Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Ice Cream

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Ice cream made by simply churning milk, cream, sugar and flavorings is variously known as Philadelphia, American or New York style. It is far quicker and easier to prepare than French-style ice cream because it doesn't require making a custard. It is a great choice for serving on ice cream cones.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract


Prepare the ice cream mixture
In a bowl, stir together the cream and milk. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Test for graininess by tasting a small amount of the liquid; it should feel smooth on the tongue and there should be no sugar visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out. Continue whisking, if necessary, to ensure that the texture of the finished ice cream will be smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Chill the ice cream mixture
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and enough cold water just to cover the ice cubes. Place the bowl with the cream mixture into the larger bowl and let cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the bowl with the cream mixture and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Churn the ice cream
Prepare an ice cream maker with at least a 1-quart capacity according to the manufacturer's instructions. Remove the plastic wrap from the cream mixture and bowl. Pour the well-chilled cream mixture into the mixing container of the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. The timing will depend on the type of machine and the temperature of the cream mixture.

Store or serve the ice cream
The ice cream can be served immediately, directly from the mixing container, but it will have a very soft consistency and a mild flavor. For a fuller flavor and a firmer consistency, use a rubber spatula to transfer the ice cream to a plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. The ice cream is at its best when served within 12 hours of freezing. (Philadelphia-style ice cream tends to become grainy more quickly and is best eaten within a day or two of churning.) Makes about 1 quart.

Pastry Chef's Tip: Even though it seems that the ice cream will be richer, do not attempt to make it with heavy cream alone. The higher percentage of butterfat in the cream tends to solidify, causing a flaky or grainy texture.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Mastering Series, Frozen Desserts, by Melanie Barnard (Simon & Schuster, 2006).
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best vanilla ice cream This recipe is very easy, delicious, and always impresses!
Date published: 2015-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very smooth! Excellent recipe! So easy to follow my 13 year old son made the recipe the first time. It makes great soft serve ice cream right out of the ice cream machine. After freezing for a few hours it is just as good. I would definitely recommend this recipe.
Date published: 2013-07-16
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