I Scream! You Scream! We All Scream for (Safe) Homemade Ice Cream!

By Sarah Ellis, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at UF/IFAS Citrus County
Reviewed by Amy Simonne, PhD, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida

Summer’s arrival brings back fond childhood memories of making homemade ice cream. I enjoy making ice cream at home, and have several ice cream cookbooks. However, many of the recipes in my favorite ice cream cookbook use raw eggs!

As many people know, raw eggs can cause foodborne illness—specifically, Salmonella. In the years from 1998 through 2008, Salmonella poisoning was the second most common cause of foodborne bacterial illness in the United States.The majority of outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis, the most common type of Salmonella, are from shelled eggs.

So, how can I keep my family and friends safe from foodborne illnesses while still allowing us all to enjoy delicious homemade ice cream?

Homemade ice cream uses eggs to add flavor, prevent ice from forming, and to aid with the smooth texture. To prevent foodborne illnesses that can result from using raw eggs in your ice cream, you can use egg substitutes or pasteurized eggs, or the eggs can be cooked.

A cooked egg base, also known as a custard base, is a fairly easy way to cook the eggs and help prevent foodborne illness.

To make a cooked egg base:

  1. Combine eggs and milk as indicated in the recipe. Other ingredients such as sugar may be added here as well, but I prefer to wait to add other ingredients.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk till thoroughly mixed.
  3. Transfer the egg mixture to a saucepan. Slowly cook the mixture on low to medium heat, gently whisking constantly, till it reaches an internal temperature of 160°. (If the mixture is cooked too quickly, the eggs will overcook, and the mixture will need to be disposed of.) Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature of the egg base while cooking. The mixture should firmly coat a metal spoon when at the correct temperature.
  4. Once the mixture is cooked to the correct temperature, chill the mixture before adding it to the other ingredients and freezing.

cooked egg base

Basic French Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Prepare the eggs and milk as directed above. Fully chill the cooked egg base.
  2. Place a mixing bowl in the fridge to cool about 15 minutes prior to starting. Pour the chilled, cooked egg base into the chilled mixing bowl and whisk for about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, whisking until completely blended.
  4. Add the cream and vanilla and whisk to blend.
  5. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 1 quart.french vanThe French Vanilla Ice Cream makes a great base for candy additions. To make Heath Bar crunch, add 4 full sized smashed bars once the ice cream is thick.

Enjoy your delicious and safe homemade ice cream!

(Photo credits: At top: carmolate by timlewisnm. CC BY 2.0. Cropped. Cooked egg base/French vanilla ice cream: Sarah Ellis.)

Further Reading

Preventing Foodborne Illness: Salmonellosis

Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Salmonella from Eggs

Playing it Safe with Eggs


Posted: June 30, 2014

Category: Food Safety, Work & Life
Tags: Food Safety, Ice Cream

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