The Tangy Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Homemade Ice Cream

When it comes to homemade ice cream, you can let your creativity shine; It is the perfect medium for experimentation. You can forgo churning altogether with a dulce de leche inspired-flavor or simplify the process with a two-ingredient recipe. Or, for a funkier twist, you can elevate ultra-sweet ice creams with savory additions: Eggplant enhances the sweetness of a standard ice cream base and offers a surprisingly successful flavor upgrade.

No matter how strange or simple your changes, most homemade ice creams begin with a similar base. A basic vanilla base is, at its core, a cooked, then chilled, then churned custard typically consisting of heavy cream, half and half, sugar, and vanilla, per Taste of Home. From there, you can add eggs, egg yolks, or cornstarch for thickness. Real Simple echoes the versatility of a vanilla starter, though its recipe swaps half and half for milk.

Once you perfect this base, you can enjoy your vanilla ice cream exactly as is. Or, you can try incorporating your favorite candies, nut butters, and the like. But before you forge ahead, you may want to consider adding one particular ingredient. This creamy, easy addition is a little less conventional, but has proven especially versatile — and delicious — in homemade ice cream.

Sour cream can boost even the simplest of ice cream bases

Egg yolks, milk, sugar ... and sour cream? Yes, according to MyRecipes, sour cream is a surprising game changer in the realm of homemade ice cream. The secret ingredient adds an extra, creamy component to your ice cream base, yielding an ultra-rich and smooth result and adding oomph to the simplistic sweetness of ice cream.

Food52 similarly recommends giving sour cream a try. Cultured dairy in any form — think: yogurt, buttermilk — provides the perfect opportunity for experimentation with otherwise simple vanilla ice cream.

To successfully incorporate sour cream into your next churn, reduce the amount of milk and cream in your ice cream recipe. Simply utilize sour cream in its place — but be careful with your ratios. It's important to remember that sour cream has a higher fat content than milk. Food52 recommends offsetting the sour cream's fat by reducing a recipe's amount of heavy cream and milk only slightly. For Alice's Vanilla Ice Cream, Food52 suggests replacing 2 cups of cream and 1 cup of milk with 1.5 cups of cream and a half cup of milk. You can then supplement the missing dairy with 1 cup of sour cream.

​​Once you make these adjustments, you'll be left with an ice cream that's extra creamy and all the more delicious. Your only remaining decision? What toppings to add.