French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipes

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Looking for good French vanilla ice cream recipes? Look no further.

What's the Difference Between French Vanilla and Vanilla?

The difference between vanilla and French vanilla is in the preparation. French vanilla ice cream tends to be richer and creamier than traditional vanilla ice cream. This is because French vanilla is made as an egg custard before freezing, while traditional vanilla ice cream typically contains no eggs. Because of this, French vanilla ice cream recipes will often result in a slight golden tint to the ice cream, while traditional vanilla is a whitish color, sometimes with flecks of vanilla bean.

French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipes

All French vanilla ice cream recipes can be frozen in a traditional ice cream freezer. Any kind you choose is fine. There are many ice cream freezers available - from the hand cranked old-fashioned freezers that use ice and rock salt to the electric versions that require you to keep the bowl in your freezer until you are ready to make the ice cream.

Recipe #1

This recipe is extremely thick and creamy.


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cup half and half or whole milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a heat-resistant bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and ½ cup of the milk. Set mixture aside.
  2. In a non-reactive pan, combine the heavy cream, salt, and one cup of the milk. Split the vanilla bean and, using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the center of each half of the bean into the milk/cream.
  3. Heat the milk/cream mixture over low heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture has just come to a boil, remove it from the heat.
  4. Add the cream mixture to the egg mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly. You want to add the hot liquid to the eggs very gradually so that you don't inadvertently cook the eggs. This process is referred to as tempering.
  5. When all of the cream mixture has been incorporated into the egg mixture, return it to the pan and place it over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion.
  6. Cook the custard until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. You can tell it has reached the desired consistency when you swipe your finger in a line across the back of the spoon and a very clear line remains. This typically takes about eight to 12 minutes.
  7. Remove the custard from the heat and strain it through a wire-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into the bowl of the ice cream freezer.
  8. Freeze the ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  9. Once ice cream is frozen, place it in your freezer for at least one hour in order to allow the ice cream to set properly.

Recipe #2

Looking for a lighter recipe? Try this one.


  • 4 cups of fat free half-and-half
  • ¾ cup sugar or equivalent of Splenda
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. In a heat-proof bowl, whisk together ½ cup of half-and-half with the cornstarch until it is well-blended. Whisk in the egg yolks and set aside.
  2. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine 3-1/2 cups of the half-and-half, sugar, and salt.
  3. Heat the custard over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the half-and-half comes to a simmer. Don't let the mixture boil. Remove it from the heat.
  4. Add the half-and-half mixture to the egg mixture, about a tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, until you've added about one cup of the half-and-half to the eggs. Be sure to add the hot mixture to the eggs very slowly to avoid cooking the eggs with the hot liquid.
  5. When you've added about a cup of the half-and-half, whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining half-and-half mixture and return it to medium heat.
  6. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure-8 motion, until the custard coats the back of a spoon. This process will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. When custard has thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  8. Strain the custard into a clean bowl using a wire-mesh sieve or cheese cloth. Cover the custard with plastic wrap. To prevent a skin from forming on the top of the custard, lightly press wrap directly down on the surface of the custard. Refrigerate the custard.
  9. Once the custard has completely cooled, transfer it to an ice cream freezer and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Whether you want a lighter ice cream or the full-fat version, using the recipes above will provide you with a rich, delicious frozen dessert.

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French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipes