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For all you boozy dessert lovers, this spiked pumpkin ice cream is for you! Every creamy bite is full of warm pumpkin spice flavors and just the right amount of bourbon. After one taste, you’ll agree that this rich, luscious bourbon-pumpkin ice cream is the perfect fall dessert, and you’ll want to serve it for every seasonal occasion.
- Why This Recipe Works
- How to Serve
- Recipe FAQs
- Expert Tips
- Perfect Pairing
- Love Your Fall Desserts?
- Bourbon-Pumpkin Ice Cream
Why This Recipe Works
- Bourbon adds the best flavor to pumpkin desserts. The oak, vanilla and caramel notes of bourbon nicely complement pumpkin spice.
- Hands down — this is the best fall ice cream. Now we throw in that perfect flavor combination into a luscious custard base, and we’re bound to end up with the best fall dessert.
- Serve it for any fall gathering or holiday for a truly versatile recipe. Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party, Thanksgiving or just a random get-together during autumn, this boozy pumpkin ice cream makes for a crowd-pleasing dessert.
- Celebrate pumpkin spice season in all its glory. During the winter and fall months, we can’t get enough pumpkin in our lives. We wait all year for everything pumpkin, so let’s take full advantage with some pumpkin pie ice cream!
Bonus: Love bourbon in the fall? Try this apple cider old fashioned and cranberry-chai bourbon smash.
These pumpkin ice cream ingredients should seem straightforward, but please note that this recipe uses pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling. Both are sold in cans in the baking aisle, but pumpkin purée is just that.
Pumpkin pie filling, however, is literally a pre-made liquid you add directly to a pie crust to bake. The two are very different ingredients, so just make sure you pay attention to the label.
For the pumpkin spice, you’re welcome to use a store-bought mix, but I also included directions to make your own homemade pumpkin spice mix. I find a homemade pumpkin pie spice mix adds a richer, warmer, spicier flavor, but both will produce a delicious pumpkin-flavored ice cream.
If you’ve never made homemade ice cream, I promise it’s easier than you think. As long as you can simmer cream and stir, you have all the skills you need to make ice cream. Let’s get to it.
Step 1: We start by bringing a mixture of heavy cream, milk and dark brown sugar to a simmer and stir every so often to help dissolve the dark brown sugar (photo 1). Now we turn off the heat.
Step 2: We whisk together egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract (photo 2). I like to do this for about three minutes by hand to ensure it’s well-whisked.
Step 3: Once we whisk the egg yolks, we ladle in a small scoop — about one-fourth cup or so — of the cream mixture and whisk together (photo 3). We add another small scoop and repeat until we incorporate about half of the cream mixture (photo 4).
Step 4: Now we return the eggs and cream back to the stove, add the pumpkin purée (photo 5) and stir until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (photo 6). Again, we don’t want the mixture to boil.
Step 5: From here, we cover the custard’s surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming (photo 7) and chill in the refrigerator.
Note: For this recipe, you’ll need an ice cream maker. I’ve used this Cuisinart model for nearly 10 years and love it.
Step 6: Once chilled, we’re ready to churn the ice cream. Follow the ice cream churned manufacturer’s directions, but don’t add the bourbon until the last couple minutes of churning (photo 8). Alcohol can prevent the ice cream from properly setting up, so we want to make sure it’s mostly ready go before adding it.
Step 7: All that’s left is to pour the ice cream in and airtight container (photo 9) and place it in the freezer. In a few hours, we’ll have a delicious fall ice cream.
Bonus: If you love this bourbon ice cream, I bet you’ll also adore my chocolate-amaretto ice cream and Baileys ice cream!
How to Serve
Besides being delicious, I love this ice cream for how many different ways you can serve it. Of course, you could serve this bourbon-pumpkin ice cream in a cone or a bowl without any toppings. This ice cream is plenty flavorful to stand up on its own.
Or try topping with this praline sauce or bourbon caramel sauce — both are perfect on so many fall desserts. Warm up the sauce in the microwave and drizzle it all over the ice cream for an extra special treat. And good luck finding an ounce of self-control.
I also love to sandwich this bourbon-pumpkin ice cream between two homemade oatmeal scotchies, or after churning the custard base, you could pour it into a prepared graham cracker or gingersnap crust. Pop it in the freezer and you have an easy no-bake pumpkin ice cream pie that won’t take up valuable oven space on Thanksgiving.
- We don’t ever want to let the cream mixture come to a boil. That has the potential to break the milk.
- Don’t just dump the eggs into all the cream mixture and skip the ladling. This helps gently cook the eggs to prevent them from scrambling once you do add them to the rest of the mixture.
- Make sure you add the bourbon toward the end of the churning process. Alcohol can make the ice cream more difficult to set, so we want it just about done churning before adding.
- For the bourbon, use something that you would happily drink. I suggest a mid-range bourbon like your standard Markers Mark, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses or Elijah Craig. You don’t want to use something too cheap, or it will taste harsh.
- Like a little crunch to your ice cream? Feel free to add 1 cup of crushed ginger snaps or graham crackers toward the end of the churn process.
A big, bold imperial stout is just what you need with this bourbon-pumpkin spice ice cream. With the high alcohol content, imperial stouts make for great dessert beers because of their residual sweetness.
Craft brewers often age imperial stouts in bourbon barrels, and the barrel char play off the roasted malt while adding vanilla and coconut undertones, which enhance the sweetness of the beer. The pumpkin pie spice then comes in to add a nice kick to those sweet, roasted notes.
If you’d like to pour yourself a glass of wine with this ice cream, reach for a sweet dessert sherry. Sweetened sherry typically shows off rich flavors, such as caramel, toffee and fig, which go so well with warm spices. I wouldn’t be disappointed if you enjoyed a tawny port with this fall ice cream, either.
I’ve made this bourbon-pumpkin ice cream every year for a long time now, and it’s one of my favorite fall traditions. I have no doubt you’ll love it as much as I do!
Love Your Fall Desserts?
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Recipe originally published in October 2018 and republished in September 2021.
Google Web Story: Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream