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Simple Ice Cream Recipe: Only 4 Ingredients, Very Creamy, Excellent Yields

The Ultimate Guide to Making Simple, Creamy Ice Cream at Home

Ice cream is one of those timeless desserts that bring joy to both kids and adults alike. While store-bought ice cream can be convenient, nothing beats the rich, creamy texture and flavor of homemade ice cream. If you’ve ever thought making ice cream at home would be complicated, think again! This recipe is incredibly simple and requires only four ingredients. With just a little effort, you can create a delicious treat that rivals any commercial brand.

Why Make Ice Cream at Home?

There are several reasons why you might want to try your hand at making ice cream at home:

  1. Control Over Ingredients: You get to decide what goes into your ice cream, avoiding preservatives and artificial flavors.
  2. Customization: Add your favorite mix-ins and create unique flavors.
  3. Freshness: Homemade ice cream is fresher than store-bought, which often sits on shelves for weeks or months.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through a simple recipe that yields a creamy and delicious ice cream with minimal effort. Let’s get started!


To make this ice cream, you’ll need the following four ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

These ingredients are the foundation of a basic vanilla ice cream. From here, you can add various mix-ins or flavorings to customize your creation.


Before we dive into the steps, make sure you have the following equipment on hand:

  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk or electric mixer
  • Ice cream maker (optional but recommended for the best texture)
  • Freezer-safe container with lid

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Mixture

Mixing the Ingredients

  1. Combine the Cream and Milk: In a large mixing bowl, pour in the heavy cream and whole milk.
  2. Add Sugar: Gradually whisk in the granulated sugar until it’s completely dissolved. This step is crucial to ensure a smooth texture.
  3. Incorporate Vanilla: Stir in the vanilla extract, mixing thoroughly to distribute the flavor evenly.

Tips for Mixing

  • Use a cold bowl and whisk to keep the mixture as cool as possible.
  • Ensure the sugar is fully dissolved before moving to the next step.

Step 2: Churn the Ice Cream

Using an Ice Cream Maker

  1. Pre-chill the Machine: If your ice cream maker requires pre-chilling, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Pour in the Mixture: Slowly pour the prepared mixture into the ice cream maker.
  3. Churn: Let the machine churn the mixture for about 20-25 minutes, or until it reaches a soft-serve consistency.

No Ice Cream Maker? No Problem!

  1. Freeze the Mixture: Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and place it in the freezer.
  2. Stir Frequently: Every 30 minutes, remove the container and stir the mixture vigorously to break up ice crystals. Repeat this process for about 2-3 hours.

Tips for Churning

  • If using an ice cream maker, make sure the bowl is fully frozen for optimal results.
  • Stirring by hand? Use a fork or whisk to mix the ice cream every 30 minutes for a smoother texture.
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Step 3: Freeze and Serve

Final Freezing

  1. Transfer to Container: Once the ice cream has reached a soft-serve consistency, transfer it to a freezer-safe container.
  2. Freeze Until Firm: Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least 2-4 hours, or until the ice cream is firm.


  • Scoop and Enjoy: Use an ice cream scoop to serve your homemade ice cream in bowls or cones.
  • Storage: Keep any leftover ice cream in the freezer. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks, though it’s best enjoyed fresh.

Tips for Serving

  • Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for a few minutes before scooping for easier serving.
  • Use a warmed ice cream scoop for clean, round scoops.

Flavor Variations

Adding Mix-ins

  • Chocolate Chips: Stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips after churning but before the final freeze.
  • Fruit Swirls: Add a swirl of your favorite fruit preserves or fresh fruit puree.

Alternative Flavors

  • Chocolate: Replace 1/4 cup of milk with 1/4 cup of cocoa powder for a rich chocolate flavor.
  • Mint: Add 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract and a few drops of green food coloring.

Tips for Customization

  • Always add mix-ins at the soft-serve stage to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
  • Experiment with different extracts and flavorings to create your signature ice cream.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use low-fat milk instead of whole milk?

Using low-fat milk will result in a less creamy texture. Whole milk is recommended for the best results.

2. Do I need an ice cream maker?

While an ice cream maker produces the best texture, you can make ice cream without one by stirring the mixture every 30 minutes as it freezes.

3. How can I prevent ice crystals from forming?

Ensure the sugar is fully dissolved and churn the mixture thoroughly. Using an ice cream maker helps achieve a smoother texture.

4. How long can I store homemade ice cream?

Homemade ice cream is best enjoyed within 1-2 weeks. Store it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.

5. Can I double the recipe?

Yes, you can double the recipe, but make sure your ice cream maker or container is large enough to accommodate the increased volume.

6. What are some unique flavor combinations to try?

Consider adding spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, or mix in crushed cookies, candies, or nuts for added texture and flavor.

Making homemade ice cream is a delightful and rewarding experience. With this simple recipe, you can create a creamy and delicious treat that’s perfect for any occasion. Enjoy experimenting with different flavors and mix-ins, and soon, you’ll have your own signature ice cream recipe that will impress family and friends!