Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

If you’re looking for a fun weekend project, I strongly suggest you consider whipping up a batch of this amazing Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream! Honestly, it’s one of the best things to ever come out of my kitchen!!

And yet, though I’ve had this recipe for years and used to regularly “churn” it out because it was one of our beloved flavors, I haven’t for years, due to its impressive calorie count (after all this is real ice cream made with heavy cream and there are scads of pecans too!) But now I’m all “calories be damned” because after making this for my mom’s ice cream sundae birthday a couple of weeks ago, it’s all I can think about! Guys, this ice cream is stellar!


Rich, smooth and creamy with loads and loads of crunchy toasted pecans and an addictive, not overly sweet butterscotchy-caramely flavor. YUM!!!

Seriously, nothing beats homemade ice cream and this one is swoon-worthy!


And while you might think it’s “too much work” to make your own, I promise you that it’s not much more effort than making pudding. The hardest part is waiting for the cooked custard to chill enough so that you can pour it into your ice cream churner! If you don’t have an ice cream maker yet and are looking to buy one, I have a Delonghi which I like a lot but I don’t think they are making it anymore. I do know that a lot of people are happy with this Cuisinart which is a little pricey but comes with a compressor so you don’t have to pre-chill the bowl or this one which costs a lot less but requires you to plan ahead and chill the bowl beforehand. Either way you won’t regret it because once you taste homemade, there’s no going back!!

Just make sure to fit in some time at the gym! Have a great and extra delicious weekend!!


Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

You will need an electric ice cream churn for this. I also like to use a candy thermometer but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus time to toast pecans and at least 8 hours for custard to chill); Churn Time: About 20-25 minutes


  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided

  • 3/4 cup whole milk (or half-and-half)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) pecans, toasted and roughly chopped (I use Trader Joe’s already chopped pecans and just toast them for about 10 minutes in a 350ºF oven.)

The Recipe

1. Before you start any cooking, place the granulated sugar in a medium, heavyweight saucepan and spread it out evenly across the pot so it’s a thin layer. Measure out the dark brown sugar, butter and salt and have them nearby on the counter. Pour the 1 1/2 cups heavy cream into a large bowl. Place a strainer over it and set it aside. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup cream into the measuring cup and add the 3/4 cup milk to it and set that aside too. Place the eggs yolks in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. Fill a large bowl with water and ice to make an ice bath and set that aside.

2. Cook the sugar in the pot over medium heat without stirring at first until you see it start to melt at the edges. Then use a heatproof spoon or rubber spatula to slowly drag the liquid sugar into the center and stir the mixture gently until all of it has melted. Continue to cook, stirring only every now and then, until it begins to turn a dark amber (basically you are making caramel) and starts to froth a bit. You want this to be dark but not burnt which can happen very quickly so don’t walk away or take your eyes off it.

3. Remove from the heat and immediately and carefully stir in the brown sugar, butter, salt, and cream and milk mixture. Watch out because the mixture will steam and bubble up. Stir and return the pot to the burner, over very low light, stirring until all of the hardened bits of caramel have melted. Be patient, sometimes I get some stubborn bits that seem like they won’t melt, but just keep stirring and they will. Remove from the heat.

4. Quickly give the yolks a little whisk and then slowly add a little of the hot caramel mixture, whisking constantly. Then add the warmed yolk mixture back into the pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until a candy thermometer measures 175ºF and/or the custard coats the back of the spoon.

5. Pour the custard through the strainer over the reserved heavy cream. Remove the strainer and stir the mixture together. Place the bowl in the ice bath and let sit till cool, stirring every now and then. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

6. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When you remove the churned ice cream from the machine, transfer it to the container you will freeze it in and fold in the toasted pecans. Freeze for several hours and serve.


Note: Recipe adapted from Ready For Dessert by David Lebovitz. I prepare this slightly differently than the original recipe, but otherwise it’s pretty spot on.

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