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Lactose Free Vanilla Ice Cream

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!

A scoop of lactose free ice cream on top of the ice cream containerTop 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.

Process of making a homemade ice cream base

Lactose Free Ice Cream Process Photos Step 1 – 6

  1. In a stand mixer bowl, add 6 egg yolks.
  2. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add sugar while beating.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Churning homemade vanilla ice cream

Lactose Free Ice Cream Process Photos Step 7 – 8

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Brands like Horizon Organic and Organic Valley also make lactose free milk. You can even find store brand lactose free milk like Market Pantry at Target and Lucerne at Vons and Albertsons.

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:

A scoop of lactose free vanilla ice cream in an ice cream scoop

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.
  • 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.

Substitutions

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.

Homemade vanilla ice cream in a sundae cupIf 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!

Cook’s Tip: Since vanilla is the main flavor for this vanilla ice cream, be sure to use high quality flavoring like whole vanilla bean, vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract. DO NOT use imitation vanilla extract.
A scoop of lactose free ice cream on top of the ice cream container

Lactose free Vanilla Ice Cream

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!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Dessert, Ice Cream
Cuisine: All, American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 scoops (1/2 cup size)
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Trang

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 106g | Calories: 165kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @WildWildWhisk or tag #WildWildWhisk!

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.

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15 Comments

  1. Jessica Martin
    September 1, 2019 /

    I just made the base and added some cocoa powder and its very thick. Its chilling in the fridge now but it almost like pudding. Will it still work or did i do something terribly wrong?? Please help!

    • Trang
      Author
      September 1, 2019 /

      It will still work. With the cornstarch, the base is a lot thicker than a typical custard base, but it will churn up creamier. Since you added cocoa, it makes it even thicker cuz the extra powder thickens it more. I think it will be a super creamy and thick chocolate ice cream. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you, come back and let me know!

  2. Amber H.
    August 25, 2019 /

    Looking forward to making this. If I wanted to add fresh peaches, how should I incorporate them into the recipe? Thanks!

    • Trang
      Author
      August 25, 2019 /

      You can chop the peaches in the food processor until it’s just a little bit chunky, not quite a smooth puree but you don’t want the pieces to be too big when they freeze. Add the pureed peaches during churning, when you have 5 minutes left on the timer.

  3. Mamalecia
    July 9, 2019 /

    So, do you cut the vanilla bean open and scrape the beans out?

    • Trang
      Author
      July 9, 2019 /

      Yes, apology the direction wasn’t clear, you split it open, scrape out the seed, add both seed and pod to the milk and heat it up.

  4. May 20, 2019 /

    5 stars
    This looks super creamy and gorgeous and reading the other comments, I’m excited at the flavour opportunities I could make with this recipe

  5. Holly Lamprecht
    September 4, 2018 /

    Do you have any other lactose free recipes? We just recently discovered my 3 year old is lactose intolerant but I still want her to enjoy everything.

    • Trang
      Author
      September 4, 2018 /

      Are you looking for ice cream type recipe in specific or any recipe that’s lactose free? I’ll link to a few below, but let me know if there’s anything you’re looking for in particular.
      Blueberry Popsicles made with coconut yogurt.
      Banana Nut Muffins with absolutely no dairy.
      Olive Oil Rosemary Madeleines made with olive oil instead of butter.

  6. Ann Baker
    September 3, 2018 /

    How can I make this strawberry lactose free?

    • Trang
      Author
      September 3, 2018 /

      You can try adding ground freeze dried strawberry when heating up the milk. You’ll need a food processor to get the freeze dried strawberry in powder form, see this Strawberry Shortbread Cookies recipe for example. I usually get freeze dried strawberry at Target. I would use the whole bag, it should give enough strawberry flavor. But you might need to experiment since I have never made this before and am only giving advice based on what I would do if I was to make this.

  7. Kristopher
    June 24, 2018 /

    What would be the best way to make this chocolate? Should I add sugar relative to the amount of cocoa I add to the recipe to compensate, or add enough cocoa to balance the sugar already in the recipe? Thanks.

    • Trang
      Author
      June 27, 2018 /

      I would add enough cocoa powder to balance the sugar, about 6 tablespoon will be enough. Also, don’t skip vanilla, the flavor will be flat if you do. If you don’t want to buy vanilla bean, just stir in extract when the mixture is at room temperature.

      • Guy
        December 29, 2018 /

        This works very well for chocolate!

        • Trang
          Author
          December 30, 2018 /

          Excellent, thanks for the feedback Guy!

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