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Our Family's Old Fashioned 
Vanilla Ice Cream

Posted by Denise on July 13, 2014

old fashioned vanilla ice cream in bowl

My family has been making this delicious homemade vanilla ice cream for over 75 years. The recipe has been handed down for at least 4 generations!

We are sharing my family’s vanilla ice cream recipe that’s been used to make delicious homemade ice cream for at least 75 years. The only change is that I’ve added a step to temper the eggs for today’s safety standards. The flavor is still the fantastic, old-fashioned taste of my mom’s childhood and perhaps even before that.

As a child, we always made this recipe in a hand-cranked ice cream churn during summer get-togethers. Mom would make up the recipe and fill the churn container, then let Dad and the other men take the churn down to the basement where there was a convenient floor drain. They would position the churn next to the drain to catch the icy water that invariably leaked from the weep hole in the churn bucket while we churned. We kids would start the churning when it was easy, taking turns to see how long we could each do it before our tiny arms gave out. However, as the ice cream mixture started to freeze, the cranking would get harder and harder until small arms couldn’t handle it anymore; then Dad would take over the cranking and finish it. It was always such a perfect treat on hot days, made more special from all the work required to make it.

These days, you can purchase all types of ice cream makers, even the old-fashioned hand crank type, but most have electric motors that do all the work of churning. Once you make up the ice cream mixture, you can let the machine do all the work as long as you check it periodically. But the joy of eating that wonderful ice cream created with the best ingredients…well, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Our Family's Old Fashioned

Vanilla Ice Cream



 old fashioned vanilla ice cream ingredients

Simple ingredients, great ice cream with terrific old fashioned flavor.



Makes 9-12 servings   




14-ounce cans of evaporated milk 



2 ¼  

cup granulated sugar 

4 ½  

teaspoons vanilla extract 


teaspoon salt 


Half and half and/or whole milk, depending on what you want in richness 


1.  Pour the evaporated milk into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the granulated sugar and stir it into the evaporated milk. Heat while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Don’t allow it to boil. In the meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs. Set aside.


 evap milk and sugar

2.  Once the evaporated milk is hot, but not boiling, temper the eggs by pouring a cup of the hot milk/sugar liquid into the bowl with the eggs, stirring the whole time. Pour the resulting mix back into the pan with the hot evaporated milk, stirring constantly. Heat again to just before boiling. Take off of the heat and pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer to get any lumps out, into a heat-proof bowl. Add the vanilla and stir well. 


eggs for vanilla ice cream   straining ice cream for lumps

eggs and evap milk mix


3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that the wrap is directly touching the top of the liquid. Place the bowl into a container of ice water (don’t get water in the ice cream mixture) or the refrigerator until it gets cold.  


4.  Once the ice cream mixture is cold, stir it up and pour it into the ice cream maker container. Add enough half-and-half or milk (I pour halfway to the line with half-and-half and finish filling to the line with the whole milk) to fill the container about 2/3 of the way full or to the fill line on the interior of the container, if it has a line. If you have a small container, you may need to do multiple batches. If you have a 6 quart ice cream maker, you will need to double the recipe. 


5.   Add the paddle, also called a dasher, and follow the manufacturer’s directions for freezing the ice cream. If you have an old-fashioned ice cream maker that uses ice and rock salt to freeze the ice cream, we’ve provided a tutorial here if you’ve lost your instructions.


        * If you do not have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into freezer-safe cake pan or other shallow pan and stir up every 30 minutes or so until frozen to the texture you prefer.

  vanilla ice cream in pink bowl


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