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+ servings

Vanilla Ice Cream

Process is key when constructing classic and creamy homemade vanilla ice cream. Follow these simple steps, and you'll be rewarded with a flavorful treat that's far better than a store-bought pint.
This recipe first appeared in Season 9 of Good Eats.
Serious Vanilla Ice Cream scooped into a rocks glass.
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 8 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts


  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Specialized Hardware

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Digital instant-read thermometer
  • Ice cream maker


  • Combine the half and half and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Whisk the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl until they lighten in color. Gradually whisk the sugar into the yolks until smooth.
  • Slowly ladle one third of the hot dairy into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. (This is the tempering part.) Return this mixture to the pot containing the rest of the dairy. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the custard thickens slightly, enough to coat the. back of a spoon, and reaches 170 to 175ºF.
  • Wash the original mixing bowl. When the custard is ready, transfer it to the now-clean bowl, stir in the vanilla, and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until the temperature drops below 40°F, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  • Pour into a prepped ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.