This easy recipe for Butterscotch Ice Cream is rich, buttery, extra creamy, and so delicious.
This is a French style ice cream recipe, which starts with a custard made from tempered egg yolks to give the final product amazing texture.
We're sharing lots of tips and tricks for making this butterscotch ice cream, so make sure to read through the post before you get started.
Butterscotch is such a classic flavor, it's a wonder that butterscotch ice cream isn't more mainstream.
From butterscotch hard candies to butterscotch cookies, I enjoy everything made with this rich, caramel-like flavor. This butterscotch ice cream recipe is going to impress you with its deep, buttery flavors.
Why You're Going to Love this Butterscotch Ice Cream Recipe
Homemade butterscotch, which is a cooked concoction of butter and brown sugar, is easily made on the stove, and the delicious start to our recipe.
Simple Instructions for making homemade ice cream in an ice cream maker are included, plus I'll tell you how to make a no-churn version of butterscotch ice cream too.
If you're new to the site or new to making ice cream from scratch, know that you are in the right place! I'll give you step-by-step instructions so that you'll have everything you need to create delicious homemade ice cream.
Ingredients in Homemade Butterscotch Ice Cream
Butter - The main ingredient in butterscotch. Use unsalted butter. We'll add salt in later.
Brown Sugar - The rich molasses flavor of brown sugar blends with the butter to create a sweet butterscotch syrup. Traditional butterscotch recipes typically included butter, sugar, and molasses. Since brown sugar still has some molasses in it it's the perfect choice here. Dark brown sugar will give you more butterscotch flavor than light brown will, but you can use either.
Heavy Cream - In this recipe, the cream is cooked with the butterscotch to thicken it and make it extra rich. As in most ice cream recipes, heavy cream is the ingredient that gives us the most creaminess.
Egg Yolks - Four large egg yolks will be used to create a French custard. The best ice cream recipes use this method.
Granulated Sugar - We'll use two types of sugar to create this ice cream. Granulated sugar helps to create a creamy ice cream texture.
Whole Milk - Milk is cooked with the egg yolks to create our custard base. Don't try to use low-fat milk. It just won't work the same way.
Kosher Salt - Just a bit of salt balances the sweetness and makes everything taste a bit brighter.
Vanilla Extract - Vanilla is a must for almost all of our ice cream recipes. It elevates the simple flavors of milk, sugar, and cream.
Is There Alcohol in Butterscotch?
Contrary to what the name implies, there is no scotch whiskey or any other type of alcohol in butterscotch.
The "scotch" part of the word butterscotch likely refers to an old English word that meant "to cut or score", as candy makers would do to portion out this sweet treat.
How to Make Butterscotch Ice Cream from Scratch
Start the day before by making sure that the bowl for your ice cream maker has at least 24 hours to freeze solid.
- Start with a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and brown sugar. Cook until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved and starting to bubble up, about 3-4 minutes.
- Next, whisk in ½ cup of heavy cream, and cook for another 1-2 minutes until smooth. Don't overcook the butterscotch! Remove from the heat and set aside.
Make Custard Base:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color.
- Add the milk and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a simmer and then remove from the heat, being sure not to let it boil. Add about ½ cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture, and whisk constantly to combine and temper the eggs.
- Then add the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk. Heat the saucepan on low. Stirring constantly, heat until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should just take a few minutes.
- Strain the thickened mixture into a bowl to remove any pieces of egg that may have cooked. Add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, vanilla extract, and butterscotch and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, making sure to have the wrap touching the surface of the ice cream base to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until very cold.
Churn the Ice Cream:
- Churn the ice cream mixture in the bowl of your ice cream machine according to your manufacturer's instructions, until it is thick and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.
- Spoon the ice cream into a loaf pan. Press plastic wrap or wax paper to the surface of the ice cream and freeze for at least four hours, or until solid. Allow the ice cream to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. This will make it easy to scoop.
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe below.
How to Store Butterscotch Ice Cream
Store this homemade Butterscotch ice cream in the freezer in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper pressed on top for up to one month.
