Are you ready to savor the delight of creamy, homemade ice cream without the hassle? Prepare yourself for the irresistible allure of my homemade No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream recipe! Made with just 7 simple ingredients and only about 15 minutes of active prep, this rich vanilla ice cream swirled with delightfully decadent sweet ‘n salty pecans is guaranteed to transport you to a blissful realm of frozen nirvana!
Featured comment: I instantly pinned your ice cream recipe. Butter pecan was a favorite of my father as well. Finally got around to trying this and it’s absolutely delicious. I’ll be making this ice cream a lot – thank you!” – Karen
Update: This recipe was originally published in July 2016. I made edits to the post below to include more information about making no churn vanilla ice cream with butter pecans at home.
About this recipe for butter pecan ice cream
A little background: Butter pecan ice cream was my beloved late father’s favorite flavor of ice cream, and it’s also one of my permanent Top Three. This is all to say, I’ve made and consumed A LOT of buttered pecan ice cream. I’m super pumped to share this simple homemade butter pecan ice cream recipe that I’ve been making since 2016.
This recipe for homemade butter pecan ice cream features silky-smooth no-churn vanilla ice cream generously dotted with beautifully crunchy, perfectly sweet buttered pecans.
And if you are feeling extra, swirl your vanilla pecan ice cream with your favorite decadent salted caramel sauce. Oh my gosh – it’s THE BEST butter pecan ice cream EVERRRRR.
Homemade ice cream with nuts and caramel = winning at life.
Why you’ll love this homemade ice cream
Aside from having the ideal balance of salty-sweet flavors and creamy, crunchy textures, this old-fashioned butter pecan ice cream recipe is also:
- Quick & Easy – Toast, whip, fold, and freeze – no ice cream maker necessary. Your homemade butter pecan ice cream will be ready for the freezer in just 20 minutes or less.
- No-Churn – No-churn ice creams are awesome when you don’t have space for yet another bulky appliance.
- Customizable & Versatile – Wanna go dairy-free? No problem! Want to add an extra layer of deliciousness with a salted caramel swirl? DO IT! When you make your own DIY ice cream, you’re in complete control.
- Budget-Friendly – You can whip up 1.5 quarts for the price you’d pay for a single “pint” at the store. Plus, there are no weird artificial ingredients, preservatives, or fillers in this butter pecan ice cream recipe, so you’re paying less for more and better ice cream.
What more can one say about this homemade ice cream, other than I KNOW you want approximately 10 gallons of this heavenly, cold, creamy stuff all up in your pie hole – or should I say ice cream hole?
What is butter pecan?
Butter pecan is more than just a flavor; it’s an experience. The comforting richness and warmth of vanilla, the creamy coolness of ice cream, and the delightful crunch of caramelized pecans. It’s like a hand-wrapped gift from the Epicurean Gods, just waiting to be torn into with the fervor of a kid on Christmas.
Butter pecan is the kind of flavor that evokes cozy feelings, conjuring up images of warm, homemade desserts and cherished memories. It’s also the best way to shake off a case of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
Next time you’re PMSing or have to deal with the insurance company (can someone please tell me why our medical system is so 🤬??), scoop yourself some of this salted caramel pecan ice cream. Your day will get immeasurably better in mere seconds.
What does butter pecan ice cream taste like?
Picture this: smooth and creamy vanilla ice cream mingling harmoniously with a medley of perfectly roasted pecans, generously coated in a sweet and buttery glaze.
I’m assuming you’re already familiar with vanilla ice cream, so let’s talk about those glorious buttered pecans. These little gems are the true stars of the show, adding a delightful crunch and nutty flavor to the mix.
Pecans are gently roasted to perfection in a puddle of butter and sugar, coaxing out their natural oils, intensifying their deliciously nutty aroma, and becoming fabulously caramelized. Then, they are lovingly folded into the vanilla ice cream base, ensuring that every bite is bursting with their irresistible charm.
Prepare to dazzle your family and friends with a frozen creation that looks and tastes like it came straight from a gourmet ice cream parlor. The velvety texture, the intense vanilla notes, the buttery pecan crunch—each spoonful of this homemade buttered pecan ice cream recipe will have you yearning for more.
Buttered pecan ice cream ingredients
I know it’s unfathomable, but the best homemade butter pecan ice cream recipe requires just 7 simple ingredients:
- Raw Pecans – It’s in the name, people! Save yourself some $$$ by opting for chopped pecans instead of halves.
- Unsalted Butter – You can’t have buttered pecans without butter!
- Feel free to swap in salted butter for a bit more of a salty-sweet flavor, or use vegan butter if needed.
- Dark Brown Sugar – I find that the more pronounced flavor of molasses is welcome, which is why I use dark instead of light brown sugar.
- You can also use other, less-refined varieties of brown sugar like muscovado, grated piloncillo, or jaggery.
- Heavy Cream – Since we’re not churning, we need to incorporate air by whipping cream into fluffy peaks.
- Slightly lower-fat whipping cream should work, as should vegan options like coconut cream or vegan whipping cream.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – This brilliant inclusion means you don’t have to cook your ice cream base because it’s already been cooked down before canning.
- Vegan sweetened condensed milk will also work.
- Vanilla Extract – For rich, warm vanilla flavor.
- You’re welcome to use an equal amount of vanilla paste or vanilla powder or you can swap in half as much ground vanilla bean.
- Kosher Salt – Just a pinch of salt to enhance all the flavors.
- Salted Caramel Sauce – Optional, but DELICIOUS.
Recipe variations and dietary adaptations
Just because my family thinks this recipe for butter pecan ice cream is pure perfection doesn’t mean YOU have to! Here are some fun ways to customize your perfect batch of no churned ice cream:
- Dairy-Free/Vegan – Simply swap in your favorite plant-based substitutes for the butter, whipping cream, and sweetened condensed milk to make this a perfectly vegan-friendly, lactose-free dessert!
- Swap Your Nuts – Sure, pecans are classic, but who’s to say that buttered macadamia nut, buttered walnut, or buttered cashew isn’t just as yummy??
- Caramel Swirl – If you’re in the mood for a little sumpin’ extra bougie, layering in generous swirls of homemade or store-bought salted caramel is the best way about it. Butter pecan caramel ice cream? YES, PLEASE.
- Note: When you transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe loaf pan or container you are going to want to do it a few cups at a time, stopping to drizzle some of the caramel sauce over the ice cream. This will give you the highly coveted ripple effect.
- Pralines & Cream – Feel free to swap in store-bought southern pralines cut into bits so you can skip the butter pecan-making step. To make it taste like your favorite scoop from Baskin Robbins, make sure to add the caramel, too.
- Pecan Butter Ice Cream – Grab a jar of your favorite nut butter, swirl it into this homemade ice cream, and get ready to scream for this creamy dream.
How to make no churn ice cream with buttered pecans
This rich and creamy vanilla ice cream with homemade candied pecans is pretty straightforward to prepare. Here’s how:
- Butter the Pecans: In a large skillet, melt the butter. Then add the pecans and toast lightly, until fragrant. Sprinkle the sugar over the pecans and cook, stirring constantly until the sugar caramelizes. Then, remove the buttered pecans from the heat and transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer and allow to cool.
Beat Cream: In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Start Ice Cream: In a separate bowl, add sweetened condensed milk, salt, vanilla extract, and caramel, if using. Stir to combine.
Gently fold whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk mixture until fully incorporated.
- Add in the butter pecans and more caramel sauce, if using. Gently fold to combine – the mixture should look fluffy.
Freeze Ice Cream: Pour mixture into a 9×5 loaf pan. Cover and freeze immediately for 4-5 hours or until firm. Enjoy!
Expert tips for the best butter pecan ice cream
- Make sure you’re extra delicate when you fold the whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk together. Since we aren’t churning the ice cream, we need as much air as possible to stay in the peaks of the whipped cream! Use a rubber/silicone spatula to scrape along the bottom and sides of the bowl, then use a lifting-up-and-over motion to finish each fold.
- Keep your eyes and nose on your pecans. Toasted pecans are heavenly; burnt pecans are acrid.
- Keep your homemade butter pecan ice cream homemade goodness in the deepest, coldest part of your freezer. Don’t rush the initial freeze, either. You need at least 6 hours of uninterrupted freezing to reach prime scoop-ability, so no peeking!
- Use a shovel – or at least a serving-size spoon – when eating this ice cream. A normal spoon is much too small. 🙂
- When it’s time to serve your luscious homemade butter pecan ice cream, remove it from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. This will soften the texture slightly and make it easier to scoop. Homemade ice cream typically freezes harder than commercial brands because home cooks don’t have the same arsenal of fancy equipment, artificial emulsifiers, and stabilizers that CPG companies do!
FAQs: frequently asked questions
What flavor is butter pecan?
The butter pecan ice cream flavor is one of the great testaments of American culinary ingenuity. In short, butter pecan is a scoop-shop classic that has stood the test of time, enchanting ice cream lovers of all ages for decades!
The magic of butter pecan lies in its perfect balance. The rich creaminess of the vanilla ice cream provides a luxurious canvas for the star of the show—the pecans. These delightful little nuggets of salty-sweetness are roasted to perfection, adding a lovely crunch and delicious flavor contrast to each spoonful.
Serving butter pecan ice cream recipes
My all-time favorite recipe for caramel butter pecan ice cream is so legit, it doesn’t need any accompaniments. That said, I’m all for a friendly Ice Cream Social! Invite your nearest and dearest over for an epic ice cream feast to while away a summer day. Honestly, nothing could be sweeter.
For an ice cream sundae bar that’ll knock their socks off, don’t forget about all the various yummy fixings and toppings for butter pecan ice cream, either. Here are some of my favorites:
- Soft & Chewy – Cinnamon waffles, pancakes, pies, gooey, fresh-from-the-oven chocolate cookies, brownies, and blondies are all great choices.
- Crispy – Cake cones, waffle cones, or crispy cookies like pizzelles are great if you prefer more of a crunch.
- Toppings – Once you’ve layered your base with a few scoops, now’s the time to go, well, buttered nuts or candied nuts.
- Sauces – Warmed nut butter, butterscotch, caramel, hot fudge, Magic Shell, chocolate sauce, berry sauce, or coulis.
- Crunchy Bits – Chopped toasted nuts, jimmies or sprinkles, crushed graham crackers or cookies, or chopped candy bars.
- Other Ice Cream Accoutrements – Whipped cream, store-bought or homemade maraschino cherries, a drizzle of booze, or a shot of espresso are all welcome.
What goes with butter pecan ice cream?
Just like any ice cream flavor, butter pecan has its own set of perfect companions that can take your dessert experience to new heights.
- The Classics – A warm, gooey bites of apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie cake, or a freshly baked buttery chocolate chip cookie bars are all wonderful choices to enjoy alongside a scoop of butter pecan ice cream.
- Sundae City – If you’re in the mood for a little indulgence, why not try drizzling some luscious caramel or chocolate sauce (or both?!?) over your butter pecan ice cream? Bonus points if you add a dollop of freshly whipped chantilly, toasted, salted nuts, and a juicy cherry on top.
- Waffle Winner – Try adding a few scoops of your homemade vanilla pecan ice cream on some Belgian waffles. Or tuck them into a buttery waffle cone for an extra layer of carby goodness.
- Afogato All My Troubles – Scoop your ice cream into a shallow mug, then douse it with a shot of espresso to enjoy your ice cream the Italian way.
- Chocolatey Dream – Riffing on the idea above, swap the espresso for ultra rich and creamy hot chocolate made in the slow cooker.
- Playful Pairings – Consider topping your butter pecan ice cream with a sprinkle of crushed toffee, chopped pralines, strawberry crumbles, or even a handful of buttery popcorn for some textural fun.
- Bump Up The Contrast – Try pairing your butter pecan ice cream with a tangy raspberry or strawberry sauce. After all, salty nuts and sweet-tart fruits work in a PB&J, so why wouldn’t they work here?
- Plain Jane – At the end of the day, the beauty of this homemade butter pecan ice cream recipe is that it can also shine all on its own.
Storing ice cream with buttered pecans
- Gently transfer your homemade ice cream base to a freezer-safe container. Use a piece of plastic wrap or parchment to press against the surface. This helps to prevent ice crystals from forming. Either wrap your container well, or, preferably, use one that has a tight-fitting lid. Then place in the coldest recesses of your freezer.
- Since your caramel pecan ice cream doesn’t have any artificial stabilizers or preservatives, it’s best enjoyed within 2 weeks of freezing. But, don’t worry. It definitely won’t last that long. It’s too good!
Remember, friends, life is like a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. Sometimes a little nutty, sometimes wonderfully smooth, but always deliciously worthwhile. So, scoop up the joys, swirl in the laughter, and savor every moment with nuttin’ but smiles with this butter pean ice cream recipe!
More recipes for ice cream!
The best Homemade Buttered Pecan Ice Cream recipe👇
Buttered Pecan Ice Cream (No Churn Recipe)
- 1 baking sheet
- 1 skillet
- 1 stand mixer or hand held mixer
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Make Buttered Pecans: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the pecans and toast lightly, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the pecans and cook, stirring constantly until the sugar caramelizes and forms a glaze, about 2-4 additional minutes. Transfer the pecans to parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Start Ice Cream: In a large bowl add half a can of sweetened condensed milk, pinch of salt, vanilla extract, and ¼ cup salted caramel. Gently fold to combine. Add remaining sweetened condensed milk and gently fold again to combine. Set aside.
- Beat Heavy Cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Fold: With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Add in the buttered pecans and another ¼ cup of caramel sauce. Gently fold to combine - the ice cream mixture should be fluffy.
- Layer Ice Cream in Pan: Transfer the ice cream mixture, 2 cups at a time, to a freezer safe loaf pan or container. Between every (2 cup) addition, drizzle some of the remaining caramel sauce on top of the ice cream. Continue layering ice cream and caramel sauce into container.
- Freeze Ice Cream Mixture: Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours, or until firm.
- Serve and Enjoy: When ready to serve, remove ice cream from freezer and Enjoy! If your freezer runs cold, allow ice cream to sit at room temperature for 4-5 minutes to make it easy to scoop.
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