I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! But does your stomach scream back at you when you have just a scoop of that delicious frozen dessert? Well, don’t you worry because this Lactose free Vanilla Ice Cream will melt all your tummy troubles away. It’s made with real dairy milk and has all the delicious flavor and creaminess of regular ice cream yet none of the troubles associated with lactose!
Top this homemade lactose free ice cream with a spoon of simple cherry compote or rosemary peach sauce, or make a classic banana split. However you make it, you’ll be ready to tackle the summer heat with this delectable frozen treat!
What is lactose and what causes lactose intolerance?
Lactose is the sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance is caused by the lack of lactase, an enzyme in your intestine, which facilitates the digestion of lactose.
How to make Lactose Free Homemade Ice Cream
This simple Vanilla Ice Cream recipe is made lactose free by using lactose free whole milk instead of regular whole milk or cream. It is made with a custard base, which uses egg yolk to thicken and to give it a richer taste and also cornstarch to enhance its creaminess.
- In a stand mixer bowl, add 6 egg yolks.
- Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add sugar while beating.
- Continue beating, until the mixture is creamy and light in color. When you lift the whisk up, it should fall off the whisk slowly in a thick stream.
- Add milk to a saucepan, reserving 2 tablespoons to mix with the cornstarch. Set the cornstarch slurry aside. Split and scrape the vanilla bean, add both the seeds and the pod to the saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Temper the hot milk into the egg mixture, by pouring a couple of tablespoons of hot milk into the egg mixture at a time.
- Transfer the liquid mixture back into the saucepan once all of the hot milk has been added. Heat on medium low heat until the mixture thickens and reaches 175°F – 180°F, approximately 4 – 5 minutes. About 30 seconds before you take it off the heat, pour in the cornstarch slurry. This will make the custard thicken further.
- Take the custard off the heat. It should coat the back of a spoon, and not run off when you swipe your finger across the middle. Stir in a pinch of salt. Allow the custard to cool and refrigerate overnight.
- Add cold custard mixture to an ice cream maker. I use my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. If you don’t have a KitchenAid mixer, there are a variety of ice cream makers you can purchase.
- Churn according to manufacturer’s directions. I churn mine for 20 minutes until soft serve consistency. Transfer churned ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
Is lactose free ice cream dairy free?
Many lactose free ice cream are dairy free, and are made with milk alternatives like coconut milk. For example, these Blueberry Popsicles are made with coconut yogurt; they are both dairy free and lactose free.
But not all lactose free ice cream are dairy free. This particular lactose free vanilla ice cream recipe is made with lactose free dairy milk.
Where can I find lactose free milk?
You can find lactose free milk at any regular grocery store. The most common brand is Lactaid, which specializes in many lactose free products, from milk to ice cream and even cottage cheese.
How to serve homemade Ice Cream
You can serve this ice cream just as you would any other ice cream. Try some of these fun ideas:
- Add a few scoops on top these Spicy Stout Brownies and drizzle Dulce de Leche over to make ice cream sundaes. Don’t forget the whipped cream!
- Make easy ice cream sandwiches with crackers like these Ritz Crackers Ice Cream Sandwiches.
- Crumble up a few Peanut Butter Cookies or Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies to use as mix-ins.
- Use it to make a No Bake Ice Cream Pie with an Oreo Crust.
Why is my homemade ice cream icy?
Large ice crystals forming in the ice cream mixture will cause ice cream to be icy. This is a very common problem with homemade ice cream, which was lessened with the addition of cornstarch in this recipe.
How can I make creamier homemade ice cream?
Iciness can be reduced by increasing the fat content in the ice cream mixture or adding ingredients that will lower the freezing point of water.
You can increase the fat content of your homemade ice cream mixture by:
- Using cream or half and half instead of milk. Note that this will make a non lactose free version since there is no lactose free cream or half and half. (Update 10/22: a reader informed me that Land O’ Lakes make a lactose free half and half)
- Adding a soft cheese to the ice cream mixture, such as cream cheese like this Honey Lavender Ice Cream or mascarpone cheese like this Mascarpone Ice Cream. This will also make a non lactose free ice cream since cheese contains lactose.
