3 Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream | No Churn

3 Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream | No Churn

This 3 ingredient vanilla ice cream is the richest and creamiest ice cream of your life. No fancy ingredients or ice cream machine needed! Summer, here we come!

You are 3 common pantry-style ingredients away from the richest and creamiest homemade vanilla ice cream of your life. And you don't need an ice cream machine to make it.

Why not use an ice cream machine?

have an ice cream maker. I think it cost me about $50. I even keep the bowl in the freezer all the time, in case the urge to make ice cream strikes. It’s easy and even kind of fun. But … I rarely use it.

In fact, whenever I read a recipe that calls for an ice cream machine (you know – “churn according to manufacturer instructions”), my heart sinks. And I turn the page. First of all, it doesn’t seem like much of a recipe since nearly anything will have the consistency of ice cream if you put it in a machine and churn it.

Second, ice cream machines just don’t make very much ice cream, and they always freeze the ice cream unevenly, leaving you with a layer of ice cream that’s frozen solid around the perimeter of the machine. And since the inside is non-stick, the only way to get that ice cream out is to melt it. And then it’s not ice cream anymore!

3-ingredient Gluten Free Ice Cream - no machine required!

But I do have this recipe for ice cream cones. I’m even considering buying a pizzelle maker and using it to make ice cream cones.

Plus, it seems to be easier and easier to buy gluten free ice cream cones. They’re not going to fill themselves with rich, creamy homemade vanilla ice cream.

Pouring condensed milk into whipped cream

But as the ice cream containers in the grocery store get smaller and smaller, and their ingredient lists get longer and longer, I find myself more interested than ever in making homemade ice cream.

You are 3 common pantry-style ingredients away from the richest and creamiest homemade vanilla ice cream of your life. And you don't need an ice cream machine to make it.

Why does this recipe work?

There is a good reason that this method works and makes smooth and creamy ice cream without any fuss at all. And without any of the iciness that you can expect from other methods like the ones that tell you to mix and freeze the mixture, then stir it every hour or something.

Those no churn ice cream methods are great if you’re looking for a bunch of ice crystals and no smooth, creamy mouthfeel. If it’s not smooth and creamy, it’s just not ice cream to me.

In this recipe, the ingredients have a very low moisture content. If you substitute any of these simple ingredients, I can’t promise you’ll get a good result. Simple recipes like this are really best made as is, if at all possible.

3 Ingredient ice cream unfrozen in freezer container

Now I have always loved the melty ice cream that ends up on the bottom of the bowl. That is what you have, basically, before you place it in the freezer for the first time.

If you’re the one who makes the ice cream, then a spoonful of that melty goodness is yours for the taking. I won’t tell.


3 Ingredient Ice Cream 3 scoops

P.S. Did you say you needed a dairy free version? Try my dairy free no churn ice cream. You’ll love it!

pouring condensed milk into whipped cream, unfrozen ice cream, and scoops of frozen ice creamYou are 3 common pantry-style ingredients away from the richest and creamiest homemade vanilla ice cream of your life. And you don't need an ice cream machine to make it.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Yield: 2 quarts ice cream


1 pint (16 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream, chilled

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (homemade or store bought)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer) and beat the cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Pour the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla into the bowl of whipped cream, and fold the whipped cream in until only a few bright white streaks remain.

  • Pour the mixture into a 2-quart freezer-safe container with a lid, and smooth the top. Cover tightly and place in the freezer until firm (at least 4 hours). Serve right from the freezer. It will not need to thaw at all to be scoopable.

  • Originally posted on the blog in 2013. Photos the same, recipe steps tweaked slightly, video new.


Comments are closed.

  • Mary Anne S
    July 16, 2017 at 4:33 PM

    This is fantastic and I will be making it over and over and telling my friends about it. I plan to make different flavors. I love that it’s so simple and I know exactly what’s in it. Keeping it in the basement freezer so I don’t grab a bite every time I walk by!

  • Sharon
    July 12, 2017 at 11:13 PM

    Great ice cream! My family loved it. Very easy to make with simple ingredients.

  • Michele
    July 9, 2017 at 9:00 AM

    Can u just use coconut cream or milk and the heavy whipping cream?

