Meet your new favorite ice cream flavor! Studded with candied pecans in each bite, this homemade butterscotch ice cream is pure decadence with its ultra creamy texture and prominent caramelized brown sugar notes. Serve this ice cream on a slice of rich pound cake or unadorned in a simple dish —- either way, you’re in for one indulgent treat.
Why don’t we see butterscotch ice cream often? Sure, we have butterscotch ice cream topping, but butterscotch as a stand-alone ice cream flavor rarely makes an appearance in the grocery aisles or ice cream shops. Considering that we see plenty of caramel ice creams, butterscotch ice cream also deserves a place in our ice cream-loving hearts.
Fortunately, we're changing that with this butterscotch ice cream recipe. Just one bite and you'll see why we need butterscotch-flavored ice cream in our lives.
Let's make some ice cream! Here's every ingredient you need to make this butterscotch ice cream with candied pecans.
- Dark brown sugar
- Heavy cream
- Whole milk
- Egg yolks
- Vanilla extract
- Egg white
Now I know I say this all the time, but dark brown sugar is essential for this recipe. No exaggeration. Light brown sugar doesn't give us the depth of flavor we need to get those rich butterscotch notes. When making butterscotch, always go for dark brown sugar.
We begin by melting some butter in a saucepan, adding our dark brown sugar and giving it a stir. The mixture will initially look clumpy like so.
We continue to cook the brown sugar mixture until it comes to a simmer and starts to liquify.
At that point, we cook it for just another minute or two and then add our heavy cream and milk.
Once we add the heavy cream and milk, the sugar mixture will seize up and pieces will harden. Don't panic. That's totally normally. We just continue to cook our mixture, and the hardened pieces will melt back into our cream.
After our cream mixture comes to a simmer, we turn off the heat and ladle in a scoop of said cream mixture into whisked egg yolks and vanilla. We repeat this process a few more times, which allows our egg yolks to gently cook without turning into scrambled eggs. Now we spoon our egg mixture into the remaining cream, put the saucepan back on the stove and cook until it thickens.
From here, we give our butterscotch mixture plenty of time to cool in the refrigerator, preferably overnight, and then we're ready to churn.
How to Make Candied Pecans
This rich ice cream is incredible on its own, but you know what makes it even better? Candied pecans. We basically caramelize a dark brown sugar mixture onto the pecans for the perfect complement to our rich butterscotch.
To make our candied pecans, we mix together some dark brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon in one bowl. In another bowl, we whisk an egg white until frothy. Now we add our pecans to the egg white and then move them to our dark brown sugar mixture to coat. We pop them in the oven and bake at a low 300 degrees, giving the pecans a stir every so often, and that's it.
Oh, and here's a little pro tip: Don't be like me and forget to put parchment paper on your baking dish. Clean up is much easier if you remember to use parchment paper.
With that rich butterscotch flavor, you can never go wrong with a barley wine, which comes with a sweet, caramel-like malt. Many barley wines also carry toffee and dried fruit notes that pair perfectly with the butterscotch.
If you need a wine pairing, you'll love a PX sherry. This sherry shows off honey, fig and candied fruit flavors. As you can imagine, those all work well with our butterscotch. You could even pour some PX sherry on top off this butterscotch ice cream for a boozy kick if you're into that sort of thing.
For those times you need a rich, decadent treat, I hope you try this butterscotch ice cream with candied pecans.
Love Homemade Ice Cream?
- Bourbon-pumpkin ice cream
- Fresh mint-chocolate chip ice cream
- Honey-lavender ice cream with peach compote
- S'mores ice cream
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Butterscotch Ice Cream With Candied Pecans
- Medium saucepan
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Plastic wrap
- Mixing bowl
- Ice cream maker
Butterscotch Ice Cream
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 7 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Butterscotch Ice Cream
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the dark brown sugar and stir to coat in the butter. The mixture will look clumpy. Bring to a simmer and cook for another minute or two. Don't allow the mixture to burn. Just a quick simmer is all we need.
- Add the heavy cream and milk. When you add these, the brown sugar mixture will likely harden into little pieces. Don't worry. Continue cooking the mixture until it comes to a simmer, stirring frequently. As the cream mixture warms, the hardened brown sugar pieces will melt back into a liquid. Once it comes to a simmer, turn off heat. Do not boil.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla extract for about two to three minutes. Ladle in a scoop of the warm cream mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk. Repeat this step a few more times. This gently cooks the yolks, so they don't turn into scrambled eggs.
- Add the yolk-cream mixture back to the remaining cream in the saucepan. Put the saucepan back on the stove on medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil but a simmer is fine.
- Once thickened, pour into a nonreactive bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard mixture to prevent a film from forming. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until cold, at least four hours to ensure proper churning, though I like to chill overnight to really make sure it's cold. The mixture needs to be cold in order to properly set up when churning.
- Churn according to ice cream maker manufacturer's directions. Add the candied pecans (see below for directions) in the final two minutes or so of churning. After churning, store in an airtight container and freeze for several hours to harden. Enjoy!
- Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Stir in the chopped pecans until coated. Then, add the chopped pecans to the brown sugar mixture and stir to coat well.
- Spread the pecans on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, stir the pecans. After baking, allow to cool completely. Once cooled, break any large clumps into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container.
- The candied pecans will last a few weeks, so you can definitely make them well in advance of your ice cream base.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.