Basic Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream Recipe for Soft Serve Machine – Ice Cream Depot

Basic Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream

Soft serve is a different animal than hard scoop ice cream. It's got a much lower milkfat, which keeps it from turning to butter when churned vigorously.  Soft serve ice cream is about 8-11% butterfat; super-premium ice cream has anywhere from 16-29% 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.

    In the Ice Cream Depot

    • For the entire batch, 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.


    • Randy R

      The vanilla soft serve recipe tastes great. I would like to see the product a little firmer coming out of the dispenser – better suited for a cone.. What adjustments can be made to achieve this?

    • Darren

      “Half & Half” is equal parts whole milk & cream.

    • Vimal

      Thanks for this recipe. Can you please describe what is half and half??

    • Rhia

      Awesome recipe! Thanks :) the soft serve turned out perfectly!

    • Kevin

      We bought the machine with the powder. It said to add water. We did and it was ok. But then we did half whole milk and half water and it was very good. Then we tried all whole milk and it was now delisous. We didn’t try our own recipes yet but are looking forward to it.

    • Gowher Majeed

      Dear sir I want to respi of softy ice cream vanilla and aestabery flevor for comersial use your good suggestion with complete recipe your most kindness

    • Yoram Netzer

      Dear Sir

      What do you mean by : ’ Half & Half "

      How would you recommend to to fro Powder pre mix?

    • Tom

      So what is the butterfat percentage of this recipe?

    • A.G.Qureshi

      Dear Sir, I Wants To Make Soft Serve Ice cream powder premix. I will be highly appreciated if you Give Me Your Good Suggestion with complete recipe and storage directon.

    • Rick

      This recipe is a great place to start. It worked perfectly the first time.

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