Sweet potatoes and ice cream may seem like an unlikely combination, but this Sweet Potato Ice Cream, packed with white chocolate and toasted pecans, will convince you that sweet potatoes make the best fall ice cream flavor!
(This recipe for Sweet Potato Ice Cream was originally published in August 2010, but was updated with new photos and content in 2019).
I recently learned that most of the canned pumpkin puree you're buying at the grocery store isn't actually pumpkin. I repeat, there is not actually pumpkin in those cans of pumpkin puree.
So, what the heck is in them?? It's actually a combination of squashes. Whaaat. In some ways, this is shocking and distressing to me. But then when I really think about it, it's not a big deal.
Pumpkins are actually in the squash family and are super similar to many other types of squash. And to sweet potatoes, too. All of those delicious orange veggies are so similar to each other.
Which brings me to the point of this post... Sweet potato ice cream.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
When I tell people I make sweet potato ice cream, a lot of times I don't get a very enthusiastic reaction. In fact, many people wonder why the heck I'd want to ruin perfectly good ice cream with sweet potatoes.
But the thing is, if you find pumpkin ice cream acceptable then you'll most definitely approve of sweet potato ice cream, too. Add in some seasonal spices and you've got a sweet potato spice ice cream that's very similar to a pumpkin spice ice cream.
In fact, I think sweet potatoes are a bit sweeter and more candy-like than pumpkin, so chances are, you'll like it even more!
Ingredients and Equipment
This recipe is a pretty standard custard-based ice cream recipe, with the addition of sweet potato puree and lots of fall spices.
Plus, I added in some pecans and white chocolate chips for extra fun.
Here's everything you need:
- Heavy cream
- Whole milk
- Brown sugar
- Egg yolks
- Sweet potato puree
- Ground ginger
- Ground nutmeg
- White chocolate chips
You do need an ice cream machine to make this ice cream. I've owned the KitchenAid ice cream attachment for about 8 years, have used it hundreds of times, and can't recommend it enough if you're in the market for one and already own a KitchenAid mixer.
You'll also need some airtight containers in which to store your ice cream. You can use any kind of container, but I absolutely love these ones.
How to Make Sweet Potato Ice Cream
You are certainly welcome to buy canned sweet potato (though who the heck knows if it's actually sweet potato in there!) for this ice cream, but I decided to make my own.
I just baked a sweet potato at 400 degrees until it was tender (45-60 minutes) and then let it cool. Once cooled, I removed the skin and popped it into my food processor to puree until smooth.
I ended up adding about 1 Tbsp water to thin it out a bit.
Now you're read to make the ice cream! Heat the cream, milk, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot.
In a medium, heat-resistant bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks. Slowly poor about half the cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Then pour this yolk/cream mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream, whisking the whole time.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly (should cover the back of your spoon), about 4-6 minutes. Don't let the mixture come to a boil.
Pour the mixture through a strainer and into a heat-resistant bowl. And while the mixture is still hot, whisk in the sweet potato puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
Cover and refrigerate the mixture until it's thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours.
Then, use your ice cream machine to turn the creamy mixture into ice cream!
I let my ice cream maker run for about 20 minutes before I added in the white chocolate chips and toasted pecans and let it finish processing.
Scoop the ice cream into a separate container (if you make a lot of ice cream, definitely consider getting some quart-sized containers, like theseand pop it into the freezer to fully harden, another 4 hours or so.
After scooping the sweet potato ice cream into bowls, I obviously topped it with more white chocolate chips and toasted pecans. Because these are the things that make my fall heart happy.
Along with things like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg (oh my!).
I served this sweet potato ice cream along with homemade triple chocolate cake for my mom's birthday and I think everyone was a bit skeptical at first. Especially my husband who isn't really into the whole "let's put vegetables into desserts" thing.
In fact, he doesn't even like nuts in his desserts. But he actually said this is one of his favorite ice creams! And he ended up eating the rest of the batch the next evening.
I'm counting that as sweet potato success. But seriously, when I was a kid, I wouldn't go near sweet potatoes. My mom would tell me they taste like candy and I'd say, "why would I want my vegetables to taste like candy??" Now, I'm all, "vegetables that taste like candy?? Bring them on!"
How to Store
Just make sure you store your ice cream in an airtight container in your freezer and it should last for about 2 months.
But I'd be surprised if it lasts that long!
This sweet potato ice cream really does taste like fall in a bowl. It's certainly similar to pumpkin ice cream, but I actually like this flavor a bit better thanks to the added roast-y sweetness.
Then again, it's quite possible all my pumpkin ice creams have actually been butternut squash ice creams. Of course, the spices round out the ice cream flavor wonderfully.
More Sweet Potato Recipes
If you love sweet potatoes as much as I do you may be looking for some more unique recipes, both sweet and savory, that include them. Here are some of my favorites:
- Ginger Coconut Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
- Sweet Potato Chili
- Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
- Sweet Potato Curry Dip
- Sweet Potato Biscuits
- Smashed Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Chips (from Frozen Bananas)
- Sweet Potato Cupcakes (from Lauren's Latest)
Since I pureed my own sweet potatoes, I know that this ice cream is made with 100% real sweet potatoes!
Of course, pureeing your own sweet potatoes is also a whole lot easier than pureeing fresh pumpkin. But you really can replace the sweet potato puree in this ice cream with another puree of your choice.
Whether you're serving this sweet potato ice cream as a simple fall treat or alongside pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving time, it will certainly be the talk of the table... But I promise it will also end up being the hit!
Next time someone tells you sweet potato ice cream is weird, tell them the pumpkin they're eating probably isn't even pumpkin. And at the end of the day, who cares, because all orange vegetables are delicious!
What's the most interesting ice cream flavor you've ever had?
Sweet Potato Ice Cream
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup sweet potato puree (homemade from 1 baked and pureed sweet potato or store-bought)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup toasted and chopped pecans
- In a medium saucepan, heat cream, milk, and sugar over medium heat. Stirring constantly, let mixture reach just the point of simmer before removing from heat.
- Lightly whisk egg yolks in a separate medium bowl.
- Slowly pour about half of the warm cream/milk mixture into the bowl with the yolks, whisking continuously. Then pour egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream mixture.
- Continue to cook over low heat, while whisking. When the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, after about 4-6 minutes, remove the saucepan from heat.
- Pour cream mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. While mixture is still hot, stir in sweet potato puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until completely blended.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap so that plastic is touching top of cream mixture (this will prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
- Once mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is almost frozen, mix in white chocolate chips and toasted pecans.
- When ice cream is frozen, remove to airtight containers and place in freezer for at least 4 hours to continue to harden.
- If you're making your own sweet potato puree, bake a sweet potato at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes (until fork tender). Let cool before peeling and pureeing in food processor or blender until smooth. If mixture is super thick, you can add 1 Tbsp water to thin it out.
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alicia Fidalgo says
What a creative idea to sub sweet potatoes! That looks yummy. Fall and Summer are my favorite seasons, so I'm not in any rush - I'm right in between my two faves. My favorite things about fall are apple picking, and cool nights for sleeping.
I like fall too, but the fact that it leads to winter means it can never be my favorite season (summer is). I agree with you not to rush it. But I'm on board with sweet potato ice cream anytime of the year. YUM. I'm terrible about making ice cream though. It does come out delicious but I never think quite far enough ahead! Might have to for this recipe though.
Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says
I just know I will love this. I actually only like sweet potatoes in sweet dishes (I'm weird, I know) so ice cream sounds absolutely perfect. And I eat ice cream year-round... I'm not rushing fall either but I'm looking forward to fall fashion!
I am guilty of rushing it a bit. I just can't wait for cooler temps and an excuse for all things fall: pumpkin anything, boots, scarves, jackets. I just can't take these 90 degree Boston days!
I feel ya. Fall is my favorite, but winter most definitely is not! So, let's enjoy summer while it's here.
This looks so good! I make a pumpkin ice cream that I love, and this looks just as good!
This looks fantastic. I can not wait to have this tonight.
I've been putting off buying an ice cream maker since my kitchen is SO small, but I think I might have to now. I love sweet potato or pumpkin anything!
Simply Life says
wow! that is genius!
Jessica @ How Sweet says
OMG! That sounds AMAZING!
Emily @ The Happy Home says
yum yum yum. for thanksgiving, my boyfriend makes a southern sweet potato casserole that has FIVE different kinds of sugar in it. so, i know that sweet potatoes can definitely be a dessert! this looks SO good!
That looks gorgeous. It makes me want to try this though I might switch it up with a cheesecake swirl or a bit of homemade caramel sauce on top.
I agree -- Fall is amazing in New England. I love cider, apple picking, pumpkin carving and nesting when it gets cool... If only fall could stick around until Spring ...
This looks PHENOMENAL. Macy's was (is?) having a KitchenAid sale and I seriously considered buying the ice cream attachment because of these posts. I'm also SO excited about all things pumpkin!!!
Oh man this looks fantastic! You are my type of girl. We got a kitchenaid and the icecream attachment on our wedding registry, but then we moved to England and left those things in America. I am still pretty bummed about that. Will have to check out that other article u posted about making icecream without a maker.
owwwwwww. I have never had sweet potato ice cream. Sounds amazing. Like thanksgiving dessert in a bowl. I love summer....I'm very very very sad to see it go. But I am excited for the pumpkin spiced syrup coming out at starbucks, pumpkin in general, squash and apples
Looks awesome Sues! Definitley not rushing it. I love my summer hours work schedule and saying good bye to that is a heartbreaker!
