If you love ice cream as much as I do, but have never made it yourself, here’s how to make quick easy homemade ice cream. And you don’t need an ice cream machine to make it.
Ice cream has to be one of the most popular comfort foods around today. Many a broken heart has been soothed with a bowl of ice cream. It’s loved by adults and children alike. But where did it come from? Let’s find out.
The History of Ice Cream
There are many stories about the origins of ice cream. Some say it dates back to the second century B.C. But no specific date of origin nor an inventor have ever been identified. Alexander the Great was fond of snow and ice mixed with honey and nectar. And the Romans used to send runners into the hills to gather snow, which was then flavoured with fruit and juices.
It wasn’t until the 16th century that this flavoured ice and snow became ice cream. England discovered ice cream around the same time as the Italians, possibly even earlier. The product was then known as ‘cream ice’ and was a favourite of King Charles l in the 17th century. But France got there earlier when an Italian named Catherine de Medici married Henry II of France and introduced them to ice cream.
But ice cream wasn’t made available to the general public until 1660. A Sicilian by the name of Procopio invented a recipe containing milk, cream, eggs, and butter and sold it at his Cafe Procope, the first cafe in Paris.
For the full story of ice cream and its origins click here.
Coming to America
Ice cream reached America around 1744. Records showed that President George Washington spent $200 on ice cream during the summer of 1790 – a small fortune at that time! Another President, Thomas Jefferson, had a favourite 18-step recipe which closely resembles a dessert that we’re familiar with today, Baked Alaska.
Until around 1800, ice cream was reserved for the wealthy members of society. It was considered a rare and exotic dessert. Until someone invented ice houses; then the manufacture of ice cream became possible on an industrial scale. The leading pioneer of this new process in 1851 was a gentleman from Baltimore called Jacob Fussell. Suddenly, everyone could eat ice cream.
Today, it is estimated that 6.4 billion pounds of ice cream are produced by the USA alone. That’s a lot of ice cream.
How to Make Your Own Delicious Ice Cream at Home
Making your own ice cream at home is easier than you might think. All you need are some quality ingredients and a bit of free time and you’re ready. You don’t have to use an ice cream machine, but if you want to buy one, they are not expensive and will pay you back many times over with pints of delicious, creamy ice cream.
Rich Vanilla Ice Cream
This is the real thing; made with cream, eggs and sugar. The base for most ice creams is a rich custard. Flavours are added further along in the process. Makes enough for 10 – 12 servings.
300 ml single cream
1 vanilla pod or a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
100g caster sugar
300 ml double cream
Heat the single cream in a pan with the vanilla pod or extract until it’s almost boiling. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and leave until cold. Remove the vanilla pod if used and wash it thoroughly to use again.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale in colour, but not too frothy. An electric hand whisk is best for this job. Reheat the cream until almost boiling then pour it over the eggs, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon all the time. Rinse out the pan and pour in the custard. Heat gently, stirring continuously, until it’s thickened enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon without immediately running off. Allow it to cool completely then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Whip the double cream until thick and of a floppy consistency, then fold it gently into the chilled custard. Now either pour it into an ice cream machine and freeze-churn until ready (about 20 minutes on average) or transfer the custard to a freezer-proof container and freeze for a couple of hours.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and beat it well with an electric hand whisk. This breaks up the ice crystals, ensuring that your ice cream is as smooth and as luscious as possible. Repeat this process twice more, at hourly intervals.
Transfer the ice cream to the fridge for about 30 minutes so that it’s soft enough to scoop out and serve. Decorate with fresh berries and a sprig of mint.
Summer Strawberry Ice Cream
This is a light, creamy ice cream bursting with the flavour of ripe strawberries. You don’t need to make the basic custard for this recipe so it’s quicker to make. Serves 6 – 8.
450g ripe strawberries, stalks and hulls removed
300 ml double cream
150 – 200g icing sugar, according to how sweet you like it
Juice of half a lemon
Cut the strawberries in half and puree them in a blender or food processor. Pour into a bowl and add the lemon juice and icing sugar. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Stir in the double cream.
Either freeze-churn in an ice cream machine or follow the method for rich vanilla ice cream above. Serve with some whole strawberries if you want.
Pecan Nut and Maple Syrup Ice Cream
This is one of my favourite ice cream flavours. The crunch of the pecans paired with the rich, sweet, almost smoky maple syrup is a perfect combination. Serves 6.
2 large eggs, separated
100g of granulated sugar
150 ml of water
2 – 3 tablespoons maple syrup
300 ml double or whipping cream
100g of pecan nuts, shells removed and roughly chopped
Put the egg whites into a large bowl and the yolks in a smaller one. Place the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar crystals have melted. Boil hard until it reaches the ‘hard ball’ stage; to test if it’s ready, drop a little of the sugar syrup into a saucer of ice cold water. Mould it into a ball with your fingers and pick it up. It should feel quite firm and a bit sticky. If it’s not quite ready, continue boiling and test again in a few minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until they’re stiff. Pour the sugar syrup onto them, slowly and carefully, beating continuously. Once all of the syrup is in, beat until the mixture has cooled.
