Butter Pecan Ice Cream

| July 14, 2014 | 11 Comments

Butter Pecan Ice Cream, made from scratch, as seen on Taste of Southern.
Follow step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions for making this creamy and crunchy Butter Pecan Ice Cream. We’re toasting our pecans, making our custard from scratch, then freezing it in our wooden ice cream churn. We’ll take it up a notch by using Maple Syrup and North Carolina grown Pecans. The whole family is going to love you for making this one. Printable recipe included.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, slider.
Butter Pecan Ice Cream Recipe:


THIS… is really, really GOOD. Butter Pecan has always been my favorite flavor of ice cream, long surpassing either Vanilla or Chocolate. Fudge Royal would come in second, with Nutty Coconut falling in at third. But, Butter Pecan is my favorite. Did I tell you that?

I’ve been wanting to make this for you for over a year now. With a few small changes, it’s an adaptation of a recipe from the friend of a friend.

Wanting to make some homemade ice cream last year, I emailed my friend and asked her what her favorite flavor was, and if she had a recipe for it. She said she didn’t have any recipes, but felt pretty sure another friend of hers did. A few weeks later, I received an Email with several recipes for ice cream attached, one of which was for Butter Pecan.

The original recipe called for Maple flavored pancake syrup. I’ve opted to use real Maple Syrup instead, and I changed the eggs and cooking method for the custard. I hope my friends will approve, and I hope you will like the changes should you decide to make this yourself. I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Did I happen to mention that it was really good?

I shared some of my ice cream making memories last year when I made this recipe for Peach Preserve Ice Cream. You can click the link for more on that one, and read some of my recollections of cranking the handle on a Sunday afternoon at church when I was much younger.

Isn’t it great that Ice Cream isn’t just for the summer? We enjoy it all year long now, and with fresh local fruit and berries coming in, we can have a good variety of flavors to select from. Peach, Strawberry, Blueberry anyone? I thought so.

I’ve got a couple more ice cream memories below, but if you’re ready, let’s get out the ice cream maker and… Let’s Get Cooking!


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Buttercup and Dixie brand ice cream mementos.
Do you remember these?

I picked up this paper “hat” at a local auction I attend. For years, these hats were worn by car hops and soda fountain employees to protect your food and to promote their business. This one was even more special in that I well remember enjoying Buttercup Ice Cream as a youngster.

The smaller discs were the lids for a small, round, cardboard container that contained ice cream. Manufactured by Dixie Ice Cream, and other brands, they included pictures of movie stars, sports figures, animals, and even military equipment over the years they were used.

A small piece of wax paper covered the photo as you licked the inside of the lid clean. Then, you’d carefully peel away the wax paper to reveal the photo. This is one that had movie star Gary Cooper on it. The lids were produced from 1933-1954. Some were even in 3D and full color… way back then. You can read more about them here: Famous Faces Under The Lids.

Ice cream was a special treat back then. You’d get a wooden spoon with your cup of ice cream so you could enjoy it on the spot. Good memories!


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, you'll need these ingredients.
Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream: You’ll need these ingredients.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add pecans to mixing bowl.
Place your Pecans in a medium sized mixing bowl. I’m using whole pecans from the NC State Farmers Market so I know they are locally grown.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, chop the pecans.
You’ll need Pecan pieces for this recipe. Chop them up as desired.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the melted butter.
Add the melted Butter.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the granulated sugar.
Add the Granulated Sugar.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the salt.
Add the Salt.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, stir well.
Stir everything up really good, making sure all the pieces are coated with Butter and Sugar.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, spread on parchment paper.
Realize that you don’t have any Parchment Paper, and substitute by placing aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Parchment paper would be best if you have it on hand. Either way, spread the coated Pecans out across the pan in a single layer.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, bake for 10 minutes.
Place the Pecans in a pre-heated 350ºF oven. Let them bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove them from the oven when done, set aside, and let completely cool.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, separate the egg yolks.
Separate the Egg yolks. I really do have six in that bowl. I’m using local eggs from a friend of mine and it seems they have tougher shells but thinner coverings over the yolks. I always seem to break one or two. That’s why we always suggest that you break them one at a time over a separate bowl so you don’t end up with any more Egg white in the yolks than you can help.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, whisk the yolks until creamy.
Whisk the yolks until creamy.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the brown sugar.
Add the packed cup of Brown Sugar. Remember to pack the sugar down into the cup until it’s good and full. I’m using Dark Brown Sugar here, but Light Brown will work as well.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the granulated sugar.
Add the Granulated Sugar.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the corn starch.
Add level Tablespoons of Corn Starch. This will act as a thickener for the custard, and it also helps to prevent the eggs from curdling. Did you know that already?


