Categories: Recipes

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream without An Ice Cream Maker

Awhile back, my husband showed me the instructions for no ice cream maker homemade vanilla ice cream using ice cube trays and a food processor. It all seemed simple (and ingenious!), so I bought the ingredients to try it for myself.

But before I could try the original recipe, we heard about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. Her fanciful flavors are touted for being the best. My husband first heard about her recipe for super-premium homemade ice cream while listening to the Splendid Table. We figured, why not try Jeni’s recipe using the Serious Eats ice cube tray method. We weren’t sure it would work, but thought it was worth a shot.

I did made some minor changes to Jeni’s recipe. I used vanilla bean paste instead of a whole vanilla bean. The paste is way more practical and cost effective than vanilla beans, while still imparting the same vanilla bean goodness (those tiny specs too!). The Serious Eats recipe also adds cream during the food processing phase, but Jeni’s recipe was plenty soft enough so I skipped this step.

This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is the best! This homemade vanilla ice cream tastes just like super premium ice cream you would buy at the store, but no ice cream maker is needed.

I’m still in shock how easy it is to make homemade ice cream using ice cube trays and a food processor. Plus, I’m amazed how well the texture turned out—super creamy and not at all icy, like some homemade ice creams. I’m definitely going to make this again—it is the perfect ice cream base to try a whole slew of interesting flavors. Hmm, what should I try  next?

Recipe for Homemade Ice Cream Without Ice Cream Maker


2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 whole vanilla bean, scraped)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean paste. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.

Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze for 4 hours, or until solid.

Combine frozen cubes of ice cream (use a spoon or a dull knife to remove them) in a food processor and process until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides and breaking up lumps as necessary during the process. Transfer mixture to quart container, and freeze for at least 4 more hours before serving.

Stacey Freeman: I am a Style Maven, Mommy, Educator, and Traveler.

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