    • Nicole Hunn
      July 10, 2017 at 11:00 AM

      You can’t, Michele. Please see the link in the post to my dairy-free no churn ice cream if you need to be dairy free!

  • Kristy B.
    June 19, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Made a double batch of this, rubbing out one teaspoon of the vanilla for pepperoni extract and adding some mini chocolate chips. Holy delicious why would anyone ever buy ice cream with this up their sleeve. The possibilities are endless!

    • Kristy B.
      June 19, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      Wow auto correct. Wow. Subbing out peppermint. Not rubbing out pepperoni. That’s one for the books.

  • LT
    June 12, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    wow, this looks so good. Looking forward to making ice-cream

  • June 12, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Oh, WOW, you had me at “no ice cream maker”! We have one, too, and for some reason I never (ever) use it. My husband does on occasion, but not enough. I can’t wait to try this recipe! And that AMAZOIDS strawberry cake you posted last month… I’ve been seriously dreaming about that.

  • Rebecca Ní Smurchú
    June 12, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    So happy this doesn’t have eggs! I’m going to give it a go asap :)

  • Lisa
    June 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Any ideas on making this dairy free?

  • Jess
    June 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Sweet!! (Pun intended) I love homemade ice cream- mostly because- like you- I am increasingly unimpressed with the HUGE list of ingredients on the back of the carton- most of which I can’t pronounce. I recently found the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker at Costco on sale… which I have loved- but I’m thinking this is a step further in the right direction… I love “fix it and forget it” type desserts! Thanks!

  • Michelle
    June 11, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    You are going to make different flavors? Yay! I made this today using anise extract in place of the vanilla, and it tastes so good! I am thinking I could be very popular serving it with a little Galliano on top… I am looking forward to more ideas!

  • WTFPinterest.com
    June 11, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    After the horrifying discovery that my beloved Breyer’s ice cream tricked me (as they now sell a product that looks exactly like their natural ice cream but doesn’t taste like it and is called, in tiny letters, ‘frozen dairy dessert’ which contains lots of stuff it needn’t) I have been periodically making my own. This recipe looks too easy not to give it a whirl, no pun intended. Thanks, Nicole! Also, my food store now stocks both gf waffle and cake cones and I couldn’t be happier…they are delicious.

    • Michelle Beck
      June 11, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Yes! That is my disappointing experience with Breyer’s, too! Makes me so mad because it doesn’t taste good anymore.

      • Donia
        June 11, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        I agree with you guys. Remember how Breyer’s used to have little kids reading the ingredient lists of other ice creams? I loved that Breyer’s had few ingredients. Bummer.

        • WTFPinterest.com
          June 12, 2013 at 9:43 AM

          It’s depressing. Breyer’s still does produce ice cream, but only the basic flavors (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee) and they each contain other ingredients besides the original milk, sugar, cream and natural flavorings. Now they also contain tara gum and/or colorings and/or whey. WTF? I made Nicole’s ice cream last night using drops of rose water for flavoring and chopped candied ginger mixed in, and holy moly, it was DELICIOUS!

        • Michelle
          June 12, 2013 at 10:42 AM

          Ohmygosh, that sounds amazing! I have some rose water in the pantry! I have orange blossom water, too. Wonder how that would be? I was excited to find little candied ginger pieces at Cost Plus last week- so easy to toss in my mou… uh… the recipe. The Ginger People make it. I need to go buy some more cream now. You people are a bad influence!

    • jess
      June 11, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      Guh! I was so ticked when I got my Breyer’s home and started scooping it out… It was NOT the same. Here’s to homemade goodness!

  • Alison
    June 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    I wonder if you could substitute the heavy whipping cream for flavored coffee creamers to create other flavors…

    • gfshoestring
      June 11, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Hi, Alison, unfortunately I don’t think that will work as they have too many other ingredients, and potentially not enough fat, to increase in volume like heavy whipping cream. You could, though, just flavor the heavy cream after whipping it. I will definitely be adapting this recipe through the summer on the blog. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Alison
        June 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        Darn, I’ll just have to experiment with different extracts instead of the vanilla. :)

  • Janice Keown
    June 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    For faster freezing, can it be done in an ice-cream maker? The easy put it in and let it mix (in the frozen bowl) kind?

