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Ice Cream Base

Ice Cream Base

Chef Keith Schroeder
This simple, classic ice cream base can be used to create numerous flavors of ice cream, or can be made and eaten on its own.


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • cups sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin powder bloomed (sprinkled, gently stirred, and dissolved) in ¼ cup hot water
  • Zest of 1 lemon finely grated (preferably with a microplane)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Prepare an ice bath by setting an empty mixing bowl within a larger bowl filled with ice water. Place in the refrigerator to stay cold during the next few steps.
  • In a saucepot, combine cream, skim milk, condensed milk, and sugar. Over medium-low heat, slowly bring to a simmer.
  • Place egg yolks in a heatproof mixing bowl. Keeping the cream mixture at a simmer, ladle 1½ cups of hot cream mixture over yolks as you whisk steadily. Be sure to add the liquid quite slowly so as to not curdle the yolks.
  • Lower heat on the remaining cream mixture and add yolk mixture, along with bloomed gelatin. Whisk vigorously to combine. Add lemon zest and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until mixture thickens slightly and holds a line when you run your finger across the moistened spoon.
  • Remove ice bath from refrigerator and pour the hot cream mixture into the empty mixing bowl. Stir steadily until the mixture has cooled to room temperature.
  • Mix in additional flavors as desired and freeze. Store in the freezer for at least 2 hours (and preferably overnight) before serving. Alternatively, you may use a home camping-style or foam cooler to freeze ice cream. Place ice cream inside, and top with a block of dry ice followed by a sheet of cardboard. The dry ice mimics the action of a hardening cabinet, an essential part of the ice cream manufacturing process. When the ice cream is rock-hard, transfer it to your home freezer. It will actually rise to proper serving temperature in the freezer.

Chef Keith Schroeder

Chef Keith Schroeder is the CEO of High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet in Atlanta, Georgia, where he invents new flavors of ice cream using things like Oreos, cinnamon, mango, and cheese.

Beth Marlowe

Beth Marlowe is a senior editor at the Washington Post Express. She has written for the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and Reuters.

Photographer Emily B. Hall

Emily B. Hall is a Texas-based photographer

Stylist Catie Adams

After college, Catie Adams worked as an interior designer and floral designer in the metro Atlanta area. Over the years, she broadened her design base to include all of her passions as she explored the culinary realm, working as a pastry chef and professional caterer. Catie also developed a talent for crafting and was a frequent vendor at local craft markets, selling her original creations. Now living in Chicago, Catie has integrated her skills, talents, and fashion insight in her work as a prop and food stylist. Some of her clients include Blabala Kids, Sears, K-Mart, Lowe’s, and Nike.