How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (2024)

Julie Clark

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The most delicious homemade ice cream? Cooked vanilla custard makes a great base for this Vanilla Frozen Custard recipe. Add your favorite fruits or candies for an easy summer dessert.

Summer means ice cream! Have you ever tried making homemade ice cream? I fell in love with a creamy frozen custard rather than traditional ice cream. We’re from the Midwest…what can I say. 🤷‍♀️

You’ll need an ice cream machine for this recipe, but with updated countertop electric ice cream machines, this recipe is easier than dragging the family to the store when the ice cream craving hits. And it’s delicious served over our famous brownies.

How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (2)

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reader Meg says, “This was AMAZING!! My ice cream making doesn’t get it really stiff right out of the maker… but I put it in the freezer over night and tonight it was perfect… I made my amazing hot fudge sauce to go on it!! All I can say is WOW!! It’s going to be hard for me to buy ice cream any more!!”

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reader Gina says, “This was excellent! We made it with just ½ cup sugar, and I think the flavor was perfect.”

Where did frozen custard originate?

Frozen custard originated in Coney Island, New York, in the early 1900’s. The World Fair in Chicago in the 1930’s helped to seal it as a midwestern favorite.

Now we have restaurants dedicated to selling their version of frozen custard. Culver’s, Freddy’s, Shake Shack and of course a slew of small local custard shops. It’s a favorite summer frozen dessert.

How is frozen custard different than ice cream?

Eggs are the main difference.

Frozen custard is a rich, smooth textured ice cream. Both ice cream and custard have cream, sugar and milk, but custard has one not-so-secret ingredient that ice cream traditionally does not have. Eggs.When eggs are added to dairy, you now have custard.

Some recipes call for using whole eggs, but this recipe only uses the yolks which makes a rich, smooth dessert.

Is frozen custard better for you than ice cream?

Of course it depends on your recipe and what you are adding, but in general, custard has less calories and fat than homemade ice cream.

Can we call it “good for you”? Maybe not…but homemade frozen custard often doesn’t have the additives that store bought ice cream has.


Fresh ingredients are best for homemade frozen custard:

  • Heavy cream. Use half and half for a lighter custard, but I recommend trying it with heavy cream first. You won’t regret it. 😋
  • Whole milk.
  • White sugar.
  • Salt.
  • Egg yolks.
  • Vanilla extract. Use homemade vanilla extract for amazing sweet treats.
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (3)

How to Make Vanilla Frozen Custard

There are a few important things to remember when making homemade custard ice cream.

  • Plan ahead. Because custard has eggs, you cook the ice cream base together on the stovetop. Then you have to refrigerate it until it has cooled down. Only at that time is it ready for the ice cream freezer. You’ll need to refrigerate the base for at least 4 hours.
  • Use heavy cream and whole milk for the creamiest custard. Yes, these are higher in fat. Yes, you can use lower fat milk, but your ice cream won’t be as rich and creamy. I suggest first trying the recipe as written, the if you’d like you can lower the milk fat content as you continue to test.
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (4)
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (5)
  • Temper the eggs. Be sure to follow the recipe step by step and don’t be tempted to just start dumping ingredients in. (More on tempering eggs below.)
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (6)
  • Cook over low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Don’t think it will be pudding thick. You are just looking for the mixture to start to thicken. It will still seem a little runny, but should coat the back of the spoon. Don’t overcook the mixture or it may curdle. If you do end up with little pieces in your mixture, run it though a fine mesh strainer so it ends up perfectly smooth.
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (7)
  • If you have an electric ice cream maker, be sure the drum that holds the ice cream is frozen. You’ll want this in the freezer for at least 24 hours before churning ice cream. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for churning the custard.
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (8)
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (9)
  • Straight from the ice cream maker, the frozen custard will be soft. If you’d like it harder, transfer it to an airtight container and freeze it until it has reached the texture you’d like.
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (10)

What does it mean to temper eggs?