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, whisk together well.
Whisk everything together really good.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the Maple syrup.
Add the Maple Syrup. You can save a few dollars by substituting Maple Flavored Pancake Syrup if you like, or if you just prefer the taste of it better. You really should try this with some good Maple Syrup though.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, whisk again until fully combined.
Whisk again, real good, until everything is fully combined. Set the mixture aside for the moment.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add milk to sauce pot.
Add the milk into a large sauce pot.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, you'll also need a good thermometer.
You’ll also want to setup a thermometer so you can bring the milk up to the proper temperature.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, bring to 170 degrees.
Stir, stir, and keep stirring, all the way to the bottom, as the Milk is brought up to 170°F. It’s really easy to have some milk sticking to the bottom of the pot. Just keep stirring and watching the thermometer until it reaches the proper temperature.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, temper the eggs.
Let’s TEMPER the Eggs. When the milk reaches 170°F, remove it from the stove top. We’re going to use the hot milk to “temper” the eggs. If you just poured all the hot milk into the eggs at one time, they would probably turn into scrambled eggs, something we don’t want to happen.

Begin by adding just a small amount of the hot milk at a time, into the egg mixture. Whisk it quickly and constantly the entire time. Gradually continue to add the milk until you’ve got it all added into the egg mixture. Once you’ve got about half of the milk mixed in, you’re pretty safe to go ahead and add the remainder. Just keep whisking it together as you go.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add all the milk.
Keep whisking until all the milk has been added to the egg mixture.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, place it back in the sauce pot.
Pour the Milk and Egg mixture back into your cleaned sauce pot. Be sure to wash out any old milk that might have dried around the inside edge of the pot, or stuck to the bottom.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, bring back up to 170 degrees.
Place the sauce pot back on your stove top. Insert the thermometer again, and bring this mixture back up to 170°F. Again, you’ll have to continually stir the pot so it doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, cook until it thickens.
When it reaches 170 degrees, the mixture should have thickened. You can tell if it’s ready by dragging your finger across the back of the spoon you’ve been stirring with. If it leaves a trail, as pictured above, your custard is ready. If not, continue to stir and cook until it thickens up.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, place pot in closed sink.
When the mixture has properly thickened, remove the pot from the stove top and place it in your sink. You could sit it on a folded dishcloth if needed. Close up the sinks drain, and start adding cold water into the sink.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, bring water up around the pot.
Continue to stir the mixture as you let the cold water come up around the outside of the pot. Make sure no water gets into the mixture and only bring the water level up to about half way of the pot. If you add too much water, the pot might start to float away and could tip over.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, don't scrape the pot.
Resist the urge to scrape the sides of the pot. You might see some of the custard clinging to the inside walls of the pot as you proceed. If you stir this in, it might cause some lumps in your finished product. Just let it stay right where it’s at.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, place in another container and refrigerate.
When the mixture has cooled sufficiently, pour it into another container so you can refrigerate it. You could place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the custard, letting it actually touch the custard, so a “skin” doesn’t form on it while it’s under refrigeration. Either way, cover the cooled custard and refrigerate overnight if possible. The mixture needs to be good and cold before you continue with the recipe.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, toasted pecans.
Let’s Make Ice Cream: When you’re ready to make the Ice Cream, remove the toasted pecans from the pan. These sort of ran together as they were in the oven. Don’t ask me what happened to the pecans on the right hand side of this tray. I ain’t telling. (Smile)


