Pumpkin Ice Cream

I enjoy homemade ice cream pretty much all year round, but once the fall rolls around I get so wrapped up in traditional Thanksgiving foods, and then Christmas, that my ice cream maker is typically pretty quiet from Halloween through New Year’s. One recipe I have been wanting to try for seemingly ever is pumpkin ice cream. Smooth, cold, creamy, spicy, just slightly boozy, and tasting like a cold piece of pumpkin pie. So basically, it’s totally delicious and a perfect addition to your fall-inspired ice cream recipes.

Everyone is typically stuffed to the gills after a big Thanksgiving dinner, but that doesn’t stop us (well, me, anyway) from sidling right up to the table once the pies and cakes and other assorted desserts make their appearance. It is a holiday after all (which in my little head gives me free reign to overindulge, thankyouverymuch). That being said, being able to offer guests some pumpkin ice cream seems like a great option. The hardcore eaters can throw a scoop on top of their pumpkin pies, and if someone is already stuffed but still craving some of those classic Thanksgiving dessert flavors, they can have a cup of ice cream and still feel satisfied.

As for me? I plan on treating the dessert table at Thanksgiving like a buffet. Hey, you only live once!

One year ago: Pumpkin Pie
Two years ago: Food Photography 101: The Basics

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 9 hours


1½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
¼ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, rum or brandy (optional)
¾ cup canned pumpkin


1. Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nest a smaller metal bowl (one that will hold at least 2 quarts) inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top.

2. In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and salt.

3. Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam.

4. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly.

5. Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 160º-170ºF (71º-76ºC).

6. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl nested in the ice bath. Mix in the brown sugar, add the cinnamon stick back in, then stir until cool, then chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

7. Whisk in the vanilla, liquor (if using), and pumpkin. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

(Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)


34 Responses to “Pumpkin Ice Cream”

  1. Kate Koger on November 11, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Seriously?? Pumpkin ice cream? Is there nothing that this amazing vegetable can’t be put into?? Slurp!!!!


  2. CouponClippingCook on November 11, 2011 at 3:49 am

    The color of this ice cream looks so nice. Perfect for this time of year…maybe even with some pumpkin pie! why not…it’s a great way to get veggies for the day.


  3. Choc Chip Uru on November 11, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Haha I never realised vegetable ice cream could look so beautiful 🙂


  4. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on November 11, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I am a huge fan of pumpkin ice cream and I think I’d love a huge scoop of this with apple pie, even after Thanksgiving dinner:-)


  5. Katrina on November 11, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Mmm this sounds so yummy!


  6. Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers on November 11, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Thats it, I’m heading to Macy’s tomorrow and getting an ice cream maker!! I need to make this recipe!!!! But do you really need an ice cream maker to make this recipe?


  7. Amanda V on November 11, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Yay! I love all of your ice cream recipes and I’m so excited to make this one!


  8. Jen @ Savory Simple on November 11, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I have always wanted to try making pumpkin ice cream. This recipe looks perfect!


  9. Amy @ Gastronome Tart on November 11, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I’ve been seeing pumpkin ice cream across the blogosphere in recent weeks and this one just did me in. I have to make it! Looks absolutely delicious!


  10. Jill B on November 11, 2011 at 11:36 am

    You had me at slightly boozy!


  11. Toni McFadden on November 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I love ice-cream, it doesn’t matter how cold it gets. I’m making this this weekend. Thanks.


  12. Sue/the view from great island on November 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I didn’t expect to come across an ice cream recipe, but when I stopped to think of it, I’m always dashing out at the last minute during the holidays for ice cream. It’s always the last minute forgotten necessity at the dessert table. This is worth hauling out my ice cream maker from retirement. Thanks!


  13. Angela @ Mind Over Batter on November 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    A woman after my own heart… I was just thinking of pumpkin ice-cream! Not that my ever expanding behind needs it, but it’s the holidays and there’s some rule stating holidays are calorie free. Um.. I’ve heard…


  14. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family on November 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    This would be a fantastic addition to any table at Thanksgiving.


  15. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) on November 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    This ice cream looks so so good. I really want some RIGHT now.


  16. Michelle @ Blogitness on November 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    This sounds amazing…I haven’t found anything pumpkin-flavored that I haven’t liked yet!


  17. nicole {sweet peony} on November 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    pumpkin ice cream? amazing! topped with some candied pecans? even more amazing! thanks for sharing michelle! & happy friday 🙂


  18. Viviane Bauquet Farre on November 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Mmmm! The pinch of ginger was a truly great idea. I wish I could enjoy a serving of this right now…


  19. Mary@siftingfocus.com on November 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I love serving pumpkin ice cream along side my Thanksgiving desserts. This one sounds especially delicious with the addition of the touch of alcohol. Can’t wait to give it a try. YUM!


  20. Mar on November 12, 2011 at 12:17 am

    This ice cream looks delicious! Just found your blog, and it looks great.


  21. Erika - The Teenage Taste on November 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Who cares that it’s a little chilly outside? This ice cream just screams Autumn!


  22. zipcarissa on November 12, 2011 at 10:25 am

    This looks so delicious! Incorporating flavors of fall into this ice cream would make it a great dessert for Thanksgiving.


  23. Susie on November 13, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Hmm, 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Just curious why do you add salt as part of the ingredients? But anyway, love the thought of having pumpkin ice cream. It is something that you can’t have outside


    • Michelle on November 14th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      Hi Susie, Pretty much all of my ice cream recipes have at least a pinch of salt – helps to cut the sweetness.


  24. Curt on November 13, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Now this sounds like about the best ice cream recipe I’ve seen in a while. And I’ve seen a lot of them!

    There’s just something about those pumpkin spices, ya know! Of course, a shot of rum couldn’t hurt either!


  25. Gene Chin on November 13, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Would never thought about making pumpkin into ice cream. Genius!!


  26. Jen on November 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    What a crazy good idea!!


  27. angela on November 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Delicious. I want mine shortbread cookie crumbles and some whipped cream.


  28. Jessica @ChefHazard.com on November 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I’m printing this for a time when I’m not feeling too lazy to make ice cream at home. I have an ice cream maker, just no motivation since I have to make ice cream every day at work.


  29. Eden Blanchard on November 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I was trying to decide between pumpkin pie and apple pie this Thanksgiving. Half of my family prefers apple and the other half prefers pumpkin, but I don’t have enough guests to justify both. I’m going to make this to go with the apple pie. It looks fantastic!


  30. Angie @ Bigbearswife on November 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Hubby would be in heaven with this!


  31. RisaG on November 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I am not big on ice cream during the colder months BUT this does sound amazing. I brought my ice cream maker downstairs. I think I’ll be bringing it back up. Thanks for being so inspiring. I am going to gain too much weight and it is all your fault! (maybe mine a bit!)


  32. Sherry on November 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    This looks delish!


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