Custard Ice Cream

The only ice cream recipe you’ll ever need! This rich and creamy Custard Ice Cream recipe is the perfect base for any flavors you are craving.

Homemade ice cream is a delicious treat! Traditional, old fashioned ice cream machines were messy, noisy, and cumbersome, which meant that ice cream could only be made outdoors. Most often, homemade ice cream was reserved only for the summer months! But, with handy home-appliances, you can now make ice cream any time of the year.

My favorite type of homemade ice cream is custard based. It is thick, creamy, rich, and a great canvas for any flavor combination you are craving. The prepwork is a bit more involved than sugar/cream mixtures, but the result is completely worth it!

I follow a basic guideline for my custard ice creams, but it is customizable to your preferences, once you understand the basic formulation.

Custard Ice Cream Formula

First, you need dairy! You need a total of 3 cups of dairy, combining heavy whipping cream and whole milk. You need at least one cup of each, then decide which dairy product to use for the third cup. So, my favorite formulation is 2 cups heavy cream + 1 cup whole milk. But you could also do the opposite – 1 cup heavy cream + 2 cups whole milk. I’m sure you can figure which formulation will be superior in creaminess!

Next, you need eggs! This recipe will work with 3-6 egg yolks. The more egg you use, the richer your custard ice cream will be. I go for the full 6 egg yolks. (It’s a treat, after all). But you can do as few as 3 egg yolks! It’s going to be delish either way.

The third ingredient is sugar. Use up to a cup of sugar in this recipe. But, feel free to adjust your sweetener based on the type of ice cream you are making. If you’re making Oreo ice cream, you’ll need less sugar! Give it a taste and decide what tastes best to you!

Custard Ice Cream Recipe

Custard Ice Cream Formula

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
By Candace Heward Serves: About 1 Quart

The only ice cream recipe you'll ever need! This rich and creamy Custard Ice Cream recipe is the perfect base for any flavors you are craving.


  • 3 cups dairy (combination of whole milk & heavy whipping cream - see notes)
  • 1/2 -1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3-6 large egg yolks
  • Your choice of flavorings (see chart below)



In a small saucepan, warm the diary, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Add any aromatics at this time (cinnamon, mint sugar, vanilla, citrus sugar, etc). Warm the milk mixture, whisking to incorporate any flavorings. Heat the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.


Prepare a straining and cooling station by placing a mixing bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice. Set a strainer over the small mixing bowl.


Now, you'll temper the egg yolks. Start by whisking the egg yolks together in a small mixing bowl. Slowly warm the egg yolks by adding a spoonful of the warm milk mixture, then stirring together. Continue adding a little milk, followed by a good stir until the egg is as warm as the milk mixture. Then pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining dairy mixture.


Heat the egg and dairy mixture over medium heat, stirring and scraping the bottom as your stir. Heat until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. You should be able to run your finger across the back of the spoon and the mixture will not run. (about 180° F on an instant-read thermometer).


Pour the custard through the strainer into the prepared mixing bowls set up as a cooling station. Discard items left in the strainer.


Stir the custard occasionally, until it has chilled. You can also place the mixture in the fridge for a couple hours to chill.


Process ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. Add chunks of fruit or cookies or other flavorings during the last few minutes of the mixing process.


Serve immediately for soft serve ice cream or freeze overnight for scoop able ice cream.


DAIRY- You need three cups of dairy. Use a combination of heavy whipping cream and whole milk, at least one cup of each. Then, decide which one to use for the third cup. You can also use half of each. It's delicious any way, but it will be richer and creamier with 2 cups of cream + 1 cup of whole milk.

Custard Ice Cream Flavors

Slice 2 vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Alternatively, use 2 Tablespoons vanilla bean paste. Add the seeds and pods to the custard while it is still warm. Let custard steep for at least 30 minutes before straining.
In a food processor, pulse together 1 cup clean mint leaves with 2/3 cup sugar until pulverized and bright green. Use this herb sugar to make the custard base. Let custard steep off the heat for 30 minutes before straining.
Add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon to the milk and sugar mixture, before you prepare the custard.
In a food processor, pulse zest of 3 lemons or lime with 2/3 cup granulated sugar until smooth and brightly colored. Use citrus sugar instead of plain sugar to make the custard base. Let custard steep for 30 minutes before straining. After straining, add fresh lime juice and zest from one lime!
In a blender, puree one pound of strawberries, 3 Tablespoons sugar, 1/2 tsp lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Taste. Add more sugar or lemon if necessary. Make ice cream base, withholding one cup of whole milk. Stir in the fruit puree before chilling.
Pit and dice 3 pounds peaches. In a saucepan over medium heat, gently simmer fruit with 1/2 cup sugar until tender, about 10 minutes. Puree in a food process or blender. Make the base without 1 cup of whole milk. Stir 1/2 cup buttermilk and the fruit puree to the base. Add a few drops of almond extract, if desired.
Simmer 6 cups pitted cherries (about 2 pounds) with 1/3 cup sugar, until cherries are very soft. Puree in a food processor or blender. Make base without 1 cup of milk. Stir 1/2 cup buttermilk and cherry puree into warm custard base.
In a saucepan, bring 3/4 cup cream and 3 Tablespoons Extra Brute cocoa powder to a simmer. Put 1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate into a mixing bowl. Pour hot cocoa & cream mixture over the chocolate to melt. Stir until smooth. Make base using 1 1/2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and no more cream. Stir chocolate mixture, 3/4 cup sour cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into prepared custard base. Strain & chill.
Salted Caramel:
Melt 1 cup Peter’s Caramel in a microwave safe bowl. Prepare custard base, withholding the sugar. Add 2 Tablespoons of prepared custard base and stir until smooth. Add caramel mixture to the custard base and stir until smooth. Strain and chill. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt to the base during the last 2 minutes of churning.
Peanut Butter:
Make the base using 2 cups milk and 1 cup cream. Whisk 1 cup peanut butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract into warm, strained base. Chill.
Recipe variations from New York Times and Simply Recipes.

Looking for a good ice cream machine? Check out the machines we recommend.

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply
    April 22, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Great ice cream. I would use as a base all the time. The picture shows the custard ice cream base as white, when really it is a soft yellow. I added in 4 yolks.

  • Leave a Reply