This No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream recipe makes creamy, sweet cream ice cream without an ice cream maker in less than 5 minutes of work while the freezer does the rest! It's the perfect base for adding all kinds of mix-ins to create dozens of new ice cream flavors without investing in an ice cream machine.

Be sure to serve your no-churn ice cream with your favorite ice cream toppings like our Flood Mud Hot Fudge Sauce, Peanut Butter Ice Cream Topping, Caramel Sauce, or Homemade Magic Shell and some maraschino cherries to make ice cream sundaes!

A scoop of no-churn vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone laying on a white surface next to more ice cream cones and a pan of homemade vanilla ice cream.
Table of Contents
  1. What is the difference between churn and no-churn ice cream?
  2. What You'll Need
  3. How to Make No-Churn Ice Cream
  4. Tips for Success
  5. Topping Ideas
  6. Easy Variations
  7. How to Store
  8. FAQ's
  9. More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes
  10. No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Creamy homemade vanilla ice cream is one of our favorite treats and we want everybody to be able to make it, whether they have an ice cream maker or not! One of our favorite approaches when we don't have an ice cream maker is to make ice cream in a bag.

But another super popular approach is no-churn ice cream, which uses just 3 ingredients to create creamy, smooth scoops that are the perfect summer treat!

What is the difference between churn and no-churn ice cream?

Traditional ice cream is made using an ice cream maker and a base usually sweetened with granulated sugar and frequently made with egg yolks for a smooth mouth-feel. As it slowly churns, air is added to the ice cream and it freezes into a creamy, sweet treat.

No-churn ice cream is made by beating heavy cream to add the air that you would otherwise get from churning with an ice cream maker, then folding in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. After freezing for a few hours, the resulting creamy ice cream has a delightfully scoopable consistency and flavor that closely mimics the more traditional approach!

Scoops of no-churn vanilla ice cream in a glass next to a frosty loaf pan filled with more ice cream.

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Heavy cream - You want true heavy cream, which has 36% milk-fat and gives the best taste and texture to homemade ice cream.
  • Sweetened condensed milk - Not only does this ingredient replace the sugar for adding sweetness to your homemade ice cream, but it also helps prevent the ice cream from turning too icy.
  • Vanilla extract - I recommend using the best quality vanilla you have access too (try Mexican vanilla or vanilla bean paste to kick things up a notch!) since it's the main flavor in this no churn vanilla ice cream recipe.
Ingredients for no-churn vanilla ice cream.

How to Make No-Churn Ice Cream

Whip the cream. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or mixing by hand, beat the cream just stiff peaks form.

Mix in the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the whipped cream and mix on low speed just until combined.

Flavor. In this case, since we are sticking with plain vanilla ice cream we simply mix in a generous amount of vanilla extract.

Don’t overmix the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt into the whipped cream. It can deflate it and make it less creamy. If using a hand mixer, keep it on low and mix just until everything is incorporated. After the whipped cream reaches the stiff peak stage, the rest of the ingredients can be gently folded together by using a large rubber spatula.

Freeze. Transfer the ice cream base to a freezer-safe container like a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 6 hours until hard.

Tips for Success

Follow this easy recipe and use these tips to make sure your no churn vanilla ice cream turns out perfect!

  • Don't use whipping cream unless it's labeled as "heavy whipping cream". Regular whipping cream has less fat (30%-36%) and doesn't give the smooth mouthfeel and taste of heavy cream (36%).
  • Make sure to use sweetened condensed milk and not evaporated milk. They are not interchangeable. The sweetened condensed milk is used in place of the granulated sugar that is used in some churned ice cream recipes..
  • It will take 4-6 hours to freeze solid depending on your freezer.
  • Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes before scooping. However, once it begins to soften, it doesn’t take too long before it reaches a soft-serve consistency.
  • If you plan to freeze the ice cream for an extended amount of time, a container with a cover or lid would be best to protect the ice cream from ice crystals and freezer burn.

Topping Ideas

These are some of our favorite toppings to get you started with inspiration for jazzing up your plain vanilla ice cream.

  • Hot fudge, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or strawberry syrup
  • Whipped cream and sprinkles
  • Chopped or crushed cookies, candy bars, or M&M's
  • Chopped peanuts, walnuts, or pecans
  • Fresh fruit like berries, sliced bananas, peaches, or whatever is in season

Easy Variations

This easy no-churn recipe is the perfect base for making many of our other favorite flavors.

