There are lots of great ice creams out there, but, as is the case with so many foods, there is something a little extra special about making your own ice cream at home. The disadvantage of making your own ice cream is that it tends to take longer than running out to the store to buy some. Many ice cream bases start with a mixture of cooked cream and/or eggs that needs to be cooled down in the fridge for several hours before being poured into an ice cream maker (unless you have a very expensive ice cream machine at your disposal). Fortunately, there are some ways to skirt that long chilling time and one is to make an ice cream base that starts out cold.
A perfect ingredient to start out with is sweetened condensed milk. Thick and sweet, the milk blends in with cream easily and many ice creams that use it require no cooking whatsoever. For instance, right on the Eagle Brand website you can find a recipe for vanilla ice cream that has only three ingredients (check out their suggestions for making the recipe without an ice cream maker if you don’t have one!) and needs no prep time.
As much as I like Eagle Brand’s 3- ingredient vanilla ice cream, it’s not practical for me to make it at home. My 1.5-qt. Cuisinart ice cream maker simply isn’t big enough to hold all of the base mixture! So I ended up playing with that original recipe until I got an equally easy recipe with great flavor that actually fits into my ice cream maker. I use sweetened condensed milk, half n’ half, milk and add in a little bit of sour cream to make the ice cream a bit less sweet. I use 2 full tablespoons of vanilla extract, which I will always substitute for vanilla bean paste when I have it on hand because I love the way that those vanilla bean flecks look in the finished product.
Speaking of which, this ice cream is light and refreshing, with a creamy texture that isn’t too heavy because it doesn’t use heavy cream. It is sweet, but not overly so, and has a good vanilla flavor to it. After churning, you’ll want it to firm up in the freezer for an hour or two before serving.
Update: Looking for a no-churn recipe that you don’t need an ice cream maker for? Check out my No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream!
Quick Vanilla Ice Cream
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cup half n’ half
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
Combine sweetened condensed milk and sour cream in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in half n’ half (or light cream), milk and vanilla extract until well blended. Pour into prepared ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers’ directions.
Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for about 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
Makes about 1.5 quarts ice cream
LindaJuly 26, 2010
Since you mentioned adding the sour cream, would Greek yogurt work as well as the sour cream? I might not consider regular yogurt due to its liquid state but Greek yogurt is so close to sour cream I wonder if that would work to add a little tang and some extra health to it?
MaryMohJuly 27, 2010
That looks easy. I would love to try, Thanks very much for sharing.
PatJuly 27, 2010
The original recipe is my son’s very favorite ice cream. The sour cream addition looks interesting, too. I use the original as a base for peach, strawberry, and mango ice creams, too. My favorite is to add some chipped chocolate. Thanks for the sour cream idea.
MaggiJuly 30, 2010
Hmmm… I’ve got an idea. I wonder, if I take that sweetened condensed milk and cook it, ala Dulce de Leche style, and THEN make the ice cream…will it then be a vanilla caramel ice cream?
JuliaJuly 19, 2011
I discovered using sweetened condensed milk for ice cream this year. I’ve been on a roll with tons of flavors. Yet, simple vanilla hasn’t been made yet. I love adding sour cream to it and am feeling super inspired to make this, like, now!
CarolynJune 9, 2012
We just tried this recipe with the dry ice in our mixer recipe too. First, we only used 2 teaspoons rather than 2 Tablespoons of vanilla as the recipe calls for. Second, we added the crushed dry ice too quickly and had a very messy exciting 2-inch overflow of the mixer bowl until we realized our mistake and added dry ice much more slowly. The ice cream did freeze more at the bottom than the top, but was sweet and tasty and most of all, fun! Clean up will wait until we’re done.