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Easy Vanilla Ice Cream from Half and Half

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This creamy, delicious homemade vanilla ice cream made with half and half is as easy as can be to make. This egg free recipe only takes 4 simple ingredients and will be churning in no time. The ice cream texture is fabulous, too. You can scoop it straight from the freezer.

Spoon getting a bite of smooth vanilla half and half ice cream.

There is just something special about homemade vanilla ice cream that makes it taste so much better than what you can get at the store. This recipe produces all of the texture and flavor you love in the simplest possible way with the help of a quart of half-and-half.

About This Recipe

For years, we have enjoyed batch after batch of Mimi’s vanilla ice cream. It it still a hit with our family, but the recipe includes raw eggs, and that makes some people a little bit nervous.

The we fell in love with our favorite homemade vanilla ice cream without eggs. And that quickly became our go-to recipe.

Recently, a reader pointed out that you could use half-and-half in place of the whole milk and cream. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that myself.

We normally have whole milk in the refrigerator, so I just pick up a pint of heavy cream to make the ice cream. But, if you are going to the store to pick up ingredients for the ice cream, it is even easier to just buy a quart of half and half.

Ingredients including half and half, sugar, salt, and vanilla ready to be made into ice cream.

Then, the only thing you even have to measure to make the ice cream is the sugar. You can let your heart determine how much vanilla to put in, though I suggest plenty.

I think the ice cream tastes better with plenty of vanilla in it. Plus the alcohol base that the extract is in helps a bit with the texture.

Making The Ice Cream

All you have to do is dissolve the sugar completely into the half and half. Then stir in the vanilla and a pinch of salt.

That is it! The ice cream base is ready to go into the machine in just a few minutes.

It’s worth mentioning again to not to skimp on the vanilla. I know it is expensive, but using plenty of good quality vanilla is what is going to make this recipe extra good.

This recipe can also be used as a base for other flavors and add-ins. If adding chunks, wait until the ice cream is basically frozen before you add them.

If you add chocolate chips, candy bar chunks or other mix in too early they will sink to the bottom. Adding them with only a minute or two of churn time left ensures the ice cream is solid enough to hold them in suspension.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes homemade ice cream creamy?

The perfect ratio of fat and sugar makes homemade ice cream creamy without using eggs or other emulsifiers. Using half and half for the base helps to get that fat to liquid ratio just right without any extra effort.

Why does homemade ice cream taste better?

Homemade ice cream tastes so much better than what you get at the store because it just uses simple ingredients and lets them shine. There are no stabilizers or preservatives to affect the flavor.

Ice cream scoop getting frozen vanilla ice cream out of quart storage container.

Can I change the flavor of this ice cream?

Yes! Think of this recipe as a good starting point, and then add your favorite flavors and mix-ins. The options really are endless.

Great Topping Ideas for Ice Cream

If you like a little crunch with your ice cream, try making a homemade magic shell. We have chocolate magic shell, sprinkle magic shell, and peanut butter magic shell recipes to get you started.

For a gooier topping, try making homemade hot fudge. It is rich, creamy, and delicious.

scoop of vanilla ice cream in sundae cup, ready to eat.

If it is summer and you have access to fresh blackberries, easy blackberry sauce is the way to go.

Or for something different, try making apple cider caramel sauce. It is really tasty and the tart apple flavor shines through the sweet caramel.

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Spoon getting a bite of smooth vanilla half and half ice cream.

Vanilla Half and Half Ice Cream

Servings: 12 Servings (about 1.5 quarts)
Author: Carlee
This creamy vanilla ice cream only takes 4 simple ingredients to make. Thanks to the help of a quart of half and half, you will be churning this tasty treat in no time. It is perfect for topping your favorite desserts, or turn it into an ice cream sundae.
4.89 from 9 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Churn and Chill Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes


  • 4 cups half and half
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt


  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the half and half and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
    4 cups half and half, ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • Stir in a pinch of salt and the vanilla.
    1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 pinch salt
  • Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to the directions of your machine.
  • Scoop into ice cream storage containers and freeze until solid.


Do not use fat free half and half, you need the fat to have creamy ice cream. It will freeze more solid and with more ice crystals if you use fat free.



Calories: 157kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 53mgPotassium: 108mgSugar: 16gVitamin A: 286IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 0.05mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.89 from 9 votes (7 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Saturday 13th of July 2024

I’m a new follower to your site. I’m going to try this in my maiden voyage using a Dash ice cream maker. I’ll need to scale the recipe down (by 4?) as the Dash unit is only a one pint capacity.


Sunday 14th of July 2024

@Carlee, Thank you for the quantity guidance. Max capacity of Dash was 1 cup, so I started w/ 3/4 c liquid to accommodate for add-in volume. I used 1 TB monk fruit instead of sugar; this was sweet enough for us. I added 1TB Jello sugar free white chocolate cheesecake pudding (dry) and puree raspberries as mix-ins. Will try different SF Jello flavors (chocolate, pistachio) on the next round. First attempt was SOO good.

Have you tried using any of the nut milks (almond) instead of half-n-half or will that make it icy and hard? Now I will look for recipes using Greek yogurt… to avoid my cholesterol getting any higher… :) Thanks again for your help and recipes you post. Have a good week!


Saturday 13th of July 2024

Ok, that sounds like fun! I would use 1 cup of half and half, 3 Tablespoons sugar, 1 scant teaspoon vanilla, and just a tiny pinch of salt.


Wednesday 10th of July 2024

This is the only recipe I use. My spouse gave me an ice cream maker for Mother’s Day and it makes the best ice cream. Having a dairy allergy made it impossible to buy commercially made ice cream. I’ve discovered that I can consume a2 dairy (allergy is to a1 dairy). Glad I’m not the only person using half and half for ice cream. It is so easy.


Wednesday 10th of July 2024

I am so glad it works for you. Navigating recipes with allergies has to be hard.


Saturday 6th of July 2024

This worked exactly as written, thanks!


Sunday 7th of July 2024

I am so glad you liked it!

Karen @karenskitchenstories

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

How simple!! I have some leftover half and half that I was looking to use too!


Tuesday 28th of November 2023

Well then, this is perfect timing! I hope you enjoy it!