No-churn ice cream, in case you did not get the memo, is an ice cream lover’s back-pocket bestie. It is for those of us who adore homemade ice cream but aren’t always up for the egg cracking, custard-making, ice cream machine retrieving, forgetting that parts of said ice cream machine needed freezing, finding room in the freezer for said parts, waiting for them to freeze, only to give up on the whole venture to eat cereal straight from the box while wallowing in an ice cream-deprivation-induced malaise. I am not trying to give ice cream-making a bad name, I’m just here to introduce you to the joy that is doing it the easy-peasy way.
No-churn ice cream calls for two ingredients (if you do not count vanilla and salt): sweetened condensed milk and whipped heavy cream. Assembly is a no-brainer (umh, you mix the whipped cream into the milk), and your “ice cream machine” is literally a cold loaf pan, plus your freezer (ie: scrape the mixture into the pan, cover, and freeze). Sometimes you’ll see a recipe that calls for a little cream cheese too, but when simplicity is the name of the game, I’m partial to a recipe with an epically short ingredient list (for further proof of this proclivity, check out my new cookbook, Snackable Bakes: 100 Easy-Peasy Recipes for Exceptionally Scrumptious Sweets and Treats).
The recipe here is for straight-up vanilla, as I want this to be your foundational no-churn ice cream building block, to which you can add espresso powder (for the coffee ice cream lovers in the house), pureed fruit such as strawberries, or a flavored extract such as peppermint (for an epic peppermint ice cream, topped with hot fudge sauce, if you know what’s good for you). No-churn ice cream is like the best summer fling: so much fun to play around with while it’s hot out, but also kind of cool to check in with all year long.
No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
Makes 1½ quarts
1 14-ounce can (397 grams ) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (474 ml) heavy cream, cold
Step 1: Place an 8½ by 4½-inch metal loaf pan in the freezer.
Step 2: Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Step 3: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream on medium to medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
Step 4: Gently fold the whipped cream into the milk mixture in two installments. Scrape the ice cream into the cold pan, smooth the top, and tightly cover in plastic wrap.
Step 5: Freeze for 4 to 6 hours, depending on how soft you like your ice cream (I’m partial to soft here, in case you were wondering). If frozen solid, let rest briefly on the counter until scoopable. Keep the ice cream, wrapped, in the freezer for up to a week.
Jessie Sheehan is a recipe developer and author of The Vintage Baker, Icebox Cakes, and the new Snackable Bakes. Her work can be found in the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, Food52, and the Kitchn, among others. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Dina Ávila is a photographer in Portland, Oregon.
Recipe tested by Ivy Manning