Mix the maple syrup into the egg yolks. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it stands up in soft peaks. Add the egg mixture and the chopped pecans to the cream and stir it into the meringue until thoroughly combined. Transfer to an ice cream maker or a freezer proof box and freeze until firm. You don’t need to beat this one at hourly intervals.
*If pecans are not available, use walnuts instead.
Cardamom and Honey Ice Cream
Cardamoms are usually seen as a savoury ingredient. But their unique flavour, like a sweeter version of eucalyptus, also works in sweet dishes. This ice cream has a wonderful flavour. Serves 8 – 10.
2 tablespoons of green cardamom pods
300 ml single cream
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon soft light brown or muscovado sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of runny honey
300 ml double cream
Crack open the cardamom pods and remove the little brown or black seeds. Rub the seeds between your fingers to remove the husks. Discard the pods. Crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar, or with the end of a rolling pin. Heat the single cream and cardamom seeds together until almost boiling, then remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick, but not too frothy. Reheat the single cream until almost boiling again then pour it onto the eggs. At this point, you can strain the mixture through a sieve and remove the cardamom seeds. But feel free to leave them in if you prefer. Return to the rinsed out pan and heat gently, stirring continuously, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.
Allow the custard to cool then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Whip the double cream until soft peaks form, stir in the honey and add to the custard mixture. Either freeze-churn until frozen or transfer to a freezer proof container and beat at hourly intervals to break up the ice crystals.
Pistachio Ice Cream
This ice cream has a lovely, pale green colour. The pistachios lend a nice crunch. Serves 4 – 6.
300 ml single cream
1 large egg and 2 extra yolks
75g caster sugar
50g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
150 ml double cream
Pour the single cream into a pan and heat until it’s just about to boil. Remove from the heat. Put the whole egg and the yolks into a bowl and add the sugar. Beat until thick and creamy, then pour over the hot cream. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water, and stir until the mixture has thickened.
Transfer the mixture to a freezer proof container, stir in the chopped nuts and put it in the fridge to chill. Whip the cream to the soft peak stage and fold gently into the ice cream. You can then either freeze-churn it in an ice cream machine or cover it with a lid or foil and freeze it until firm. Remove from the freezer after an hour and beat well to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process twice more, at hourly intervals, then freeze until solid.
Christmas Pudding Ice Cream
This was my dad’s favourite ice cream. It tastes like an English Christmas pudding but doesn’t actually contain any. This is best made using the traditional method but if you want to make it in an ice cream maker, add the dried fruit for the last few minutes of churning. Serves 4 -6.
100g mixed dried fruit
4 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons port or sherry
450 ml single cream
3 large egg yolks
100g caster sugar
150 ml whipping cream
Grated zest of a medium orange
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Put the dried fruit in a bowl, pour over the rum and port, and leave to marinate in a cool place for 24 hours. The fruit will soak up the alcohol and become soft and plump.
Heat the single cream gently until it comes up to simmering point. Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together until thick and pale in colour. Pour on the hot cream, stirring constantly. Pour it back into the cream pan and heat gently until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Allow to go cold then chill in the fridge.
Whip the cream until it stands in soft peaks, then gently stir in the soaked fruit, orange zest and mixed spice. Transfer to a freezer proof container and cover with a lid. Beat well after an hour and return it to the freezer. Repeat this process twice more at hourly intervals.
Saffron and Ginger Ice Cream
This is a really unusual combination of flavours; sweet, spicy ginger and earthy saffron. But it is the most beautiful golden yellow colour and tastes wonderful. Serves 6 – 8.
300 ml whipping cream
150 ml full-fat milk
Pinch of saffron strands (about 5 or 6)
5 medium egg yolks
75g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
300 ml double cream
1 ball of preserved stem ginger, very finely chopped
3 tablespoons syrup from the ginger jar
Pour the milk and whipping cream into a small pan and add the saffron. Bring to the boil, then take the pan off the heat and stir well. Whisk together the egg yolks, ground ginger and the caster sugar until thickened and pale in colour. Add the hot cream, whisking continuously.
Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and heat gently, stirring all the time, until the custard has thickened. Add the chopped stem ginger and the syrup and allow the mixture to cool. Transfer to the fridge to chill.
Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks then fold it gently into the chilled custard. Freeze-churn in an ice cream machine or transfer to a freezer proof container and freeze for 2 hours. Remove from the freezer and beat with an electric whisk until smooth, then return to the freezer. Repeat this process twice more at hourly intervals.
This is nice with some extra ginger syrup drizzled over before serving.
White Chocolate and Chilli Ice Cream
This is a genuine recipe – in Mexico, they often add chillies to ice cream and the flavour is surprising. This is not for the faint-hearted, however. Scotch bonnet chillies are very hot, but they also have a pleasant fruitiness which goes well with the sweet white chocolate. Use a bar of good-quality white chocolate such as Lindt for the best flavour. Serves 8.
