pumpkin gelato, halloween ice cream, pumpkin ice cream
Halloween is traditionally a time for treats. When you’re a kid, it’s fun to put on a costume and go around getting candy from all of the houses in the neighborhood. As an adult, however, it’s less acceptable to trick or treat. You’ll have to satisfy your sweet tooth a different way!

Luckily, there are usually plenty of holiday gatherings to attend. Whether you’re visiting a friend’s costume party or hosting your own, it’s always a good idea to come prepared with a homemade treat
for everyone to enjoy.
squash dessert, halloween dessert

I’m a big fan of making homemade ice cream for these parties. While you’ll want a good ice cream maker, you’ll get to show off a unique, delicious dish that’s not as ubiquitous as the spooky cookies or orange-sprinkled brownies that everyone else brings.

So without further ado, here’s how you can make pumpkin ice cream for Halloween!


squash vegetable, raw squash

1- 15 oz can of pumpkin puree, or 1.5 cups

2- teaspoons vanilla extract
3- cups heavy cream
1- 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed down firmly
7- egg yolks
1- teaspoon ground cinnamon
1- teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
generous pinch nutmeg
1- tablespoon bourbon (optional)


1. Combine the pumpkin puree and vanilla in a bowl (any will do) and mix well. Refrigerate for several hours to let the flavors meld.

2. In a large saucepan, mix most of your cream (about 2 cups) and about a third of your sugar (about half a cup). Cook over medium heat until the edges begin to bubble. This should take about five minutes.

3. While you wait for this saucepan to heat up, find another bowl and combine your egg yolks, spices, and the remaining cream and sugar. Stir this until everything is smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved.

squash puree, squash mash

4. Take your saucepan off of the heat. Gradually mix the hot cream mixture and the egg mixture together, being careful not to cook your eggs. I find that spooning a small amount of hot cream into my cold egg mixture, mixing it well, and then gradually pouring this warm egg mixture into the saucepan while stirring is the best way to do this.

5. Gently cook over medium-low heat until your custard becomes thick, stirring constantly. You want a low simmer at all times, but you do NOT want to boil the mixture. Cook until the custard coats the back of a spoon or until dragging a finger across the surface leaves a clear trail, about 5 minutes.

6. Strain the custard into a bowl. Chill your custard, stirring occasionally, by placing this bowl into a larger bowl filled with cold water and ice. Once it’s reasonably cool, cover it with plastic wrap (you’ll want to press the plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Your custard should last a full day, so you don’t need to immediately perform the next step.

squash pudding, squash pudding recipe7. Pour your custard into a good ice cream maker and follow the instructions provided. If you’d like, you can add bourbon during the last minute or so of churning to add a more “adult” flavor. Alternately, add a bit of orange food coloring to keep the kids happy!

8. Place your churned ice-cream into a freezer-safe container and freeze until it’s firm, at least 3 hours.

9. Enjoy your delicious pumpkin ice cream!

Tips For Serving

To me, the best part about this recipe is the mature fall flavors presented by this ice-cream, but I’m an adult. If you’ve got kids (or you’re young at heart), you can really get into the Halloween spirit with your decorations.

First, add spiders. Although they’re not edible, plastic spiders are reusable, letting you easily prep multiple bowls of ice-cream throughout the Halloween season. Alternately, make your own candy spiders with chocolate marshmallows and chocolate-syrup legs. You could even make 3d spiders with black gumdrops and licorice strips, although it’s hard to find a kid that likes black licorice.

holiday sweets, holiday sweets and treats

Second, add worms. While this trick works best with brown-er ice cream, you can still add gummy worms or other worm-like candy to create a great effect. Try sprinkling on a few chocolate chips to up the creep factor. It’ll add a lot of variety and texture to the dish!

If you’re serving adults, I’d suggest topping this ice cream with homemade whipped cream and a bit of fresh cinnamon or nutmeg. Alternately, try a caramel sauce on top or serve alongside a homemade pie.

A Festive Recipe

If you’d like to put your ice cream maker to use this holiday season, try out this festive pumpkin ice cream recipe. You’ll be able to impress all of your friends at parties with the unique taste and keep your kids happy with the unusual orange color. It’s like a pumpkin spice latte at home, only better!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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