Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I don’t know about what the weather is like in other parts of the country (or in other countries like some of my readers), but here in New York the last few days have been disgustingly hot. I really shouldn’t even say that since I know it’s only going to get worse as July and then, worst-of-all August, approach.

But the best thing about hot days is that you have an excuse to eat ice cream…for dinner. Or at least that’s how I roll. Plus, it takes some of the guilt out of eating this full-fat deliciousness when you just make it your meal (and adding hot fudge doesn’t count). I mean, ice cream has protein and fat so it will probably keep you full for an hour or two.

Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I based this off of Sunset Magazine’s recipe (via SmittenKitchen) but altered the dairy products I used based on what I had already bought. I’m still learning the ins and outs of ice cream making so I haven’t quite gotten down the ratios you need. I tried making ice cream with just whole milk and learned that you definitely need more fat in there.

My substitutions in this recipe, however, were absolutely perfect. In fact I think that if I had followed the original recipe exactly, it would have been waaaay too rich for me, since this already tasted richer than Haagan Daas.

The custard base for this is so so good. I couldn’t stop sneaking spoonfuls before I got it into the fridge to chill out. It had this rich, buttery butterscotch flavor. Oh man.

Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I was slightly disappointed that after being frozen, it tasted more like a very rich vanilla. If you close your eyes and really concentrate on the flavor, you can definitely get hints of the butterscotch, but it wasn’t as pronounced as I would have liked. I think maybe I didn’t cook the sugar/butter mixture long enough because I was so worried I was going to burn it. So make sure you cook it until it it’s bubbly.

That being said, I would make this again regardless. Next time I might play around with some things I could add into it to make it extra special.

Now go put this on your dinner menu for tomorrow…i’m sure the kids won’t mind a bit ;)

Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Butterscotch Ice Cream

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Print this recipe!

Makes 1 quart

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 tsp spiced rum (optional but recommended to keep the texture soft)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks

In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, stir brown sugar and butter until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved, and mixture is bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream until smooth; remove butterscotch mixture from heat. Add vanilla and rum, if using.

In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, combine remaining 1 1/2 cup heavy cream and the whole milk; bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat egg yolks to blend. Whisk 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture into egg yolks, then pour egg yolk mixture into pan with cream. Stir constantly over low heat just until mixture is slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.

Pour through a fine strainer into a clean bowl and whisk in butterscotch mixture. Chill until cold, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours; or cover and chill up to 1 day.

Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve softly frozen, or transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.


  1. This ice cream looks incredible! I want some!

  2. Yum!!!! Aaron is convinced that Sunset Mag is for old people, as in “the sunset of their lives” … I keep trying to tell him that it’s supposed to be about the Western part of the states, as in, ya know “where the sun sets” (in the west) but he refuses to listen…

    Maybe if I make him this ice cream it will change his mind?

    • Hahaha, that’s so funny! I had never heard of Sunset magazine before I met Nate. His mom buys it because she visits his brother in L.A. all the time…it’s a pretty cool magazine! Though, aside from the recipes, it’s useless for someone on the east coast. Def make him this ice cream…and throw in some toffee pieces since I know how much he likes it ;)

  3. juanitascocina

    It’s disgusting here in Texas. I’ve decided to heal my soul with ice cream. :D

    • I can only imagine. I lived in Dallas for one summer and the humidity was pretty unbearable. I saw you made a tasty ice cream too ;)

  4. Oh, YUM!!! I think I know what my next ice cream is going to be… :)

    • hehehe. I’ll have to search your site for other ice creams you made since I just got our machine and need some new recipes to try!

      • I’ve actually made waaay more ice creams then what I have on my blog. If you look through my Something Sweet album on my personal facebook page you can see them all. Most of the recipes are from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

  5. Amy, I feel cooler just looking at this (and you know how hot it’s been!). I have likewise tried to lighten up ice cream by using more milk to cream but there’s definitely a line. I like a chocolate gelato recipe that’s all milk but the chocolate in the recipe kind of takes care of the fat issue. : ) Stay cool!

    • hehe. Yeah, I feel like there’s a learning curve with using an ice cream maker. It’s just hard to justify adding so many fattening ingredients to one tiny batch of ice cream, but unfortunately it really makes a difference! I’ve made a chocolate peanut butter ice cream that had melted chocolate in it, and you’re totally right- you can def use less heavy cream and more whole milk.

  6. First, I don’t know if I ever told you but I love your elephant graphic up top. I always think that when visiting but never remember if I told you or not!

