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Course: dessert
Total time: under 4 hours
Skill level: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
Yield: Makes about 1 quart
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This is one of the most versatile ice cream flavors–ideal as a topping on chocolate soufflé cake, fruit pies, and cobblers. Or mingle tiny scoopfuls in a tall glass with bittersweet chocolate and coffee ice creams or fruit sorbet. Flecks of vanilla bean imbue this creamy ice cream with an exotic flavor that surpasses vanilla extract alone.


  • One 4-inch vanilla bean
  • 2 cups half and half or milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream


Prepare a large bowl or pan of ice water.

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the black seeds into the top of a double boiler. Add the vanilla bean and half-and-half, and heat over simmering water until steaming.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, then whisk in the sugar. Whisk in about half of the hot half-and-half and pour the yolk mixture into the pan of half-and-half. Stir and cook over simmering water until the custard coats the back of a silicone spatula or spoon, about 10 minutes.

Immediately place the custard pan in the ice bath and stir the custard occasionally until it cools to room temperature.

 Transfer to a container and stir in the cream. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 3 hours.

When you are ready to freeze the mixture, remove the vanilla bean with a fork.

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving

Nutritional information is based on 8 servings.

273kcal (14%)
94mg (9%)
1mg (1%)
213mcg RAE (7%)
168mg (56%)
40mg (2%)
12g (60%)
20g (31%)
0mg (2%)