A step-by-step guide for how to make no-churn ice cream with gourmet results! All you need is two simple ingredients for the base. Customize to create your homemade ice cream and delicious flavors.
Table of Contents
What if I told you ice cream could be made with minimal time and no fancy equipment? You only need two main ingredients; heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. That’s it! With a bit of imagination, you can make any flavor your heart desires.
I will show you how to make a no-churn ice cream recipe flavored with vanilla. It’s a versatile base that you can adapt your any flavor combination. Whipping the cream mimics the actions of an ice cream maker. Use tools already in your kitchen, like a bowl and whisk, or speed things up with a stand mixer. Add your favorite mix-ins to switch up the ice cream recipe. Let’s get started!
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: Use a 14-ounce can. With 60% of the water removed, it adds more milk solids to the ice cream base, giving you a thicker texture. Sugar is already added, equivalent to about 1 cup of granulated sugar.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Contains no less than 36% milk fat. This helps to hold the air pockets to lighten the ice cream when whipped. It also gives a super creamy ice cream. You need 2 cups of cream.
- Vanilla: Use vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, or the seeds scraped from one whole bean. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons.
Equipment and tools
Here’s the good news, no need for an ice cream machine to make a delicious frozen treat! Grab these simple tools:
- Measuring cups, spoons, and spatula
- Stand mixer, hand mixer, immersion blender, blender, food or large whisk
- Large metal mixing bowls
- Ice Cream Containers- Pints, quarts, 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, 9×9-inch square pan, or other containers for freezing
- Wax paper or parchment paper, plastic wrap, and foil
- Hungry taste testers!
Step 1: Flavor the sweetened condensed milk
Sweetened condensed milk is a dairy product that has been concentrated and combined with sugar to give a caramel-like consistency and super sweet milky flavor! Add a 14-ounce can to a large bowl as the sweet component of your ice cream. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
I prefer to use vanilla bean paste, adding two teaspoons. It’s an affordable option that adds flavor and pretty vanilla bean specks for a gourmet appearance. This is the time to add other flavoring agents like extracts, cocoa powder, instant coffee or espresso, or other liquid ingredients.
Step 2: Whip the cream
The process is like making whipped cream, with plenty of options. Use 2 cups of chilled heavy whipping cream for the no-churn recipe. Use a hand or stand mixer, immersion blender, blender, food processor, or a whisk and large metal bowl. Whip the cream until “stiff peaks” form. When you pull the whisk from the bowl, the cream can stand up to form a stiff unmoving peak. This takes about 2 minutes in a stand mixer or 3 minutes in hand whisking.
Be careful not to overwhip; it will become lumpy instead of fluffy and smooth. The whipped cream gives a super-rich and creamy mouthfeel and adds air to the ice cream base, just like overrun, so it’s scoopable once frozen.
Step 3: Make the ice cream base
To incorporate the sweetened condensed milk mixture with the whipped cream, start by adding ⅓ of the whipped cream to the condensed milk. Gently fold the cream into the condensed milk. This helps lighten the condensed milk and evenly mix the ingredients and flavorings. If you add all the cream at once, you will have to fold more times which may cause too much air loss and makes a dense product.
Add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold in until the mixture is smooth with just a few small lumps left. See how the base is consistent in color and texture and still fluffy like clouds? Try your best not to deflate by over-mixing. The vanilla ice cream mixture will yield about 5 cups.
To create a uniform mix, you can add other mix-ins like chocolate chips, crumbled cookies, fruit, or chopped nuts.
Step 4: Freeze the ice cream
Transfer the ice cream base to the desired container. I use a metal 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. It’s perfect for holding up to 1 quart of ice cream. If there is no lid, then place a piece of plastic wrap on top, gently pressing down so that there is no room for air to enter. Cover with wax or parchment paper, cutting to fit in the pan as an additional barrier.
Using foil, cover the pan and freeze until hardened, about 6 hours or overnight. You want to minimize the exposure of the ice cream surface to the environment to reduce ice crystal formation or freezer burn on top. The no-churn vanilla ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
If you’ve ever wanted to design your own ice cream flavor, here’s your chance! Here are delicious ways to customize no-churn ice cream.
