This post includes affiliate links or sponsored content. Read our full Disclosure here.
Once upon a time two ice cream scoopers fell in love, got married and had 3 baby cones. That is the short story of how the Adventure Family came to be. So what better time than National Root Beer Float Day to share our favorite easy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe?! Check out our coverage of National Root Beer Float Day on CBS Washington D.C.’s “Great Day Washington” (WUSA-TV).
We know our way around an ice cream scoop and take any opportunity to enjoy ice cream on our adventures. Sometimes it’s more fun to make your own at home! When making ice cream at home with kids, keep it simple! When you are first getting started with homemade ice cream, get good quality ingredients and skip the eggs, take it from an ice cream snob, the result is not worth the time.
Once you are getting good at this easy recipe or if you have older kids that are dedicated to the cause, check out the rich ice cream at one of our favorite ice cream shops ever, Murphy’s Ice Cream in Ireland. Their ice cream recipes include eggs which result in a more smooth and creamy ice cream. The vanilla is good, the sea salt is even better! I know it sounds weird, but just trust me.
4 Simple ingredients
Ok let’s talk ingredients. Since the name of this recipe is EASY Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, the point is that it’s easy. So grab what you have on hand. If you are planning ahead or shopping for homemade ice cream, get the best quality ingredients you can. Think happy cows. Go for the organic grass-fed cream. Vanilla ice cream really showcases the flavor of your ingredients.
Use the best vanilla you have since it is the main flavor. We got vanilla beans on the cheap during our trip to Madagascar and fell in love with the flavor! Luckily we have dear friends who live in Réunion, a small French island just east of Madagascar, who have been supplying us with local Réunion vanilla beans over the years. But, this is supposed to be easy and kid friendly so even I grab the quality pure Madagascar vanilla extract for this recipe.
When you are making ice cream by hand keep in mind that using heavy cream creates a richer creamier ice cream. You can substitute with milk or half and half, but it may take longer to freeze. You need 4 cups of dairy overall so however you have to substitute to get there will be fine. It may not be award winning, but your family will have fun making AND eating it. Ice cream made with half and half is still better than no ice cream at all.
simple steps to homemade ice cream
This super easy homemade vanilla ice cream can actually be made in two resealable bags. The ice cream ingredients go into one bag. Make sure to shake it until the sugar is dissolved and you let any extra air out of the bag. Put that bag of ice cream deliciousness into another resealable bag. You load this outer bag up with ice and rock salt. Don’t overload with ice, but fit in as much of the 3-4 cups as you can. It works best if you fill up the bag halfway with ice, add half of the salt and then repeat.
Why Rock Salt?
I know you’re probably wondering do I have to use rock salt? No. Most people don’t have rock salt around the house so you can use any salt you have on hand. Rock salt distributes in the ice better, but all salt will cause the ice to melt and absorb the heat from your ice cream mixture which is the science behind ice cream from a bag.
Do you want to turn homemade ice cream into a game? We have an ice cream ball that we also use to make easy homemade vanilla ice cream. It works similar to the two bag method. It has two openings: one inside compartment for the ice cream ingredients and one outer compartment for the ice and salt. The kids love rolling it around, shaking it and playing games while we make ice cream. You can find your own ice cream maker ball on Amazon.
If you’re looking for an easy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe for an automatic ice cream maker you’re in luck. This recipe is great for any automatic ice cream maker too. After you mix the ingredients just pour it into your machine and wait. Read your machine manual for details on loading and using your specific machine. This recipe usually takes about 20 minutes in our Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream Maker.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!
Now that you are basically ice cream experts, go make some ice cream! Be sure to tag us @theadvfam if you post pictures so we can swoon over your creations!
If you’re not in the mood for ice cream today, pin this to your favorite board and save for later.
Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
- ice cream maker (optional)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract pure vanilla extract when possible
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 resealable bags gallon size works well
- 3-4 cups ice
- 1/3 cup rock salt * you can substitute any salt you have on hand
- Add ice cream ingredients to a resealable bag. Squeeze out any air and seal. Shake to dissolve sugar.
- Place the bag with ice cream ingredients inside another resealable bag.
- Fill second bag with ice. Sprinkle with rock salt and seal.
- Shake the bag vigorously until the ice cream hardens, about 10-15 minutes.
- Once the ice cream is hard, remove the inner bag and dry if off. Serve and Enjoy
- For a harder ice cream place the ice cream bag in the freezer for 2 hours