Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


Simple yet very flavorful Vanilla Bean Ice Cream will make you rethink vanilla.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream recipe from scratch

When I was younger, I used to play softball, spending most of my summers in the outfield catching fly balls and batting singles (and sometimes doubles). The team would often beg the coach to take us out for ice cream afterwards. Occasionally he would give in and take us up to the bright pink building on the hill (seriously, you couldn’t miss it). Chocolate ice cream was always my choice because I remember finding vanilla ice cream so tasteless and boring. Little did I know, that is not what real vanilla ice cream tastes like at all. I documented my first time trying Vanilla Bean Ice Cream back in my early blogging years, and I still remember how it made me feel. I couldn’t believe how GOOD it tasted and that vanilla bean almost became my new favorite flavor (almost). Although I’ve been making it for years, I haven’t shared the recipe I used yet and wanted to bring you a (not so boring) ice cream recipe to make this summer.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I often tell people if you find vanilla ice cream tasteless and boring, then you haven’t tried true vanilla ice cream. In fact, you’ll notice my ice cream isn’t even white. That’s because the vanilla beans tint the cream a light brown color. Think about it – what color is vanilla? Brown. What happens when you mix brown and white? Light brown. It’s mainly the bean that gives the ice cream its color; sometimes if you add a small amount of only vanilla extract in a large pot of milk and cream, usually the brown color doesn’t take over. However, you do infuse the bean into the cream mixture, giving it the color you see in the photos.

Vanilla Beans

What’s nice about using vanilla beans is you can reuse the pods even after scraping. Once you are done infusing the vanilla flavor, you can lightly rinse the cream off of the bean, pat dry, and store in a small container of sugar, making homemade vanilla sugar.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I highly recommend buying vanilla beans online rather than at the store. Not only will you save money by ordering online, you’ll get a much fresher product. I bought my vanilla beans from Beanilla and was really happy with the quality. You can also buy vanilla bean paste (Amazon affiliate link), which is pretty much the inside of vanilla beans without needing to scrape out the pod (and as a result not getting vanilla bean under your fingernails).

Yields 1

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
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1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large saucepan, warm up the milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk mixture and add the bean as well. Remove from the heat, cover, and let seep for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks until lightly beaten. Whisk in some of the warm milk mixture then pour it all back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking often, until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl sitting inside an ice bath and cool. Remove the vanilla bean. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until cold then freeze according to your machine's instructions. If freezing by hand, place the bowl in the freezer then whisk every 30-45 minutes to break up the ice crystals until the mixture is frozen

Source: Slightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop
Want more recipes?

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Mini Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

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  1. There is NOTHING boring about vanilla, especially when you use high quality vanilla beans. LOVE this recipe (and your photos), Carla!

  2. I’m with you, I always thought vanilla was boring. But my husband and daughter prefer vanilla, so I might have to make this recipe for them! I’m sure I’ll love it too, since anything with fresh vanilla bean in it is really amazing.

  3. I was allergic to chocolate when I was younger. So I chose strawberry ice cream over vanilla for the same reason that you chose chocolate. YOu are absolutely right, when it’s premium vanilla it is beyond good. In fact a good vanilla wins over a chocolate most time in our family.

  4. I just got a madagascar vanilla bean, and I think I know what I’m going to use it for now! YUM!

  5. Vanilla beans are magic. This ice cream is so beautiful and I know it must taste incredible!

  6. Um….where’d ya’ get that ice cream scoop from?

    It’s GORGEOUS! And I want it (actually I truly do need a new ice cream scoop). Badly.

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