I think I’ve told you that The One is a pumpkin fanatic. Once autumn rolls around all he wants is pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin bread. Oddly enough, he never jumped on the Starbucks pumpkin-spice bandwagon. (I wonder what that means…)

So being the good unlawfully wedded husband, I dutifully come up with a new pumpkin dish each year. And after 28 years of quasi-connubial bliss, it’s become awfully hard. I rack my brain beginning in August because I’ll be damned if once again he turns to Costco for its pumpkin pies, which he adores—as much for value as for flavor. Me? I’m appalled by them. I can’t stand their pasty, blond underbelly of a bottom crust. But I digress.

This year, though, I’ve outdone myself. And in the famous words of Mrs. Slocombe of Are You Being Served, “I am unanimous in that!” I made this killer, kickass, gorgeoso pumpkin meringue pie ice cream.

A stack of bowls of Pumpkin Meringue Pie Ice Cream with a scoop

I infused the ice cream base with all the warm spices that are de rigeur in pumpkin pie: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, and nutmeg. For the meringue, I use Marshmallow Fluff; but if you’re wanting to go old school, you can certainly try your hand at making homemade marshmallow spread.

As for the crust, I opted to go with shards of an Oreo-cookie crust. I like the way the dark color of the chocolate contrasts with the white marshmallow and the ochre of the ice cream. Now, you can definitely use your favorite baked pie crust recipe in this. Just break it into pieces and you’re good to go.

Of course, the ice cream is rich and interesting enough to eat on its own. But being the Two Hungry Homos that we are, we’ve paired it with chocolate cake, warm mocha brownies, sour cream apple pie…well you get the idea. In our house, no dessert combo goes unturned or unrewarded.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers raved about the smooth, creamy, scoopable texture of this ice cream, as well as the balanced flavors that really do taste like pumpkin pie in ice cream form.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Egg yolks–The yolks give the ice cream custard its creamy consistency. The egg custard is cooked, so there is no concern about consuming raw eggs.
  • Pumpkin puree–Be sure that you are using unsweetened pumpkin puree here, and not pumpkin pie filling. The only ingredients on the label should be pumpkin, and perhaps salt. To make your own, see the helpful tips below.
  • Spiced rum or bourbon–The addition of a little alcohol helps to prevent your ice cream from crystallizing in the freezer. Any type of alcohol will work, but we like the warm flavors that spiced rum or bourbon adds.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Whisk the egg yolks. Combine the egg yolks and spices thoroughly.
  2. Heat the cream and sugar. Whisk the cream and sugar together and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Make the custard. Slowly whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, then transfer everything back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the custard is thick and creamy.
  4. Strain the custard. Pass the custard through a fine mesh sieve, then stir in the pumpkin, vanilla, and rum, if using. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the custard and chill until cold.
  5. Make the Oreo shards. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grind the cookies in a food processor, then add the butter, and mix to combine. Spread on a baking sheet and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and break into small pieces.
  6. Churn the ice cream. Use an ice cream maker to churn the custard until it reaches a soft serve texture.
  7. Layer the ice cream. Warm the marshmallow spread in the microwave, then stir vigorously to deflate. Layer the ice cream, marshmallow spread, and cookie crumbs in a freezer-safe container, starting and ending with the ice cream.
  8. Chill the ice cream. Freeze until set, at least 3 hours.

Common Questions

Why do you put liquor in homemade ice cream?

Alcohol doesn’t freeze, which you know if you’re anything like us, and keep a bottle of vodka chilled in your freezer. You can add up to 3 tablespoons of liquor to 1 quart (1 liter) of your frozen dessert mixture prior to churning. This will help to keep the ice cream from freezing solid, making sure it’s scoopable and creamy. In this recipe, I’ve opted for spiced rum for the extra flavor.

How do I know when my pumpkin meringue pie ice cream is fully churned?

First, read the manufacturer’s instructions that came with your ice cream maker, as each unit is different. But a rule of thumb is to allow the ice cream to churn until it increases in volume and is the texture of soft serve. I always know my ice cream is ready when the maker starts to groan as the mixture gets thicker and harder to churn.

Can I use another type of crust shards in this?

Absolutely. Shards of graham crackers are also lovely in this. See the variation below for instructions.

How long does homemade ice cream last in the freezer?

In theory, two to four months (in reality, we’re lucky if there’s any left after four days…) is a pretty realistic time frame. More than a few weeks though, you might want to consider covering the top with plastic wrap before putting the lid on. This will help to keep the ice cream from getting icy or picking up any flavors from other items in the freezer.

Helpful Tips

  • For the graham cracker shards variation, pulverize 6 full graham crackers (90 g) in a food processor. Dump the crumbs into a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar4 tablespoons of melted butter, and mix until combined. Continue with step 10.
  • To make your own pumpkin puree, roast cubed pumpkin until tender, then place in a food processor and blitz until very smooth.
  • When making your ice cream custard, do not let the cream boil.

More Great Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

A container of Pumpkin Meringue Pie Ice Cream with a scoop

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A container of Pumpkin Meringue Pie Ice Cream with a scoop.

