This summer, Hubby and I are having a hard time balancing house and yard projects with family fun time. Weekends are the only time we can really get much done on the seemingly never-ending projects we want to tackle. On the list are tiling a patio table-top, doing a bit of landscaping, building some custom closet storage and building a bed. Never mind the ongoing house and yard maintenance. But every weekend we are tempted by the many nearby State parks, local festivals and fairs and cities and towns that we have not yet explored, plus bike rides and swimming pool time. This weekend we ended up doing a road trip to the Mississippi River that took us a whole day. It was a great time, and we got to try out our new camera on the abundance of creatures there (photos taken by Hubby, who is a much better photographer than I). We did end up getting a little work done, but still no progress on the projects. Maybe that’s just life with kids? Anyone else have that problem?
Anyway, after a hot summer day – whether it’s spent working or playing – you just want some ice cream. But if you don’t have any in the freezer, what do you do? Two options: you could go to the store and pick some up or you could make some. The problem with making ice cream is that it is often an hours long project. Traditional custard based ice creams need to be cooked first due to the addition of eggs. Then they have to be cooled completely before freezing it in the ice cream maker.
With this No Cook Three Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream, you can skip the cooking and drastically shorten the cooling steps. This means you get to eat ice cream faster. It also means that you can make delicious homemade ice cream on short notice if you find out you’re having people over for dinner in a couple of hours. And who isn’t impressed by homemade ice cream?
Now let me tell you: I have tried MANY ice cream recipes since I got my ice cream maker several years ago. Unfortunately, I have had limited success with many of the recipes. I find they either leave a fatty, buttery film in my mouth (which I assume means too much fat in the recipe) or they get rock hard when frozen. This vanilla ice cream is one of the few recipes that turns out perfect.
All you need for this recipe are three simple ingredients: half and half cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. If you have any vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste, those would be great additions instead of or with less of the vanilla extract. If not, regular old vanilla extract is just fine. Before you get the ice cream maker out, mix the ingredients together until the sweetened condensed milk is completely dissolved. Doing this in a container that will be easy to pour from makes things easier for you. Note that before you put the mixture in the ice cream maker, you want it to be ice cold, especially if it’s a hot day. If not, your ice cream maker will warm up before the mixture is frozen and you will have to start all over again (trust me, I know from experience). To get the mixture perfectly cold, put it in the fridge for awhile, or stick in in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Just don’t forget it in there.
Then pour it into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn away (following your ice cream maker’s directions). It will be done when it is not getting any more frozen. It should look like soft serve, but may only get to the texture of a milkshake if it’s hot in the kitchen (in which case, it will freeze more solid). At this point, you can add mix-ins if you like. Think crumbled Oreo’s, cookie dough, chopped up chocolate bars, fruit or a ribbon of fudge or caramel sauce. You can either eat it soft, or transfer it to a container and put it in the freezer until firm.
This ice cream is delicious on its own, but like any vanilla ice cream, you could make a sundae with you choice of fruit, fudge or caramel sauce or serve a small scoop of it with your favorite pie or fruit dessert. It’s excellent with Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler. You could also use it in Smores Ice Cream Cake.
Keep in mind that a healthy portion size for ice cream (homemade or otherwise) is only half a cup. You should get 10-12 half-cup servings from this recipe, depending on how much air gets churned in. The above photo shows a roughly 1 cup portion, which would be 2 servings.
- 4 cups half and half cream (1 litre)
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
Mix ingredients together completely in a bowl or pitcher. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker (see note) and freeze, following the directions of the ice cream maker. Serve immediately for soft ice cream, or transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze until firm.
If mixture is not chilled, chill completely in the fridge or freezer (ensure to keep checking on it to make sure it doesn't freeze) before pouring into ice cream maker.
Easy Vanilla Ice Cream Nutrition Notes
Obviously, ice cream is not a health food, and this recipe is no exception. Keep portion sizes small to avoid overdoing it. One serving of any type of ice cream is only 1/2 a cup (that means that a pint sized container should last you for 4 servings!)