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Simple No-Machine Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Nothing beats a fantastic vanilla ice cream. It can be enjoyed on its own, drizzled with syrups or liqueurs, or served alongside pie or cake. And nothing beats Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream. It is five simple ingredients - cream, concentrated skim milk, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Yet to me, the texture and flavor is unrivaled to any other store bought brand. The only issue is the price. It is a premium brand that uses premium ingredients, and the price per 2/3 cup serving as of the date of this blog is $2.02 when purchasing a pint and $1.48 when purchasing a quart.

I set out to make my own homemade variation using similar simple ingredients but at a much more affordable price. And the best part of this method is it doesn't require an ice cream maker. I use some simple hacks like whipping the cream in advance and using powdered sugar which contains corn starch to keep the ice cream from freezing hard. It still may require a few minutes on the counter to soften but it will stay scoopable. 

I calculated the cost of my version, and the same 2/3 cup serving comes out to $0.79. That's a 50-60% savings from Haagen Dazs! Check out my math in the table below. With that amount of savings plus the ease of this recipe, it's definitely worth giving it a try to see if you can forgo expensive premium vanilla ice cream without the hassle of an ice cream machine.

One additional note is the final product will not be as pure of an ingredient list as Haagen Dazs because it is challenging to find whipping cream and evaporated nonfat milk without added ingredients like thickeners and stabilizers. Plus the powdered sugar has cornstarch, but this recipe is still pretty clean especially when compared to other vanilla ice cream brands.


  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream (target 4.5-5.0g of total fat per 15ml serving which equates to 30-33% fat)
  • 1 12oz can evaporated nonfat milk (nonfat better balances the heaving whipping cream)
  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Ideally a day or two before you want the ice cream, grab a sauce pan and whisk together the evaporated milk, powdered sugar, and egg yolks if using.
  • Heat over medium heat while stirring as constantly as possible until it reaches 180 degrees. Ideally use a thermometer. As reference, a latte is typically 160 degrees so should be hotter than that but not boiling otherwise the egg can scramble.
  • You can also try skipping the egg yolks. This will lower the fat and cholesterol and make it easier to prepare but the final product may not be as rich, flavorful, or smooth in consistency.
  • Remove from heat and at this point stir in the vanilla extract to maximize its flavor.
  • Strain the mixture through a sieve into a jar or lidded container, and refrigerate until completely cool. 
  • Also make sure the whipping cream is chilled along with the bowls, whisks, and containers that you need going forward. Having everything cooled will make the next steps easier.
  • At least 4 hours before you want ice cream, remove everything from the fridge. 
  • Whip the whipping cream using a stand mixer or hand mixer for about 3-4 minutes until you get soft peaks. Don't overwhip or it will turn to butter.
  • Add two heaping spoonfuls of whip cream to the milk mixture and gently stir in. Now add the entire milk mixture into the remaining whip cream and gently stir in.
  • Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze for 3 hours or more. If it gets too hard, set out at room temperature for 5-10 minutes until scoopable.


I list all these Haagen Dazs links because in preparing this post I found something interesting. Their recipe for vanilla ice cream is different in Canada vs. the U.S. The U.S. version as you'd suspect has more fat, sodium, and sugar. Interestingly, it also has a reduced serving size [perhaps to conceal this nutritional difference. The serving size in Canada is 3/4 cup (188g) and in the U.S. it is 2/3cup (129g).