Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Butter Pecan Ice Cream Recipe

The first recipes for “iced cream” are believed to have originated in Paris, where they were carefully guarded secrets within the Louvre or the Royal Palace. More than 100 years before refrigeration was available, freezing techniques often failed, but this didn’t stop Europeans from experimenting with bizarre flavors—including foie gras or puréed asparagus. In the end, they hit on some classics that are still with us today. This recipe, with its distinctive American ingredient of pecans, is a much-requested flavor at Serendipity.–Stephen Bruce

LC Butter Pecan Affogato?! Note

Just when you thought life couldn’t get any better than butter pecan ice cream, the world hands you butter pecan ice cream affogato. You’re welcome.

Special Equipment: Ice cream maker

Butter Pecan Ice Cream Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes 1 generous quart


  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (For a more refined, less chunky version, pecans can be coarsely chopped)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup light cream
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 2. Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them until fragrant and lightly browned at the edges but not blackened, about 6 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a plate to cool.
  • 3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until pale yellow.
  • 4. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter until it melts, begins to brown, and smells faintly nutty, stirring constantly. Add the brown sugar and stir until thoroughly combined and warmed through. Reduce the heat to low, add the milk and light cream, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • 5. Whisking constantly, slowly add half the milk mixture to the egg yolks in a steady stream and whisk until blended. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the remaining milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re keeping an eye on the temperature of the custard with a candy thermometer, do not heat the mixture past 170°F (76°C). (Be extremely careful not to overheat the custard or the eggs will curdle.)
  • 6. Strain the batter into a clean, large, heatsafe bowl. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate the custard until it’s completely cold, preferably overnight.
  • 7. Gently stir the custard to recombine and freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the toasted pecans to the ice cream in the last 5 minutes of churning and let the machine mix them in.
  • 8. Remove the ice cream from the canister with a spatula and store it in a resealable container in the freezer until firm.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Kara Vitek

Apr 27, 2006

Butter pecan ice cream has never been my first choice, but I cannot wait to make this ice cream again! It's so incredibly good—creamy, rich, and packed with flavor. I left my pecans whole, as this is what sounded best to me, and they were perfect whole. However, you could omit them all together and still have a delicious butter and brown sugar ice cream. My family gobbled this ice cream up and said it was the best butter pecan ice cream ever!

Testers Choice
Adrienne Lee

Apr 27, 2006

While this butter pecan ice cream recipe is unusually long and has many more steps than a typical ice cream recipe, it's really worth it. The extended family loved this one—childhood memories and stories were told at the dinner table. Whisking a little sugar into the egg yolks adding the hot liquid will help prevent curdling. You need to know your ice cream maker. It's always difficult to predict exactly when the mixture is ready for add-ins. I churned the mixture for 24 minutes before adding the pecans.

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