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No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream

July 18, 2017
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream----sure to be your family's newest favorite flavor! Bold toasted pecan flavor paired with sweet and buttery notes and a creamy, velvety texture.

No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Making your own homemade ice cream is a pinch with this No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream is the newest wave of indulge! Toasted pecans, unsalted butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and a handful of other ingredients come together to create the easiest and most delicious ice cream that requires no special equipment and is the perfect balance of sweet + savory. Dairy-free + Gluten-free options.

Two bowls of ice cream on a brown wood table with spoons and chopped pecans.

There is nothing like creamy ice cream that is made with heavy cream and a handful of ingredients. The soft, cold sweetness coats your mouth perfectly while the small bites of chopped pecans adds the perfect crunch factor. Are you a lover of ice cream? If so, then this No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream is a classic flavor that you have to try making at home. With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you can create easy no-churn ice cream recipes at home without the need for any fancy equipments. Ice cream makers can be pretty expensive and take up tons of room on the counter or in the pantry, so you'll love the fact that this no churn recipe uses only a blender for ease.

If you're in the ice cream making mood after this recipe, you'll love this Best Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream, No-Churn Maple Brown Butter Walnut Ice Cream, and No-Churn Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream. Everything works for both adults and kids and makes for the best way to batch frozen sweet treats for the week.

But when it comes to this No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream in particular, the type that requires minimal effort + simple ingredients & no fancy ice cream maker----it's a huge hit with the family and is perfect for a sweet cool-down treat over summer or ideal for a cozy winter movie night. Basically, it's perfect ALL YEAR round and can be adapted to be Gluten-free & Vegan!

Jump to:

What Flavor is Butter Pecan?

Basically, butter pecan is a flavor that merges the nutty notes of pecan with a bold, richness of butter and a hint of sweet vanilla. The distinctive flavor of the pecan is hard to pinpoint – even for experts – but it's best described as having sweet and roasted undertones.

Pecan mixture in a white skillet on a brown wood table.

Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

You may have thought that the only way to enjoy homemade ice cream is to purchase an ice cream maker. That is totally false! You can create excellent texture without an ice cream maker if you follow some of my basic principles for no-churn ice cream---especially this butter pecan version. It does take a little technique to perfect the consistency, but it is so easy that anyone could do it!

If you take sweetened cream, flavor it, and freeze it, you will be very disappointed. Unfortunately, ice cream needs air whipped into it, which is what most ice cream machines do as they freeze the base. Freezing cream will cause it to solidify and you will never be able to scoop it out.

Instead, I use heavy whipping cream and whip it to stiff peaks. Then, I fold it into sweetened condensed milk along with my other mix-ins to keep the mixture airy. This way, I get perfectly scoop-able ice cream once it has hardened in the freezer.

Ingredients on a brown wood table including heavy cream, cinnamon, sugar, condensed milk, pecans, and maple syrup.

Ingredients for No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Here is a simple list of ingredients to make No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream:

  • Heavy cream. Choose organic for the best flavor! (See FAQ section for DF option)
  • Sweetened condensed milk. I use low-fat, sweetened condensed milk for my homemade ice cream recipe. It really enriches the texture and sweetens things up with just one simple ingredient. (Dairy-free option sub for a DF condensed milk)
  • Vanilla. Choose pure vanilla extract to highlight this classic ice cream flavor.
  • Maple syrup. Add a touch of maple flavor to compliment the vanilla and strawberry flavors in the ice cream. You can also substitute with honey or agave if you prefer.
  • Almond Milk. Adds a nutty element and creates a smoother batter. You can use store-bought or make your own Almond Milk without soaking!
  • Unsalted butter. No need to have the butter at room temperature. You can take it right out the fridge if needed because you'll be melting it in a skillet until fragrant.
  • Brown sugar. Choose organic sugar to ensure it’s vegan and healthier. This helps to create a caramelized flavor to the pecans when added to the skillet.
  • Cinnamon. Helps to enhance the butter and pecan flavors in this ice cream. Just a pinch is needed.
  • Pecans. Use pre-chopped to skip a step or chop halved pecans. They are more pronounced in flavor once toasted, so it's recommended.

