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How to Make Ice Cream without Heavy Cream

If there is one thing I love about the summer it’s the delicious fresh fruit and cold deserts. Making ice from home is a lot easier than you think and uses only four simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.

peach crisp in a white baking dish with a scoop of crisp on a plate

This recipe is a great way to guarantee that you and your family are getting the creamiest ice cream without all the extra ingredients you find in store bought ice cream.  

This recipe can be used with a machine but can easily be made without. I use the Cuisinart 2 quart ice cream maker because it is incredibly simple to use and does not take up a lot of space in my kitchen.

I will give instructions on how to make the creamiest soft serve ice cream without heavy cream and a machine below. 

It is perfect atop my peach crisp with oatmeal and my strawberry crumble recipes!

While the recipe is for vanilla ice cream you can easily combine fresh fruit, chocolate chips, peanut butter or other flavor mix-ins to make your own flavors.

The possibilities are endless so use your imagination and get the whole family involved. It’s fun to see who can come up with the most delicious flavor ideas. 

ice cream in a loaf pan

What is ice cream without heavy cream?

Ice cream recipes without heavy cream make a soft, creamy, delicious ice cream with a silky smooth flavor.

This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe eliminates fancy ingredients, making this an extremely easy recipe.

If you would like this ice cream mixture to be a thicker ice cream you can add 3 cups heavy whipping cream or half and half and adjust the whole milk to 1 ½ cups.

It truly is just that simple. 

a bowl of ice cream with peaches

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • You will love the simplicity of this creamy ice cream recipe and how quickly it all comes together.
  • Beat the summer heat with this cold treat that can be enjoyed on its own or as the perfect dessert after a summer meal.
  • Once you have made this recipe a couple of times you will never want to buy store bought ice cream again. Knowing exactly what is in your homemade ice cream will give you peace of mind that you are using the freshest, most delicious ingredients.
  • This homemade ice cream recipe is egg free and does not require rock salt, which some ice cream making machines require.
  • Ice cream can seem intimidating at first, but with this recipe you will be surprised at how easy making your own homemade ice cream really is. 
  • This is a great recipe to make with your children. Having your kids in the kitchen with you while you make this ice cream is a lot of fun with a delicious result. 
a scoop of ice cream coming out of a loaf pan

Tell me about ice cream without heavy cream

  • Taste– Since this simple recipe does not use heavy cream, this vanilla ice cream recipe has a creamy consistency that almost melts when you eat it. The vanilla gives a very subtle floral flavor that is delicious on its own or with your favorite add-ins. 
  • Texture– With a smooth, silky base, this ice cream is similar to the soft serve you can find in the store or your favorite ice cream shop. It offers that perfect, creamy texture you’ve come to expect. Freeze it for a harder texture and use an ice cream scoop to scoop it out. This is great served alone or with your favorite summer dessert.There are some great summer dessert ideas posted on my blog that would be great alongside this ice cream.  
  • Ease– With simple ingredients found in your pantry and minimal preparation, this recipe comes together quickly on any night of the week. Using this re
  • Time– This ice cream comes together in about 25-30 minutes with an ice cream machine or a few hours in the freezer for no churn ice cream. 
ice cream maker on a kitchen counter

Ingredients for ice cream without heavy cream

  • Whole Milk – This recipe uses whole milk, but you can use any milk you have on hand. If you use non dairy milk, such as coconut milk, you may need to adjust the sugar content of this recipe depending on how sweet your non dairy substitute is. Some home cooks even use a sweetened condensed milk to create an extra rich, creamy result.
  • Sugar – Using granulated white sugar will guarantee that the ice cream is the desired sweetness. If you would like to use a different sugar like coconut sugar or a sweetener, please note that you will need to adjust the quantities to your specific taste.   
  • Vanilla – The vanilla is the main ingredient for this recipe. Using good quality vanilla will really make a difference in this recipe but you can use whatever vanilla you typically use for baking. You can even use vanilla beans and scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pods into the ice cream to add those black vanilla bean flecks and drive home the vanilla flavor. 
a bowl of ice cream and peaches

Make Perfect Ice Cream in 3 easy steps

  1. Add milk and sugar to a bowl and mix until combined. Stir in Vanilla.  
  2. Add ingredients to the ice cream maker and follow the instructions for your particular machine. 
  3. After 25 – 30 min your ice cream should be smooth, creamy and ready to enjoy.  
homemade ice cream in a scoop

How to make ice cream without a machine 

To make delicious homemade ice cream without a machine, use the bowl of stand or hand mixer and add milk and sugar. Mix until all sugar is dissolved and milk starts to form peaks or reaches your desired consistency. Fold in the vanilla until mixed in. 

