Pumpkin Ice Cream

We love making ice cream, and have been making it for years (though you can’t really tell from this blog!) It’s pretty easy, and the results are delicious! Much better than anything you can get at the supermarket. You can also experiment with all kinds of flavors, which is how I got to pumpkin. Though pumpkin season is over, the idea of pumpkin ice cream really got to me, and when I realized I still had a can of pumpkin in my pantry, I decided that this would be the perfect flavor to share with you.

Yes, ice cream is fattening, but it’s a treat, you have small amounts, and it’s sooo good, so it’s worth it. When you make this, use the whole milk and heavy cream that’s called for – no substitutions!

Want to know about our ice cream makers? Scroll to the bottom of this post…

I used David Lebovitz’s recipe. He adapted it from this book.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar – accidentally copied this down wrong and put 3/4 cup. I liked it, so add more brown sugar if you want.
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, canned or fresh.


There’s this whole ice bowl technique that the recipe told me to do. By the time the custard reached 160 degrees, all the ice was melted. And then the water was SO close to coming over the side of the bowl.  I decided it’s not even worth it, so:

1. Combine milk, cream, cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat up slowly till little bubbles form on the edges. Don’t put it on high heat, you’ll burn the milk (and that’s gross).

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks.

3. Gradually pour in about half the milk mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly.

4. Add the yolks back into the pan with the milk and cook over low heat, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens. It should be about 160-170 degrees if you have a thermometer.

5. Strain the mixture over a sieve into a bowl and add the brown sugar. Chill in the refrigerator until it’s really cold – this takes a few hours. Overnight is best (though I’m usually not patient enough to wait that long).

6. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin. Strain the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Enjoy!

We use two different ice cream makers. For years, we used this Cuisinart one. It hold 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream, which is usually enough. It’s awesome, but it’s a whole separate machine, so if you don’t have a lot of space, it’s hard to keep it around. When I got a Kitchen Aid, I also got this ice cream bowl attachment. It’s actually more expensive than the Cuisinart one (that also comes in red, so cool!). The bowl is bigger, 2 quarts, and you really only need to find a place to store the bowl (the freezer is a good place because then you can make impromptu ice cream). An no, ice cream machines are not unitaskers. They also make sorbet, gelato, frozen cocktails, and some other things…