ice cream base until it has stopped steaming. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 - 8 hours, or up to overnight. The temperature should reach 40 - 42°F during this time in the refrigerator.
  • Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process for about 20-25 minutes, or according to the manufacturer's directions. 
  • The ice cream will be on the soft side but can be eaten right away or put into the freezer to "cure" or harden up for a couple of hours. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 - 3 weeks.



Don't forget to place the ice cream machine bowl in the freezer 24 hours before churning if you don't have a built-in freezer compressor.
To add mix-ins like Oreos, sprinkles, or cookie dough bites into the ice cream base, add to the ice cream maker about 2-4 minutes before the ice cream is done freezing. Allow the mix-ins to incorporate into the ice cream.
Learn more about how to properly store homemade ice cream.


Serving: 1¼ quart | Calories: 2888kcal | Carbohydrates: 232g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 207g | Saturated Fat: 123g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 63g | Cholesterol: 1567mg | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 852mg | Sugar: 217g | Vitamin A: 8648IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 749mg | Iron: 3mg