Is there anything better than homemade ice cream!? I think not. It is fun (and shockingly easy) to make and just so delicious. Truly, this is such an easy recipe. I made mine with peaches but you could keep things simple and do a classic vanilla bean, or of course you can do any fruit or opt for something like chocolate chips, etc! The options are endless and there are so many great ice cream flavors; I want to try them all.
The key is making the creamy custard base (which has taken me personally a bit of mastery this summer, but after making it a couple times you will be an old pro, I PROMISE!) There are a lot of other ways of making ice cream (like with sweetened condensed milk or ice and salt, or Philadelphia style which means made by simply churning milk, cream, sugar and flavorings together) but making the custard ice cream base isn’t that hard and it’s the most delicious option of all… it’s smooth, rich and creamy… it’s perfect. I have had my ice cream maker for a few years now and it was a great purchase… it’s become one of my favorite small comforts during the pandemic. It is not expensive and is a really good ice cream machine. Besides this recipe which is SO VERSATILE, I’d also recommend this ice cream cookbook – there are so many good recipes! (I made the bananas foster ice cream a month or so ago and it was DELISH.)
DIY Ice Cream Recipe
if you want to make it with fruit:
- one teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups fruit
- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1.5 cups whole milk
- 5 egg yolks (TIP: crack and separate your eggs BEFORE you start, this will save stress while making the custard!!)
- one cup sugar
- one teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: Your favorite topping. Chocolate syrup, whip cream, sprinkles, ETC!
- Mixing Bowls
- Potato Masher or Blender / Food Processor
- Ice Cream Maker
- Ice Cream Container (any other airtight container will work, I do just really like these – the longer shape lets you drag the ice cream scoop to get the perfect round scoop!)
IF you are making it with fruit (I did mine with peaches!), start by prepping the fruit. Slice and (if applicable) peel the fruit, and let it sit for an hour or so with 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon juice. This is going to release the juices of the fruit into a syrupy liquid! I put mine in a bowl but you could also use a large plastic bag.
I have FEELINGS on how the fruit should be prepped. Some people just mash the fruit but I like it to be in small chunks. After an hour or so, mash up the fruit and juices with a potato masher (or a fork) OR, stick it into a blender and lightly blend (my preferred route). You do not want big chunks of fruit. Trust me on this one (I had a failed attempt using larger chunks!), it won’t freeze as well but also when it does freeze you just don’t want big hard chunks of fruit.
Once the juices are sufficiently released, strain the fruit mixture. Separate juice/syrup mixture and fruit, cover and refrigerate both things.
making the custard base:
- In a saucepan, heat up the milk and heavy cream with 1/2 cup of sugar, stirring. Get it hot but not to the point of bubbling.
- Combine 5 egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar, whisk for a few minutes until it’s fully combined and light/fluffy looking.
- Slowy (while continuing to whisk) add one cup of the heated milk mixture.
- Add egg/milk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and cream. Stir on medium heat for around 4 minutes or so, so that the mixture thickens slightly.
- Remove from heat, and strain the custard base into a new (clean!) bowl.
- Stir in the fruit juices, cover with plastic wrap (or these beeswax wraps!) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
A custard base just makes the most delicious ice cream!
Pour ice cream base into ice cream maker and churn ice cream according to the instructions that come with your maker (mine’s about 25-30 minutes).
Since my fruit was more of a puree vs big chunks, I added a few spoonfuls at the very beginning and kept spooning them into the ice cream mixture throughout. Add the reserved fruit chunks (or any other mix-in ingredient like chocolate chips, etc) during the last minute or so. I added a little too much (the ice cream maker overflowed a bit as you can see above, but that is okay!
Transfer the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours! Voila, easy ice cream!
DIY Ice Cream Variations
There are so many other ways to make this ice cream. I personally love fruity ice cream. Instead of peaches, you could also do strawberries (or literally any other fruit!). But you could skip fruit and do chocolate chips, a few swirls of peanut butter any other mix-in (I’d probably use about one cup). Just add in the topping during the last minute or so of churning. I will keep updating this post as I make more variations!
Vanilla Ice Cream
If you just want vanilla, the custard base is the perfect homemade vanilla ice cream recipe!
Chocolate chips or other hard topping
During the last couple minutes, add 1 cup of your topping to the mixture. I would spoon it in one tablespoon at a time.
This is going to be my next ice cream adventure. I’d add instant coffee to the custard base, and then add crushed oreos during the last few minutes of churning. Once I play around and get the portions right I will update this post!
Tips for How to Make Ice Cream at Home
Separate Eggs in Advance
This is a silly tip but I promise it will make your life so much easier. Before starting the custard, have your 5 egg yolks separated and ready to go!
Remember to freeze your bowl the day before!
This is always something I forget to do and then I end up having to refrigerate the custard overnight. So just don’t forget – put the bowl in the freezer the night before you want to make your ice cream or you will be very sad the next day.
Add your mix-ins slowly!
I like to spoon my mix-ins into the ice cream base SLOWLY. The reason for this is two-fold. No big chunks of toppings, but also… it can be easy to mess up and overflow your ice cream maker. You don’t want to do that. Add them in slowly, one tablespoon at a time!
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