Pumpkin Meringue Pie Ice Cream

5 / 6 votes
Pumpkin meringue pie ice cream is the ultimate mashup of pumpkin ice cream−spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and mace−creamy-dreamy meringue, and crunchy bits of Oreo-cookie crust. Think frozen pumpkin-spice latte.
David Leite
Servings8 servings | 1 quart
Calories476 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time8 hours


  • Ice cream maker


For the pumpkin meringue pie ice cream base

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons spiced rum or bourbon (optional but suggested for a more scoopable ice cream)
  • Cooking spray

For the chocolate-crust shards

  • 8 Oreos
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) melted butter

To assemble

  • 1/2 cup jarred marshmallow spread, more if you're game


Make the pumpkin meringue pie ice cream base

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, and salt until smooth.
  • In a medium pan, add the cream and brown sugar. Whisk to combine.
  • Heat the cream-sugar mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes. Don't allow the liquid to boil!
  • While whisking the yolks, slowly drizzle the hot cream-sugar mixture into the bowl. Return the cream-yolk mixture back to the saucepan.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Swipe a line across the spoon with your finger—if it holds, it’s done, 5 to 8 minutes. Alternatively, if you have a thermometer, cook the custard until it reaches 185°F (85°C).
  • Strain the hot custard through a sieve into a clean bowl. Gently stir in the pumpkin purée, vanilla, and spiced rum, if using.
  • Lightly coat a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and press it against the surface of the custard. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

Make the chocolate-crust shards

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Crank up the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a food processor, finely grind the Oreos. Dump the crumbs into a small bowl, add the melted butter, and mix until combined.
  • Dump the crumbs onto the foil-lined baking sheet and pat them into a 1/8-inch (3-mm) thick slab. Bake until the surface looks dry, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack and cool completely. Break up into bite-size pieces.

Churn the ice cream

  • Pour the fully chilled custard into a 1-quart-capacity ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s direction until the custard is thick and is the texture of soft serve.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: Due to the addition of booze, the ice cream will take longer to reach soft-serve stage, but fear not!

Assemble the ice cream

  • Spoon the marshmallow spread into a small microwave-safe bowl and nuke in 5-second bursts until the spread softens, about 15 seconds total. Vigorously stir the spread with a spoon to release the air making the spread smooth and lightly pourable.
  • Spread 1/3 of the ice cream into the bottom of a plastic freezer container. Spoon half of the marshmallow over the ice cream and use a knife to quickly marble it through the ice cream. Stick half of the crust shards into the ice cream. Repeat with another layer of ice cream, marshmallow, and shards. Top with the remaining third of ice cream and spread it smooth.
  • Cover tightly, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. Let soften for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.


  1. Graham cracker-crust shards variation–To make graham cracker shards, pulverize 6 full graham crackers (90 g) in a food processor. Dump the crumbs into a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and mix until combined. Continue with step 10.
  2. Storage–The ice cream can be stored in the freezer in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 476 kcalCarbohydrates: 48 gProtein: 4 gFat: 30 gSaturated Fat: 17 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 205 mgSodium: 119 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 39 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 David Leite. Photos © 2021 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love that this pumpkin pie ice cream recipe delivers on the promise of the title. Each spoon really evokes the flavors and textures of a good pumpkin meringue pie. Other than the spot-on flavor and balanced spice it has a very good creamy smooth texture that is scoopable right out of my freezer.

A bowl of Pumpkin Meringue Pie Ice Cream with a scoop

The pumpkin flavor comes through as well since the recipe does not just use a spoonful or two but a good portion of a can of pumpkin purée.

Pumpkin meringue pie made into ice cream perfection. Lovely fall spices, crunchy cookie bits, and swirls of sweet meringue. The pumpkin pie ice cream churned into a wonderfully creamy texture and the cookies and marshmallow fluff added a fantastic contrast to make each spoonful a delight. Why have pie, when you can have ice cream?

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Oh,David…I have just drooled all over my phone screen after looking at and reading about this ice cream. The problem is, I have neither an ice cream maker nor the space for one. Is there any chance the recipe could be converted to no-churn, perhaps by repeatedly beating the cooling custard, while it’s in the freezer, or…? Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks so much, and an early Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, as well as the team.

    1. Terry, I’m so delighted you’re enticed by the recipe. It’s one of my favorites. Alas, we’ve never adapted it for a no-churn version, so I don’t have any suggestions. But…if you do make it, please let me know how it goes. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

      1. Thanks, David – I’ll have to ponder on this problem a bit, but I’ll certainly let you know if I find a workable solution!
        We Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving well over a month ago, and I believe the majority of us have turkey, and then again for Xmas too, as it’s been so long (a touch of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, if you will 😁). The way I see it – ANY day is a good day for turkey – says the OSWF who usually buys a 25# bird. Or 2! Blessings to you all!

          1. Hi David! Hope you, and The One, and family had a splendid Thanksgiving!

            I haven’t tried it yet, I’ve been a bit under the weather, but…I THINK I may have found a (time consuming) workaround, I.e. beating it with the electric mixer every 15-20 minutes, while it cools in the fridge. I keep the main part of my fridge just below freezing, so that may also help. Here’s hoping! 🤞

          2. Terry, I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I’m dying of suspense…I may just have to buy you an ice cream maker to see what you think of the dessert! Feel better!

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE this pumpkin meringue pie ice cream. My husband is nuts about all this pumpkin, and there are only so many pumpkin cakes and pumpkin loaves and pumpkin cheesecakes I can make. The great thing about this recipe is he can have his pumpkin fix all year round, instead of just in the fall. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome, Tarouco. We’re so pleased that you’ve found another fantastic way to use pumpkin and that your husband enjoys it so much.