How to make delicious ice cream

Need your ice cream fix? We run down how to make it- with or without an ice cream maker.

28 Apr 2021

Ice cream. A delicious creamy dollop of summer in a cone. But even if you can’t hear the jingle of the ice cream van, you can still get your fix.

It’s easier than even to make your own ice cream from home. Plus, when you make your own, there’s no limit to the flavours you can try. Ice cream generally has the same base. But then what you add to that is up to you. Mint choc chip? Of course. Lavender? Go for it.


How to make ice cream

If you’re creating your own ice cream concoction, you’ll need to make a kind of custard. But you can’t just chuck it in the freezer and expect perfection. If you did that, you’d get a solid block of custard. Not ideal!

That’s because when you freeze the mixture, you’re creating ice crystals. The bigger the ice crystals, the more solid the mixture. The smaller they are, the creamier the result. The aim is to break up those crystals as you’re freezing the mixture. Also known as churning.

To start, let’s take a look at your base. Here’s a really simple vanilla ice cream recipe:


  • 115g golden caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 large eggs
  • 285ml double cream
  • 300ml whole milk (it has to be whole!)

How to:

  1. Pour the milk, cream and half the sugar into a saucepan.
  2. Take a sharp knife and slit the vanilla pod lengthwise to reveal all the tiny seeds inside the pod. Use the knife to scrape these into the saucepan. Tear the pod in half and drop that in too.
  3. Heat the mixture slowly over a low heat. You don’t want it to boil. Let it get just hot enough to see a couple of small bubbles.
  4. Set it aside for half an hour.
  5. Put the eggs and the other half of the sugar into a bowl. Beat together until you’ve got a thicker, pale yellow mixture.
  6. Pour 125ml of your cream mixture into the bowl with the eggs and beat together.
  7. Reheat the rest of the cream mixture so that it only just starts boiling again. Take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the egg mixture.
  8. Now heat up the whole mixture again on a low heat, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes- or as long as it takes for the mixture to thicken enough to coat the back of your spoon. You don’t want it to boil, otherwise the mixture will curdle.
  9. To lower the temperature of the ice cream so you can put in the freezer or your ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a bowl. Get a bigger bowl and pour ice water into it so it’s a bit less than half full. Then nestle the bowl of mixture into the bigger bowl of ice water. Leave it for 20 minutes.

Now that you’ve got your cold ice cream mix- what’s next?

Mother and daughter stirring a bowl together in the kitchen.

How to make ice cream with an ice cream maker

Ice cream makers save you a lot of faff. You don’t have to churn by hand. Instead, you just dump your mixture in, input your settings, and leave it until it’s ready.

Take the Sage Smart Scoop Ice Cream Machine. This machine sits on your countertop so there’s no need to clear out the freezer to make room. And you can choose from a bunch of pre-set options to get the right consistency for your frozen treat. That means you’re not just limited to ice cream – you can make gelato, sorbet or frozen yoghurt too!

You might want to add in some tasty extras. Maybe some little pieces of fudge or nuts- whatever takes your fancy. If that’s the case, the Smart Scoop will let you know the right time to add them in. Perfect!


How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker

Quite a bit more work, but you’ll still get a great final product. It works by popping your custard in the freezer and stirring it at regular intervals. Obviously the more regularly you stir, the smoother your ice cream is going to be. But here’s our advice…

  • Put your mixture into a freezer proof dish and let it freeze for 45 minutes.
  • Take it out and stir it, so you’re really moving everything around. Make sure to scrape the bottom and edges too.
  • Repeat this every 30 minutes until it’s frozen – about 3 hours.

And there you have it – everything you need to get started!

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