Chef Heather’s Ice Cream Basics

On August 1, 2023, Chef Heather taught ice cream making at Kitchens for Good’s newly opened bake shop in Old Town, San Diego. Her simple recipe for ice cream base yields about 1.5 pints and can be infinitely customized. Note that an ice cream machine is a must-have for making this recipe!


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Your choice of flavoring

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Small pot
  • Whisk
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Bowl
  • Ice cream machine
  • Heavy Duty 1-Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags (optional)
  • Ice cream containers (optional)
  • Loaf pan (optional)
  • Ice cream scoop (optional)

Plastic bags and containers can be helpful for storing and cooling the ice cream base. Just scoop the churned ice cream into your chosen container and store it in the freezer.


  1. In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, milk, sugar, and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
  3. Return the pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). If using an added flavoring, let steep off the heat for 30 minutes before the next step.
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  5. Cool mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturers’ instructions.
  7. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in the freezer until needed.

You can add your choice of flavoring to the base to create your desired ice cream by using the process below.

Flavor Variations:

To infuse your ice cream with vanilla, coffee, or green tea, add your aromatics of choice (the scraped seeds and pods of 2 vanilla beans, 1/2 cup coarsely ground coffee beans, or 1/4 cup green tea leaves) to the cold milk and cream mixture in step 1. After cooking on the stovetop, let the custard steep off the heat with the included aromatics for 30 minutes before straining and chilling.

To make a variation with mint, basil, cinnamon, lemon, or lime flavors, grind the flavoring with your sugar to add to the ice cream base. For cinnamon, break a 4-inch-long stick of fragrant cinnamon into a food processor with 2/3 cup of sugar and pulse until finely ground. Follow the rest of the recipe using your cinnamon sugar in place of pain sugar and let the custard steep off the heat for 30 minutes before straining.

To use mint or basil, pulverize 1 cup clean and dry herbs with your 2/3 cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground together and use in place of plain sugar to make the base. The zest of three limes or lemons can be used in the same way to create citrus sugar for the ice cream base. If using citrus, stir in the juice and zest of one extra lemon or lime after the 30-minute steeping and straining steps, before chilling.