300 ml full-fat milk
1 – 2 small dried chillies
1 large cinnamon stick
4 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
100g white chocolate, finely chopped
300 ml double cream
1 Scotch bonnet chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
Heat the milk in a pan with the dried chillies and cinnamon stick until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale yellow in colour. Remove the cinnamon stick and chillies from the milk and reheat it until almost boiling. Add the chopped white chocolate and stir until completely melted. This will take about 5 minutes.
Pour the chocolate milk over the eggs, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and heat gently until thickened. Allow to go cold then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold into the chilled custard. Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze-churn, adding the chopped Scotch bonnet chilli for the last few minutes, or transfer to a freezer proof container and leave for 2 hours. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and beat it with an electric whisk. Repeat this process twice more at hourly intervals, adding the Scotch bonnet chilli on the second beating. Freeze until solid.
Black Forest Ice Cream
This is the ice cream version of the famous Black Forest gateau, a delicious combination of dark chocolate, kirsch-soaked cherries and cream. Serves 8 – 10.
600 ml double cream
397g tin of condensed milk
50g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
300g cherries in syrup, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons kirsch or dark rum
100g dark chocolate, grated
First of all, tip the cherries into a bowl and pour over the kirsch or rum. Leave to marinate in a cool place for 24 hours. Put the cream, condensed milk, cocoa powder and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk until starting to thicken. Drain the alcohol from the cherries but don’t throw it away.
Put about a third of the mixture in a freezer proof container, then add a third of the cherries, spoon over some of the reserved liquor and add a third of the grated chocolate. Keep going until all of the ingredients have been used up. Transfer to the freezer for 24 hours. No need to keep beating this mixture, just remove it from the freezer and let it soften in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes before serving.
I hope that this has inspired you to try making ice cream at home, and to come up with your own weird and wonderful flavours! If you have a favourite flavour do let me know and I will find a recipe for it. Please leave any comments or questions below.
If you have a sweet tooth, have a look at this post on how to make yummy desserts. It will make your mouth water!
Have you ever dreamed of starting your own online business? It’s easier than you think. Try Wealthy Affiliate; it’s worked for me, why not find out if it could work for you too? Best of all – it’s free!
6 thoughts on “Quick Easy Homemade Ice Cream”
Amusing history of Ice cream.
Now you make this pricey stuff at home to give your family a real treat where no one will complain and be only happy.
I welcome your cooking. It is interesting to know you could easily make these treats at home.
Just to let know, yesterday I was near Empire State Building Are and bought one ice cream to beat the heat wave of the early afternoon. For the chocolate ice cream with two toppings, the price is $14.00 (the price of is 1st topping was free! as advertised). I am so happy, it can be so easily made at home now with your tips and recipe.
I am a fan of your site and wait to enjoy your next and subsequent posts.
$14 for an ice cream!! That’s outrageous! You can make your own for around 50 cents per serving. Even if you were to invest in an ice cream making machine, you would still save money. And you can create all kinds of flavours that aren’t available in the shops.
Ice cream does make people happy and is enjoyed by all age groups. My aim when making ice cream is to make something that’s better than even the premium ice cream brands out there. I think I’ve succeeded with this collection of recipes.
I’m thinking of making my next post about chillies. That or roast chicken. But pop back soon!
Thank you for sharing this superb article. I love love love ice creams. I will try some of these recipes this weekend for my children. I am vegan, so, unfortunately, I won’t be able to enjoy these delicious ice creams. A small question about this. Will I get the same texture if I replace milk with soja milk and cream with soja cream?
I am curious:)
Thank you so much!
Hi Daniella, I’ve never tried to make ice cream with dairy substitutes but my good friend Kim is vegan and we made a rather delicious chocolate torte using a vegan cream substitute called Elmlea, which is vegetable fat based. I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t made with dairy cream and neither could Kim. Maybe try something like the summer strawberry ice cream, you don’t need to use eggs in it. Is there such a thing as vegan custard? I must find out! if so, you could use a carton of vegan custard as your base and add whatever flavours you want.
You could try using coconut milk instead of cream, adding some cornflour to thicken it. Coconut milk has a pleasant creamy flavour. You could then add some chopped pineapple for a pina colada ice cream.
I hope that you enjoy making the ice cream and that your kids love it. Please drop me a line and let me know how it goes!
Thank you very much for this valuable and detailed post about home made ice cream. I love to eat ice cream. But I have never made ice cream at home. You have told me step by step in this post how to make ice cream. I will definitely try to make this rich vanilla ice cream. Because I like to eat vanilla. Keep posting valuable posts like this. I definitely share this.
Yes, you should definitely try the vanilla ice cream, it’s completely different to one you would buy in the shops. It’s a very easy thing to make and saves money. Give all of the flavours a try!