Basic Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream Recipe for Soft Serve Machine

Basic Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream

Soft serve is a different animal than hard scoop ice cream. It's got a much lower milk-fat, which keeps it from turning to butter when churned vigorously. Soft serve ice cream is about 3-6% butterfat; super-premium ice cream has anywhere from 14-16% butterfat. Butterfat is necessary for both taste and mouthfeel, but too much will dull the taste and make it feel too buttery.

If there is too much butterfat in your soft serve mix, the machine's centrifuge action causes the butterfat to ball up and spin away from the molecules binding it. We call this “buttering out.” When you eat ice cream that has “buttered out,” you taste little lumps of actual butter. So you want to keep the soft serve mix at a butterfat level underneath the threshold of “buttering out” caused by the centrifugal force of the spinning blade.

We have found this base makes a very simple, creamy vanilla base that doesn't require cooking on a stovetop (like custard-based mixes). Add any flavoring you wish (syrups or fresh fruit purees) to create different flavors, and you'll have a summer full of experimenting!

Basic Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream Recipe


A quick and easy mix for at-home soft serve ice cream makers, like the SX1000.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, or use an immersion blender in a bowl. If you don't have a blender of any sort, be sure to whisk thoroughly to eliminate any clumps of milk powder that form.
  2. Blend to combine ingredients, about one minute.
  3. Cover and reserve in the refrigerator until you’re ready to churn.
  4. For the a full batch, pour 3 1/2 cups into the machine and set the ICD to 16. For single or double-sized servings, set the ICD to 12.

You can store any extra mix in the fridge for ... well, for as long as the milk stays good!

If you've tried this one, let us know in the comments.