Jeni Britton Bauer's Ice Cream Base For Home Ice Cream Machines

By • August 16, 2012 • 22 Comments

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Author Notes: In 2008, Food & Wine editor Kristin Donnelly asked me if I could create an ice cream recipe for home cooks. After making more than 75 batches (with a Cuisinart Ice-20 1 & 1/2-quart canister machine), I felt like I'd come up with a base recipe that yielded ice cream that had the same taste, texture, consistency, and finish as the ice cream we made in our professional kitchen. Here is the base recipe, which you can also find (with recipes for lots of flavors) in my book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

“Excerpted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan Books). Copyright 2011.”
Jeni Britton Bauer

Makes 1 quart (2 pints)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1&1/2 ounces cream cheese softened/room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1&1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  1. Here’s how to make the base to make any ice cream flavor in my book, or any ice cream flavor you can dream up.
  3. PREP 3 BOWLS In a small bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. In a medium bowl, add the salt and room-temperature cream cheese and whip all the bumps out. In a large bowl, make an ice bath (heavy on the ice) and set aside.
  4. COOK Pour the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and remaining milk into a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, set a timer for precisely 4 minutes and boil for exactly 4 minutes—the timing is critical. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  5. CHILL Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Do this a little bit at a time so that you can whip out any lumps of cream cheese. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag, seal, and submerge the bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until very cold, about 30 minutes.
  6. FREEZE Cut the corner off the bag, pour the chilled base into the frozen canister of your ice cream machine, press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
  7. HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR ICE CREAM IS DONE The ice cream is finished at the exact moment when the machine isn’t freezing the ice cream anymore; the ice cream will begin to pull away from the sides (about 25 minutes). If you stop too soon, there will be a thin layer of really dense ice cream on the sides of the canister.
  8. SERVE When you remove the ice cream from the freezer, let it sit and relax for 5 to 10 minutes before you scoop and serve it—it doesn’t need to melt, but it does need to thaw slightly. Ideally, serve and eat it while it’s quite firm but pliable and you are able to easily roll it into a ball. Once you’ve scooped it, return any remaining ice cream to the freezer. If the ice cream has melted too much at room temperature, refreezing it will result in an ice cream that is too icy.
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Comments (22) Questions (2)


5 months ago Pia S

I made this ice cream recently (to make dark chocolate ice cream using cocoa powder, coffee and bittersweet chocolate based on a Saveur recipe), and just wanted to comment that it has the best texture of any ice cream recipe I've tried yet - still creamy after fully setting up in the freezer!


10 months ago Suzanne

In response to Joyce, there's definitely a mix up in instructions 6 and 7. I have Jeni's book and have made her ice creams many time. #6 is right up to the second comma. After the ice cream base is in your machine, turn it on and process for about 25 minutes. The second half of #6 is misplaced, and belongs in #7. After the ice cream has churned about 25 minutes, when you think it's thick enough, you put it in a container, press parchment onto the surface of the soft ice cream and put that into the freezer to firm up. I don't know how things got messed up with the instructions, but it would confuse anyone.


10 months ago Joyce Vining Morgan

So the instructions 6 and 7 confuse me - you freeze the mix in the Cuisinart container for four hours and then use the machine to stir it against the sides until it pulls away from the sides? Surely not -


almost 2 years ago Deborah G

We just made this for the first time and added 3/4 tsp cinnamon to serve with grilled peaches and a basalmic caramel sauce. Delicious! The texture is perfect, the taste is sumptuous. I can't wait to try new flavors.


over 2 years ago taratrullinger

I have made this before and it's delicious. I want to combine this recipe with the Peanut butter and jelly recipe here:

When should I mix in the peanut butter?


over 2 years ago connieminky

OH MY GOSH!!! This ice cream is fantastic and you should buy her book!!! I have been playing with it all summer!


over 2 years ago tallmomrising

using the Cuisinart frozen cylinder ice cream maker, my ice cream starts to have an icy textural change after 5/7 days in the freezer. My husband thinks this has to do with both the home maker and the adapted recipe. I am on a quest for how to make it and keep it as delicious as right after it is frozen to hard packed. any incite? I have asked the experts at Jeni's splendid creams and am still waiting on a response.


over 2 years ago TValentine

I have found if I place a sheet of wax paper directly on top of the ice cream and push down to get rid of air the homemade ice cream lasts for weeks. otherwise it gets very icy.


over 2 years ago bunditoast

I assume you mean "I make an ice bath in an 8quart bowl . . "


over 2 years ago tallmomrising

yes, that is correct, an ice bath. Only drawback is I use 3/4 of the ice in my ice maker for a double batch.


over 2 years ago Mickey0627

Great! Thank you for your help!


almost 3 years ago tallmomrising

On the ziplock bag: I never use it. instead I have two methods. for fast chilled ice cream base, I make a bath in an 8qt large bowl and nest a 6qt large bowl inside, I pour the base in the 6qt bowl and wisk every couple minutes - it's cool in about 20 min. For bases with ingredients that need to steep longer (in my opinion) like vanilla bean and basil leaves. I pour my base w/ additional ingredients into a wide moth mason jar, and I leave it in the fridge overnight, then pull out the large solids before adding to the machine. On the cream cheese: I microwave it right in the same medium glass pyrex bowl that I whip it in. 30 seconds @ 1/2 power. works wonderfully! Lastly, for black cherry I'd cut them in half & make a sauce using/adapting the fruit sauce recipes in the book, layer in as you pack it, or swirl it in during the last 30 seconds in the machine.


almost 3 years ago bunditoast

Not relevant to the above recipe, but I have a friend that loves Black Cherry ice cream. Is there a reason why I rarely see Black Cherry ice cream? My friend said it was popular in the 40s and 50s.


almost 3 years ago bella s.f.

I am curious about the answer regarding the Ziploc freezer bag. Today we put the ice cream in a bowl, and then put that into the frig. It seemed to work. Is there any reason not to do that? Then what would be the reason to put it into a plastic bag?


almost 3 years ago Mickey0627

Is there a way to make the ice cream without putting the hot mixture in a zip loc bag? I don't really want to put hot liquids into a plastic bag.


almost 3 years ago foodie52

My husband and I have been making batch after batch of your ice cream with occasional success. (We have your wonderful cookbook!) We are finding that the cream cheese does not always break down into the mixture even after leaving it out to room temperature and whisking it. We find small balls of cream cheese in the ice cream. However, the flavor is always outstanding!


almost 3 years ago foodie52

We are working with the Cuisinart Ice-21 ice cream maker if that makes any difference which we just purchased this spring. Thanks for your response.


almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I've not had that problem, and I've made several batches of ice cream using Jeni's formula. Try adding only a small amount of the warm milk mixture to the cream cheese (1.5 to 2 times the volume of the cream cheese) then whisk like crazy until it's smooth to work out any lumps. Then add the rest of the warm milk to the mix and whisk briefly to combine.


almost 3 years ago foodie52

Thank you for the suggestion. We will try and let you know how it goes...


over 2 years ago Galapagos

I used my food processor to whip the cream cheese and then to whisk in some of the milk. No cream cheese globs that way.


over 2 years ago foodie52

Thank you for both the suggestions. We did follow the suggestions of hardlikearmour and whisked the cream cheese "like crazy" for a few minutes after adding only a small amount of the warm milk mixture and the ice cream came out perfect. We have made 4 batches since in different flavors.


almost 3 years ago Toledo KB

So is the Cuisinart the way to go? I asked this question on Serious Eats as well, and it seems to be the one everyone recommends. About to buy one soon (and your book, of course).