This Pumpkin Ice Cream is perfect for year-round pumpkin lovers! Light on the spices, studded with crunchy pecans, and infused with bright citrus flavors, it’s a flavor that can be enjoyed any day of the year!
This is for all you pumpkin in July naysayers.
That’s right. I see you.
I know you’re out there. Trying to squash (get it – squash? pumpkin?) my joy of all things pumpkin, arriving little by little as the summer slowly waltzes away to make way for the bliss of the fall season.
Well, I have news for you: you can never kill a love that runs this deep, even when it’s “out of season.”
Pumpkin cravings don’t just go away – they demand to be indulged.
But you know, I don’t think you’ll mind when you get your hands on a few scoops of my new favorite summer-fall hybrid treat – pumpkin ice cream!
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Why you’ll love this homemade pumpkin ice cream!
It may still be too hot to turn the oven on for hours to bake a pumpkin pie, but any time is a good time for something cool and refreshing.
Enter this fun, citrusy, less spiced pumpkin ice cream. It has a super creamy texture, and everything a classic, homemade pumpkin pie ice cream recipe should have. There’s plenty of vanilla-pumpkin flavor, but I threw in a good amount of orange zest and a bit of lemon extract to keep it light and seasonally neutral.
And some pecans for a little crunch, because texture is fun.
Take that, pumpkin haters. Strap in, it’s that time of year in here.
This is the result of the very first time I’d ever tried making a custard-based ice cream recipe, way back in 2015. Meaning it’s got egg yolks and everything, so I can’t really call it an easy pumpkin ice cream recipe.
That’s not to say it’s difficult! it just involves a little bit of stovetop work, but I promise you that the end result is so worth the effort. Your pumpkin season will be made once you have a bowl of this – even if it’s in July!
If you’re planning to try your hand at this pumpkin ice cream, check your pantry, then add these ingredients to your shopping list and hit the grocery store!
- Whole milk
- Heavy whipping cream
- Pumpkin puree (or pumpkin pie filling)
- Chopped pecans
- Eggs (you only need the yolks)
- Oranges (for the zest!)
- Dark brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean if you’re fancy!)
- Lemon extract
- Ground cinnamon
- Pumpkin pie spice (or use my homemade spice mix!)
For exact ingredient measurements and recipe instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
How to make pumpkin ice cream
Making this delightful pumpkin flavored ice cream is so easy – don’t let the custard base intimidate you!
- First, combine the milk, cream, sugars, and salt in a medium saucepan set over low heat. Whisk everything together until the sugar has dissolved and you have a cohesive liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
- Set another saucepan with about an inch of water on the stove, and turn up the heat to medium heat.
- Then, beat the egg yolks in a metal mixing bowl that’s slightly bigger than the simmering saucepan. Slowly stir in 1 cup of the warmed milk mixture to temper the eggs.
- Set the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Add the remaining milk mixture and whisk constantly. It will start to thicken, and when it coats the back of a metal spoon, remove it from the heat.
- Next, stir in the pumpkin puree, orange zest, extracts, and spices until it’s all well combined.
- Then, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any solids the egg yolks may have left behind while cooking. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- When you’re ready to churn your ice cream, pour the base into the bowl of your ice cream maker or ice cream maker attachment for your stand mixer and churn it up until it’s nice and thick. Add the pecans in at the end of the churning cycle.
- Finally, transfer the very soft ice cream to a metal ice cream pan, or a freezer-safe container. Freeze it for at least 4 hours, or overnight for best results.
I don’t have an ice cream maker – can I still make homemade ice cream?
You sure can! There are so many different ways to make homemade ice cream. Without an ice cream machine, your ice cream may end up with more of a soft serve consistency, but that’s totally okay!
To make no churn pumpkin ice cream, simply do one of the following finishing steps after preparing the recipe up to the ice cream machine step:
- The Blender Method (the best way!): pour the prepared ice cream mixture – minus the pecans – into a gallon-sized plastic zipper bag, carefully squeezing out any air. Freeze it, lying flat, until it’s a solid mass. Break the frozen base into chunks small enough to fit into a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend the ice cream until it’s smooth, then fold in the pecans. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until you’re ready to eat it.
- The Plastic Bag Method (fun for kids!): allow the ice cream mixture to cool, then pour it into a quart-sized plastic zipper bag. Fill a gallon-size plastic zipper bag with 4 cups of crushed ice and 1/4 cup of kosher or rock salt. Close the bag and shake it up, then place the quart bag inside the gallon bag and seal. For at least 10 minutes, shake the bag, or toss it between two or more people, until the mixture in the quart-sized bag firms up. Serve directly from the bag, or transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until you’re ready to eat it.
- Freeze and Stir Method (hands-on): pour the prepared ice cream mixture into a shallow pan or bowl and place it in the freezer. Stir it every 30-45 minutes as it freezes over the course of 4 hours. The more you stir, the creamier it will be!
Here’s a good idea – I dare you to serve this up with something crunchy!
Would it be overboard to serve it on top of a slice of pumpkin pie? I surely don’t think so.
And if you really want to maximize the pumpkin flavor here, try this with a generous drizzle of Starbucks pumpkin sauce!
More luscious ice cream recipes to love!
Craving more pumpkin recipes?
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THE BEST Pumpkin Ice Cream
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks beaten
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Combine milk, cream, sugars, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk until sugars are dissolved and all is combined. Remove from heat.
- Set another saucepan with about an inch of water on the stove, and turn up to med-high heat.
- Beat egg yolks in a metal mixing bowl (one bigger than the mouth of the saucepan), then stir in 1 cup of heated sugar-milk mixture to temper the eggs.
- Set the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Add the remaining sugar-milk mixture and stir constantly, until it thickens to a custard base, and coats the back of a metal spoon.
- Remove the bowl from the heat. Stir in all the remaining ingredients except the pecans. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the solids, then refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on operating your ice cream maker; pour the ice cream base into the machine and churn, adding the pecans in at the end of the churning cycle.
- Place the ice cream into a metal ice cream pan, or freezer safe container, and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight for best results. Enjoy!