This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.
Hi Bold Bakers!
You don’t need an expensive ice cream machine to enjoy homemade ice cream. I’ll show you the easiest way to make ice cream at home. My two-ingredient, no-machine ice cream recipe is easy to whip up and so versatile. And finding your next go-to ice cream recipe will not be a challenge – I have 50+ ice cream flavors and dozens of frozen desserts at my Gemma’s Freezer Section Ice Cream Destination.
Homemade Ice Cream with Only Two Ingredients
My easy homemade ice cream recipe requires just two simple ingredients – heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. Heavy Whipping Cream is readily available in the United States, and it’s referred to as Whipping/Double Cream in Britain, Slagroom in the Netherlands, and Whipped Cream or Heavy Cream in the Philippines. There is also a heat-treated cream from Nestle in large parts of Asia.
In parts of South East Asia and the Philippines, there is a Nestle product, which is called whipping cream. It is made from milk powder and milk fats. It is good for some applications, such as no-bake cheesecakes, but not for this ice cream.
Top Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream
1. Using & Making Sweetened Condensed Milk
Condensed milk is cow’s milk with the water content evaporated off and is the second ingredient in my homemade ice cream. The thick and syrupy milk acts as a sweetener and softens the ice cream, allowing for easier scooping. To make your ice cream less sweet, you can use low-fat or fat-free condensed milk. When making homemade condensed milk, you can replace sugar with alternatives such as honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup. Other sugar alternatives may not work if they are unable to caramelize. Learn more about sweetened condensed milk and sugar alternatives with my simple Homemade Condensed Milk recipe.
2. Can I Replace Heavy Cream With Milk?
Most of my recipes, including this no-churn ice cream, use fresh dairy cream skimmed from full-fat cow’s milk. At 35% or more fat content, it will whip up well. A liquid cream, found in most chill aisles of grocery stores in the US, and in Europe, it will spoil in a few days even when refrigerated due to a lack of artificial additives. Heavy cream is essential in this recipe and cannot be replaced with milk. In countries where there is no dairy industry, this may be difficult to find. Buffalo milk produces a really good high-fat cream and will be perfect for this.
There are manufactured products, made with milk powders and fats, in places where there is no dairy industry. Although good for some recipes, they are not the fresh cream required in my homemade ice cream recipe.
3. How to Make Vanilla Ice Cream & 50+ Flavors
To make my homemade ice cream recipe without an ice cream machine, you start by whipping up cold heavy cream for about 2-3 minutes until the cream forms soft peaks. Once whipped, you add in your condensed milk. Ensure that both ingredients are very cold when you combine them so they come together in a perfect marriage. Add in your vanilla extract, which is optional, at this stage and whip until you have stiff peaks, about 2-3 minutes. Vanilla extract supports the sweetened condensed milk in keeping your ice cream scoopable after it freezes. The alcohol found in extracts keeps the ice cream from freezing hard and makes it soft enough to scoop into your favorite bowl.
Click here to get the full, printable, Vanilla Ice Cream recipe.
With just this base, you’ll be able to make an endless supply of homemade ice cream flavors! It’s also a vanilla ice cream recipe and a blank canvas to make more than fifty of my favorite flavors, all found on my Gemma’s Freezer Section Ice Cream Destination. From classic vanilla, strawberry and chocolate to pistachio kulfi, strawberry cheesecake, Cookies & Cream, tiramisu and green tea, I’ve made a countless variety of ice creams.
4. How to Store Ice Cream at Home?
Vanilla extract keeps your ice cream from freezing too hard. If you omit vanilla extract, you can leave your ice cream at room temperature for about 15 minutes to make it more scoopable. Store your ice cream in an airtight container for up to six weeks. Try these frozen dessert containers to store your ice cream flavors.
5. How to Make Dairy-Free Homemade Ice Cream
Don’t eat dairy? Not a problem! You can make my homemade ice cream completely dairy-free with full-fat coconut milk and vegan condensed milk. Learn more about my dairy-free coconut ice cream recipe.
Pro Chef Secrets To Making Ice Cream at Home:
- The cream you must use for my 2 ingredient ice cream is high-fat whipping cream. Cream with 38% fat content or higher is perfect! Often called ‘heavy whipping cream,’ this is the best choice to use for my ice cream. It will double in volume and hold stiff peaks. You can find fat percentages on the carton of cream.
- Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold cream on medium/high speed until SOFT PEAKS form, roughly 3 minutes. You are looking for just thickened cream at this point that is not too firm.
- Cold condensed milk is a key ingredient and there is no substitute. It makes the ice cream softer and scoopable. You can use fat-free or low sugar if you wish. You can also easily make your own at home with my Sweetened Condensed Milk recipe.
- After you add the condensed milk, whip the mix on high speed to STIFF PEAKS–that means they will hold their shape and will be firmer than before. Take care not to over-whip at this stage or your cream will curdle.
- Add in a little vanilla extract at the end. The alcohol in the extract will lower the freezing point making your ice cream a little softer and easier to scoop. (Think about a bottle of vodka in the freezer?! It doesn’t freeze!)