No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream

July 13, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg. Prop Stylist: Ali Slagle Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne
  • makes 1 quart
Author Notes

For better butter pecan ice cream, skip the ice cream machine, and double down on the butter and the pecans. Here’s the scoop (sorry, I couldn’t help it): You’ll melt some butter and toast a lot of pecans on the stovetop, for roasty flavor and crunchy crunch. (Make sure you stick them in the freezer as soon as they’re out of the pan, so they’re cooled down by the time you stir them into the finished ice cream base.) Next you’ll melt even more butter until it browns, intensifying in flavor and making your kitchen smell like the happiest place on earth. And while a classic no-churn ice cream template calls for condensed milk (sweetness, custardiness) and whipped cream (richness, airiness), we’re upgrading the latter component by throwing raw pecan pieces and cold heavy cream into a blender. The machine does all the hard work, yielding a whipped pecan cream that adds both cloudlike fluff and capital-P Pecan flavor to every bite. Now, about those other ingredients: Resist the temptation to skip the salt. It balances all the sweetness. And when you add the vanilla extract (pure is preferable), take a cue from my mom, who always lets the measuring spoon overflow just a bit. As I’ve learned from these Genius blondies, it’s hard to overdo the vanilla in just about any dessert, and especially here. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (171 grams) pecan pieces, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Stick a quart container or loaf pan in the freezer.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup (114 grams) of pecans, plus a pinch of salt, and toss to coat. Toast for about 5 minutes, stirring often and lowering the heat as needed so the nuts don’t burn, until very fragrant. Transfer to a large plate and immediately stick in the freezer to chill out. (If there are any pecan bits or browned butter left behind, wipe out the pan with a towel.)
  3. Empty the can of condensed milk into a large bowl.
  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the emptied skillet and return to the stove over medium heat. Cook, watching closely, until the milk solids in the butter start to brown and smell like roasting hazelnuts. Pour the brown butter directly into the condensed milk, scraping every last bit out of the pan.
  5. Add the vanilla to the condensed milk, plus another pinch of salt, and stir to combine.
  6. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (57 grams) of pecans to a blender. Process until powdery. Add a big splash of cream and process to combine, scraping down as needed. Add another big splash and repeat. Now pour in the rest of the cream and blend until the cream is whipped.
  7. Scrape the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture and gently fold to combine. Now fold in the toasted pecans from the freezer.
  8. Remove the container from the freezer and add the ice cream. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours, until however firm you like your ice cream.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susan
  • Ko
  • AntoniaJames
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

16 Reviews

OPfoodie September 30, 2023
Killer recipe. Incredibly rich. First batch I made as described. Requests for seconds all around.
Special thanks to the reviewer that over-mixed the cream, I was very careful to stop as soon as it changed sound to scrape it down.
Second batch I skipped the brown butter and instead caramelized the SCM in my InstantPot. I also made pecan butter and then put it through a fine mesh strainer.
I may try to lower the richness on my next round.
Thank you!
pjcamp August 14, 2021
This is a potentially lethal recipe since it is trivial to make and tastes spectacular. You can't stop eating it. I've made a bunch of no-churn ice creams and this one waxes them all! Thank you!
Susan June 2, 2021
I just made this ice cream over the long, rainy Memorial Day weekend! It came out FABULOUS!!! It is so good, it is like all that full-fat ice cream you had as a child! But because of all the full-fat dairy, this will be a rare treat in my house due to the fat content and the dairy! But nonetheless, a keeper!
scraps June 2, 2021
Recipe is amazing, but I couldn’t watch the video past 15 seconds. They are not pee-cans, they are puh-cahns. A pee-can is what truckers use to relieve themselves.
Susan June 2, 2021
They are not PUH-cahns, they are PEH-cahns. But thankfully I didn't watch the video for the other pronunciation! Haha!
pjcamp August 14, 2021
This may interest both of you. Play the pronunciations.

Josh Katz, author of “Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk,” has studied dialects far and wide, including — no surprise — the pronunciation of “pecan.” Katz says the “urban-rural” fault line “is a big part of a lot of dialect variation, in particular pronunciation.” With that distinction in mind, urban dwellers, even in the same state, are more likely to say “PEE-can,” while country folk generally say “pih-KAHN” As previously noted, the Oxford English Dictionary accepts both.
Sarah L. June 1, 2021
This does a great job on infusing the pecan and butter throughout the ice cream just as said in the vid. The complexity / depth of flavor is astonishing. I realize now, I have never truly tasted butter pecan ice cream. What they sell in the stores is a lie.
Plenty of nuts! Dangerously large amount of resultant ice cream.
JUST SO SWEET. Next time i will cut the SCM to 10oz and see if that helps.
Overall splendidly done.
skip the scm and use instead 1 cup whole milk and ½ cup sugar. I make ice cream once a week and this is much better- not overly sweet.
Kathleen M. May 27, 2021
Amazing elegant simplicity! Remembering that authentic taste from my childhood. Immeasurable gratitude Emma.
Amy May 26, 2021
I used my Vitamix and mistakenly overwhipped..... :( . I looked at a Vitamix whipped cream recipe after (too late!) that recommended 15 seconds. My pecan cream mixture is super liquidy, but I'm going to continue since I don't have any more heavy cream. Hoping it will still taste great!
Amy May 27, 2021
I churned the mixture and the flavor is great! I find no churn ice creams to be way too rich though. Is it still possible to make a no churn recipe but vary the fat content of the milk --- for example, 1/2 cream and 1/2 half and half? Thanks to anyone who has tried it.
Ko May 26, 2021
Incredible! I just finished making this and I am blown away by the flavor profile and how insanely easy it was to make! An absolute showstopper!! I’m thinking you could take this in a million other flavor directions too! Thank you for such a fantastic ice cream recipe!
AntoniaJames May 26, 2021
Great idea, Ko. I'm thinking pistachio here . . . . or perhaps walnut with a maple swirl. ;o)
cosmiccook June 6, 2021
Antonia, glad to see you posting! What delicious creations have you been working on????
Gammy May 25, 2021
Genius, Emma, just genius!!!! Can't wait to try. My favorite flavor!
Emma L. May 25, 2021
Thanks, Gammy, hope you love it!