    This ice cream looks delicious! It’s been so hot here the last few days, this is perfect!

    • Awww, thank you, Pamela! It took me a while to draw that, so i’m so happy to hear that you noticed it (and like it!) :) It’s def been ice cream kinda weather!

  7. huntfortheverybest

    wow sounds like a really creamy and delish ice cream!

  8. This ice cream looks SO good and butterscotch is one of my all time favorites! I will definitely be making this this summer!!!

  9. Argghhh brilliant. I never fail to berate myself for not owning an ice cream maker after reading recipes like this.

    • I only JUST got an ice cream maker for our wedding. I always thought I didn’t need or want one, but since owning one I’ve totally changed my opinions!!! It’s super fun and satisfying to make your own ice cream.

  10. Yum.. Love butterscotch!! This ice cream looks so creamy and dreamy!!! We are new followers to your blog. Hope you check out our blog.

  11. Oh my….I’ve been making ice cream so often lately and this Butterscotch Ice Cream is now on my to churn list! :) Isn’t summer just perfect with a scoop, or two, ice cream?

  12. Hasn’t it just been all kinds of gross here lately?! I am over the heat wave already!!! This ice cream needs to magically appear in my freezer like NOW! Love butterscotch anything.

    • Ugh me too. Bring on the sweater weather! You totally made me crave butterscotch ice cream after you posted those ice cream sandwiches, so that you for the inspiration, Ashley :)

  13. Hmmm…my comment just disappeared. I love the look of your ice cream and it looks very smooth and creamy. I can’t tell from here that the butterscotch flavour isn’t very pronounced but hey, it gives you an excuse to put together another batch xx

  14. Wow, richer than Haagan Daas that sounds like a dare ;-). I love excuses to eat ice cream but I wish it were disgustingly hot in this part of the world (I rather like heavy heat – I’ve always found it rather cruel that I was born in Canada in that connection :O)) — the rum sounds perfect here — especially if you’re making this your evening meal: go big or go home. Delish.

    • Haha. You know, call me weird but when desserts are too rich I don’t enjoy them as much. I actually made a batch of ice cream that came out a little too icy (not enough fat) but I actually found it refreshing. Oh my gosh, I’m so jealous of your weather. Want to trade for a year? Maybe it would make us appreciate our climates more, hehe.

  15. I’m liking how you roll. Ice cream for dinner is acceptable in my little world. It’s be crazy hot here, I feel your pain. I make butterscotch cookies and all I can think about right now is making an ice cream sandwich with this…

  16. Sounds amazing! I love the idea of adding spiced rum in here. I can go for a big bowl of this now as we are experiencing some heat wave here… great post!

    • hehe. You can’t taste the rum so much, I think, but it really helps keep the ice cream nice and scoopable. Thanks for stopping by!!!

  17. ice cream is such a sore subject for me right now. Reason: my ice cream maker broke earlier this year. i haven’t even been able to talk about it, really, because it is that devastating.

    i have no way to make ice cream in this house. i feel like a frigging pioneer. :(

    okay, that was an exaggeration, but you know what it’s like to have something wonderful and then all the sudden not have it through no fault of your own. i haven’t bought a new one because i was really up in the air about which brand, because i was a little disenchanted with how the whole “my ice cream maker broke after a really short period of time” situation was handled by the company.

    you have now, with this ice cream, convinced me that i just need to pick one and get it. *sigh* because it looks wonderful, and tim would LOVE this. i would too, but he would go actually crazy for it. This would be his most favorite thing of all time.

  18. This is good – I hate butterscotch, but other people in my life like it. So, if there’s any chance that it only tastes SLIGHTLY butterscotchy, I could be in luck. And we could all be happy.

    • hahaha. butterscotch is NOT my favorite in candy form (i think it’s artificial butterscotch flavor), but butterscotch flavored ice cream is totally acceptable to me. So maybe you’ve just never had legit butterscotch. I hope you’ll give it a try :)

  19. This looks so good! I love butterscotch. Your pictures are so pretty, too. :)

  20. oh yum. butterscotch.

  21. That looks absolutely amazing! I will totally eat it even when it’s freezing cold.

  22. I have yet to have any luck making my own butterscotch so I would have been right there with you in overly cautious territory! Ice cream for dinner ALWAYS sounds good to me!

    • Glad i’m not the only one. I really should give it another try. I was in a rush when I was making it this time so there was no room for screw-ups, but perhaps when I have the time.

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