When you temper eggs, you slowly raise the temperature of cold or room temperature eggs by adding a small amount of hot food or liquid and whisk it in quickly.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, then slowly drizzle ½ cup hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking the entire time you are drizzling.

It’s only after this that you add the egg mixture back into the entire hot milk mix.

Tempering eggs prevents the egg from cooking. No one wants scrambled eggs in their ice cream!

How long should homemade ice cream churn?

Plan between 20-30 minutes for the ice cream to churn in the maker. The exact time will depend on the temperature of the milk mixture and the exact texture of vanilla frozen custard that you desire.

How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (11)

Flavors and Variations

Whether you choose plain vanilla, vanilla bean or a fun overloaded custard, it’s delicious to scoop into a cake cone or waffle cone on a warm spring or summer day. Your taste buds will thank you.

  • For a simple chocolate custard, add chocolate syrup to the custard while it is churning.
  • This is amazing served over brownies or warm cookies.
  • Add the custard to a blender, then add a little more milk and some fruit for fun shakes.

And here’s a few unique options for a flavor of the day. Yes, we’ve actually made these flavors!

  • Make pumpkin dump cake, freeze it, then cut it into pieces. Churn this into the custard.
  • Make a cheesecake, freeze it, then cut it into cubes and add to the custard during churning. To add a fruit flavor, try strawberry jam.
  • Throw chopped Nutter Butter Cookies and a large scoop of creamy peanut butter into the custard while it is churning.

How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (12)

How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (13)

Vanilla Frozen Custard

4.78 from 103 votes

The most delicious homemade ice cream? Cooked vanilla custard makes a great base for this Vanilla Frozen Custard recipe. Add your favorite fruits or candies for an easy summer dessert.

Servings 6

Prep Time 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes minutes

Chill & Churn Time 4 hours hours 25 minutes minutes

Total Time 4 hours hours 40 minutes minutes

Print RecipeSave Recipe


US CustomaryMetric

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Add cream, milk, sugar and salt to a small saucepan over medium low heat.

  • Simmer about 3-5 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

  • Remove from heat.

  • In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks.

  • Drizzle about ½ cup of the warm milk liquid into the egg yolks whisking constantly as you drizzle it in.

  • Whisk the egg mixture back into the pot. Add the vanilla. Return the pot to a medium low heat and cook until mixture starts to thicken.

  • Take off the heat and pour into a mesh strainer .

  • Cool the milk to room temperature, then cover and put into fridge to cool completely. This will take at least 3-4 hours to overnight.

  • Churn ice cream according to manufacturer directions. Serve soft serve from ice cream maker or firm it up in the freezer.



The calories shown are based on the recipe making 3 cups, with one serving being ½ cup custard. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.


Calories: 443kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 297mg | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 131mg | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 1475IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Author Julie Clark

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Calories 443

Keyword frozen custard, homemade ice cream, how to make ice cream, summer dessert

Have you tried this recipe?

Share a review below or share on Instagram with the tag #tastesoflizzyt.

Other Ice Cream Recipes

  • Dulce de Leche Caramel Ice Cream
  • Funfetti Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Bubblegum Ice Cream
  • Ultimate Ice Cream Pie
  • Reese’s Stuffed Ice Cream Sandwiches
How to Make Frozen Vanilla Custard at Home - Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (2024)


Can you freeze custard to make ice cream? ›

Scrape the pulp from inside the vanilla bean and add it to the strained custard. If using vanilla bean paste instead, stir it in now. Once the custard is cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight before freezing in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Is vanilla custard the same as vanilla ice cream? ›

Differences Between Frozen Custard vs Ice Cream

The main difference between frozen custard and ice cream is that frozen custard is made with egg yolks and ice cream is not, giving the former a richer flavor and mouthfeel.

Is vanilla ice cream frozen custard? ›

But according to the FDA, one key difference sets the two apart: It's all about the yolks. Ice cream contains at least 10 percent milkfat and less than 1.4 percent egg yolk, while custard contains at least 10 percent milkfat but must have more than 1.4 percent egg yolk.

