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Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

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Rich, creamy, and topped with graham cracker crumbs, this Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream is the real deal. A thick custard base, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice make this better than anything you’ll find in the store.

Scoops of pumpkin spice ice cream in a gray bowl

The Best Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Recipe

For several years, I patiently waited for September to roll around so that I could find some pumpkin ice cream at the local grocery store. It seems silly, because it was something I could make at home, but no matter how hard I tried, I could never get the texture quite as smooth and creamy as the grocery store brands.

That is, until I started making this version of Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream. After making it once, it became a fall staple that I make over and over again.

While I do have a no-churn pumpkin ice cream, it can’t quite compare to a recipe that is made from scratch. This recipe begins with a custard base, which is then mixed with pumpkin puree and chilled in the ice cream maker. A pinch of pumpkin pie spice turns this into irresistible pumpkin pie ice cream.

It’s rich, it’s creamy, and it’s so good. Another surprise in this ice cream? I added a splash of bourbon. You can leave it out, of course, but I just love the way bourbon pairs with pumpkin. It really sets this ice cream above the rest!

What Does Pumpkin Ice Cream Taste Like?

This pumpkin spice ice cream tastes just like a uber creamy pumpkin pie, complete with graham cracker crumbs to replicate the crust. I

t has a very distinct pumpkin pie flavor, though not quite as strong as what you’d get from a bite of real pie. The creamy custard base definitely lightens up the flavor a bit but with both pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree on the ingredients list, it definitely has a noticeable flavor.

Pumpkin ice cream in an ice cream scoop

Key Ingredients

This homemade ice cream recipe begins with a custard base, which is then added to a few other ingredients for that rich, creamy texture and delightful pumpkin spice flavor.

  • Half-and-half – The base of the creamy ice cream.
  • Heavy whipping cream – Helps the ice cream hold shape and makes it extra creamy.
  • Light brown sugar
  • Egg yolks – Egg yolks only are used to make the custard that begins the ice cream process.
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Bourbon – Optional but I love the flavor it adds.
  • Pumpkin puree – Be sure to grab puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling.
  • Graham cracker – Graham cracker crumbs add a bit of texture and sweetness to the pumpkin ice cream.

Do I Need An Ice Cream Maker For This Recipe?

Yes, you will need an ice cream maker to churn this creamy pumpkin pie ice cream. (If you don’t have one, try my no-churn pumpkin ice cream instead.) While I do love a good no-churn ice cream, the truth is you really do need the custard base and some churning to get the perfect ice cream texture. It’s worth the work, I promise!

Any ice cream maker you have will work, just read the instructions in advance as most must be chilled overnight.

A blue pan of homemade pumpkin ice cream

How To Make Pumpkin Ice Cream

This recipe requires some careful attention when tempering the eggs but once the custard is cooled, it’s all quite easy!

  1. Prepare the sugar and cream mixture. Cook the half-and-half, heavy whipping cream, and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir frequently until the brown sugar is dissolved.
  2. Temper the eggs. Whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Gradually whisk in part of the warmed liquid mixture. Whisk quickly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
  3. Cook the custard. Transfer the egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, being sure not to boil, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients. Strain the liquid through sieve to remove any pieces of egg, then add the bourbon and vanilla. Whisk in the pumpkin puree until smooth.
  5. Chill. Place plastic wrap right on the surface of the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until well chilled.
  6. Churn. Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker. Churn until the custard has thickened.
  7. Freeze. Combine the graham crackers and melted butter. Pour the ice cream into a freezer-safe container, layering with the graham cracker crumbs. Freeze for 3 or more hours. (Overnight is ideal.)

Tips for Success

If this is your first time making custard-based ice cream, don’t worry. Here are a few tips to help you out.

  • Work quickly with the egg yolks. It’s important to both pour the hot mixture in slowly and whisk the egg yolks quickly. Whisking them quickly adds more air to the mixture, which helps prevent the egg yolks from cooking. Trust me, you don’t want bits of scrambled eggs in your ice cream!
  • Do not boil the custard. Once the egg yolks have been tempered and the custard is cooking, take care to avoid boiling the mixture. Again, this can cause the eggs to cook or the custard mixture to burn.
  • Allow plenty of time for chilling. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is just letting the custard mixture chill. It will come together in the ice cream maker much easier when it’s properly chilled.
  • Place the plastic wrap on the custard. Before refrigerating the custard, be sure to place plastic wrap directly on the mixture. This helps prevent any “skin” from forming.
A small white bowl with scoops of pumpkin spice ice cream

Serving Suggestions

Personally, I’m a big fan of this pumpkin pie ice cream on its own, either in a cone or a bowl. The sweet, creamy texture is perfect against a crunchy waffle cone.

If you want to add a little something extra, some warm caramel sauce would pair well with this ice cream.

How Long Will This Last?

Homemade pumpkin ice cream will last for up to 2 weeks, if stored properly. The best way to store homemade ice cream is in a freezer-safe plastic or Tupperware container. If you do not have one big enough to fit all of the ice cream, you can divide it into two. It’s important that the lid shuts properly or your ice cream will end up with freezer burn quickly.

In a pinch, old ice cream cartons can be used, as long as they’re in good shape.

More Ice Cream Recipes:

Scoops of pumpkin spice ice cream in a gray bowl

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Chill Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups


Rich, creamy, and topped with graham cracker crumbs, this Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream is the real deal. A thick custard base, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice make this better than anything you’ll find in the store.


  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half , heavy whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the brown sugar or until bubbles form around the edges of the pan.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  3. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the warmed liquid mixture into the eggs and continue to whisk until smooth, work quickly so as not to cook the egg yolks.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into the liquid mixture in the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a large metal spoon, about 4 minutes. Do not boil.
  5. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in the bourbon and vanilla.
  6. Next, whisk the pumpkin into the mixture until thoroughly combined. Cover the surface of the liquid with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.
  7. Churn in your ice cream maker until the custard has thickened.
  8. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and stir to combine. As you pour the ice cream into your freezer-safe container, layer in the graham cracker crumbs.
  9. Pour the liquid into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3 or more hours.


Storing: Homemade pumpkin ice cream will last for up to 2 weeks, if stored properly. The best way to store homemade ice cream is in a freezer-safe plastic or Tupperware container.

Recipe slightly adapted from 

Nutrition Information:
1/2 cup
18.9 g
131.9 mg
14 g
23.4 g
0.8 g
3.7 g
127.5 mg
  • Category: Ice Cream
  • Method: Ice Cream Maker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pumpkin pie ice cream, pumpkin spice ice cream, homemade pumpkin ice cream

Leave a Comment

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5 Responses
  1. Sonja

    At what point do you add this mixture to the ice cream maker? You said this wasn’t a no churn recipe, however your instructions do not contain the churn time.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Sonja, I am looking back at the BHG website, this is an older recipe I made for them and unfortunately I can’t recall the specific churn time snd Better Homes and Gardens doesn’t seem to list it either. I will amend this with a note on the recipe. Generally speaking you should be churning the ice cream until it reaches a thick consistency.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Thank you Candace. BHG took down their blog where this was posted. I just updated the link to the original recipe and posted a recipe card with my updates on it. Appreciate it!

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