Make ultra creamy and classic vanilla ice cream at home with this simple 4-ingredient no-churn recipe that doesn’t require a special machine to make!

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Close up top down view of an ice cream scoop scooping up a ball of ice cream in a container.

About No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

Cure your ice cream cravings whenever they strike with this easy recipe for no-churn vanilla ice cream.

All you’ll need is four ingredients, a hand mixer, and a little time for freezing before you’re enjoying your own personalized batch of ice cream – with no special equipment or cooking skills required!

What is no-churn ice cream?

When it comes to ice cream, there are two ways you can go about making it:

  • The traditional way: Using a special ice cream maker, which slowly churns a custard mixture in a pre-chilled container until soft and creamy. This process can take about 15-30 minutes, not including the time to prepare the custard (which can include cooking and/or tempering eggs).
  • The no-churn way: Whipping heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then folding in sweetened condensed milk and your chosen flavors.

While the traditional way is, well, traditional, the no-churn method doesn’t require special equipment or any advanced cooking techniques. As long as you have a stand mixer or hand mixer, you already have the equipment you need to start making delicious ice cream at home.

What’s in no-churn ice cream?

To begin whipping up a batch of your own homemade ice cream, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Heavy whipping cream – Creates the base of the ice cream.
  • Vanilla – The only added flavor to this classic vanilla ice cream.
  • Salt – Helps lower the melting point, assists with freezing, and accents the flavor.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – Adds the sweetness that every ice cream needs. Plus, this also helps with smoothness and consistency.
Side view of a diagonal container filled with no churn vanilla ice cream, pictured with an ice scoop and two scoops of ice cream formed on the top.

Do you have to use sweetened condensed milk?

In short, yes, sweetened condensed milk is needed because it gives this ice cream its sweetness and contributes to the smooth, creamy texture. The low moisture content in sweetened condensed milk will also help reduce the likelihood of ice crystals forming (as opposed to substituting the sweetened condensed milk for more heavy cream and a separate sweetener).

If at all possible, do not use reduced-fat or fat-free sweetened condensed milk; it’s the fat content that gives this ice cream its thick consistency, and with such a small ingredient list, each ingredient plays an important role in the finished product. Your ice cream might not seem like ice cream at all without using the “full fat” sweetened condensed milk.

Tips for perfectly whipped cream

Whipped cream is the base for so many delicious desserts, but sometimes it can be tricky to get the heavy whipping cream to cooperate the way you need it to.

This recipe states that the cream should form stiff peaks, and that’s exactly what it sounds like: when you remove the mixer blades, the cream should pull upward and then keep its shape, looking like mountain peaks.

To help ensure this happens, try these tips:

  • Use high-quality whipping cream that’s extremely fresh (just purchased, just opened).
  • Chill the heavy whipping cream in the freezer 15 minutes before use. Use the cream as soon as it’s removed from the fridge.
  • If you’re using any metal, porcelain, or glass attachments for mixing (bowl, whisk, etc) try freezing or chilling them beforehand.

What toppings can you use?

While ice cream is always delicious on its own, it’s also fun to pile on the toppings, such as:

  • Syrup or sauces, such as chocolate, caramel, or strawberry.
  • Whipped cream and sprinkles.
  • Chocolate chips or butterscotch chips.
  • Chopped or crushed cookies or candy bars.
  • Peanuts, walnuts, or pecans.
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or bananas.
Top side view of a bowl filled with scoops of no churn vanilla ice cream, surrounded by a container filled with more ice cream and more bowls filled with more scoops. Also surrounded by slices of strawberries.

How long is no churn ice cream good for?

Once prepared, no churn ice cream can be stored in the freezer in a sealed container for up to three to six months, depending on the conditions and how it’s been stored.

Ice crystals are the biggest nuisance to watch out for when storing ice cream. They’re the result of excess moisture being introduced inside the container, which can come naturally from things like the ingredients used or temperature changes.

The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help prevent this, such as:

  • Cover the top of the ice cream with a layer of plastic wrap before securing the lid. This will help prevent evaporation and the ice crystals from forming along the top of the ice cream. This works for store-bought ice cream, too.
  • Store the ice cream near the back of the freezer so that it’s temperature won’t fluctuate from the door opening and closing.

Notes & tips for no churn ice cream

  • Be careful not to overmix the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream. Mix only just enough so that the two appear incorporated, but not so much that the whipped cream begins to lose too much air and deflate.
  • If the whipped cream does deflate while mixing, that’s okay – the consistency may not be as creamy, but you’ll still have delicious ice cream flavor. You can also repurpose the ice cream for other treats where the consistency isn’t as important, like a root beer float or between two cookies for an ice cream sandwich.
  • Before scooping the ice cream, allow it to soften at room temperature for one to three minutes. This will make scooping it much easier.
  • Once the ice cream has been served, quickly return the container to the freezer. It won’t take long for the ice cream to get a soft serve consistency if left out on the counter.
Close up top down view of a bowl filled with scoops of no churn vanilla ice cream, pictured with a spoon tucked in the ice cream along the side.

More delicious ice cream recipes

How to make vanilla no churn ice cream

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl) whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

Step 2 – Turn off the mixer and use a spatula to slowly fold in the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt.

Step 3 – Pour the ice cream mixture into a 9×5 bread loaf pan and smooth out the top into an even layer.

Step 4 – Cover the container with aluminum foil and freeze!

Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Close up top down view of an ice cream scoop scooping up a ball of ice cream in a container.
5 from 1 vote

No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

10 mins prep + 4 hrs Freezing Time
486 kcal
Yields: 6 servings
Make ultra creamy and classic vanilla ice cream at home with this simple 4-ingredient no-churn recipe that doesn't require a special machine to make!

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), beat heavy whipping cream on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. NOTE: "Stiff peaks" means that when beaters are removed, cream pulls upward and keeps a firm shape (does not bend at top or deflate).
    2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Turn off mixer and gently fold in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt with a spatula until incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 1 pinch salt
  • Pour ice cream mixture into a 9×5 bread loaf pan. Use a spatula to smooth out top into an even layer.
  • Cover pan with aluminum foil and transfer to freezer. Chill for at least 4-6 hours or ideally overnight.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe makes about 4 cups ototal.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 323mg | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 1343IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 0.2mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy