Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I’ve owned an ice cream maker for about 5 years, and am ashamed to admit that I have not used it once.  For some reason, I’ve been intimidated to make my own ice cream, especially when I love the stuff you can get in the stores.  This vanilla bean ice cream has totally changed my mind!  July was national ice cream month, and I kept seeing all these wonderful ice cream concoctions that people were posting on their blogs and got inspired!  Patrick and I eat ice cream almost every night.  I love to have something sweet at the end of the meal, and ice cream, especially in the summertime, really hits the spot.

Do you see those beautiful black flecks of vanilla bean in there?  That’s one of my favorite parts.  Plus, I love that there are only 5 ingredients.

3 cups half and half, divided
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix 1 cup of the half and half with the sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and drop in the vanilla pod.  Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 cups of half and half and the vanilla.

Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is well chilled (I chilled mine overnight).  Remove the vanilla bean before churning.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  It will have a softer consistency straight out of the ice cream maker, but will harden upon freezing.  You might have to leave the container out on the counter for 10-20 minutes before serving if your ice cream gets really hard.

I ordered my vanilla beans from here.  It’s a lot of beans, but it’s much cheaper than buying 1-2 beans at a time and you can share with your family/friends, or store it in the freezer for later use.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Favorite brands in the stores?

I used to love mint chocolate chip and cookie dough the best, but this summer I’ve been gravitating to strawberry and peach as my favorite flavors.

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19 thoughts on “Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  1. Yum!! Love the vanilla beans.

    We don’t own an ice cream maker, but we probably should. You’re right, there are do many yummy ice cream recipes out there!

  2. Yum! My favorite flavor was mint chocolate chip for the longest time..but now I’m loving cookies n cream. However, my ultimate flavor is cinnamon…and it has to be Blue Bell! Tim got me mint chocolate brownie ice cream the other day, but the name is quite deceiving. They just looked like regular chips to me..very minimal brownie chunks :(.

    • Ooh, I’ve never had cinnamon ice cream…that would be perfect in the fall with some caramelized apples on top 🙂 Patrick isn’t a fan of mint chocolate chip, so I don’t usually buy it…there was a brand that we used to get in Philly called Turkey Hill that made a really good mint chocolate oreo ice cream!

  3. Oh my GOSH, never used?!?! Crazy! I bought my mom one for Christmas last year and I think she uses it every week 😉 This is the perfect recipe to start with though. So neutral and you can put almost anything in it as a topping. Can’t wait to steal my mom’s ice cream maker and try this out 😉

  4. I have an ice cream maker and I haven’t used it in quite some time. But it’s so good and I hear you about seeing it on all the blogs. I love that you use both the vanilla bean and extract in your recipe; they taste different and the two flavors together are really wonderful. I just might have to pull out my machine!

    • If you do make it and want a creamier version, use 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk…I used 3 cups of half and half because I didn’t have heavy cream, but I imagine it would be even more decadent that way 🙂

  5. The vanilla bean looks great. I still haven’t found my go-to vanilla. I’m going to have to try this =)

    My favourite used to be mint chocolate cookies and cream (I think it was Eddy’s frozen yoghurt actually). I’d stick a tbs of peanut butter in the microwave until it got all melty and drizzle it on top – weird, I know. My mom says that she put a lot of pb on ice cream when she was pregnant with me… But I got an ice cream maker last year and love making up my own concoctions. My favourite so far biscoff ice cream with nutella swirl.

    • Ooh, melty PB on top of mint chocolate cookies and cream sounds amazing…I may have to make Patrick pick some up for me 🙂 That’s funny that your mom used to do that a lot when she was pregnant, they do say that our tastes are influenced by what we’re exposed to in utero.

      I’m a little ashamed to admit that I have never tried Biscoff, may have to try to locate some as it seems to be taking over the world 🙂

  6. I heard about some people I know making frozen yogurt with their ice cream maker, so I’m going to try and see if any of my friends have one so I can use theirs instead of buying my own 🙂 And then I’ll have to try this ice cream! I love the simple ingredient list!

    • That’s a great idea!! They run about $50, so if you can borrow one, then you can figure out if it’s actually something you would use regularly. I made a mango sorbet recently that came out really good…will have to try to make some frozen yogurts too! Yes, I love that you know what you are putting into your food, instead of the artificial stuff that’s in most ice creams.

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