As a reasonably responsible adult capable of navigating public transportation, paying bills on time, and operating a washing machine, I recognize that certain days demand restraint. We fasten our top button, order a club soda, and keep our elbows off the table. However, today is not that day. Today is a day for Whiskey Ice Cream with salted caramel.
St. Patrick’s Day is no time to be reserved!
This tasty treat is neither timid nor demure. It’s boisterous, decadent, and baby is it boozy.
As I shared last week, I’m Irish, and in addition to celebrating my heritage via this must-bake recipe for Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread, I’ll be enjoying Irish whiskey in a multitude of forms (including this Irish Whiskey Brownie Pie).
So, let’s celebrate in style starting with whiskey ice cream with a homemade salted caramel swirl for dessert.
5 Star Review
“I made this recipe and I have to say what a fabulous dessert”— Margaret —
The whiskey ice cream base is an easy stovetop vanilla custard that takes less than 10 minutes to prep. Even if this is your first time making ice cream from scratch, I have complete faith that you will dominate (this Banana Ice Cream is also great for beginners).
Take your time heating the custard—you’ll know it’s ready when it coats the back of the spoon and a line stays in place. Feel free to take an extra sip of whiskey (or a sip of Whiskey Smash) for encouragement.
In no time at all, your ice cream will be ready to be churned and frozen to boozy perfection.
How to Make Whiskey Ice Cream
The whiskey flavor in this ice cream is definitively pronounced. However, since Irish whiskey is quite smooth, its flavor blends beautifully with the velvety custard and sinfully sweet caramel.
- Heavy Cream. Make the ice cream lusciously rich, decadent, and satisfying (this Rhubarb Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream is also insanely creamy).
- Milk. For best results, opt for either 2% or whole milk. Good ice cream needs a certain percentage of milk fat in the recipe to turn out right (the exception being this Oat Milk Ice Cream).
- Sugar. I made this ice cream with reduced sugar in the base since there’s PLENTY of sweetness in the caramel.
- Salt. Balances the sweetness and enhances the flavors of the ice cream.
- Egg Yolks. Add richness and color to ice cream making it silky smooth like frozen custard.
- Irish Whiskey. Being Irish, you know I didn’t go easy on the whiskey. This boozy ice cream is not for the faint of heart. (Nor is this Flourless Whiskey Cake.)
- Vanilla. Accents and enhances the smoothness of the whiskey.
- Salted Caramel Sauce. Whiskey’s perfect partner and one true love. You can either make your own (try this Vegan Caramel Sauce or Apple Cider Caramel Sauce) or buy your favorite storebought variety.
- Pecans. I love to add a shower of toasted pecans over the top before serving for a little contrasting crunch to the silky smooth ice cream.
- Warm the cream, milk, sugar, and salt until steaming.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly temper with half of the steaming milk mixture. (Stir constantly so eggs do not scramble!)
- Return the saucepan to the stove, then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Stirring often, cook over low heat until the mixture has thickened.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the whiskey and vanilla extract.
- Strain the custard through a mesh sieve into a container, then chill.
- Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- Layer the churned ice cream into a freezer-safe storage container alternating the ice cream with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
- On the final layer, use a knife or chopstick to swirl the caramel throughout the ice cream.
- Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight until firm. Scoop into bowls, topped with additional caramel and pecans. ENJOY!
The Best Topping for Whiskey Ice Cream
This whiskey ice cream has very little sugar because I wanted to leave room for my new favorite condiment: salted caramel sauce, which I both swirled into the ice cream itself and drizzled liberally over each scoop, followed by a shower of crunchy toasted pecans.
- To Store. Keep frozen in the freezer. Homemade whiskey ice cream will keep for up to 6 months when stored in a freezer-safe, airtight container.
One final celebration suggestion: for a year’s worth of St. Patrick’s Day good fortune, make a grown-up float by topping a monster scoop of Irish whiskey ice cream with Guinness. Then call me—I’m coming over immediately. Sláinte!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. The alcohol in the whiskey does not cook out of this ice cream recipe meaning it is boozy and contains alcohol. Therefore, I don’t suggest that it be served to children, those under the legal drinking age, or those who may be pregnant or breastfeeding.
I have only (pridefully) used Irish whiskey in this whiskey ice cream recipe. However, readers have reported making this boozy ice cream with success using other varieties of whiskey. The flavor profile will just be slightly different.
I typically do not mix the pecans into the ice cream directly, so this would be an experiment. I suspect you could layer them into the ice cream with the caramel though if you’d like to give it a try.
Whiskey Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup 2% milk or whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup Irish whiskey, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons salted caramel sauce plus additional for serving – use your favorite storebought brand
- Toasted chopped pecans for serving
- Warm the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the milk begins to steam and small bubbles form around the edge. Do not boil.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Once the cream mixture is heated, very slowly and gradually pour about half of it into the bowl with egg yolks, stirring constantly (this tempers the yolks so that they do not scramble).
- Return the saucepan to the stove, then slowly pour the egg yolk-cream mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring often, and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, then stir in the whiskey and vanilla extract.
- Pour the custard through a mesh sieve and into a container, then refrigerate until completely chilled (at least 4 hours), or overnight.
- Once the custard is thoroughly chilled, churn it according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- Once the ice cream is finished churning, spread 1/3 of it into the bottom of a freezer-safe storage container. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of salted caramel sauce. Add the next 1/3 of the ice cream in another layer, then 2 more tablespoons of caramel, then the final 1/3 of ice cream. Drizzle 2 remaining tablespoons of caramel over the top. With a butter knife or chopstick, swirl the caramel throughout, being sure you reach the edges.
- Place in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight to firm up. Serve in big scoops, topped with additional caramel and pecans.
- TO STORE: Keep frozen in the freezer. Homemade whiskey ice cream will keep for up to 6 months when stored in a freezer-safe, airtight container.
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