Maple-Walnut Ice Cream

When I think of maple, the first thing to come to mind is maple fudge, which is immediately followed by the episode of Friends when Ross ends up at a hotel in Vermont, eats his weight in maple candy and then goes bonkers on a sugar high. There are so many fabulous ways to infuse maple into both savory and sweet foods, and one of the things that has been on the top of my list for a long time is maple-walnut ice cream. I’ll be honest, though. When I first checked out this recipe, I had visions of Buddy the Elf pouring maple syrup all over his spaghetti. It seemed like a lot of syrup, and I worried that the ice cream would be sickeningly sweet. I was pleasantly surprised when the ice cream finished churning and I took my first spoonful. The flavors were completely balanced; the maple definitely came through, but wasn’t overpowering or too sweet. I breathed a sigh of relief then proceeded to take way more than my fair share of taste tests.

I love the subtle, sweet flavor of the ice cream paired with the crunchy, maple-glazed pecans. The flavor of the ice cream is very similar to that of butter pecan, so if you like sweetened ice cream with a bit of a caramel-nutty undertone, you will do back flips for this one. It might be getting chilly outside, but it’s never too cold for a bowl of ice cream. Ross would have devoured it in Vermont, and Buddy the Elf would certainly eat it while building snowmen on the North Pole! 🙂

Two years ago: Garlic Knots
Three years ago: Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars
Four years ago: Lavash Crackers

Maple-Walnut Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Prep Time: 12 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes (churn time)

Total Time: 12 hours


For the Ice Cream Custard:
1½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt

For the Maple-Glazed Walnuts:
½ cup maple syrup
1½ cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Pinch salt


1. Make the Ice Cream Custard: In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk and sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then, pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan occasionally. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula (if you're using an instant-read digital thermometer, the mixture should be between 170 and 175 degrees F). Pour the custard through the mesh strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt; stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (you can speed up the process by placing the bowl in an ice bath), then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

4. Make the Maple-Glazed Walnuts: Heat the maple syrup in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to come to a full boil. Add the walnuts, stir to coat them, then allow the mixture to cook until it again comes to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, stir for 10 seconds, then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool completely (the walnuts will still feel wet and sticky when cool).

5. Churn the Ice Cream: Freeze the custard mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Add the maple-glazed walnuts during the last few minutes of churning. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer.

(Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop)


29 Responses to “Maple-Walnut Ice Cream”

  1. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on October 4, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I need an ice cream maker so I can enjoy this deliciousness! My favorite store-bought ice cream (well, one of them) is maple pecan so I know I’d love this 🙂


  2. the 3volution of j3nn on October 4, 2012 at 3:46 am

    This is the epitome of an Autumn ice cream. We used to make this gelato flavor at our ice cream stand, haven’t had it in years. And the glazed walnuts we used to call “wet walnuts,” but I think glazed sounds way better, LOL.


  3. Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine on October 4, 2012 at 5:36 am

    This looks great! I would die for a waffle smothered in this!!!! Such a nice flavour combo!


  4. thegoodiegirl on October 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I was just saying the other day that I need to make a new batch of ice cream soon! This is one of my husband’s favourite kinds too! Yum!


  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on October 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Oh boy…one of my fav’s!!


  6. Mandy on October 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Butter Pecan is my favorite ice cream so this sounds right up my alley. I think I need to buy an ice cream maker.


  7. The Food Hound on October 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

    HA! I love that Friends episode!! I would go crazy over this ice cream- my extended family is all from upstate NY, and we’re obsessed with real maple syrup. I’m also obsessed with making my own ice cream, so I think it’s a match made in heaven 🙂


  8. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet on October 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    This sounds fabulous! Big bowl of these ice cream, this episode of Friends and I’m set 🙂


  9. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on October 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I loooove pralines, I know they’re usually made with pecans but my parents have a walnut tree, so all our sweets had walnuts instead of pecans when I was growing up 🙂 Soo, this to me sounds so delightful!


  10. Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden on October 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    It looks so nice but it is too late for ice cream and me! I’ve jut survived 38 degrees temperature and I don’t want to risk anymore!But great recipe for the next summer :)/


  11. Natalie @ Free Range Human on October 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    This is my favorite ice cream flavor! I’ll definitely make it this weekend!


  12. Laura Dembowski on October 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    My mouth is watering at the thought of this. Such a great combo of flavors. I love maple syrup but have never had it in ice cream before.


  13. tracy {pale yellow} on October 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I had some maple ice cream when I was in Vermont – Amazing! I can’t wait to make some at home!


  14. Alison | a girl defloured on October 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Swoon. I LOOOOOVE maple walnut ice cream, but have never made it at home. I can’t wait to try this. <3


  15. amanda @ fake ginger on October 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Mmm, this looks and sounds fantastic!


  16. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on October 5, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Haha, I love the random Friends reference. Best show ever.

    This ice cream looks delicious – I love maple flavored foods!


  17. Sophia on October 5, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I need to get myself an Ice cream machine asap. This looks mouth watering, its like pancakes in liquid form. yum!


  18. Kiran @ on October 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Love the FRIENDS reference. Never gets’ old 🙂

    And this dessert?!? Oh my. I would only say this:
    Want. Need. Love.


  19. Ardex Sd P on October 6, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy… delicious!


  20. Leigh Anne Wilkes on October 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I have been on a total maple kick recently and can’t get enough of it. I made some maple gelato last week. Love maple in ice cream!!


  21. Tanya on October 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Looks fantastic! I need to clear some room in my freezer so I can make this. Thank you SO much!!


  22. Kerry on October 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I’m sure it’s something with your Web site revamp (like it!), but the recipe for this ice cream isn’t visible any more. I checked in both Firefox and Internet Explorer, so I’m thinking it’s not just an error on my end. Hoping you can repost it or e-mail me the recipe, so I can make this deliciousness!!! Thanks!


    • Michelle on October 21st, 2012 at 12:43 am

      Hi Kerry, That was a glitch, my apologies! The recipe should now appear above. Enjoy!


      • Kerry on October 21st, 2012 at 2:07 pm

        Thanks so much!! I’m making this today!!


  23. Hope on April 25, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I grew up in the north country (what we call northern NY close to Canada) and it just so happens I visited home last week and picked up a half gallon of maple syrup. Maple walnut reminds me of childhood and I’ll be making this on Saturday!


  24. Amanda on August 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Your website is amazing. I just made this maple-walnut ice cream for my grandma’s 93rd birthday (it’s her favourite), and it was a huge hit. I curdled the custard the first time, but I was more careful the second time around. For others– I recommend buying pure maple syrup. Aunt Jemima’s would be too sweet. THANKS!!!


  25. Sandra on February 22, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Do you use a particular grade of maple syrup? I typically use grade B for baking and was wondering if that would be fine for ice cream too?


    • Michelle on February 23rd, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Sandra, I use Grade A dark amber, if that helps. That’s pretty close to Grade B, so I think you should be fine!


  26. Lisa on May 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Made this a couple days ago and just finished my ice cream cone. WOW. This one is up there as a favorite. The maple syrup, like corn syrup or some kind of alcohol, keeps the mixture from freezing rock hard like most ice creams. This is one of my favorites! We used pecans because we already had some (I love that walnuts and pecans are interchangeable). Because of you, Michelle, we bought The Perfect Scoop. The two recipes we’ve used from there so far that are not on your blog are mint (with stracciatella) and olive oil (sounds crazy, but it’s delicious, be sure to use something fruity for that one. Arbequina works great!).

    You’re the best!


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)