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, crumble and separate the pecans.
You’ll need to crumble these back up, or maybe just toss them back into a small bowl and chop them a little more.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the pecans to the custard.
Add the toasted Pecans into the custard.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the Vanilla Extract.
Add the Vanilla Extract.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the whipping cream.
Add the Whipping Cream.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, stir to combine.
Realize that you really should be using a larger bowl, but stir the mixture fully to combine. To be honest, I removed a bit of the custard before I added the Pecans and the cream. I placed it in the can of my ice cream freezer. I still ended up with a full bowl, but I stirred it carefully and didn’t spill but just a little.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, add the mix to your ice cream maker.
Add the mixture to the can of your ice cream maker.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, process according to manufacturers directions.
You’ll need to process the custard to the manufacturers directions for your particular machine. I like my old wooden bucket ice cream maker, but I really like the fact that it’s “electric.” You didn’t really think I’d be cranking this by hand did you? I love the old ways, and I did that as a child, but I’m willing to just keep those as memories while the electric motor does it’s thing.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, you'll end up with a soft mixture.
You’ll end up with a soft ice cream when it’s properly churned. Want a taste? If I must say so myself, this stuff was GOOD!


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, freeze as desired.
Ripen and harden the mixture according to your machine. The finished Ice Cream can then be packed into storage containers and frozen for later if need be. Did I mention that this stuff was really, really good?


Butter Pecan Ice Cream, enjoy!


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Butter Pecan Ice Cream recipe, as seen on Taste of

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 Pints 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Refrigerator
  • Cuisine: American


Follow step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions for making this creamy and crunchy Butter Pecan Ice Cream. We’re toasting our pecans, making our custard from scratch, then freezing it in our wooden ice cream churn. We’ll take it up a notch by using Maple Syrup and North Carolina grown Pecans. The whole family is going to love you for making this one.



Toasted Pecans:

  • 1 ½ cups Pecans, chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt

Ice Cream Custard:

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 6 Egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Maple Syrup
  • 5 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 cups Whipping Cream
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract


Toast The Pecans:

  1. In a medium size mixing bowl…
  2. Add Pecans
  3. Add Butter
  4. Add Sugar
  5. Add Salt
  6. Mix ingredients well.
  7. Spread pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool completely.

Make The Custard:

  1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
  2. In a large mixing bowl… Add egg yolks.
  3. Whisk yolks well, until creamy.
  4. Add the packed cup of brown sugar.
  5. Add granulated sugar.
  6. Add corn starch.
  7. Whisk ingredients together well.
  8. Add pancake syrup, whisk again until mixed well.
  9. Place a medium sized sauce pot over medium heat on your stove top.
  10. Add the whole milk.
  11. Bring milk up to 170°, and let cook for one minute at this temperature.
  12. Temper the egg mixture by adding just a small amount of hot milk to the mixing bowl.
  13. Stir constantly, continuing to add milk, until all the milk has been mixed in.
  14. Return the mixture to the sauce pot and place back over Medium heat.
  15. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 170° again and thickens.
  16. Test by coating a wooden spoon with mixture.
  17. It should stay separated when you pull your finger through the mixture on the back of spoon.
  18. Remove sauce pot from heat and place in sink.
  19. Continue to stir as you let cold water rise up around the outside of the pan just over half way.
  20. Let the mixture cool completely.
  21. Place in another container with a lid, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  22. When ready to freeze…
  23. Add the pecan pieces to the custard.
  24. Add whipping cream.
  25. Add Vanilla extract.
  26. Place mixture in can of freezer and freeze according to directions for your ice cream maker.
  27. Enjoy!

Keywords: Butter Pecan Ice Cream Recipe, homemade, made from scratch, pecans, southern recipes


Your Comments: Do you make homemade Ice Cream? What’s your favorite flavor? Sure, you can have more than one favorite. I’d love to hear about it in the Comment section below. It will only take a minute or two for you to share your favorite memories about Ice Cream with us while you’re here. And, if you try this recipe, be sure to come back and let me know how you like it, or how it turned out for you. It just might encourage someone else to give it a try. Just know that all of our Comments are moderated. That just means that I personally read each and every one of them before they are approved for our family friendly site here on the Internet. I also try to reply to as many Comments as possible, so please check back for that. Your Comment will not immediately appear, but I promise to get it online just as soon as I possibly can. Thank you in advance for sharing with us.

Sign Up For Our FREE Newsletter: Before you go, be sure to Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter. Each week, I try to send out an Email to let you know that we’ve posted another new recipe here on Taste of Southern. It’s just a reminder that will hopefully keep you coming back for more of our recipes. I’ll also let you know first about any Giveaways and Contests we might be having, and I’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings here at Taste of Southern. I do hope you’ll fill the requested information into the box below, or in to the one you’ll find on the top right hand side of each page of our site. Should you ever decide you’re no longer interested, it’s even easier to un-subscribe. I hope you’ll never have to do that though. I’d greatly appreciate it if you would share our recipes with your family and friends. It will help us continue to grow and I’d be forever thankful. Thanks again.

Be Blessed!!!


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Category: Desserts

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (11)

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  1. Kristy Mercer says:

    I plan on making this after reading. I really like the way you break down each step with pictures. I have made one recipe so far and it was a hit. This is my next to make after I purchase the ice cream machine :}. I will post a comment after we try it. I just wanted to say thanks for the step by step.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Wow, this looks soooo good. Fred’s favorite. Need to make. S

  3. Becky says:

    This is the best ice cream I have ever tasted. It takes a bit of time and effort.. it is certainly worth it! Thanks so very much for sharing.

    Love your site!

  4. Walt says:

    Hi Steve, hope things are going well for you. I enjoy reading your weekly newsletters and look forward to them every week. I have made several of the recipes you post and have had good results every time. I am in the Pacific Northwest on travel(Tacoma Washington) and I sure am missing some good ole southern cooking. Butter Pecan Ice Cream is my absolute favorite and I look forward to trying this recipe when I get back to Virginia. Thanks so much for all you do,


  5. Joyce B says:

    My dear Mother used to bless us with the most delicious homemade ice cream. Reading this post brings back many memories. Thanks, Steve for sharing. I am a little intimidated with homemade ice cream, but might attempt it with these easy and detailed instructions.

  6. Carol Anne Everett says:

    This recipe is the reason I am going out tomorrow to buy an ice cream maker! Butter Pecan is our favorite and I know this is going to be amazing! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Mary says:

    This is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. The pecans look good enough to eat right out the oven. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Reggie Edmonds says:

    I like your recipes, but love the comments and memories of the old days.
    I remember the Dixie Cups. Living on the farm, it was a rare treat to have a Dixie Cup,, remember just putting a little ice cream on the wooden spoon to make it last as long as possible.

  9. Alene Washington says:

    I would love to make the icecream for my daughter,she loves butter pecan,only Idon’t have an ice cream maker.Enjoy your seafood dinner,yum.

  10. Terry (Ted) Muse says:

    A lot of steps but I think I can do this.YUMMMMM!!
    I do remember the pictures under the ice cream lids. Great
    memories indeed. Have a great day:-)))
    Terry (Ted)

  11. Susan Waller says:

    My husband and I made this recipe for a church choir social this past weekend and it was absolutely delicious! It is a little more time consuming to prepare than other ice cream recipes I have tried, but the results are worth it. The step by step directions are very easy to follow. There wasn’t even a spoonful left. This recipe is a keeper!

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