Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How to Make Easy, No-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (No Machine Needed) by Cleo Coyle

Every year, on the first day of spring, my husband's grandmother would stop by his childhood home and announce, "We're going to Dairy Queen!" With spring officially sprung this week, Marc and I decided to follow her lead and take you to ice cream heaven.

So how good is this recipe? My husband is a tough judge. Now that he's an adult, he's a stickler for quality ice cream and will only buy premium brands. When he flipped over the creamy texture and beautiful flavor of this ice cream, I knew it was a winner. And I hope you agree.

Now let's get our ice cream on!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband. 
Learn about their books 
by clicking here and here.

No-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Last fall, you may recall, I shared recipes for No-Churn Chocolate and No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream. 

If you missed them, you are welcome to download them now in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, by clicking here or on the image below...

Click here for my
No-Churn Chocolate and
No-Churn Coffee Recipes.

Included with these recipes is a no-churn vanilla, BUT it relies on vanilla extractWhile extract may be convenient, vanilla beans truly bring recipes to another level, and this one is no exception. It's outstanding. 

As I said a few months ago, not all "no-churn" ice creams are created equal. The most common recipe shared across the internet (cream + sweetened condensed milk) likely originated from the label of Eagle Brand's sweetened condensed milk can. The problem with it is that it produces an ice cream that's too soft, melts too easily, and leaves a waxy aftertaste on the tongue from too much butterfat. 

As a result, I began experimenting until I came up with an improved version (IMO). Why is it better? A few reasons... 

(1) Adding evaporated milk to the mix before freezing creates a final product that has a much cleaner, more ice-cream-like texture, eliminating that waxy butterfat coating on the tongue. It also...

(2) Allows very fine ice crystals to form, which make the final product colder in the mouth and gives it a more stable form in the dish or on your cone. Finally...

(3) By only whipping the cream until its thickened, rather than until it has "stiff peaks" (as most of the other recipes require), the final product is denser and more like a churned ice cream or gelato. And away we go...


To download this recipe in a 
free PDF document that you can 
print, save, or share, click here.
Click for the Recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle’s No-Churn 
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 

Vanilla beans are easy to work with (and they're fun to work with, too). See my tips on buying and storing vanilla beans at the end of this recipe. 

Makes a little over 1 quart (around 5 cups)


1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
1 vanilla bean pod
2 cups Heavy Cream (aka Heavy Whipping Cream)
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (about 1-1/4 cups)
2 pinches of table salt (or finely ground sea salt)


Step 1 – Infuse your evaporated milk with vanilla bean flavor: 

Pour your evaporated milk into a small saucepan. 

Place your vanilla bean pod on a flat surface. Run a sharp knife down the length of it. Pull open the pod with your fingers and, using the edge of the knife, scrape the seeds out and add them to the pan. Throw in the empty pod, too, and bring the mix to a simmer (do not boil). 

As soon as it begins to simmer, remove the pan from the stove to a cool place in the kitchen, place the lid on the pan, and allow the vanilla beans and pod to infuse the evaporated milk for at least one hour

After one hour, remove the pod from the pan and proceed with the recipe using this newly infused “vanilla evaporated milk” in place of the plain evaporated milk. (Your milk should be room temperature after infusion. If not, pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or until cool to the touch.)

Step 2 - Make the ice cream: 

In a chilled metal, glass, or ceramic bowl, beat heavy cream with an electric mixer until thickened. Do not create whipped cream, just beat it until it resembles a thick white gravy. See my photo below...

Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and the “vanilla evaporated milk” from Step 1. (Be sure to use all of it, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to clean it of extra milk or vanilla bean seeds.) Finally add the salt. Beat the mixture until it slightly thickens again, about a minute. 

Pour the mixture into a chilled 9 x 5 metal loaf pan. A metal pan will conduct the cold better than a sealed plastic container. Do not fill to the very top; here’s why...

Wrap the loaf plan in plastic wrap, keeping the plastic from touching the ice cream itself. Place the pan in the freezer for a good 12 hours. 

Scoop, serve and enjoy! 

To store: transfer the ice cream into a re-sealable plastic container or continue to re-wrap the metal pan in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.




I like to buy my vanilla beans online at the Vanilla Mart here. They're good quality and the shipping is free. 

If you'd like to learn the difference between Madagascar Vanilla, Mexican Vanilla, and Tahitian Vanilla, as well as other varieties, click here to visit the Beanilla site. I haven't yet bought from them, but I plan to because their variety is outstanding.


The goal of storage is to prevent your beans from drying out. Once I receive my beans in the mail, I take them out of their packaging and wrap each one individually in plastic. Then I store them all in an airtight container in a cool, dry area of the kitchen. Most sources agree to keep vanilla beans far, far away from your refrigerator, which will dry them out. 


If your beans are dry and brittle instead of plump and supple, they're older beans, which have dried out. I ran into this problem when I bought them in local stores, which is why I now buy them online. You can still work with dried beans. Soak them in warm water for 20 minutes or so until they become more supple and slightly plumper. Then pat them dry and proceed with splitting and scraping them.


If you scrape out the seeds for a recipe, don't discard the pod. Place it in a sealed container with one cup of sugar and you'll soon have vanilla-flavored sugar for your coffee, tea, or try sprinkling it over fresh berries, your morning oatmeal, or baked apples. Delicious! 

And may you...

Eat with springtime joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend or follow me on facebook here.
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Visit my online coffeehouse here.

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