tub of homemade vanilla bean ice cream


Vanilla is the ice cream we all know and historically love the most (at least here in America) It’s the foundation of the ice cream kingdom. Master this simple recipe and in no time you’ll be churning out chocolate, strawberry, caramel, coffee – the possibilities are infinite.

the vanilla

It seems to go without saying that the title ingredient is the star of this show. There are three ways to go and the widely accepted ‘gold standard of vanilla might not be your best option.

  • VANILLA EXTRACT is simply vanilla beans steeped in alcohol to extract the flavor. Familar and easy to find, extract has a wide range of choices from mass produced to bespoke. Synthetic (labeled ‘immitation’) vanilla is the cheapest of all vanillas. While immitation extracts are often treated as the trailer trash of vanillas they are worth revaluating. On other hand, single source pure vanilla extract can be more expensive per kilo than silver. That’s not to say that the real deal isn’t worth the money. It is if YOU can taste the difference.
  • VANILLA BEANS are the fruit (pods) of orchids (genus Vanilla) Traditionally touted as ‘the best’ vanilla in countles recipes that may no longer be true for us home cooks. Beans are escalating in price and dropping in quality. Or at least reliability. The supermarket spice aisle is nothing more than a game of Russian roulette at $10 a bean. There’s no way to know if you’re getting great vanilla or a dried up pod past its prime. But go to the trouble (and expense) of finding a good supplier of beans and you will be rewarded with fabulous flavor and an ice cream flecked with those little black seeds that visually signal premium vanilla.
  • VANILLA PASTE is sort like the best of both worlds in my opinion. It’s extract, flecked with vanilla seeds and thickened a bit to a syrupy consistancy. You get the flavor and visual appeal of real vanilla at lower price point and greater reliabilty than off the shelf bean pods.

So what is the right choice? Well, I formulated this ice cream for vanilla paste – my personal favorite. It will also work beautifully with any other vanilla. It’s up to you.



Full of real vanilla in every bite, this ice cream basic is exceptional!   Making your own creamy handcrafted vanilla ice cream is simple with the right ingredients.  It’s so good that it doesn’t even need toppings (of course hot fudge is always welcome to join the party!) 

  • Author: MJ


  • 400g (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 385g (2 cups) milk
  •  25 g  (3 TBS) non-fat milk powder
  • 150g  (¾ cup) sugar
  •  50g   (2 ½ TBS) organic corn syrup
  •    8g   (1 TBS) tapioca starch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 TBS good quality vanilla bean paste*


  1. Make an ice bath and set aside. Have a clean bowl and a fine mesh strainer standing by.
  2. Combine milk, cream, non-fat milk powder, sugar, corn syrup, tapioca starch, and salt in a saucepan.  Whisk to remove any lumps. Cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes until bubbles start forming around the edges but do not let it come to a full rolling boil.  Keep stirring the mixture while it cooks.
  3. Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl that is standing by.   
  4. Once the mixture is cooled to room temperature, add the vanilla paste.   Whisk to combine
  5. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or ideally overnight.    Process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  When it reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes on most machines), scoop it into a container, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid (3-4 hours depending on your freezer).   Enjoy! 


  • Vanilla Bean Paste Substitutions: 2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean.  If using a vanilla bean: scrape the seeds and reserve, add the vanilla bean while cooking then remove,  whisk in the reserved seeds to the base once it cools.  
  • For a stronger more pronounced, intense vanilla flavor increase the vanilla to a maximum of 2 TBS of vanilla paste (or 2 vanilla beans)


  • Dot Lawson

    I have just started making gelatos and have been using your receipes. A friend of mine put me onto them. Just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying your receipes and your reads. Just wondering if you have a cookbook out.

    • MJ

      Isn’t gelato amazing? I’m so glad are enjoying the site! Right now I’m working on a cookbook that will be published in sping (April or May)

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