Food. Life. Travel

Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream: Recipe

The very first kind of ice cream I ever made was Vanilla Ice Cream. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I finally bought myself an ice cream maker and vowed to begin the endeavor of creating artisanal ice cream. And let me tell you – it was magnificent. So magnificent that my family began to stop buying ice cream from the store altogether. They informed me that my ice cream was way better. 

And not to float my own boat or anything but I think my ice cream is waaaaay better. I can say this with complete confidence because I am an ice cream connoisseur. I take my ice cream very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that despite it being -28 I am going to be making some coffee ice cream. Do not worry, I will post the recipe as soon as possible!

Anyways, back to the vanilla ice cream recipe. I have been making vanilla ice cream for years now and it is much better than even Hagen Daas. And that is because I really stress the importance of adding quality ingredients in my ice cream. Especially vanilla. I find these days that even artisan ice cream shops skimp out on the vanilla flavour for their vanilla ice cream.

And I get it, vanilla these days is expensive. Very expensive. So expensive that I can actually tell you that in the last 2 years alone the price has doubled. In fact two years ago, an 8 oz bottle of Nielsen Massey Vanilla extract cost me $35.99, and just the other day I went back to William Sonoma, and the price is now $79.95. Those prices are ridiculous and unacceptable. 

When I asked them why there is this sudden inflation in prices, they informed me that it has to do with money laundering. Can you believe that? The delicious scoop of vanilla ice cream, or anything vanilla, has its roots in money laundering. Why? Well apparently in Madagascar, criminal organizations have figured out that the best way to wash their money is through vanilla export. And as a result, poor innocent bakers around the world are suffering from exorbitant vanilla prices.

Now I understand that William Sonoma is a gourmet food store, so their prices are also reflective of their business practices. This means making money and passing on the burden to consumers. Yet at the same time, $80.00 for an 80z bottle of vanilla is unacceptable, regardless of money laundering schemes or not!

Which by the way makes me wonder if I should ditch blogging altogether and just get into money laundering via vanilla extract exports. Hmm?

By the way, if you are interested in knowing more about this crisis, check out this awesome article by the Dallas News! 



The one ingredient you should not skimp out on in vanilla ice cream, is, of course, vanilla. I understand that the prices are expensive, but when it comes to making this ice cream you cannot cut corners.

Now, most recipes call for one entire vanilla bean pod, but I actually use only half. That way you can make the recipe again, and use the other half of the bean. To complement the vanilla bean pod, I also add pure vanilla extract as well as vanilla bean paste. Now if you do not have vanilla bean paste, you can substitute the amount of paste for extract. Finally, I let all the vanilla immerse in our ice cream base for 30 minutes (or longer) so that the flavours deepen in strength.

The combination of vanilla + time = a vibrant and robust flavoured ice cream. Despite the cost of vanilla, the amount required for the recipe doesn’t set you back much. And you will be happy that you do not skimp out on ingredients because the flavour pay off is worth it.

In fact, I can liken the flavour profile to store-bought french vanilla ice cream. Even the colour is the same- a beautiful custard yellow. That is because when you use quality ingredients + vanilla + time + love = the best vanilla ice cream ever. Trust me when I say that this ice cream is worth every penny, and you won’t be going back to store-bought anytime soon.


As an aside, I use this ice cream maker to churn my ice cream. It is inexpensive and fantastic. Also, while I personally use Tahitian vanilla, feel free to use any variety as long as it is pure extract and not artificial. Happy churning!

Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream

This vanilla ice cream is robust and vibrant in flavour. Using Tahitian vanilla, the ice cream develops a brighter and more floral palette. 

Prep Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 pints


  • 2 cups full cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups cane sugar
  • 4 egg yolks


  1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine 1 cup full cream, whole milk, sugar, and salt. Set over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. You will see steam rising off the top of the saucepan. 

  2. Place the saucepan off the heat. Split your vanilla bean lengthwise using a sharp paring knife, and scrape the seeds into the mixture. Toss in the vanilla pod as well. Add your vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. Stir the mixture and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes to an hour. 

  3. Remove the lid and place the mixture back on low heat. Add in the egg yolks. Stir the mixture constantly using a wooden spoon or spatula, ensuring that the yolks have incorporated properly. Stir the mixture occasionally until a custard begins to form and coats the back of your spoon. This will take about 10 or so minutes. 

  4. Place the remaining 1 cup of full cream into a large bowl with a sieve placed on top. Strain your custard mixture into the bowl, ensure that no curdled eggs go through. You can either toss the vanilla bean pod into the mixture or discard it. Place your custard into an ice bath and let it cool completely. From here you will place your ice cream in the fridge overnight to chill. 

  5. Churn the ice cream according to your manufacturer's instructions. Place ice cream into a freezer safe container and let the mixture freeze for another 4 hours before serving. 

Recipe Notes

In past recipes, I have talked about a quicker way to make ice cream which essentially involves placing the mixture in the freezer for it to fully chill before churning. You are more than welcome to do that, I just recommend cooling your ice cream first before placing it in the freezer! I am as anxious to eat the ice cream as you are, so I am always happy to share my lazy-glutton tips when I can 😉 

This ice cream pairs beautifully with so many desserts, like my apple crumble or Greek walnut cake. If you want to explore some other delicious ice cream options, you can see my other recipes here!


How divine and delicious does this Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream look? The flavours of the vanilla really stand out, providing a vibrant and deep burst of vanilla in every bite. I love to serve my ice cream with some whip cream, chocolate sauce and & sprinkles! 


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