the best homemade vanilla bean frozen custard

Since I started this blog, it has been one of my goals to find a really fantastic frozen custard recipe that I could make at home and eat whenever I wanted.

Well, I’ve made one recipe and think I am done trying.  Seriously, this is probably one of the creamiest, richest, most amazing frozen custards I have EVER eaten!

And I have tried A LOT.

Seriously, make this NOW.  And thank me later…

The Concrete Runner - The Best Homemade Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

The Best Homemade Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman Cooks. You can see the photo step-by-step recipe there also.

1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup granulated sugar
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1.  Heat the half + half, sugar, and  vanilla beans and pod in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly to avoid a skin forming on the top of the mixture.  Turn off the heat when the mixture is just about ready to start simmering – the mixture should coat the back of a metal spoon.

2.  Beat the egg yolks by hand or in a stand mixer until slightly thick.  Slowly drizzle in about half of the half + half mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.  This is tempering the eggs – if you pour it in too fast, your eggs will scramble… and no one wants Scrambled Egg Ice Cream.

3.  Pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining half + half mixture and heat on low or medium-low heat until thick, stirring constantly.  It will start to get really thick and custard-like, which is what we are going for!  Remove from heat when it begins to simmer.

4.  Pour the now custard into a bowl with the heavy whipping cream and stir to combine.  Take a piece of plastic wrap and gently press it on to the top of the custard so the entire top surface is covered.  This will help prevent it from forming a skin on top.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.  (After 2 hours, mine was not nearly cold enough, so I let it sit until the next day.  Just gently touch the top to feel how cold the custard is.)

5.  Following the manufacturers directions, freeze in an ice cream maker until it reaches your desired consistency, about 20-30 minutes.  Place mixture in an air tight container and place in freezer to harden for at least 8 hours.

7.  Before cleaning the blade, lick off every last inch and moan in ecstasy.  8 hours is entirely too long to wait for something this delicious!

8.  Top with your favorite toppings, or just eat it plain.  IT IS THAT GOOD!

Seriously… so rich, so creamy, so extraordinarily decadent!  I’m sure I will have to experiment with other recipes, but for now, all I need is this tub, a spoon, and a couch.  Mmmmm….

PS – There was actually a segment today on Great Day St. Louis featuring Chocolate Stout Ice Cream by Evan BennSchafly’s Coffee Stout is my 2nd favorite beer (their pumpkin is first), so I am looking forward to making this one!

  • Sara

    Okay, Kristen, are you bringing this for your brother’s birthday dessert?!? Seriously I need to have some and I do NOT have to patience for 8 hour custard!

    • Kristen

      Sara, you will definitely be having it sometime for sure! I love it and it wasn’t too hard to make, so I would be happy to make it for a family get together!

  • Ok, I know it’s a little out of season, but I would looooove to see a recipe for homemade pumpkin custard. That would probably be delicious!
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    • Kristen

      No! Pumpkin is NEVER out of season! Pumpkin is my favorite food so I would be more than happy to get a recipe going for that!

  • Janice

    My favorite chocolate custard is from the Whistle Stop in Ferguson, MO. Best ever and come fall they have pumpkin pie concretes … to die for!!!

    • Kristen

      I have them on my list! I wasn’t sure if they were still open or not! We will have to check it out! And I absolutely LOVE pumpkin frozen custard! It is the best!

  • K Dailey

    My two favorites:
    Vanilla orange (swirl?!)

    Kopp’s frozen custard and burgers is a fantastic place to visit if you’re ever up in Wisconsin.

  • Chad

    The recipe looks amazing! I want to use this custard to make a custard cake for my wife for mothers day. One question, how big was your freezer that you used. I have a 4qt freezer, just wondering how much I need to multiply the recipe. Thanks!

    • Kristen

      I think mine is only a 1 quart freezer (I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker). Good luck! It’s one of my favorite recipes!

  • Adam

    bacon flavored. Bacon has got to be the only meat that goes with ice creme. Burger King even has a bacon sundae, it would probably be good with custard. You’ve got that sweet and salty mixture. it’s good. i’m telling you. 🙂

  • Carol

    Had frozen custard at Freddy’s in Kansas, loved it and have been wanting to make it, found your recipe….can’t wait to try it, but could I just use pure vanilla instead of the vanilla bean, and how much would I use??

  • Dr. Cool

    Ted Drews is the Only Place In St. Louis or the world to get real frozen Custard. If you think you can find any comercial Frozen custard stand that can come close bring it on…….. Even West county wantabies come to south stl for the best. And dont get scared of the lines, they are faster than the places with no lines!!!!!!!

  • Tanya

    I will be trying this recipe soon!

