Butter Pecan Ice Cream – Like Mother, Like Daughter

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This homemade butter pecan ice cream is rich and creamy, with a nice custard based ice cream that is full of crunchy buttered pecans. It tastes even better than your favorite ice cream from the store, or shop.

A close up of a bowl of butter pecan ice cream topped with sprinkles of chopped pecans.

Butter Pecan ice cream is a classic ice cream shop flavor. It’s creamy, buttery, nutty, and so delicious. The buttery sugary flavor of the ice cream makes it taste a little bit like caramel, and it’s so tasty.

What is butter pecan ice cream?

Butter pecan ice cream is a creamy vanilla based custard full of buttered pecans. It’s a pretty simple ice cream flavor, but the buttery toasted pecans mix into the ice cream making it a little buttery, and so delicious too, and so perfect with the crunchy nuts.

This homemade butter pecan ice cream has a few steps to the process, because its a custard based ice cream, so it takes a while to make it from start to finish, but I promise the results are well worth it.

Two sugar ice cream cones full of two scoops of butter pecan ice cream each.

How to make butter pecan ice cream?

In a medium or large sauce pan, heavy cream, and milk, and heat over medium high heat until the mixture just starts to bubble.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, and sugar. Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking it all together quickly. Then add in another 1/2 cup of the cream mixture, whisking it into the eggs, then a final half cup, and whisk it totally in.

Pour the creamy egg mixture back into the sauce pan with the remaining cream mixture, and continue to heat it for another 5 minutes, until the mixture is thickened enough to stick to the back of a metal spoon. Stir in the vanilla extract, and a dash of salt.

Pour the custard into a large bowl (pour it through a strainer if your mixture is chunky at all) then put that bowl over an ice bath and let it set for about 10 minutes, stirring it occasionally. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

When you’re ready to make the ice cream, turn the ice cream maker on and pour the mixture into the ice cream bucket, and allow to run according to the manufactures instructions (mine says about 30 minutes).

While the ice cream is churning brown the pecans in butter. In a large sauté pan, add the butter and pecans, and a sprinkle of salt. Stir together and allow them to cook until the pecans start to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Watch them closely so the pecans don’t burn. Remove from the pan and pour over some paper towels on a plate (to soak up the excess butter)

Pour the buttered pecans into the ice cream maker, and let it run for another couple of minutes until the nuts are spread throughout the ice cream.

Scoop the mixture into a 2 Quart pan, cover the pan and place it in the freezer for at least 6 hours. I like to freeze mine overnight to make it really hard like you’d get from the store.

A bread loaf pan full of a custard based butter pecan ice cream, with a scoop being pulled out of it. There are pecans showing through the ice cream.

Tips of making Butter Pecan Ice Cream:

  • Don’t forget to freeze the ice cream bowl at least 12 hours before you want to make the ice cream.
  • This ice cream recipe takes several hours to make from start to finish, with cooking the custard, chilling the custard, making the ice cream in the machine, then freezing the ice cream to get it scoo-able. Probably about 24 hours from start to finish, so be prepared.
  • Instead of pecans you could substitute walnuts.
  • I recommend using high fat ingredients for the richest, creamiest ice cream – you want heavy cream and whole milk. But you can substitute half and half and a lower fat milk if desired.
  • Make sure to thoroughly chill the custard base before putting it into your ice cream maker.

A spoonful of butter pecan ice cream above a bowl of ice cream.

This butter pecan ice cream is a delicious buttery ice cream, with lots of crunchy pecans in every bite. It’s delicious, and almost tastes caramelly. It’s so good you’ll want to eat it all summer long, and now you’ll never need to go to the ice cream shop again.

More ice cream recipes?

  • Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  • Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Ice Cream
  • Coconut Ice Cream
  • Pistachio Ice Cream

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An upside down ice cream cone full of butter pecan ice cream in a white bowl.

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