- Chocolate: Add Dutch-processed cocoa powder, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, M&M’s, or chopped chocolate.
- Fruit: Add chopped strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango, peach, or pineapple. Make a compote or jam to add a fruit swirl like my raspberry ice cream.
- Mint Chocolate Chip: Add peppermint extract and chocolate chips. A tiny amount of green food coloring changes the hue.
- Caramel: Add caramel sauce, sea salt, and chopped nuts for sweet and salty ice cream.
- Cookies and Cream: Add crushed Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, graham crackers, or peanut butter cookies.
- Coffee: Add cold brew, chilled espresso, instant coffee, or espresso. Toffee pieces add a nice caramel flavor.
- Matcha: Add in matcha green tea powder for a Japanese-inspired flavor.
- Nut Butter: Warm up some peanut butter, almond butter, or your favorite butter. Swirl in or mix for a nutty taste.
- Rocky Road: Combine cocoa powder, mini marshmallows, and chopped almonds.
- S’mores: Crushed graham crackers, chocolate pieces, or make a chocolate ice cream base.
Serve this with
Any excuse to enjoy some ice cream for dessert is always welcome. These are some of my favorite pairings to try:
- Make ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or peanut butter cookies.
- Add a scoop on top of a brownie.
- Serve with a warm peach cobbler or grilled peaches.
- Make it a la mode with a slice of apple pie, apple crisp, or cherry pie.
- A must-have with bananas foster or a banana split.
Frequently asked questions
If you overwhip the ice cream base or whipped cream, it will become very clumpy as the fat globules cling together. It will have an unpleasant texture like butter. Stop mixing when the cream looks smooth, with enough air incorporated to hold its shape when scooped. Target “stiff peaks” of the whipped cream when making no-churn ice cream.
If you don’t have an airtight container, make sure to cover the surface of the ice cream using plastic wrap, parchment paper, and foil to create layers. This reduces the exposure of the moisture on the surface to the damp and cold environment in the freezer. Alternatively, if there is a lot of ice crystal formation, blend to break down the ice. This will create more of a soft-serve consistency.
Enjoy within 2 weeks for the best taste. Any longer and more ice crystals will form, especially if the container goes from freezing the room temperature back several times. It does not contain gums to reduce ice crystals like in commercial products, so the shelf life is shorter.
it’s natural for the raspberry juice to taste slightly icy on top of the ice cream because it contains water. However, you can add honey or corn syrup instead granulated sugar to reduce crystallization for a slightly softer texture.
Difference between churned and no-churn ice cream
Churned ice cream uses a sweet liquid base which may contain cream, milk, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, guar gum, or carrageenan. It’s added to an ice cream machine, chilling it to become solid while churning to incorporate air and reduce the size of ice crystal formation. The air creates air pockets called overrun, which lightens the texture. No-churn ice cream only uses whipped cream to mimic churning and trapped air. Sweetened condensed milk adds milk solids and sweetness for a creamy, scoopable texture.
No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or extract
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Flavor the Sweetened Condensed Milk – In a large bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk with the vanilla bean paste and set aside.
- Whip the Cream – In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the heavy cream. Whisk on medium-high (setting 8) until a fluffy and smooth consistency is reached and stiff peaks form, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. It should hold its shape when lifted from the bowl. Do not over-whip!Alternatively, hand whisk by adding the heavy cream to a chilled large metal bowl. Slightly tilt the bowl and vigorously whisk until stiff peaks form, about 3 ½ to 4 minutes.
- Make the Ice Cream Base – Gently fold in ⅓ of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold in until the mixture is smooth with just a few small lumps left. Do not deflate the mixture by over-mixing!
- Freeze the Ice Cream – Transfer the ice cream base to a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan or container large enough to hold a 1-quart mixture. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top. Cover with a piece of parchment paper that fits just the surface of the ice cream. Cover the pan tightly with foil or lid. Freeze until hardened, about 6 hours.
- Recipe Yield: About 5 cups
- Serving Size: About ½ cup
- Storing: Freeze for 2 to 4 weeks
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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