How To Make The Best Butter Pecan Ice Cream 

TO MAKE THE 'BUTTERED' PECAN:

  • In a saucepan, add the butter over medium-high heat and let it melt. Add in the brown sugar, stirring until combined and the sugar has dissolved. Finally, add the chopped pecans and stir until coated and the nuts are toasted, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

TO MAKE THE ICE CREAM:

  • In a high-powered blender, add the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and milk, blending everything together until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

ASSEMBLE + FREEZE:

  • Immediately pour the ice cream "batter" into a 9x5 loaf pan (or small metal bowl or round cake pan), followed by the COOLED buttered pecans, slightly stirring everything around (best with a spatula or spoon) to incorporate them in the middle. Then top the batter with the cooled toasted pecans.
  • Tightly wrap the top of pan with foil paper or heavy duty plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
  • To serve, remove from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes to help it soften slightly before scooping.
  • Bon Appetit!
Three bowls of ice cream with pecans and two spoons.

Why Sweetened Condensed Milk is so important!

First, I must let you know that Sweetened Condensed Milk is a canned milk that has 60 percent of it's water content removed, making it thicker in consistency.

Also, it has 40-45% sugar, making it a great sugar substitute in recipes that use sugar. More importantly, condensed milk creates a caramelized flavor along with it's sweetness, which give the dishes that require it, a beautiful kick of flavor.

That being said---I generally love using the original Sweetened Condensed Milk like the Eagle Brand's version, however, in this recipe, I love using Edward's & Son's Let's Do Organic's dairy-free coconut version for vegan-friendly options.

What's the Difference Between Butterscotch and Butter Pecans?

Believe it or not, there's a difference between the two. Butter pecan is a flavor that offers rich, buttery notes, with the nuttiness of the pecans. Whereas, butterscotch is a sweeter flavor that offers a more creamier feel and the sauce is made from butter and brown sugar----very similar to caramel.

Serving Suggestions for this No Churn Ice Cream 

Although homemade No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream is amazing simply served in a cone, here are some ideas to elevate it to the next level:

Scoop into bowls: Serve the Butter Pecan Ice Cream in bowls with caramel and other toppings for pure ice cream joy.

Make ice cream sandwiches: Take two cookies of your choice (chocolate chip, oatmeal, or even Biscoff cookies for double the caramel goodness!), and sandwich a generous scoop of maple ice cream between them. Roll the edges in crushed waffle cones or mini chocolate chips for an extra crunch.

Build epic sundaes: Create towering sundaes with multiple scoops of Butter Pecan ice cream + toppings!

Blend milkshake magic: Whip up a creamy milkshake like this by blending the homemade ice cream with your favorite milk like this Homemade Oat Milk or Creamy Cashew Milk 

Ice Cream Pie: Press a cookie crust into a pie dish, fill it with Butter Pecan Ice Cream mix, and freeze until firm. YUM!

Pair with a warm brownie: Serve with warm brownies like this Chocolate Oreo Skillet Brownie or Best Fudgy Vegan Brownies for a heavenly combination!

Affogato: Pour a shot of hot espresso or strong coffee over a scoop of your butter pecan ice cream. Watch as the creamy ice cream melts into the rich, velvety coffee for a heavenly dessert-drink combination.

Up close shot of ice cream with pecans and spoon on a brown wood table.

How to Toast the Chopped Pecans

To toast pecans is super easy and it works for any type of nuts! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped pecans unto the baking sheet, ensuring that they are evenly spread out and toast them for 10 minutes, tossing them halfway to prevent browning on just one side.

Common Q + A's for this No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream

How long does this ice cream last?

When kept in an air-tight container, ice cream lasts for about 2 weeks.

Can I use Coolwhip?

Yes and No! If you want to make this recipe even faster and easier, you can replace the heavy cream with 2 cups of cool whip, however, the texture won't be as solid and "ice cream" like as this one. Cool whip creates a more "gummy" and a less smooth texture. Simply place the cool whip in a stand mixer bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients until uniform. Then place in the loaf pan and freeze as directed.

Can I make this ice cream dairy-free or vegan?

Absolutely! To make this ice cream entirely dairy-free, simply substitute the heavy cream for full-fat coconut cream or milk (refrigerated overnight), the condensed milk for dairy-free sweetened condensed milk, and butter with vegan butter.

Can I make this ice cream gluten-free?

Yes! Absolutely! Just ensure that ingredients like cream are gluten-free friendly.

How long does it take for this ice cream to freeze?

The freezing time can vary depending on your freezer temperature and the depth of the ice cream in the container. Generally, it takes around 4-6 hours for the ice cream to become firm. It's best to check its consistency periodically and adjust the freezing time as needed.

Is butter pecan the same as praline?

In general, praline flavor has a sweeter taste with added praline candy pieces and a smoother texture, making it great for mixing with other desserts or toppings. However, butter pecan has a more caramel-like flavor with a chunkier texture due to the added pecan pieces.

Why is butter pecan called butter?

The short answer is the incorporation of butter and brown sugar, which together creates a rich, buttery flavor when paired with the bits of pecans.

Can I add mix-ins to the ice cream?

Absolutely! Not only can you make this ice cream without an ice cream maker, you can also get creative and add additional mix-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or more caramel swirls. Just be sure not to overload the mixture, as it can affect the texture of the ice cream.

What flavor is the ice cream in butter pecan?

Basically, Butter pecan ice cream is smooth vanilla ice cream with a slight buttery flavor, with chunks of pecans added!

White pan with ice cream scoop and ice cream with chopped pecans.

Recipes You'll Love that Highlight Pecans

If you love this ice cream recipe, try these delicious pecan-filled ones next:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Up close shot of three bowls of ice cream with pecans and herbs.
Up close shot of three bowls of ice cream with pecans and herbs.

No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream

July 18, 2017
5 from 8 votes
No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream----sure to be your family's newest favorite flavor! Bold toasted pecan flavor paired with sweet and buttery notes and a creamy, velvety texture. Dairy-free + Gluten-free options.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

'BUTTERED' PECANS:

  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup organic brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter

ICE CREAM:

  • 2 cups organic heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk, low-fat
  • ¼ cup Almond milk (You can also sub with whole milk or your fave plant-based milk)
  • 2-3 Tbsps pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

TOPPINGS:

  • Toasted chopped pecans, cooled

Instructions

TO MAKE THE 'BUTTERED' PECANS:

  • In a saucepan, add the butter over medium-high heat and let it melt. Add in the brown sugar, stirring until combined and the sugar has dissolved. Finally, add the chopped pecans and stir until coated and the nuts are toasted, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

TO MAKE THE ICE CREAM:

  • In a high-powered blender, add the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and milk, blending everything together until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

ASSEMBLE + FREEZE:

  • Immediately pour the ice cream "batter" into a 9x5 loaf pan (or small metal bowl or round cake pan), followed by the COOLED buttered pecans, slightly stirring everything around (best with a spatula or spoon) to incorporate them in the middle. Then top the batter with the cooled toasted pecans.
  • Tightly wrap the top of pan with foil paper or heavy duty plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
  • To serve, remove from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes to help it soften slightly before scooping and adding it your fave bowl(s) or cone(s).
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: When kept in an air-tight container, ice cream lasts for about 2 weeks.
  • DAIRY-FREE + GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS: See FAQs section.
  • HOW TO TOAST PECANS: See FAQs section.

Nutrition

Calories: 859kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 501mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 1599IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 295mg | Iron: 1mg

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Xx, Shanika in script writing

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  1. I tried to come up with words that didn't sound overboard, but all I can come up with is, "Dang this is good!"

    Fantastic recipe --- so glad I found this site and look forward to trying more recipes.

  2. I mixed this up yesterday and tasted it today and it is great. Next time I wll add more melted butter because I think it could use some more or if I had some butter extract I would have added that also. But overall a great and easy recipe.

    • Try a little butterscotch flavoring. I bought some from Amazon. You can also "fool the brain" and add a drop of yellow food coloring. You'd be surprised the difference it makes in how you feel about the ice cream as you eat it. I made mint chocolate chip for my husband, but had no green food coloring. The whole time you're eating it, you're thinking, wow, tastes great, but shouldn't it be green?

    • Hi Tiera! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed this! It's definitely one of my faves! Adding more butter should make the flavor bolder for sure and that can be adjusted based on taste! 🙂

  3. My absolute favorite ice cream flavor ever! This recipe was so simple to make and turned out sooo tasty! Will make again and again. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  4. I just love butter pecan ice cream, and homemade is the best. It's so helpful to not have to have a separate machine to make it too.

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