    For an amazing Frozen Custard all of you need to try LeDuc’s in Wales, WI. A M A Z I N G custard! I may have to take a road trip for frozen custard…. hmmm, maybe I should bike to each place then I wouldn’t need a bigger vehicle at the end of my trip!

  • Today my wife has established Media Free Monday. One of my 3 sons said let’s make some frozen ice cream. I love custard and found this recipe. I’m ready to give it a try! Wish me luck!

  • Dana

    This sounds like a great recipe. Going to make it for Father’s Day. What about a bananas foster flavor? It’s my husbands favorite!

  • Aileen

    This was our first recipe try with our home made ice cream maker, and it was amazing!! Definitely a keeper!

    We recommend freezing it overnight for the best consistency. Also, we might put in 2/3c or so of sugar next time (just personal preference for not-as-sweet!)

    Thanks for an amazing recipe!

  • Debra Haworth

    Came across your recipe after searching for frozen custard recipes. Couldn’t help noticing your title. Well, after trying your recipe I have to say I agree 100 percent!!! It is the best ever. No need to look any more. It’s better than any I have ever had. I use organic ingredients so I feel even better eating it, if that’s even possible. Do you know how to turn this recipe into Pumpkin or Chocolate or Berry? Thanks so much!!!

  • Lisa

    I am making this for the second time. The first time a chef friend complimented me saying I “nailed it!” His wife said it was the best she has ever had. My family agrees. Yep…definitely the best frozen custard ever!!

    • Kristen

      Love hearing that!

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  • M Quincy Harris

    This IS my go to recipe for our kids birthdays, Christmas, thanksgiving etc. I mostky make it as is, but I have added chocolate cookies, maple syrup for the sugar (reduced the syrup a bit) and a few other twists. It is by far the best frozen custard recipe there is and beats the pants off ice cream any day of the week, and twice on birthdays 🙂

  • Veronica

    Do you have a peanut butter version? I tried some peanut butter frozen custard at a small chain called Meadows in Pennsylvania and it was amazing. I’m not even that big of a peanut butter fan, but that was amazing and now I’m living overseas and can’t get it. I must figure it out! I’d also love a chocolate version.

    • Veronica

      Also, I just realized the mention of the ice cream maker. Is it possible to make this recipe without an ice cream maker?

    • Kristen

      I don’t have a peanut butter version, but typically, as it mixes you can add it in! You do, however, need to have an ice cream maker. I don’t know how to make it without!

  • Dee

    I love lemon frozen custard. Do you have any tips on how much lemon to add?

  • EveningSkye

    Hubby and I are going to be celebrating our wedding anniversary tomorrow and we will be making peach cobbler and this ice cream. Here’s the fun part! We are Camp Hosts with the Michigan DNR and all this will be done in camp! We’ve put out signs for folks to come celebrate with us. Fun! 🙂

    • Sounds fun! Happy anniversary!

  • HookEcho

    For those of you searching for the perfect custard, I agree that it doesn’t get better than this one. Easy to make, the flavor is amazing, and, if delicious vanilla is too vanilla for you, it’s a perfect base for further experimentation.

    I would also add one essential point about why it’s so great. The problem with most frozen ice creams is that they are amazing at the moment they are done, but turn into icy, mediocre products in the freezer. This custard is exactly the opposite – great when it’s fresh from the churn, but even better after storage in the freezer (no, really!). It maintains all the creaminess and easy scoop-ability, but is a firmer product that doesn’t just go into melt-down mode the minute you serve it. There is absolutely no need for thawing before serving – it’s ready straight from the freezer.

    This Sunday I crumbled up a row of Newman O’s, minus two cookies I gave my daughters, and added this in the last 3-4 minutes of the churn. Easily the best cookies and cream I have ever tasted – and I am a serious snob. I thought one of my guests might get brain damage from rolling her eyes back so far in her head when she tasted it.

    Thanks Pioneer Woman and Concrete Runner!

  • Somebody

    Sounds delicious. Any suggestions on making Butterscotch Frozen Custard? Where do I start?

    • Gail Willadsen

      A couple options: 1) You could add some butterscotch chips to the milk, so they melt into it. 2) Butterscotch chip ice cream. 3) Butterscotch sauce mixed in before cooling. 4) Butterscotch sauce mixed in between churning and freezing for a ribboned effect. 5) Some butterscotch pudding powder added in (this would require more experimentation as it may affect the consistency.)

      • Somebody

        Thank you, Gail. All of your suggestions sound wonderful, I especially like the suggestion of using butterscotch pudding powder. Now that it’s summer, I think it’s a good time to try!

  • David Bykowski

    Yes by far the best recipe I’ve tried. I add an additional 2 egg yolks as I like a more “eggy” custard. Very creamy and great with add ins