You can reduce the freezing point of water by:
- Substituting part of the sugar for corn syrup. I tested this recipe by substituting ¼ of the sugar with corn syrup and also ½ of the sugar with corn syrup. The ice cream with ¼ corn syrup turned out to be creamier than the one with ½ corn syrup. If using corn syrup, add it in Step 6 after you take the custard off the heat.
- Adding cornstarch like in this recipe. A cornstarch slurry should be added in Step 5 just before you take the custard off the heat.
Can I use regular whole milk, cream or half and half?
Yes, you can certainly use regular whole milk, cream or half and half in this recipe. However, just note that your ice cream will not be lactose free anymore if you do.
Half and half or cream will also give the ice cream a much richer taste due to the higher fat content compared to whole milk.
What can I use instead of vanilla bean?
Vanilla bean can be quite expensive, sometimes costing between $3 to $5 for just one whole bean. So it is only natural to look for alternatives.
- You can use vanilla bean paste just as you would whole vanilla bean in this recipe. One tablespoon of vanilla bean paste is equivalent to one whole vanilla bean. Vanilla bean paste is cheaper, and a jar will last you a while.
- You can also use pure vanilla extract. One tablespoon of vanilla extract is equivalent to one whole vanilla bean or one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste. If using vanilla extract, you need to add it to the custard mixture in Step 6 after you take it off the heat.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
📖 Recipe card
Lactose free Vanilla Ice Cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar (170 g)
- 3 cup lactose free whole milk (740 g)
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch (15 g)
- A pinch of salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg yolks and beat on low speed. Slowly add sugar and continue beating until light in color and creamy.
- Add milk to a medium saucepan, reserving 2 tablespoons to mix with cornstarch in a small bowl to make a cornstarch slurry. Set the cornstarch slurry aside.
- Split the vanilla bean with the tip of the knife and scrape out the seeds. Add both the vanilla bean seeds and pod to the saucepan with the milk. Heat over medium heat until simmering and temper into the egg mixture by adding just a little bit of hot milk, a few tablespoons at a time, to the mixture with the mixer on low speed. Allow to incorporate before pouring in more.
- Once all of the hot milk has been added to the egg mixture, pour the entire liquid mixture back into the saucepan and heat on medium low heat until the mixture thickens and reaches 175°F - 180°This will take approximately 4 - 5 minutes.
- About 30 seconds before you take the custard off the heat, pour in the cornstarch slurry set aside earlier while stirring, the custard will thicken further. If the cornstarch has settled to the bottom of the bowl, mix it up before pouring the slurry into the hot custard.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in a pinch of salt. Allow ice cream base to cool to room temperature uncovered and refrigerate overnight or until cold enough (39°F) to use in an ice cream maker. DO NOT PUT HOT MIXTURE INTO ICE CREAM MAKER.
- Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. I churn mine for 20 minutes.
- Transfer churned ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
- You can find lactose free milk at any grocery store. I have used the following brand personally: Lactaid, Horizon Organic, Organic Valley, Market Pantry, Lucerne.
- You can use regular whole milk, half and half, or cream to make a non lactose free version.
- You can substitute 1 whole vanilla bean with 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste, or 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract. Vanilla extract needs to be added to the ice cream base when it is taken off the heat.
- DO NOT use imitation vanilla extract.
- Cornstarch is used in this recipe to enhance creaminess. Corn syrup could also be used for the same purpose. If you want to use corn syrup, replace ¼ cup of sugar with ¼ cup of corn syrup.
- This recipe yields about 1 - 1.5 quarts.
This post was originally published on 7/6/2014. The recipe has been updated and republished on 8/6/2019 with the latest improvements, extra tips and process photos to help you in the kitchen.