Brown Sugar Pumpkin Crunch Ice Cream

October is finally here, my absolute favorite month. The leaves are changing, it's strangely still warm, we will be bringing in the grapes soon and making wine. And then there is pumpkin food galore. Everywhere. And I'm contributing to it.

I am not the biggest pumpkin pie fan, not because of the taste, but the boring texture. It just needs something. When I was thinking about this recipe, I wanted to add a crunch, inside and out. So I brainstormed (with myself) a bit and decided to make a streusel, which is normally a topping. But I wanted my streusel on the inside. I can be difficult like that.

So what I did was make the streusel, but then I pressed it into a pan and baked it, And when it cooled, I crumbled it, and into the ice cream maker it went. 

But since I would never be satisfied with just interior crunch, I needed exterior crunch too. And I wanted that crunch to really complement the warm, brown sugary flavor in the ice cream. So after I scooped the ice cream into cups, I doused sprinkled it with turbinado sugar. And wow, just wow, talk about the crowning touch. This part cannot be skipped. 

Print Recipe

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Crunch Ice Cream

Recipe from: Created by Noble Pig | Serves: 1 quart


For the custard:

  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (Bulgarian if you can)
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

For the streusel:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • turbinado sugar


  • For the custard, in a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, buttermilk, pumpkin, sugars and pumpkin pie spice. Heat on low until sides of pan are slightly bubbly and warm, but not boiling. Add 1/4 cup of the milk mixture to the egg yolks and stir quickly, keep adding small amounts of liquid to the eggs until it it the same temperature as what is in the saucepan. Add egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and continue to heat until you can coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil!! Remove from heat and cool, preferably into a pourable bowl. Refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight.
  • For the streusel, combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Coat a 9 x 9 or 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray. Press mixture into pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool completely and break into pieces. Set aside.
  • Churn cream mixture into ice cream, when almost done, pour streusel into machine until mixed. Spoon ice cream into a freezer container. Cover; freeze overnight.
  • Serve ice cream sprinkled with turbinado sugar.

This will satisfy all your cravings for pumpkin pie, in fact, it could even replace them! You will love...

Still don't have an ice cream maker? I have had this one for years and still love it.

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Crunch Ice Cream

One Year Ago: Medley of Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Yams with Smoky-Sweet Dipping Sauce
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Croissants 
Four Years Ago: Blood Red Punch

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19 Comments and 4 Replies

  1. pam 1

    Oh my gosh, this sounds over-the-top wonderful!

  2. Wow. This is surely one of the most inventive ice cream recipes I’ve ever come across. Bravo!

  3. I am thinking that putting the steusel in the pie would be a great idea,too. The question would be, how to keep them from dissolving? Maybe just serve them along with the pie to add the extra crunch?
    Love the look of the little paper cups.

  4. j3nn 4

    I’m with you on the texture of pumpkin pie; it’s a lot of… the same thing over and over, bite after bite. I like textural differences; variety, and lots of it! This ice cream beats the pie by a landslide!

  5. Cassie 5

    The turbinado as the garnish is brilliant. This look amazing!

  6. I absolutely love your idea of baking streusel and adding it to ice cream! Pumpkin ice cream need to happen before the cold weather hits. Have a great day, Cathy!

  7. OMG, all I can say is WOW and LOVE!!!! What a great recipe! Love this!!

  8. This is exactly the kind of ice cream that I craved all summer–with lots of cookie crunch mixed into it–but was never able to figure out. Your flavor combo is so perfect for fall and hey, we’re in the middle of our Indian summer in the Bay Area so this is begging to be made. :)

  9. This is my kind of ice cream, love!

  10. That looks Yummy!!!! Loved it a lot. :-D

  11. This sounds wonderful and I love the added crunch!!

  12. Where did you buy the ice cream cups you used? They sure are cute!

  13. Ashley 13

    Oh my gosh this looks incredible. Making me crave something sweet while I’m staring at my computer screen at work : )

  14. Sylvia 14

    Been looking forward to this time of year…pumpking everything! Couldn’t resist any longer, so I made my custard tonight & churn in the morning. Looking at the recipe…what oven temperature for the streusel?

  15. Anne R. 16

    my husband is in love with this ice cream, thank you! i made a batch last week and he’s been asking when i’m making more. a really great recipe and the turbinado sugar garnish… inspired. =)

  16. Erin 17

    Do you think that the streusel would hold up without the nuts?

  17. Sylvia 19

    It’s been a busy week, but finally finished making the ice cream! Just in time for a dinner date with some friends. They enjoyed it so much, I’ve been asked to make 4 more quarts for a dinner party next weekend! By the way, I ran out of pecans for my second batch of streusel & it turned out fine. Although, I do like that extra crunch with the pecans :) Thank you Cathy!

    • Erin 20

      Thanks for the heads up! I have the custard chilling but didn’t want to go back out tomorrow for pecans. I might try walnuts instead…

  18. Anne R. 21

    i made this ice cream and my husband, who heretofore never had much use for pumpkin ice cream, is in love.

  19. Aggie 22

    I know this is a couple years old….but wowzers, that looks so good!!!


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