Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream

Are you tired of pumpkin yet? Of course not–sweet, savory, or whatever–this is a versatile fruit. So I indulged in one of my usual instincts when it comes to making dessert: ice cream! So today’s addition to the freezer is a batch of Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Just like with pumpkin pie, I chose to pair the flavor of pumpkin with the usual spice suspects (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger). I’ve mentioned before how I love the flavor you can extract from cinnamon (and friends) as compared to the ground stuff we’re all used to, and this is another place where the sultry side of the spices gets to shine without stealing the show from the true star: pumpkin. All together, the ice cream is delicious and very autumny (since ice cream, by definition, is very autumny…heck, wintery, while we’re at it). The pumpkin gives a beautiful color and distinct flavor while the spices really pick it up and give it complexity. Texture-wise, the ice cream is very thick. Definitely a fun flavor to add to your ice cream arsenal.

  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • dash nutmeg
  • small (~1/2 inch) knob of fresh ginger
  • 5 yolks
  • 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp bourbon, dark rum, vodka, or some appropriately flavored (or flavorless) liquor

First, if you don’t already have a stash of pumpkin puree handy, make some (or you can always buy a can, I’ll forgive you). Just a refresher: that means chop it in half, scrape out the seeds and stringy parts, bake at 350°F open side down in a small bit of water, and after anywhere between 45-90 minutes, the pumpkin should be done cooking. Scoop out the flesh, puree it in the food processor, and let it sit in the strainer for an hour or so. Tada! Pumpkin puree! (I make it in large batches and then use it as I need it later. You can freeze it!)

The next time consuming step: extracting the flavors from the whole spices and infusing the cream. In a saucepan, add the cream and brown sugar. Then, grate some fresh ginger and put it with the whole spices in a plastic bag. Take out some anger and smash the bag with a hammer/mallet a few times. You don’t want fine powder but you do want it busted up into pieces.

Dump the smashed spices into the cream and warm it up to just shy of boiling. Stir well, remove from heat, put a cover on, and let this sit for an hour (or a bit more–but no less!)

Once time has passed, pour the cream mixture through a strainer to catch all of the spice pieces so you can discard them. Pour the spiced cream back into your saucepan and warm it back up to medium heat.

Set up an ice bath and put a bowl in it. In this bowl, add the pumpkin puree, salt, vanilla extract, and liquor if you’re using it (it will help keep the ice cream from freezing too hard in your freezer). Set your strainer over this.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until lightened in color. Temper the yolks with a small pour of the hot cream so as not to scare them into scrambling, and then transfer the yolks into the saucepan of hot cream. Stir and scrape constantly, cooking for about 5ish minutes over medium heat, or until the custard is cooked and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Once the custard is cooked, pour it through the strainer into the chilled pumpkin puree. Whisk it together so it mixes nicely and chills down. You don’t want the egg yolks to keep cooking or else they’ll overcook and form grainy little scrambled bits.

Once nicely mixed and cooled down, press on a sheet of plastic wrap and let this sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Once time is up, follow the directions that came with your ice cream maker and churn the custard for ~20 minutes. Usually, I’d say set the churned ice cream aside in the freezer overnight before you dig in so it can firm up, but this is one of the few that will actually be thick enough to enjoy right now. So if you’re tempted, go for it! Whenever you eat it, enjoy!

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29 Responses to “Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream”

  1. dp Says:

    Too funny! I made pumpking ice cream too, but I was lazy and just used the puree from a can. And i used coconut milk. Very delicious.

  2. aforkfulofspaghetti Says:

    Times like these, I really wish I had an icecream maker! This recipe sounds fabulous… I can almost taste it, just looking at the pictures.

  3. Mary Says:

    Yum! I love pumpkin ice cream! It’s one of my favorites.

