Old-Fashioned Southern Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Southern Kitchen

Serves: 8

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours and 0 minutes


2 cups half and half

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon vanilla


Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Nestle the bowl and strainer into an ice bath. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half and cream. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

While the dairy mixture is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large bowl.

While whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot dairy mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Once all of the dairy has been whisked in, return the mixture to the saucepan and place over medium heat.

Gently heat the custard, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, making sure no solids form on the bottom and corners of the pot. When the mixture has thickened enough so that you can run your finger down the back of the spatula and the custard will hold the shape, pour the custard through the prepared strainer into the bowl in the ice bath. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and then stir in the vanilla. 

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream has reached the texture of soft serve, scoop it into an airtight container and freeze until completely set. Serve.

About the recipe

This is the most basic version of a plain vanilla ice cream base. Proper heat control is key to not creating scrambled egg yolks, which will prevent the ice cream from thickening. Make sure the ice cream base has cooled completely before churning. 

You can add any flavors you like once the base has been cooled. If you want to add solid flavors, such as pecan pieces or chocolate chips, add them after the ice cream has been churned, but before storing in the freezer.