French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

An easy recipe for creamy custard based homemade vanilla bean ice cream. A classic ice cream flavor everyone should know how to make!

Creamy homemade French vanilla bean ice cream recipe from @bakedbyrachel

It dawned on me not too long ago that I hadn’t shared a single plain ole vanilla ice cream recipe. Sure, I have plenty of ice cream recipes with vanilla or with a vanilla base, but not a simple straight up vanilla ice cream. Which meant that I clearly needed to fix that!

According to all of the random ‘most popular’ ice cream flavor lists I came across, vanilla is definitely up there. It ranked in the top 3 on every list I found. Would you rank vanilla in your top 3 favorite flavors? I’m probably the wrong person to ask because I love SO many ice cream flavors. But, there’s just something special about a really good vanilla ice cream. You can eat it plain, with absolutely any topping you desire, on top of pie or next to a slice of cake. I wouldn’t say that about most other flavors.

Creamy homemade French vanilla bean ice cream recipe from @bakedbyrachel

Ditch the store bought and whip up this flavorful custard based vanilla bean ice cream (aka French vanilla ice cream). What makes it French? The custard base. Which if you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve noticed that’s my preferred method of making ice cream. It’s just so incredibly creamy and doesn’t freeze as hard as Philadelphia style, which doesn’t contain egg yolks. It’s worth every ounce of effort.

Need the perfect vanilla ice cream for your next party… or day ending in Y? Be sure to try this French vanilla bean ice cream! I promise you’ll love it!

Creamy homemade French vanilla bean ice cream recipe from @bakedbyrachel

French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Creamy homemade vanilla bean ice cream.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time1 day
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ice cream
Servings: 4 plus


  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Add 1 cup heavy cream to a medium bowl with mesh strainer set on top. Set aside.
  • Add remaining heavy cream, milk, salt and sugar to a small saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the vanilla bean contents into the saucepan along with the split vanilla bean pod. Stir to combine ingredients and dissolve sugar. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to steam and bubble around the edges.
  • While whisking egg yolks, slowly pour roughly 1 cup of hot milk mixture into yolks. Transfer mixture into saucepan. Stir to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Pour through the mesh strainer into the reserved heavy cream. Place vanilla bean in custard mixture. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, if desired.
  • Cool over an ice bath to room temperature. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Discard vanilla bean. Churn according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a freezer safe container, freezing until solid, roughly 4-6 hours or overnight.


Recipe serves roughly 4-6, yields 1 quart.
An original recipe from Baked by Rachel

More ice cream recipes to try:

Cake Batter Funfetti Ice Cream Recipe from

Cake batter funfetti ice cream

Cookies and Coffee Ice Cream Recipe from

Cookies and coffee ice cream

A creamy coconut-coffee ice cream recipe from @bakedbyrachel DAIRY FREE!

Coconut coffee ice cream

Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream Recipe from

Blackberry swirl ice cream

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20 Responses to “French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream”

  1. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — July 14, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Vanilla is my very favorite you know :)

    • #
      Rachel — July 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      I was thinking about that as I was writing the post lol :)

  2. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — July 14, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Love a good recipe for good ole vanilla. Can’t go wrong with a classic! I’d smoosh the ice cream between two cookies just because! I love seeing those vanilla bean specks :)

    • #
      Rachel — July 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      If I’d only had cookies to make that perfect sandwich… next time! :)

  3. #
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl — July 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Vanilla isn’t my favorite, but sometimes It is a good choice because it’s like blank canvas for toppings. I have to say your photos are making me crave it… oh and your cookies and cream too!

    • #
      Rachel — July 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      I agree! Though it typically isn’t my first choice, it is perfect for toppings and pairing with other food.

  4. #
    Maria @Ten at the Table — July 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    A subscription to this blog is seriously a wonderful thing! Rachel, I love you more with every post! I was just thinking about making homemade ice-cream, so this post was good timing. :)

    • #
      Rachel — July 15, 2014 at 7:54 am

      Thanks for the sweet comment! :)

  5. #
    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — July 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Oh my goodness, those flecks of vanilla bean are absolutely gorgeous! Although I’m a huge chocoholic, I recently rediscovered how much I adore plain French vanilla ice cream this summer. There’s something so rich and indulgent about its simplicity, and the vanilla bean really makes a difference. I wish I could stick a spoon right through the screen to sneak a taste of yours! :)

    • #
      Rachel — July 15, 2014 at 7:54 am

      Thanks so much Amy! :)

  6. #
    Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! — July 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Rachel, this ice cream is just beautiful. I love that you’re featuring “regular” vanilla ice cream. This is so simple, but honestly, I would prefer your vanilla ice cream over most versions. The little vanilla bean flecks are to die for!

    • #
      Rachel — July 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Thanks Kathi!

  7. #
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking — July 15, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Sometimes plain vanilla is anything but plain! I can’t wait to try this in my new ice cream maker! I always keep French vanilla on hand for photos (and my husband) and it would be so nice for it to be homemade! Pinned

    • #
      Rachel — July 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Thanks Lindsey! I hope you and your husband enjoy it :)

  8. #
    Tom @ Raise Your Garden — July 17, 2014 at 11:49 am

    This is my wife’s absolute favorite kind of ice-cream and now we can make it ourselves. This is also better for us than the perry’s version. Thanks.

    • #
      Rachel — July 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Enjoy!! :)

  9. #
    Carolynn — August 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Your recipes look AMazing!! Can’t wait to try some of the ice creams but I was just wondering what type or brand of ice cream maker do you use?

    • #
      Rachel — August 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

      I use a Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart ice cream/sorbet maker. And thank you. :)

  10. #
    Mr Horace Lynn Watson — July 1, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    I made this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream recipe today… I sent my husband a text message with a photo… He’s leaving work early, because – Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!!! I tasted it and can’t wait till he gets home so we can dig in! Thanks so much, Rachel!

    • #
      Rachel — July 3, 2017 at 7:14 am

      I hope you both enjoyed it! :)

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