Maple Ice Cream

Since I was doing a Thanksgiving-themed dessert and pumpkin pairs well with maple syrup, I decided to serve homemade maple ice cream with my first pumpkin pie. I saw a very straightforward recipe for this on Serious Eats and it turned out great with a very deep maple flavor. It also paired well with the pumpkin pie.

Since the fat content of different types of cream and the names for them vary all over the place, I’m specifying the approximate fat content you’re looking for so you can find a mixture of locally available cream and milk that will get you there. Serious Eats uses a mixture of “cream” and “half and half”, and I guessed they were shooting for around 20% fat content. I made that by using half whole milk (3.5%) and half whipping cream (35%), yielding 19.25% fat content.

A trick I use when making a custard for ice cream is to use an instant-read thermometer. This allows me to heat up the custard base much faster so it’s done in 5 minutes rather than 15, and you don’t even have to check whether you can draw a line on the back of a coated spoon because you’ll know it’s done when the temperature has reached 85C/185F.

Just like olive oil, maple syrup comes in grades. In this case you don’t need the highest grade A, but rather grade B or C since that will give your ice cream a deeper maple flavor. Salt is added to the ice cream to accentuate the caramelly maple flavor. Add it at the end when the custard is warm to make it solve more easily without disrupting the custard forming process.


250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream (35% fat)

250 ml (1 cup) whole milk (3.5% fat)

5 egg yolks

150 ml (5/8 cup) maple syrup, preferably grade B or C

1/2 tsp salt (or 1 tsp kosher salt)


Combine the maple syrup and egg yolks in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Whisk until homogeneous.

Add milk and cream and whisk again until homogeneous.

Cook over medium-high heat until a temperature of 85C/185F is reached and a custard forms. Lower the heat to medium once the temperature reaches 70C/160F to prevent burning the custard. Lower the heat quickly when 85C/185F has been reached to prevent the custard from boiling. Take off the heat, add the salt and stir to incorporate.

Allow the custard to cool to room temperature. You can accelerate this process by putting the saucepan in (ice) cold water and stirring.

Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap down onto the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate and allow to cool completely (about 6 hours).

Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once the ice cream is ready you can serve it straight away (which I like) or put it in the freezer for a few hours to harden it further.

Great with pumpkin pie!

14 thoughts on “Maple Ice Cream

  1. The fat content also defines what type of ice cream you are making. In the States, most ice-creams are made with equal parts milk and cream or 60/40 cream/milk, with the end result being pretty dense and fatty. Italian gelato, on the other hand, is made with milk only which also allows for the incorporation of more air, making it lighter.
    I love maple syrup, which I routinely put in my oatmeal instead of sugar. And you are right – don’t bother with grade A, way too light in flavour.


      1. Any particular flavor? the catch is that gelato machines are slightly different than what you and I probably have at home. They are equipped to inject more air and to deal with less fat. Anyway – my favourite is what we would call vanilla but it’s more like an egg custard (crema in italiano). I will dig it out of my files.


        1. Vanilla would be great, or a fruit one like pineapple. All Italian recipes for homemade gelato (in Italian) I’ve been able to find all have quite a bit of panna/cream in them — not as much cream as milk, but still quite substantial. Perhaps that’s to compensate for not having a professional gelato machine?


        1. Very interesting recipe Richard, as it does not use egg yolks at all. It does use cream though. I was curious about the Italian recipes based on milk only that CampariGirl was referring to.


  2. Nice post, Stefan. Do I see Vermont Maple Syrup in the photo? I did not realize that was shipped internationally. The grade B would be perfect for this application. I will definitely need to try this.


  3. While I was away, I read your pumpkin pie post, Stefan. Like you, I’ve never made one either. This year, for the first time, I roasted a couple pumpkins and intend to make at least one pie. I’ve seen recipes for maple ice cream and wanted to try one. Being that this on has your recommendation, I think I’ve just found the recipe to follow. Thanks!


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