You will want to have a loaf pan ready and lined with parchment paper. Pour the mixture evenly into the pan and put in the freezer 1-2 hours or overnight. When you are ready to serve, place the loaf pan on the counter at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften. Serve and Enjoy!

ice cream being mixed in an ice cream maker

Tips for Making the Best Homemade Ice Cream

  • This recipe is so simple that even the most timid home cook can tackle this recipe. Having only a handful of ingredients makes this a great recipe to make when you don’t have time to run to the store.
  • Once you have mastered this recipe you can start making different flavors by adding in your favorite ice cream add-ins. 
  • If you want a thicker, more dense ice cream you can add heavy cream or half and half. 

How do you store Ice Cream?

This recipe can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months, but if you are anything like my family, I doubt it will stay around that long. Make sure your container is sealed tightly so that you avoid freezer burn. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use instead of cream in ice cream?

This is a great recipe for when you want ice cream but do not have heavy cream or whole milk on hand. You can use nearly any milk for this recipe and can even substitute half and half if you have some on hand. The higher the fat content of your milk the creamier your milk will be. 

How do you thicken ice cream without the cream?

If you prefer a thicker ice cream you can add a little bit of cornstarch to the sugar to create a thickening agent, or a slurry. You can also pour the ice cream from the machine and put into a loaf pan and put into the freezer. This allows the ice cream to set, creating a firmer, thicker ice cream.

What is another substitute for cream?

If you don’t have any cream on hand and prefer to add some to your ice cream you can add some butter to the milk. This will add more fat to the milk and makes a great substitute for cream in a pinch. This recipe is great as it is and does not require any cream. 

What kind of ingredients can I add to my ice cream?

The possibilities are truly endless. You could add some fresh fruit or jam, chocolate chips, marshmallows, small or bite size candy pieces, peanut butter, fresh herbs like basil, mint or rosemary and nuts. You can even leave the ice cream as it is and serve alongside some toppings and create an ice cream bar. Have fun!

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If you create some fun and unique add-ins, I would love to hear what you came up with!

Ice Cream without Heavy Cream Recipe

Homemade Ice Cream without Heavy Cream

Liz Quick
If there is one thing I love about the summer it’s the delicious fresh fruit and cold deserts. Making ice from home is a lot easier than you think and uses only four simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Churn Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2 quarts


  • 1 ice cream maker


  • cups whole milk
  • 1⅛ cups granulated sugar
  • tablespoons pure vanilla


  • In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer and mix the milk and sugar on low speed for 2 minutes, or until the sugar begins to dissolve.
  • Stir in the vanilla.
  • Turn on your ice cream maker and pour in your ice cream mixture.
  • Allow the ice cream maker to prepare the ice cream for 25-30 minutes, depending upon your ice cream machine.
  • If you prefer a firmer ice cream, put it in a loaf pan covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze it for several hours until it reaches the firmness you want.


If you’d like to use heavy cream, use this combination:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream (or half and half)
Keyword ice cream

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    1. I’m not sure about raspberry juice, but actual raspberries- yes! I would wait until the ice cream is ready and add them so they can mix in for just a few minutes.

    1. I don’t have one, but I bet you could easily add cocoa powder to create a yummy chocolate ice cream.

    2. Hi Bri, i mixed in some Nesquik chocolate powder, some galaxy drinking chocolate powder as i don’t like cocoa powder. Once it’s set, you can blend some of the ice cream with milk and get a delicious chocolate smoothie.
      I made it for my son’s family, he said it taste the same as McDonald’s icecream smoothies and he’s going to make up some himself.
      You can also make a strawberry icecream smoothie like he did with another one i made while leaving the chocolate out.

  1. I tried adding butter to my whole milk by melting the butter and then adding some of the cold milk so as not to solidify the butter, but after adding the butter/milk mixture to the rest of the milk, it did solidify, resulting in chunks of hard butter throughout the ice cream. Would you please add tips for avoiding this? Thank you!

  2. Thank you for piating. If I just wanted to use half-and-half, should I just use the same as the whole milk amount and add more sugar?

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