  • Brownie Caramel or Brownie Fudge Swirl - Add 1 cup of brownie chunks to the ice cream base, then swirl with ¾ cup of caramel sauce or hot fudge before freezing.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Make a batch of our edible chocolate chip cookie dough and roll it into small chunks. Add to the ice cream base with ⅓ cup of mini chocolate chips before freezing.
  • Oreo Cookies & Cream - Add 1 cup roughly chopped or crushed Oreo cookies (about 30) before freezing.
  • Mint Chip - Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1 cup mini chocolate chips, and a few drops of green food coloring (affiliate link).
  • Birthday Cake - Cut up a large slice of cake into chunks and stir it into the ice cream before freezing.
  • Cherry/Apple/Blueberry Pie - Roughly chop up a slice of pie and stir it into the ice cream before freezing.
  • No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream - Whisk ½ to ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 4 ounces melted semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk in a bowl before adding to the whipped cream.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter cup - Make the chocolate base above but swirl in ½ cup of creamy peanut butter and 1 cup of chopped Reese's peanut butter cups before freezing.
  • Rocky Road - Make the chocolate base and stir in 1 cup mini marshmallows and 1 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds before freezing.
  • Cheesecake Ice Cream - Blend 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with the sweetened condensed milk before adding to the whipped cream. Swirl in a broken up graham cracker crust and 1 ½ cups of blueberry pie filling, raspberry filling, or cherry pie filling.

How to Store

This ice cream should be stored covered or in an airtight container and enjoyed within a week for best results.

FAQ's

Is no-churn ice cream really ice cream?

Yup! It's got the same flavor profile and sweet creamy consistency, just made with a slightly different method. But it's definitely ice cream and many people are hard-pressed to tell a difference between no churn ice cream and slow churned ice cream made with an ice cream maker.

How do you make no-churn ice cream softer?

If you find that after freezing your no churn ice cream is too hard to scoop at first, let it sit out on the counter for 10 minutes to soften slightly.

What does "no churn" mean?

It means no ice cream maker or machine is required! And with just four ingredients, this recipe is so quick and easy. The longest part is waiting for it to freeze!

What does "stiff peaks" mean?

It means that when you pull the beaters straight up from the mixing bowl, the whipped cream should hold its form. When you turn the beaters upright, if the whipping cream tips begin to turn downward, it’s not at the “stiff peaks” stage yet. Keep beating!

Why is sweetened condensed milk used in this recipe?

It adds the sweetness needed for the ice cream flavor. Additionally, because sweetened condensed milk has reduced water content, fewer ice crystals are formed. This contributes to the softness of the ice cream, making it possible to scoop.

Can reduced fat or fat-free sweetened condensed milk be used?

Since the fat in the milk is what gives the ice cream its smooth texture, it is not recommended for this recipe.

No churn vanilla ice cream melting on a waffle cone in front of more cones.

More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

5 from 1 vote
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Freezing Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
This No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream recipe makes creamy, sweet cream ice cream without an ice cream maker in less than 5 minutes of work while the freezer does the rest! It's the perfect base for adding all kinds of mix-ins to create dozens of new ice cream flavors without investing in an ice cream machine.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  • On low speed, mix in the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt.
  • Pour into a 9”x5” loaf pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and freeze.

Notes

  • Storage/Freezing: This ice cream should be stored covered or in an airtight container and enjoyed within a week for best results.
  • Brownie Caramel or Brownie Fudge Swirl - Add 1 cup of brownie chunks to the ice cream base, then swirl with ¾ cup of caramel sauce or hot fudge before freezing.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Make a batch of our edible chocolate chip cookie dough and roll it into small chunks. Add to the ice cream base with ⅓ cup of mini chocolate chips before freezing.
  • Oreo Cookies & Cream - Add 1 cup roughly chopped or crushed Oreo cookies (about 30) before freezing.
  • Mint Chip - Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1 cup mini chocolate chips, and a few drops of green food coloring.
  • Birthday Cake - Cut up a large slice of cake into chunks and stir it into the ice cream before freezing.
  • Cherry/Apple/Blueberry Pie - Roughly chop up a slice of pie and stir it into the ice cream before freezing.
  • No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream - Whisk ½ to ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 4 ounces melted semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk in a bowl before adding to the whipped cream.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter cup - Make the chocolate base above but swirl in ½ cup of creamy peanut butter and 1 cup of chopped Reese's peanut butter cups before freezing.
  • Rocky Road - Make the chocolate base and stir in 1 cup mini marshmallows and 1 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds before freezing.
  • Cheesecake Ice Cream - Blend 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with the sweetened condensed milk before adding to the whipped cream. Swirl in a broken up graham cracker crust and 1 ½ cups of blueberry pie filling, raspberry filling, or cherry pie filling.
  • Nutrition: The nutrition amounts were calculated based on ½ cup servings using an online nutrition calculator. You may want to do your own calculations for the most accurate results.

Nutrition

Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 58mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 875IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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