This is brilliant. Ben & Jerry's has a pumpkin cheesecake ice cream that I look forward to shoving in my face while getting uncomfortable looks from my husband every year, but perhaps I should attempt to make my own. And yes, I'm totally rushing fall. I'm so over summer.
Ashley, LOVE and then some says
I absolutely adore pumpkin. And I too, keep saying I JUST CAN'T WAIT for fall to get here! Probably because this summer has been miserably hot in Nebraska. Fall is probably my favorite season, but I try to appreciate them all. They've all got something to offer.
And may I say that ice cream looks DELISH. I had some pumpkin pie ice cream last year and it was sooo good. I just recently bought an ice cream maker and I love it!! My first recipe was peanut butter ice cream... yummmm. Homemade ice cream really is better than store bought, and I love that I know exactly what goes into it.
As you know, I also adore pumpkin! I've been indulging in many Shipyard Pumpkinhead beers in Ogunquit!
Alycia [Fit n Fresh] says
Sweet potato ice cream?! You totally just blew my mind!! And I'm jealous of your awesome swim set up 🙂
susan from food blogga says
OK, girls. That looks and sounds insanely good.
LOVE this ice cream flavor!
What a fabulous treat. I never would have though to use sweet potatoes but why not. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary
How yummy looking...Please make some more soon & share it with your loyal readers!
Sarah @ Aubergine says
This looks so delicious (gorgeous photo!) Makes me want to run out and buy an ice cream maker, even though I know you can make decent ice cream without one. I'm guilty of rushing the seasons a bit, but I do really like summer, and I'm with you on fall -- probably my favourite season, though it's hard to pick; I love spring and summer, too. I'm looking forward to really savouring it: the apple picking, the cider, the cozying up, the mulled wine, tea, pumpkin, cooler weather clothing, etc. But until then, yum!
sarah k. @ the pajama chef says
wow!! sounds absolutely AMAZING. i so am rushing fall. i can't wait for apples & pumpkin. i had pumpkin bread @ bob evans for breakfast today (special back to school breakfast from my husband!) and it was the best. i don't think i've had pumpkin since christmastime and oh how i missed it. but to me, it feels like fall cuz school has begun... bring on cool weather & tasty treats!
That looks delicious! I love sweet potatoes!
I feel the same way about summer and fall... this ice cream sounds so unique and delicious! Hope it gave you your summer / fall fix 🙂
I've never had sweet potato ice cream but I know I would love it! I can't wait to roast veggies in the fall.
The Duo Dishes says
Sharing this with the world tonight. Everybody needs to know about all the ways this fave veggie can be used! You girls are genius!
oh yum. i love sweet potato. this must be delicious!
Baking Serendipity says
Ohhhh....I have definitely never thought of sweet potato ice cream before, but definitely want to give it a try. I'm totally one of those people rushing fall right about now. I love in Phoenix, where fall is really non-existent (it's super hot through October), so I sort of embrace it whenever my head is ready, knowing the weather won't cooperate. I think my head is ready now!
Ohhhh, talking about fall makes me so jealous. I live in Yuma, AZ (originally from Idaho) where summers are horribly hot and it doesn't get into the 70's until December -- we don't really have seasons in the same way. I was yearning for fall back in June. I also love pumpkin in the fall and hot comfort foods (like soup) on chilly, windy fall days, but those don't occur here.
my first time to encounter this ice cream flavor.. very interesting and yummy...
Wow, so creative! I've never made ice cream but you are inspiring me!
Looks delicious! I am not rushing for summer to be over. I love the sunny days. We have a lot of fog and rain here in the winter. I could do without the 100 degree days, but we have had very few of those this summer.
oh this sounds awesome. my favorite season is fall, but i don't want summer to end 😉 i bet this would totally rock with a coconut milk base!!
Fall is my fave season by far. Soon, I will be baking with pumpkin all of the time!
This icecream looks so good, definitely something I would make!
Yummmmmmy! This ice cream sounds delicious, as I love all things sweet potato :).
I am really excited for the crisp cool weather & gorgeous foliage of fall - I think it's the best time of hear here in New England. I'm also pumped to bake and cook with pumpkin and apples - two ingredients I can't get enough of during this time of year.
I am rushing Fall because I'm over 100 degree days with 80% humidity, my hair doesn't like it either! I can't wait for Fall and pumpkins, specifically making my Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Muffins!
Beth @ DiningAndDishing says
This sounds aaaamazing! I love fall because it's a such a warm, cozy season without actually being freezing cold! Plus fall marks the start of the holidays and I LOVE that time of year :).
Elina (Healthy and Sane) says
Wow, looks like a popular post. 🙂
I am really digging this ice cream. And I agree - the fall will come. Let's enjoy the summer... preferable with some ice cream 😉