    • gfshoestring
      June 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      I’m sure you could make this in an ice cream maker, Janice, but it would still need to be frozen in the freezer after it comes out of the ice cream machine. It comes out of the machine pretty soft. The machine’s churning creates the increase in volume that is created by whipping hte cream in this recipe.


      • Eddie
        June 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        So, what is the nutrition info on this icecream? I am trying to lose weight but I do love ice cream…..
        Thanks, Eddie

        • gfshoestring
          June 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

          I don’t provide nutrition information on my recipes, Eddie. There are lots of online nutrition calculators for you to use.

        • Eddie
          June 11, 2013 at 2:04 PM

          Ok, that’s fine. I did look online for the info on each of the ingredients and it was way too high in calories and fat for me to eat. But thanks for posting.


      • Janice Keown
        June 11, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        Can’t wait to try it!

  • Elyse
    June 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Yum! I want to try to make other kinds of flavors, such as chocolate or mint chocolate chip.

  • Jennifer Sasse
    June 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    This is awesome and it doesn’t have any sugar which is even better! Thank you, I cannot wait to try this!! I’m also wondering how we make different flavors using this method and this is a great jumping off point for that! You’re the best!

    • gfshoestring
      June 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      Well, there’s plenty of sugar in the sweetened condensed milk, Jennifer, but it’s ice cream so it’s okay, right? By definition a treat! I will be playing with this original recipe over the summer, making different flavor combos. Whatever you do, be sure not to add much moisture or it will ice up. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jennifer Sasse
        June 11, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        LOL – yes the sweetened condensed milk does have sugar – but no additional added sugar is what I meant – which is always a plus. I know you have our health in mind with all of your recipes!! ;) Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! YAHOO!

        • gfshoestring
          June 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

          I knew what you meant. I was thinking that someone else might not catch your drift, which is what I think happened with Kim above. Oh well. At least we speak each others’ language, Jennifer. :)
          xoxo Nicole

        • songbird
          June 11, 2013 at 6:18 PM

          an you do it with sweetened coconut cream and milk or would that not work? I am dairy free.

        • Donia
          June 11, 2013 at 7:08 PM

          I was thinking of doing that, songbird. I think using the solid portion of a full-fat version of coconut milk (as the whipped cream) would be worth a shot. Store-bought coconut milk ice creams always seem to have gums and weird ingredients.

        • Kellie Landrum
          June 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

          They also have coconut cream now, which might work since it’s basically a solid straight from the can. I’ve used coconut cream in place of heavy whipping cream in other recipes and it worked so it’d be worth a try.

        • BeverlyJ
          June 12, 2013 at 9:08 AM

          I have Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream (in the brown and white cans), but have not tried to whip it. Has anyone else had success whipping it? I have made delicious dairy free frozen treats with CocoReal, which I used to make a creamy Coconut Lime Sorbet (juice and zest of fresh limes, Coco Real, and coconut milk) Just follow the ratios of Nicole’s recipe, substituting these dairy free ingredients.

        • Lisa
          June 18, 2013 at 8:50 PM

          I have successfully made this vegan using TJ canned coconut cream. Make a sweetened condensed milk with one can coconut milk mixed with 1 1 /2 c. plain rice milk. Add 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice. Boil until it reduces to 1 c. Whip two chilled cans of coconut cream and continue with above recipe. I added 2 tsp. vanilla extract as above and then added 1 Tbsp. peppermint extract and stirred in one chopped sugar free dark chocolate bar. Our son’s new FAVE mint chocolate chip ice cream! A million thanks to you Nicole for all you do..we’d be lost without you!

    • Kim S.
      June 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Actually, sweetened condensed milk has sugar in it….lots of sugar. About 15g per ounce, which for this recipe would be 210 grams of sugar. This recipe makes 2 quarts, which is about the same as a regular carton of ice cream (1/2 gallon, although most ice cream companies cartons are now slightly smaller than a half gallon), so based on the serving size of most icecreams (1/2 cup), you’d get about 17.5 grams of sugar per serving. Comparing it to Breyers French Vanilla, it’s slightly higher in sugar as Breyers is 14 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup serving.

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