The best vanilla ice cream is easy to make at home. A foolproof eggless vanilla ice cream recipe with luscious flavor. The richness comes from adding cream cheese!
I wouldn't have believed it before I tried it. Adding cornstarch and cream cheese to my ice cream base actually makes it better than just milk or cream alone. I've made an eggless vanilla ice cream with the richness of a custard version.
Making the best eggless vanilla ice cream doesn't have to be complicated. I'll give you a few little tricks to keep the method simple and the finished dessert perfect.
Making an egg custard for ice cream can sometimes be tricky to get just right. This recipe eliminates any chance of curdling and the vanilla flavor can shine.
Homemade Ice Cream Without Eggs
Traditional homemade vanilla ice cream is often made with an egg-based custard. French Vanilla ice cream is ultra-rich touting extra eggs or egg yolks.
My rich homemade chocolate ice cream recipe uses an egg custard to create a thick, pudding-like base that gets churned to make the delicious frozen treat. However, not all tasty ice cream needs eggs to be rich and creamy.
A vanilla ice cream recipe with no eggs still needs to be thickened, or enriched to stay creamy. Otherwise, you can run the risk of getting an icy mixture, or something often referred to as ice milk ice cream.
Using cornstarch in the ice cream creates the gelled thickness I desire - more on that later! And for good measure, I added some cream cheese to create a mouthfeel or a smooth texture.
Can you taste the cream cheese?
There's not enough cream cheese to taste it. It simply adds a lusciousness and smooth mouthfeel when the ice cream hits your tongue. The little bit of cornstarch helps thicken the base to get a silky texture.
🥄 Cornstarch Ice Cream
To thicken homemade ice cream without using eggs use cornstarch. Yes! The starch you use to make pudding, gravy and thicken fruit sauces.
Cornstarch becomes an ice cream-thickener by mixing together cornstarch and sugar before adding the cold liquid, whisking it together, and slowly heating to a boil. Cooking this with cream and milk makes a pudding-like ice cream base the same way cornstarch creates a thickened sauce or gravy.
Cornstarch in the ice cream base becomes gelled as it absorbs the milk and cream. Those gelled molecules create the thickened "custard" that gets churned.
The cornstarch gives any extra water in the ingredients some starch molecules to grab onto. The cornstarch absorbs extra liquid and turns it into soft jellied bits, instead of icy crystals.
Cream Cheese Ice Cream
Inspired by the egg-less ice cream recipe Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream created, I set out to make my own version using a cornstarch and cream cheese method.
There are a few reasons to make a vanilla ice cream recipe with no eggs and use a starch. Eggs add richness, but they can sometimes compete with the simple flavors of cream and vanilla. They are also a bit more touchy on the stove, where you run the risk of curdling the eggs in the custard.
Adding cream cheese does not make cheesecake ice cream! Although that is delicious and I made a Gingersnap Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream in my cookbook. Cream cheese simply adds an element of density and richness to the ice cream base.
I use full-fat cream cheese since there's no reason to forgo a few calories when I'm already using heavy cream. Ice cream just isn't a diet food!
Add the cream cheese at the beginning of cooking so it has time to melt and mix well over the heat.
Ice Cream Without Corn Syrup
My recipe below takes a few tricks from Jeni's vanilla ice cream recipe, although I don't use corn syrup as she does.
Corn syrup has its place and makes sense in an ice cream recipe. It is a dissolved sugar and adds a smooth texture to the mixture. However, I don't think it is needed here and found my ratios of sugar to milk and cream perfectly delicious.
I also used vastly different amounts of cream cheese and even sugar just to balance everything out. There were dozens of batches of ice cream made in this testing process. It was a delicious, and pant-size-changing experience. You're welcome!
✔️ Tips For The Best Eggless Ice Cream
- Use a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk. The balance of milk fat helps the dessert stay creamy but not too heavy.
- Adding cornstarch to your cooked base gives any extra water in the ingredients some starch molecules to grab onto. The cornstarch absorbs extra liquid and turns it into soft jellied bits, instead of icy crystals.
- A few bits of cream cheese don't flavor the ice cream, but it gives it a smooth, homogenized consistency, and the finished ice cream is super scoop-able.
- Age, or chill your ice cream base. This allows the fat in the mixture to re-solidify and crystalize just so, creating an ice cream that churns up lighter and fluffier because that strong structure can hold air better.
You're now an ice cream genius. A master!
How To Make Vanilla Ice Cream Without Eggs
Start by mixing the sugar and cornstarch together. The crystals and coarseness of the sugar break up the cornstarch powder so there is less chance of clumping.
- Add the cream, milk, and cream cheese. If your cream cheese is super cold, the cooking process is longer, I like to use softened cream cheese, or almost room temperature.
- Whisk over the heat until cream cheese has melted and mixture is smooth.
- Simmer for about 2 minutes to allow the cornstarch to absorb the liquid.
- Add the vanilla, then pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. This strains out any bits and creates a smooth base.
- Set the bowl over another bowl filled with ice and water to help cool it down. Stir occasionally. Then store in the fridge until ready to churn.
Use an ice cream maker
There are several types of ice cream makers. For my go-to ice cream maker, I suggest a compressor style. However those are expensive, so using a classic churn with ice, or a frozen bowl churn is also fantastic.
A compressor is a machine that chills itself, rather than having to freeze a gel-filled churn bowl or mess with ice and salt.
No matter what you use, you are simply churning air into the vanilla ice cream base, while keeping it cold. This creates the cold crystal structure and texture you'll want.
More ice cream tools
To store your homemade ice cream, I love these white paper cartons. Plus they make you feel like a professional ice cream maker!
Eggless Ice Cream FAQs
There are several ways to thicken a homemade ice cream base. You can use eggs to thicken a custard-base, or use cornstarch to create a gel-thickened base. Using cornstarch is a great option if you have an egg allergy, or want the flavor of the cream and vanilla to stand out more.
Homemade ice cream is made from fresh ingredients with no preservatives. I can be stored airtight in the freezer for up to 4 months and stay fresh. If the carton has been opened and scooped from, I suggest keeping it just a few weeks in the freezer.
More Ice Cream Recipes
- Unique Ice Cream Flavors made with homemade or store-bought ice cream
- Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
- Sweet Croutons for Ice Cream
- Mini Ice Cream Balls - Frozen ice cream pops
- Ice Cream Puffs - Profiteroles
- Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich
Use Eggless Vanilla Ice Cream on top of:
- Favorite Apple Crisp Recipe with Oat Topping
- Rhubarb Crisp
- Peanut Butter Brownie Cake
- Cherry Crostata
- Pear Crostata
- Razzleberry Pie
Creamy Eggless Vanilla Ice Cream
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 4 tsp vanilla extract or 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- In a medium saucepan mix sugar and cornstarch. Add the cream, milk and cream cheese. Whisk over medium-high heat until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth and begins to simmer, about 8 minutes. Simmer for 2 minutes, add vanilla and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.
- Stir mixture over an ice bath until very cold, then transfer to a container and chill overnight in the fridge. Churn in an ice cream maker; keep frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.
- Alternately you can churn the ice cream immediately after it's chilled over an icebath, or after a few hours in the fridge. Letting it mellow overnight creates a smoother ice cream.
New dessert recipes from Tara Teaspoon
Recipe by Tara Teaspoon. LHJ 07/12. Updated June 2021.