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How to make vanilla ice cream

Lynn Wright / 19 April 2015

A delicious scoop of smooth creamy vanilla ice cream is a welcome treat on its own or served with dessert. Making vanilla ice cream at home is easier than you think – just follow our foolproof recipe.

Vanilla ice cream
Vanilla ice cream




  • 300ml full-fat milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod


In the face of new, sometimes wacky, ice cream flavours, vanilla may seem, well, a little boring. So it’s good to know that old-fashioned vanilla still remains the world’s most popular ice cream flavour.

Served on its own, in a sundae or alongside a slice of pie, vanilla ice cream makes a heavenly, creamy dessert. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home – whether you own an ice cream maker or not. All you need is good quality ingredients and a little time.

Try our easy vanilla ice cream recipe – you may never look at tutti-frutti, raspberry ripple or chocolate chip again!

Easy vanilla ice cream

1. Pour the cream and milk into a heavy-based saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape the seeds out with the point of the knife and add to the milk and cream. Heat gently until almost boiling, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together for a few minutes until thick and pale. Pour the cream and milk through a sieve onto the eggs, beating with the whisk until completely mixed.

3. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook on a very low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes until thickened. The custard should coat the back of the spoon.

4. Pour into a clean bowl and cover with cling-film to prevent a skin forming on the surface. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

5. Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and, following the manufacturer’s instructions, churn until the ice cream is thick. If the mixture is too soft, transfer it to a plastic lidded container and place in the freezer for a couple of hours or until firm enough to scoop.

6. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the chilled custard into a plastic lidded container and place in the freezer for 45 minutes. Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture vigorously to break up the ice crystals that have formed. Return to the freezer. Repeat this process a couple of times until the ice cream is completely frozen, which should take about 2 to 3 hours.

7. Remove the ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Once you’ve mastered a classic vanilla ice-cream, why not try some other ice cream flavours such as: quick stem ginger ice cream, strawberry ice cream and apple and toffee ripple ice cream.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.