Make Ahead

Oatmeal Ice Cream with Toasted Walnuts

April  4, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 1, on a bad day
Author Notes

Oatmeal isn't just for breakfast anymore -- though I'm not ashamed to admit I've had ice cream for breakfast before. —darksideofthespoon

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Darksideofthespoon is an ex-pastry chef who loves to cook for her family.
WHAT: An ice cream unlike any other you have stashed in your freezer.
HOW: Toast your oats, make a custard, churn, and chill.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We're longtime fans of breakfast for dinner, but breakfast for dessert? This ice cream is pleasantly milky, reminiscent of the best porridge you've ever had, sweetened up in just the right ways. We may have to start considering ice cream with our coffee. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 1/4 cups homogenized milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, without seeds
  • Good pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Evenly scatter oats on a baking pan lined with parchment and bake until golden brown and fragrant -- anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the oven. Stir them around once in a while to prevent any burning. Any burnt oats will make your ice cream taste bitter.
  2. Using the same tray you used for your oats, toast your walnuts for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning. Cool, chop roughly, and set aside.
  3. Seed the vanilla bean. Save the pod for your milk and cream. Save the seeds for a project on another day. (I like to make vanilla sugar with my seeds. With your hands, rub the seeds into a huge amount of granulated sugar and keep on hand for baking. Perfect for vanilla crème brûlée, anglaise or plain vanilla ice cream!)
  4. Combine the vanilla bean pod, a generous pinch of salt, homogenized milk, and heavy cream in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once the mixture is hot, add your freshly toasted oats to the milk and let them steep 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Taste the milk to ensure the oats have steeped good flavor into your ice cream base.
  5. Over a bowl, strain the milk and oat mixture with a strainer lined with cheesecloth (or a thin towel) and squeeze (channel your inner hulk) the milk and cream from the oats. You may want to wait for the oats in the cheesecloth to cool before wringing it out. ;)
  6. Re-measure the milk mixture to ensure you will have 3 3/4 cups of milk as the oats will soak up liquid. You're looking for 3 3/4 cups of total liquid -- the recipe is overcompensating for what the oats will absorb. Top as needed with milk or cream. Put the milk mixture back on the burner to reheat.
  7. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Once the milk is hot, add about 1 cup of the steeped milk to the yolk and sugar mixture, while whisking vigorously. Repeat this step with 1 more cup of steeped milk. Return custard to the remaining milk in the stock pot and heat through just to eliminate any grit from the sugar, then cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  8. Strain the ice cream through a strainer into a container that fits in your fridge. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours, or until thoroughly cool.
  9. Pour base into ice cream maker and spin until gorgeous and thick. Pour into storage canisters, folding in toasted walnuts as you go. Line the top of the canister with parchment paper and freeze through for at least 4 hours.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Molly Davis Snyder
    Molly Davis Snyder
  • Rebecca Cherry
    Rebecca Cherry
  • Karin Ward
    Karin Ward
  • John Lambing
    John Lambing
  • foxeslovelemons

29 Reviews

Molly D. May 3, 2016
Is there a reason you strain the oats out?
darksideofthespoon July 10, 2016
I don't suppose you have to, though I've never done that. I'd imagine the oats would get rubbery and weird. But if you do it, let me know how it goes!
Rebecca C. October 12, 2014
Yep. no question about it. This is a delicious flavor. Maple syrup sauce and apple crisp to top it off - mind blowing!
Karin W. October 7, 2013
Thank you for the suggestion about making vanilla sugar and saving the vanilla seeds for another day.
Count M. May 3, 2013
I just made it. It reminds me strongly of rice pudding, which I love. It's one of my comfort foods, and now this is, too!
That's awesome! I have a soft spot for rice pudding too. Really glad you liked it!
John L. May 1, 2013
I made this over the weekend. I subbed in a 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar.
This tastes like an oatmeal cookie dunked in milk. Pretty amazing.
Oh that sounds amazing! Brown sugar seems to always make everything better. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!
foxeslovelemons April 26, 2013
OMG, "Serves 1 on a bad day" just made me laugh right out loud :) Congrats, this looks wonderful! I need to break out my ice cream maker soon...
darksideofthespoon April 29, 2013
When it comes to foods like ice cream, I think it's hard to specify a portion amount. ;) I'm glad I made you laugh, and I hope you dust off your maker and give this a go!
darksideofthespoon April 25, 2013
Thank you so much to everyone for not only your kind words, but those of you that tested it... and of course to Food52 for the gorgeous photos! I've been feeling so overjoyed all day long, so again, thank you!
creamtea April 25, 2013
hardlikearmour April 25, 2013
Congratulations! I was going to make this last week, but ran out of time, and now I'm really kicking myself.
em-i-lis April 25, 2013
healthierkitchen April 25, 2013
what a creative idea! congrats.
fiveandspice April 25, 2013
Congratulations on being a finalist! This sounds simply wonderful. Breakfast for dessert. Love it!
AntoniaJames April 25, 2013
Loved this when I first saw it. I'm glad to see it as a finalist. I would save those tasty soaked oats after straining, to use on top a Pullman loaf of oatmeal or whole grain bread, or perhaps sprinkled on muffins! ;o)
gingerroot April 25, 2013
Congrats! This sounds delicious!
QueenSashy April 25, 2013
Great dish! Congrats and good luck!
mrslarkin April 25, 2013
My morning bowl of oatmeal just got a lot more appealing! Congrats!
Madhuja April 25, 2013
Congratulations! This looks amazing!
EmilyC April 25, 2013
Congrats! This looks SO yummy -- can't wait to try it. Your directions are really nicely done, too.
hardlikearmour April 14, 2013
I love the sound of this! What type of oats did you use?
darksideofthespoon April 14, 2013
When I make it, I use rolled oats. I guess I never thought about trying any other kind, silly enough! I'll edit that in ;)
Sophia R. April 12, 2013
This sounds aboslutely wonderful - I love oats and walnuts! Once I finish the current batch of ice-cream in my freezer I might have to give this a whirl!
darksideofthespoon April 12, 2013
Thank you so much! :) Let me know how it turns out if you give it a go.