No-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (No Machine Needed!) plus Tips on How to Work with Vanilla Beans

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While vanilla extract may be convenient, vanilla beans truly bring recipes to another level, and this one is no exception. It's outstanding. 
If you've never worked with vanilla beans, no worries! My recipe includes tips (and photos) showing you how to work with them, and I link to places online where you can buy them fresh and have them delivered right to your door.

To download the recipe now in a free PDF, click here.

To keep reading this blog post, click here or on the Read More link below and eat with joy...

~ Cleo Coyle, author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband. 
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If you missed my recipes for No-Churn Chocolate and No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream, you are welcome to download them now in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, by clicking here or on the image below...  

A No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream recipe was also included in my previous post, but it relies on vanilla extract. And again, while extract may be convenient, vanilla beans truly bring recipes to another level, and this one is outstanding.

As I also explained in my earlier post, not all no-churn ice creams are created equal. The most common recipe shared across the internet (cream + sweetened condensed milk) likely originated from the label of Eagle Brand's sweetened condensed milk can. The problem with it is that it produces an ice cream that's too soft, melts too easily, and leaves a waxy aftertaste on the tongue from too much butterfat.

As a result, I began experimenting until I came up with an improved version (IMO). Why is it better? A few reasons...

(1) Adding evaporated milk to the mix before freezing creates a final product that has a much cleaner, more ice-cream-like texture, eliminating that waxy butterfat coating on the tongue.

(2) It allows very fine ice crystals to form, which make the final product colder in the mouth and gives it a more stable form in the dish or on your cone.

(3) By only whipping the cream until its thickened, rather than until it has "stiff peaks" (as most of the other recipes require), the final product is denser and more like a churned ice cream or gelato. And away we go... 

Cleo Coyle’s No-Churn 
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 

Vanilla beans are easy to work with (and they're fun to work with, too). Scroll down to the end of this recipe for some great tips on buying and storing vanilla beans. 

Makes a little over 1 quart (around 5 cups)


1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
1 vanilla bean pod
2 cups Heavy Cream (aka Heavy Whipping Cream)
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (about 1-1/4 cups)
2 pinches of table salt (or finely ground sea salt)


Step 1 – Infuse your evaporated milk with vanilla bean flavor: 

Pour your evaporated milk into a small saucepan. 

Place your vanilla bean pod on a flat surface. Run a sharp knife down the length of it. Pull open the pod with your fingers and, using the edge of the knife, scrape the seeds out and add them to the pan. Throw in the empty pod, too, and bring the mix to a simmer (do not boil). 

As soon as it begins to simmer, remove the pan from the stove to a cool place in the kitchen, place the lid on the pan, and allow the vanilla beans and pod to infuse the evaporated milk for at least one hour

After one hour, remove the pod from the pan and proceed with the recipe using this newly infused “vanilla evaporated milk” in place of the plain evaporated milk. (Your milk should be room temperature after infusion. If not, pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or until cool to the touch.)

Step 2 - Make the ice cream: 

In a chilled metal, glass, or ceramic bowl, beat your 2 cups of heavy cream with an electric mixer until thickened. Do not create whipped cream, just beat it until it resembles a thick white gravy. See my photo below...

Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and the “vanilla evaporated milk” from Step 1. (Be sure to use all of it, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to clean it of extra milk or vanilla bean seeds.) Finally add the salt. Beat the mixture until it slightly thickens again, about a minute.

Pour the mixture into a chilled 9 x 5 metal loaf pan. A metal pan will conduct the cold better than a sealed plastic container. Do not fill to the very top; here’s why...

Wrap the loaf plan in plastic wrap, keeping the plastic from touching the ice cream itself. Place the pan in the freezer for a good 12 hours. 

Scoop, serve and enjoy! 

To store: transfer the ice cream into a re-sealable plastic container or continue to re-wrap the metal pan in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.



I like to buy my vanilla beans online. If you'd like to learn the difference between Madagascar Vanilla, Mexican Vanilla, and Tahitian Vanilla, as well as other varieties, click here to visit the Beanilla site. Shipping is free for US residents. For those of you in the UK or EU, try VanillaMart here, based in the UK.


The goal of storage is to prevent your beans from drying out. Once I receive my beans in the mail, I take them out of their packaging and wrap each one individually in plastic. Then I store them all in an airtight container in a cool, dry area of the kitchen. Most sources agree to keep vanilla beans far, far away from your refrigerator, which will dry them out. 


If your beans are dry and brittle instead of plump and supple, they're older beans, which have dried out. I ran into this problem when I bought them in local stores, which is why I now buy them online. You can still work with dried beans. Soak them in warm water for 20 minutes or so until they become more supple and slightly plumper. Then pat them dry and proceed with splitting and scraping them.


If you scrape out the seeds for a recipe, don't discard the pod. Place it in a sealed container with one cup of sugar and you'll soon have vanilla-flavored sugar for your coffee, tea, or try sprinkling it over fresh berries, your morning oatmeal, or baked apples. Delicious! 


To download my No-Churn Vanilla Bean
recipe in a free PDF document that you
can print, save, or share, click here.

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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