The Best Homemade Vanilla Mint Ice Cream

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Vanilla mint ice cream after 1hr in freezer
Ice cream bliss

Since making my first batch of homemade ice cream, I’ve been a little obsessed. The recipes I have been using, just weren’t right. I wanted to find the best homemade ice cream recipe to serve to my family.

Ice cream should be smooth and creamy. Sweet, yet not coma inducingly so. It needs to be something that my family gets excited about.

My first attempt

The first recipe I tried was a mint chocolate chip ice cream. It starts with a custard base that is chilled overnight, then churned in an ice cream maker the next afternoon. This recipe calls for 2 cups of fresh mint to be cooked with the custard.

I have patches of mint in my herb garden and several scattered throughout my yard. (See my garden here. http://crosbyacreshomestead.com/2019/05/31/what-do-you-think-of-our-first-herb-garden/) My family likes mint ok, but they haven’t really liked of any of the recipes I have tried with it. I thought for sure they would love this one.

I was wrong. The consistency and creaminess were great. The mint was overpowering and it was a bit too sweet. No one could eat more than a few bites.

The second attempt

For my next attempt, I chose a recipe for plain vanilla ice cream. This is a quicker recipe, with no custard base. It calls for honey, instead of sugar, for the sweetener. The milk and honey are warmed to dissolve the honey, then the rest of the ingredients are added already chilled.

So disappointing. This is rock hard and very grainy somehow. The honey isn’t quite sweet enough for our tastes. I will not give up though. I am going to find the best homemade ice cream for us.

And the third attempt

Trial number three. The recipe I chose this time is a banana ice cream. It is a quick recipe that uses whipping cream with half and half instead of milk. Mix the dairy ingredients together then put it in the blender with the bananas. After that freeze in the ice cream maker.

After going through the ice cream maker and an hour in the freezer, it is so hard that I can’t even hardly chip it with a knife. I let it thaw out and then tried it again. On the first taste, the flavor is pretty good and it is creamy. Unfortunately it leaves a horrible greasy feeling in my mouth. Like I just took a spoonful of shortening. That greasiness makes this the worst one so far.

A new direction

I am still determined to find the best homemade ice cream. All my attempts so far have been less than optimum. While each recipe had some good points, they were not what I wanted.

This time, instead of just following some random recipe, I am going to do things right. First step, research tips for making the best homemade ice cream. I didn’t just do a quick browse of the first few sites either. I read 20 plus pages of tips.

vanilla mint ice cream in churn ready to freeze
Churned ice cream ready to freeze

What I learned

Several sites explained the science behind making ice cream. I learned some things I never knew. What I found most interesting is that sugar, like alcohol, doesn’t freeze. This is probably why the honey based ice cream was so hard.

This site had a lot of good information. https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2018/07/26/how-to-make-the-best-homemade-ice-cream/

While the science sites were interesting. I found that all the sites I read, said basically the same thing.

Make sure the bowl for your ice cream maker is well frozen. Don’t cut the cream. Make sure your ice cream base is well chilled before churning. Only fill the bowl for your machine 1/2 to 2/3 full. Add mix ins at the end, either just before finishing the churning, or as you transfer to the bowl for the freezer. Make sure you transfer from the machine to the freezer quickly. Finally, homemade ice cream is only good for about a week.

(20 pages of research condensed to one paragraph. I’m good. lol)

Ingenuity, hand tools replace missing parts
My old ice cream maker is missing the top

Creating my own recipe

Here is where the real experimentation and (hopefully) fun come in. Taking from my research, and lessons learned from my previous attempts, I am going to attempt to create my own recipe. (I think my family is a bit afraid. lol)

The one custard blend I made was the creamiest and the texture was closest to what I get at the ice cream store. Custards tend to be challenging though. If not done just right, you get scrambled eggs in cream. Not what I am really going for.

The basic ice cream recipes is 2 cups whipping cream, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup sugar. I want to change it up and substitute honey for some of the sugar. Enough to sweeten it, but not so much it freezes into a rock. I really want to add some mint from my garden too.

 Fresh mint in my garden

I tinkered with different amounts of ingredients. Trying several different methods. Heat the cream, don’t heat the cream. Strain the mint out before putting in the fridge. Leave the mint in until ready to churn. My family was starting to groan when I told them I was making ice cream.

I finally got it right!

Homemade ice cream that is smooth and creamy. Sweet, but not too sweet. With just the right amount of vanilla and mint flavor. My family loves it, and begs me to make it!

Vanilla Mint Ice Cream Recipe

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves.
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Put ice cream maker bowl in freezer.

Add one cup of cream, milk, sugar, honey and mint to saucepan. Cook over low heat until honey is dissolved and bubbles start to form along the edges. Remove from heat and add remaining cream. Pour into a separate bowl. Take plastic wrap and lay on top of the cream, completely covering it. Then put a lid on the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Strain the mint leaves out and return to the fridge overnight. (Make sure plastic wrap is covering cream.)

Make sure plastic is touching the mix for chilling
Make sure plastic is touching the mix

Set up your ice cream maker. Mine is a very old one that I got from a garage sale years ago. Somehow when we moved, a piece came up missing. I, of course, did not realize this until I had everything in and turned it on. My wonderful husband improvised with a couple of his hand tools. It may look a little weird, but it works great.

Pour the chilled cream mixture into the frozen churn bowl (remember only 1/2 to 2/3 full) then add your vanilla extract. Follow the manufacturers guide to get your ice cream churning. Check on it frequently to see how it’s doing. When it looks like this, it is ready to be transferred to the freezer.

Make sure you have plastic wrap over the ice cream when you place in the freezer. This helps keep ice crystals from forming on the top. (Not very tasty) Freeze at least 1 hour, and up to one week.

After freezing overnight still creamy and smooth
After freezing overnight, still smooth and creamy

Did you try it? Have any suggestions or tips to add? Make sure to leave a note in the comments or you can contact me directly.

Nicole Crosby
  • Nicole Crosby
  • New homesteaders, Nicole and Michael want to share their journey and pass on all the info they will learn along the way to help other homesteaders.

6 Comments

  • Homemade Vanilla Mint Ice Cream sounds so delicious. I want to try your recipe for a nice summer treat.

    • Thank you. I hope your family loves it as much as mine does. Let me know how you like it.

  • I like your recipe with lots of cream and little milk. That makes the best ice cream!

    • Thank you. You’re so right the higher cream content did make the ice cream so much better. My family is already asking me to make more. lol

  • Yum! I love homemade ice cream! I’ve never tried vanilla mint before.

    • I love ice cream too. Because mint helps settle the stomach, this recipe is especially great after a rich or heavy meal. If you do try it, let me know what you think.

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