I love the richness of a French Vanilla Ice Cream, but I also love the flavor of a Vanilla Bean Ice Cream... so, why not combine the two? That's what I did in this recipe for French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and it's outstanding!
The best news of all... you don't need an ice cream maker! Just grab your Ninja Foodi Cold & Hot Blender and whip up a batch!
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Don't worry if you don't have the Cold & Hot Blender, you can still make this by starting the mix on the stove and then blending it all together in your blender or food processor. I'll go over how to do that in this article.
What is the Difference Between French Vanilla and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream?
The major difference is the ice cream base. French Vanilla Ice Cream uses a custard-style base with egg yolks, and a Vanilla Bean Ice Cream doesn't.
In a vanilla bean ice cream you will usually see flecks of the vanilla bean and in a French vanilla you don't.
I wanted to have my creamy and rich French vanilla ice cream WITH flecks of vanilla bean, so I simply added vanilla bean paste. It's absolutely delicious!
Can I Use this Vanilla Ice Cream Base to Make other Flavors of Ice Cream?
This is sort of a loaded question. Can you? Yes. Is it going to be the best base for every type of flavor you might want to make? No.
What I have learned after making tons of batches of ice cream is the added ingredients sometimes require a different base to achieve the best results.
For example, in this recipe for Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream, I used equal amounts of cream and whole milk instead of a 2:1 ratio. This is because the pound of strawberries took up a good amount of volume and, in order to get a strong strawberry flavor, I had to cut back on the cream.
I also increased the xanthan gum to account for the water content in the fresh strawberries.
In my Coffee Toffee Ice Cream I use the same custard base, but my technique is a little different because we infuse the coffee beans into the cream. If you are a coffee lover, you have to try this one!
In each flavor of ice cream, I have made small changes to achieve the best results. This has come from trial and error, and I encourage you to get creative and make your favorite ice cream flavors while keeping the following tips in mind.
Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream in the Ninja Foodi Cold & Hot Blender
- The colder your ice cream mixture is when you freeze it, the less icy it will be. So, if you are heating the base like in this French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, chilling it first will result in a better outcome.
- Substituting lighter milks, like 2%, 1%, or skim in place of the whole milk will cause your ice cream to be more icy because of the added water content.
- Adding a couple tablespoons of vodka or other liquor really helps with scoopability of the ice cream because the alcohol doesn't freeze and therefore your ice cream isn't as hard.
- Adding frozen or fresh fruits will increase the liquid content in your ice cream and could lead to ice crystals. You can increase the xanthan gum to try to counteract that.
- Too much xanthan gum will result in an ice cream that is too thick and gummy, so only use the amount you need. Xanthan gum is not affected by heat or cold, so it is pretty stable. If you make a batch of ice cream and it's icy, you can blend it back up while adding more xanthan gum, but make sure it's mixed with sugar!
- Mix the xanthan gum with sugar before adding to liquid or you will have clumps that gel.
- Sugar also helps prevent icy ice cream, so a sugar substitute could lead to icy cream.
- The best containers to use for freezing ice cream are metal and shallow. I have used a small sheet pan and it worked great, but I really love these containers: Freezer Trays with Lids
- Have fun experimenting! There is no such thing as failed ice cream because you can blend it up and turn it into a delicious milkshake or try freezing it in popsicle molds!
Can I make this Ice Cream without the Cold & Hot Blender?
Of course! Simply cook the custard base on the stove until it reaches 160℉/71℃ and hold it at that temp for 3 minutes.
Then add the cooked custard to any blender or food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and blend on high for several minutes.
Chill and pour into shallow containers and freeze for 6-8 hours.
How to Make French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream in the Ninja Foodi Cold & Hot Blender
Measure out the ⅔ cup of sugar and remove 2 Tablespoons. Put the 2 Tablespoons into a small bowl with 1 tsp xanthan gum and mix well. Set aside.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. You can freeze the egg whites for later or use them in another recipe. Add the milk, the egg yolks, and the remaining ⅔ cup sugar to the blender and select the mixer function.
If you don't have the mixer function, use this guide to determine what manual settings to use instead. You want the mixture to heat up to 160℉/71℃ for 3 minutes to kill any salmonella that could be present in the eggs. OR, you can buy pasteurized eggs from the grocery store and then you don't have to worry about heating it up.
When the cycle is finished, add in the 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste, the 2 Tablespoons of sugar mixed with 1 tsp xanthan gum, and the vodka. Select the ice cream function.
I recommend pouring the mixture into a large container and chilling for an hour or so. This will help the ice cream freeze quicker and the quicker it freezes, the less ice crystals that will form.
After the mixture is chilled, pour into shallow containers. I recommend metal containers that are filled no more than 2" deep for the best results. The freezing trays I'm using are from Pampered Chef and they work great!
Cover with parchment paper and freeze for 6-8 hours.
You may need to let the ice cream sit out for a few minutes and the best way to do this is to set your trays on a cooling rack so air circulates around. When you sit the container directly on your counter (especially granite), the bottom gets soft before the top.
Serve & Enjoy!
French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Remove 2 Tablespoons of the ⅔ cup sugar and mix with 1 tsp xanthan gum. Set aside for later. Add the 4 egg yolks, milk, and remaining ⅔ cup sugar to the blender. Select the Mixer function. This will bring the temperature of the eggs to 160°F/71°C which is high enough to kill any salmonella, but not high enough to cook the eggs.
- When the mixer function has completed it's cycle, add in the heavy cream, the vanilla extract and the vanilla paste. Add the sugar/xanthan gum to the blender along with the vodka if using. Select the ice cream function.
- Pour the mixture into a large measuring cup or container and chill for about an hour. Pour into shallow containers and freeze for 6-8 hours.
- Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.