Amazing Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream

amazing brown butter pecan ice cream

Let’s get one thing straight. When it comes to me and ice cream, I’m all about the chocolate. The darker the better. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever even tried butter pecan ice cream prior to this recipe.

But it’s my mom’s favorite flavor. And I love my mom. A lot. So after mastering dark chocolate peanut butter (Hair’s and my favorite flavor) I moved on to finding the perfect butter pecan recipe for the next time my mom’s in town.

This one came from Simply Recipes and what attracted me to it was the brown butter base. I know brown butter is all trendy and such…and generally I avoid such things (You should have seen my pine nuts in salad boycott in the late 90’s)…but brown butter is just so darn tasty, how can you shun it?

I’ll be honest and say, there was one point where I thought I had ruined the entire recipe. Some more realistic photos and words of warning in the original recipe would have been nice. It was shortly after I’d been cooking the butter and brown sugar and it was time to add the milk. According to the original recipe, the sugar should have been all dissolved and should have mixed easily (though a bit frothy) with my milk.

Yeah. Right.

What actually happened was a scary scalding mess that left my brown sugar seizing up into toffee like chunks that decided to float around in my milk mixture. It was sort of like when chocolate seizes up…but with the aroma of caramel in the air.

Thankfully, rather than dump the pot, I decided to keep cooking to see if the sugar clumps would dissolve again.

They did.


Now the kicker with this one was once I got it into the ice cream maker. I absolutely cannot help myself. The moment ice cream shifts from liquid to “soft serve” stage, I have to dip a spoon in to taste it. This stuff was absolute heaven! It literally ranked right up there with the chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and that’s saying something.

If you, or someone you love lists Butter Pecan as their favorite ice cream, you have got to make this. In fact, it’s actually worth ordering an ice cream maker from Amazon just to make this ice cream and the dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Seriously. You may never buy store ice cream again.

Amazing Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream
(Adapted from Simply Recipes)

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 6 T butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 c pecans
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave butter in a bowl, then toss pecans and sea salt to coat. Spread out onto an ungreased cookie sheet or pan and bake in oven for 9-12 minutes, being careful not to burn. Set aside to cool.

In a heat safe bowl, whisk together egg yolks until well blended. Set aside.

In a thick bottomed pan over medium heat, melt butter, stirring, until it begins to brown. As soon as the color shifts to brown, add brown sugar and 1/4 t salt. Stir until sugar begins to dissolve. At first, the brown sugar and butter will mix up, but after awhile, the butter will start to “weep” back out of the brown sugar. Don’t worry, this is totally normal.

Once the butter has started to “weep,” add some of the mixture to the milk, tempering it. Then pour all of the milk into the pan. It will spatter, so watch out. Chances are high that your sugar will turn into big crackly chunks when the cold milk hits it. Don’t worry about it. Just keep stirring until the sugar fully dissolves again.


Pour about 1/4 of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Once the egg yolks have tempered, pour the eggs into the milk mixture. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. The mixture is done when it passes the “back of the spoon” test.

For those of you who don’t know, that just means to take the spoon out of the liquid and quickly run a finger through the coating on the spoon. If the coating stays separated after you run your finger through it, it’s done. If it runs together, it’s not done.

Pour custard into a large bowl containing the cream and add the vanilla. Whisk until well mixed. Pour the mixture into a one gallon Ziplock freezer bag and submerge in an ice water bath until cold. (Generally 30-45 minutes.)

Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to directions. Fold pecans in while moving ice cream to storage container and freeze for 2-4 hours to firm up.

I’m serious, this is hands down the best butter pecan ice cream I’ve ever had. In fact, the base (ice cream without the pecans) was so good, I could eat it on it’s own. I’ve already played with some variations of it to great success. Watch for new recipes down the road.

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