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!
Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream!
It may still be too hot to turn the oven on for hours to bake a pumpkin pie, so I figured it might be high time for something cooler and more refreshing with my number one fall flavor.
Enter this fun, citrusy, less spiced pumpkin ice cream. It’s got a super creamy texture, and has everything a classic, homemade pumpkin pie ice cream recipe would 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!)
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!
Gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, Biscoff cookies – maybe even cute little baked pie crust shapes? This ice cream is the real deal, and the sky is the limit with what you can do with it!
Would it be overboard to serve it on top of a slice of pumpkin pie? I surely don’t think so.
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!
Denise E. says
I’m not a big fan of pumpkin flavored food, but I know several folks who are and would love the pumpkin ice cream.
Kelly Nicholson says
nice contest thank you
Erin @ The Speckled Palate says
Holy cow, woman. This is RIDICULOUS in the best way possible. I love the combination of pumpkin and citrus… and now, I’ve gotta give this a go because how could I not love it?
I’m neutral on the whole pumpkin in July issue, but I have issues with nutmeg. Which led me to believe I didn’t like pumpkin pie for more than 20 years of my life. Which has been corrected now because I just add cinnamon instead. Easy peasy. Totally saving this to make when I get home!
Erin!! I used to have issues with nutmeg, too…as in, I tried to make broccoli cheddar soup, and decided to go heavy on the nutmeg, and then all I could taste was the spice. Sick. To. My. Stomach. Couldn’t even eat a whole bowl. But in sweets, mo’ nutmeg, no problems. LOL let me know if you try it!!
This kinda threw me for a moment. Pumpkin ice cream??? Then my brain kicked in and said “hey, pumpkin is good!”. I looked over the recipe and realized that with the citrus, this is going to be delicious. So this pumpkin lover says thank you for this recipe. My taste buds are loving you.
You’re welcome, Karen! It’s definitely different, but in such a good way!
Susan the Farm Quilter says
This recipe looks fabulous!! We have ice cream in the freezer all the time, so this would be perfect!!! Thank you!
I hope you try it, Susan! Thanks for stopping by!
haha my favorite restaurant just started putting pumpkin things back on the menu – so I say bring it on! This looks awesome!
I’m very (im)patiently waiting for my pumpkin swirl coffee to return to Dunkin’ Donuts this month…it’s my first question with every visit!
DB, Foodie Stuntman | Crazy Foodie Stunts says
We’ve discussed this before and you and I disagree on this whole pumpkin in August thing, but I will concede that you can walk into Nordstrom’s as I type this and greet Santa so you have a case.
Regarding the dish itself, I’ve never used a double boiler to make an ice cream custard so I’ll have to try this because it sounds like it would make tempering eggs easier.
Yeah, my need for pumpkin this early in the year doesn’t even compare to visiting Santa while it’s still hot out! And oh my goodness, double boiler is the only way I do anything with tempered eggs! Less chance to accidentally scramble! 🙂
Oh my word this sounds amazing!!!
FROOT LOOPS says
I LOVE PUMPKIN. ANY TYPE OF DESSERT MADE WITH PUMPKIN IS AMAZING. I WILL BE TRYING THIS ICE CREAM RECIPE VERY SOON.
Let me know if you do, and how you like it!
Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks says
I am so happy to find a fellow pumpkin fan! I use pumpkin all year long and I’m getting ready to brew a pumpkin beer that is to die for. I say to heck with hiding the pumpkins until fall. I adore pumpkin ice cream and love the citrus in here. It’s so creative to combine a traditional fall flavor with a summer treat! P.S. I have a pumpkin patch growing in my garden outside of my kitchen window. 🙂
Hooray for kindred spirits! Pumpkiinnn beeeeer! I’ll take a keg! 🙂 I actually thought about planting some pumpkins when I started my little garden in March, but after reading they kind of take everything over, I decided against it. There’s always next year, though! Damn the vines, I want homegrown pumpkin!
I respect you honoring your love of pumpkin, Erica. I don’t want to think about it until October, but when I’m ready, I’ll have this recipe to make. Looks great!
It’s not for everyone! Haha, I just can’t help it! Fall is my fave, and pumpkin reminds me of it, no matter how hot it is outside. I clearly live in the wrong place. 🙂
Faye Gates says
Is the ice cream maker pink? If it is, that is so cute. I had pumpkin ice cream last fall, and it was pretty good.
shelly peterson says
This ice cream looks really good. Thanks for the giveaway.
jessica z says
This is the coolest prize!! I love ice cream and having an ice cream maker, scoop, treat tubs, and waffle cone maker would be amazing for after-school treats!
FROOT LOOPS says
I MADE THIS FOR A BBQ AT MY SON’S HOUSE THIS PAST WEEKEND. IT RECEIVED RAVE REVIEWS. THIS IS NOW ON OUR FAMILY FAVORITE LIST.
Rita A says
I love anything pumpkin so this ice cream sounds delish!
Angela Cash says
I have never tried pumpkin ice cream but it looks delicious. This recipe looks like something the whole family would enjoy.