What is frozen custard ice cream made of? ›

Frozen custard is a frozen dessert that contains milk, cream, sugar, flavorings, and egg yolk. Like the U.S. regulation for ice cream, frozen custard is also required to have at least 10 percent milk fat, but also 1.4 percent egg yolks by weight. 3 Frozen custards also come in a wide variety of flavors.

What's the difference between ice cream and custard frozen custard? ›

The difference between ice cream and frozen custard comes down to one ingredient: egg yolks. Ice cream is made with milk, cream, and sweetener. Frozen custard contains the same ingredients, plus egg yolks. This extra ingredient means frozen custard usually has a richer, thicker, and creamier texture than ice cream.

Which is healthier frozen custard or ice cream? ›

Brands vary, but vanilla ice-cream typically has about 10 per cent more calories than custard, as well as twice the saturated fat, less protein and half the calcium and potassium. However, ice-cream usually has less sugar and salt, too.

What are the 3 types of custard? ›

There are three types of custard: baked, stirred, and frozen. Baked custards include bread pudding, flan, and cheesecake, and are prepared by baking in an oven or water bath. Boiled Custards include beverages like eggnog. Puddings, creme anglaise (krem on-GLAYZ), and pastry cream are some examples of stirred custards.

What are the ingredients in Culver's custard? ›

Vanilla Frozen Custard [Milk, Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Egg Yolk, Guar Gum, Mono & Diglycerides, Locust Bean Gum, Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial Vanilla Flavor], Pecan Pieces [Vegetable Oil (Peanut, Cottonseed, Soybean and/or Sunflower Seed), Sea Salt], Salted Caramel [Corn Syrup, Sweetened Condensed ...

How healthy is frozen custard? ›

Slower churning makes it dense and creamy and sharply cuts down on air. (Air makes up 30% to 50% of ice cream's total volume.) The eggs bump the fat to approximately 24.5 grams per serving, though. At about 314 calories, 18 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of carbs, consider frozen custard a “special treat.”

What are the ingredients in Rita's vanilla custard? ›

Vanilla Custard Mix - Milk, cream, liquid sucrose (sugar, water), nonfat milk, corn syrup, sugared egg yolk (egg yolks, sugar), contains less than 0.5% of mono and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavor, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, cellulose gum, guar gum, polysorbate 80, polysorbate 65, carrageenan, salt.

Is frozen custard a southern thing? ›

Interestingly enough, frozen custard actually comes from Coney Island, New York. Back in 1919, the Kohr brothers began adding egg yolks to their desserts to slow them from melting in the hot summer sun.

Is there raw egg in frozen custard? ›

As a point of reference, super premium ice cream has between 15% - 20% butterfat content. However, that is not the only distinction. Frozen Custard must also contain 1.4% pasteurized egg yolks as stipulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What makes frozen custard creamy? ›

Egg Yolks: The star ingredient, providing both a velvety smoothness and a deeper, more pronounced flavor to the frozen custard.

How do you thicken custard for ice cream? ›

Cook the Custard

When all the cream has been added, pour the cream-egg mixture back into the pan. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Why is frozen custard so good? ›

The main difference comes down to one ingredient: eggs. Ice cream is made from milk, cream (or a combination of the two), and sugar. Frozen custard adds egg yolks (no less than 1.4 percent egg yolk solids by weight, per FDA guidelines).

Can you freeze custard and eat like ice cream? ›

Pour custard mixture into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions until the custard reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, about 20 minutes. Once the custard resembles soft-serve then quickly transfer to a freezable container.

Can you freeze unbaked custard? ›

You can freeze custard. I freeze it in a freezer box with a layer of freezer film pressed over the surface before putting a lid on. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Then it may need some attention to make the custard smooth again.

How long to chill custard before making ice cream? ›

Strain and Cool the Custard

Cool the mixture slightly, then stir in the half-and-half cream and the vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold—several hours or overnight.

Can custard set in the freezer? ›

Yes, it does. Homemade custard should never be refrigerated as it is and utilised later. Making “frozen custard,” called ice cream, appears to be the greatest way to effectively avoid waste!

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