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Is Butter an Ice Cream Flavor?

Have you ever heard of a butter ice cream flavor? Maybe you’ve heard of butter pecan, maybe you’re just curious if you can make butter-flavored ice cream. Butter pecan has been a national favorite for years, spanning generations as an American favorite flavor. It’s such a household name, that it’s even been a New York Times crossword clue. Read on for more about how butter can play a role in your ice cream making, including a recipe for the easiest butter pecan ice cream you can make.


Table of Contents:

  • The Popularity of Butter Pecan Ice Cream
  • Generational Preferences in Ice Cream Flavors
  • How to Make Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream With an Ice Cream Maker
  • How to Make Homemade Butter Pecan ice Cream with a Blender
  • Can I just make Butter Ice Cream?
  • Conclusion


The Popularity of Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Despite being a classic flavor, butter pecan ice cream is not quite as popular as chocolate and vanilla—though still a longtime favorite. In spite of its traditional status, butter pecan ice cream has been gaining traction among various age brackets and locations in the US.

Instacart Study Findings on Favorite Ice Cream Flavors

A recent Instacart study found that while vanilla remains the most popular choice nationwide, butter pecan ranks high in several states. In fact, it's the top pick for North Carolina and Maryland. This nutty delight seems to have a special place in people's hearts despite stiff competition from other flavors.

Regional Differences in Ice Cream Preferences

Different regions show varying preferences when it comes to their favorite frozen treats. The Northeast leans towards mint chocolate chip whereas folks down South prefer pralines 'n cream or peach. Yet amidst these regional favorites, butter pecan consistently emerges as a beloved choice across various parts of the country.

This resurgence could be attributed to an increased appreciation for traditional flavors or perhaps nostalgia playing its part. Regardless of the motivation, it's evident that butter pecan is having a moment - and we can show you how to make your own delicious version.


Generational Preferences in Ice Cream Flavors

America's love for ice cream is universal, with a whopping 96% of the population enjoying this frozen treat according to YouGov data. Though there is a shared love for ice cream among all generations, preferences in flavor vary between them.

Millennials Prefer Modern Twists

Millennials have an adventurous palate and love trying new things, even when it comes to ice cream. Instead of sticking to traditional flavors like vanilla or chocolate, they often opt for more modern twists on these classics. Cookies n’ cream is one such example that has seen significant popularity among this age group.

Older Generations Stick to Tradition

In contrast to millennials, older generations tend to stick with what they know and love. Vanilla remains a firm favorite among many in this demographic, followed closely by butter pecan - a classic ice cream flavor that offers just enough complexity without straying too far from tradition.


How to Make Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream with an Ice Cream Maker

You might be wondering, "does ice cream usually have butter in it?" The answer is no; most ice creams don't contain actual butter, but rely on milk fats instead. However, this butter pecan recipe uses real melted butter to give it its signature taste.

  • Brown sugar
  • Real butter (Yes, you read that right.)
  • Pecans
  • Cream & Milk
  • Eggs (for custard base)
  1. To start off, toast the pecans lightly until they're golden brown and aromatic.
  2. In another pan, melt some unsalted butter until it turns nutty brown - this is known as browning the butter which will add depth of flavor to your ice cream.
  3. Create a custard ice cream base by mixing eggs with sugar then slowly adding heated milk while continuously stirring - take care not let the mixture boil or else you'll end up scrambling the eggs.
  4. Add in cooled down browned-butter followed by heavy cream before chilling this mixture overnight in the refrigerator so flavors meld together perfectly.
  5. Finally, churn according to the manufacturer's instructions using an Ice Cream Maker.

This process may seem complex initially but once mastered, it opens doors to endless possibilities of experimenting with other flavors.


How to Make Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream with a Blender

For an easy way to try favorite and new ice cream flavors, try using a blend-and-freeze ice cream mix like Hijinx. No ice cream maker needed to create homemade buttery, delicious ice cream! Plus, you can easily customize your ice cream .


  • 1 packet Hijinx mix
  • 1.5 cups hot water (or half & half for a creamier version)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or 1 if you prefer a less buttery flavor)


  1. Warm the water for 60 seconds in the microwave, until hot.
  2. Using a blender, combine one packet of Hijinx ice cream powder with the water, brown sugar,
  3. Add pecans, brown sugar, water, and butter to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Blend for one minute or until thoroughly combined.
  4. Gently stir in the above mixture with the Hijinx milk mixture.
  5. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes on your counter.
  6. Transfer to a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid. 
  7. Freeze for 3-6 hours. Enjoy!

If desired, you can always add more additions like chocolate chips, hot fudge, butterscotch sauce, toffee, and more. Simply stir them into the blended ice cream mixture, or add them to your sundae once the ice cream is frozen.


Can I just Make Butter Ice Cream?

Yes! Simply don’t add the pecans to either of the recipes above. You might think that a butter ice cream flavor sounds gross, but it’s actually a creamy, nut-free version of butter pecan. To see an example of the results, check out this video of how to make no-churn butter ice cream.

Still don’t believe that butter ice cream is legit? The brown butter ice cream in the video below is even a Michelin-star recipe!



Butter pecan ice cream is a crowd favorite across generations and geography. Whether you make this classic ice cream flavor at home or grab it from your favorite store, it’s a delight that’ll stand the test of time. Butter is a surprisingly delicious addition to already-creamy ice cream—taking it to a new level with higher-fat content (okay, and higher cholesterol—but that’s not important right now). It’s so good, that you can even make straight-up butter ice cream.

If you do want to make butter pecan ice cream at home, you can do so with or without an ice cream maker. Using a no-churn ice cream mix like Hijinx makes it so easy to make your own custom ice cream and experiment with fun customizations to make it your own.



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