Homemade Vanilla Bean Gelato is the best! This is darn close to the best vanilla gelato we had in Italy! With summer in full swing, this is a perfect time to learn how to make gelato at home using an electric ice cream/gelato maker. The Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream/Gelato Maker is a great choice.
Watch the video to learn how to make my Vanilla Bean Gelato and Blueberry Gelato. My wonderful niece Alex joins me. She loves gelato!
It is easiest to make gelato with an automatic gelato/ice cream machine. I use my DeLonghi all the time. Cuisinart makes a great one too. Once you master this basic gelato recipe you can create many different flavors to suit your mood or menu. This traditional vanilla bean base makes enough for a 1 quart machine. I do not like to crowd the bowl in the machine as it expands during the freezing and churning process, so make it in two batches if needed. And I like to leave room to mix in some chocolate chunks or other goodies during the last 5 minutes.
So what is the difference between Gelato and Ice Cream? The only thing that Italians agree on is that there is less fat in gelato compared to ice cream.Gelato usually has more milk and less cream than ice cream. Gelato is usually more dense and has a more intense flavors. This is because gelato has less fat - allowing the other flavors to come though- and is slow-churned resulting in a more dense texture. Some Italian gelato recipes use cornstarch as a thickener in place of the egg yolks. Like many Italian recipes, it is a debate on how to make the best version. My view is that any gelato is good, especially when you make it home.
Vanilla Bean Gelato
- 1 whole vanilla bean pod
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
- ¾ cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Split the vanilla bean pod down the center and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the milk and stir.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk with the vanilla seeds, the split vanilla bean pod, and vanilla extract and bring to a simmer. Do not boil.
- In a medium glass bowl, beat together the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar until thickened and pale yellow. You can do this with a hand beater or by hand.
- Remove the milk from the heat and very slowly whisk a small amount of hot milk into the egg/sugar to temper the eggs. Return the pot to the heat. Slowly whisk the egg/sugar mixture into the milk. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly just at the point of simmering. Do not let it boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the custard into a glass bowl and let cool slightly. You can strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve at this point if you think it needs it.
- Add the cream to the custard and blend well with a whisk.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the fridge (or at least 4-6 hours).
- Run it through your ice cream machine according to directions - about 30 minutes.
- Scoop the ice cream into a freezer container and freeze overnight for best results.
Hi I would like to know how much cornstarch/cornflour to use as substitute for egg yolks and when would you add it in.
Hi Molly - I have never made eggless gelato myself. I found a recipe online called Sicilian Eggless Gelato using 3 tablespoons of cornstarch in lieu of eggs. If you try it, please let me know how you think it works. Best, Cara
I have made this luscious gelato twice with wonderful results and sent quite a few people to your website for the recipe. I didn't have vanilla bean pod so I used my homemade vanilla sugar in p/o regular sugar. The second time I also inadvertently added the sugar to the milk rather than the eggs. However, it still turned out great! The first time I subbed 2% milk p/o whole with great results. Can't wait to try the blueberry variation. I have also had good luck with Giada De Laurentis' chocolate hazelnut gelato with Nutella. Will definitely make this recipe again and again!
Thank you so much Carol!
Esse gelato parece ser muito refrescante,perfeito para os dias acalorados que temos por aqui, em dias de férias etão que as crianças estão em casa essa receita cai muito bem.
I’ve just watched your gelato recipe and method. You have a most delightful and encouraging teaching manner. I haven’t made gelato for 50 years and will make it for the Christmas-new year season - it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much! You made my day.
I really enjoyed your article & recipe! Just wondering: is there anyway you can substitute using the ice cream maker & use some other 'gadget' instead? I am asking as I do not own an ice cream machine!
Thanks so much. Just discovered this awesome Italian treat recently! Yum!
Angie, thank you so much for the kind words. And yes you can make gelato without a machine. The link below is to a recipe by famous chef David Lebovitz that shows how to do it. Basically you chill the cooked base, then repeat a "freeze a bit and stirring vigorously" method numerous times. There is also a rock salt method but the David Lebovitz method works great. Let me know if you try it.
Fantastic recipe and fantastic presentation from you both. Started it yesterday and finished it this morning.
Il risultato: perfetta!
Thank you so much for the kind words!
I went to a gelato making class and it didn't involve any eggs. As a matter of fact I do not like Hagen dasz ice cream because of its intense egg flavor. But the recipe call for guar gum. I bought it and I've been using it but havnt been able to really make the most of it as it leaves an after taste. And I only use 1/8 tsp. Furthermore the cuisnart ice cream recipe never mentions any guar gum. So what should I do if I don't want to use egg?
I have used cornstarch before to make gelato. It has a neutral taste and will thicken the base to make a great gelato. You may also want to use more cream than milk, however then you getting closer to ice cream vs gelato. But so what if it tastes good! You can also use arrowroot. Here is a great article from icecreamnation.org about corn-starch/arrowroot Sicilian Gelato. Good luck and let me know if you try it.
Very delicious, but couldn't figure out what to do with the whole egg as it is not mentioned in the directions. Could you tell me how it was supposed to be done?
Mary - Oh dear. So sorry I messed up on the recipe. The whole egg should be beaten in with the egg yolks and sugar. I will update step 3. Thank you for trying it and I'm glad you still thought it was delicious. The extra egg would have given it a bit more structure but not affect the flavor much.