  4. Joan Nova Says:

    I don’t do ice cream…but I have been fooling around with adding spices and other things to store-bought frozen yogurt. And I’m thinking I have pumpkin spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, booze, etc. and I can’t wait to try it. I’m sure this probably makes you cringe but take solace in the fact that I was inspired by your post. :)

  5. Paula Says:

    Yummm sounds awesome! I gotta get an ice cream maker!!

  6. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy Says:

    I think I’ve met my match in you when it comes to ice cream! I’m always delighted and often surprised with your creations. This one is no different. Pumpkin ice cream sounds wonderful!I’ve got to try this. I see an ice cream pie in my future! 😉

  7. Sam Says:

    pumpkin ice cream sounds delish! I love the colour too.

  8. ice cream freaks Says:

    I also made some pumpkin ice cream this season. It turned out yummy, so I made it into a pumpkin ice cream pie. Thanks for sharing yours.

  9. Hélène Says:

    Mike, there is nothing that you can’t make. I tasted Pumpkin ice cream from a local shop, the other day, and it was so delicious. Have a good week-end!

  10. Sandie Says:

    I was wondering when you were going to get around to making pumpkin ice cream.

    While I admit I’m beginning to appreciate pumpkin in baked goods, it may take me a while to try it in ice cream. But who knows, there’s a first time for everything!

  11. clumbsycookie Says:

    No, I’m not tired of pumpkin and I’m certainly not tired of ice creams!

  12. Kevin Says:

    Pumpkin pie ice cream sounds good!

  13. Lori Lynn Says:

    I’m thinking of using those same spices in a sweet potato gratin for Thanksgiving. I hope it turns out good, I don’t have patience to run a test recipe. I’ll be adding some white pepper too. Your ice cream looks fabulous.

  14. pam Says:

    Oh, you know I’ll be making this!!!

  15. Roxanne Says:

    Any way this can be made without an ice cream maker? Can I just freeze it, and take it out periodically to mix? I’m a novice sorry….

  16. heather Says:

    yum!! looks delicious! if you ever run out of room in your freezer…. i’m happy to lend you space in mine 😉

  17. grace Says:

    i’m still resisting the urge to invest in an ice cream maker, but i did recently purchase some pumpkin pie ice cream and it was stellar. i’ll bet it couldn’t hold a candle to yours, though–homemade is just better. :)

  18. noble pig Says:

    Of course you made pumpkin pie ice cream! I was waiting you know. What a treat with some chocolate cake on T-day instead of pumpkin pie.

  19. RecipeGirl Says:

    I’m always so excited to see the seasonal flavors of ice cream in the stores… especially pumpkin. I’ve wanted to make it myself for ages now. It looks great!!

  20. Dragon Says:

    Um, I’m thinking the bourbon should be mandatory not optional. :) YUM!

  21. the caked crusader Says:

    Spice in ice cream is fascinating me at the moment. I recently had ginger ice cream and was prepared to hate it…but didn’t!

  22. mikky Says:

    never tried that before… looks and sounds interesting though… :) hope your wife’s doing fine with pregnancy and all… :)

  23. Aparna Says:

    I should have known. If there’s someone who would make pumpkin into ice-cream, it would have to be you, Mike.
    I would have never guessed from the picture. I thought mango, for a minute!

  24. Iheart2cook Says:


    Your pumpkin ice cream looks delicious! I found your site after searching foodgawker for pumpkin ideas… Could you advise me on how I could adapt this recipe to make frozen yogurt?


  25. Jude Says:

    Ice cream maker’s been gathering dust… I think I’ll try this with butternut squash or something.

  26. Susan from Food Blogga Says:

    Tired of pumpkin? That won’t happen till around Feb., so there’s plenty of time to enjoy this frosty treat.

  27. Serving-Ice-Cream Says:

    I tried pumpkin ice cream for the first time this season and loved it!!!

  28. Bellini Valli Says:

    My love for pumpkin is limitless Mike:D

  29. Peter Says:

    Your new blog moniker should be gelato Mike…the creations are that good!

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