Tips for Making This Butterscotch Ice Cream Recipe
Use quality ingredients – When making homemade ice cream, you’ll want to make sure you are using high-quality ingredients for the best outcome.
Chill out – If possible, always start with chilled ingredients. This is important for homemade no-churn ice cream recipes and ice cream maker recipes.
Don’t skimp on the fat – High-fat milk and cream are essential when making homemade ice cream. Opting for a low-fat option often leads to icy ice creams and inconsistency in the texture.
Don’t go crazy with the add-ins – If you’re adding in additional ingredients, pick one or two and make sure they are chopped into pieces no larger than a blueberry or pea.
Don’t skimp on the sugar – Sugar not only adds sweetness to homemade ice creams, it also helps with the texture. Sugar is essential for the creamy texture of ice cream. You'll notice that this recipe uses less granulated sugar in the base, since the butterscotch is already very sweet.
What's the Difference Between Butterscotch and Toffee?
These two sweet treats are so similar, but also very different.
Both butterscotch and toffee are made by cooking brown sugar and butter. The difference lies in how the candies are finished.
Butterscotch typically has milk or cream mixed in, and then it's cooked to a soft consistency to create a a soft, chewy candy.
Toffee is cooked longer and further than that, typically to a "soft crack" stage that creates a crisp type of candy. The longer the butter and brown sugar mixture is cooked, the more bitter flavor is developed.
Wondering how these two are different than caramel? Caramel is butter and sugar cooked together as well, but then milk or cream is added later, once the mixture is off the heat. This creates a soft, syrupy texture.
No Churn Butterscotch Ice Cream Directions
Chill a shallow container or a loaf pan in the freezer while you mix the ice cream ingredients.
Pour the ice cream mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 3-4 hours. Stir the ice cream every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours to help add air. This will help create a creamy, smooth texture.
Butterscotch Ice Cream Add-Ins
This rich butterscotch ice cream recipe is just waiting for your creative additions to be stirred in. Try some of these ideas, or create your own:
- Toasted or candied nuts, like almonds, walnuts, or pecans
- Butterscotch chips
- Crushed Butterfinger candy bars, or chopped Heath Bars.
Try making Ice Cream Sundaes with this Butterscotch ice cream, topped with hot fudge, chopped nuts, and whipped cream!
More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes
These ice cream recipes have simple, yet rich flavors that you'll love.
Our Favorite Ice Cream Making Tools:
- Cuisinart 2QT Ice Cream Maker - Works with ice cream, sorbets, and frozen yogurt.
- Loaf Pan - You can use any 9 x 13 loaf pan or a shallow pan, but we like this one.
- Ice Cream Scoop - Make sure you have a good ice cream scoop. This is one of our favorites.
- Ice Cream Bowls - You can use any bowl, but we think these are fun.
- Ice Cream Containers - We love keeping a couple of ice cream containers on hand for when we make homemade ice cream.
Note: Each of these links will take you to the exact product on Amazon. As an Amazon associate, I earn a little from each qualifying purchase.
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- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream, divided
- 4 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chill the ice cream bowl for at least 24 hours or until solid. You should not hear any water sloshing around when you shake the bowl.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and brown sugar. Cook until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved and starting to bubble up, about 3-4 minutes.
- Whisk in ½ cup of the heavy cream and cook another 1-2 minutes until smooth. Remove the butterscotch from the heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color.
- Add the milk and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Be sure not to boil. Add about ½ cup of the hot milk to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk constantly until combined.
- Then, add the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk. Heat the saucepan on low. Stirring constantly, heat until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take a few minutes.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl to remove any pieces of egg that may have cooked. Add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, vanilla extract, and butterscotch, and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap making sure to have the plastic wrap touching the surface of the ice cream base. This will help keep it from forming a skin while chilling. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until cold.
- Churn the ice cream mixture in the bowl of your ice cream machine according to your manufacturer’s instructions (mine took about 25 minutes), until it is thick and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.
- Spoon the ice cream into a loaf pan. Press plastic wrap or wax paper to the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid. Let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 546Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 248mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 0gSugar: 51gProtein: 8g