The Washington Post

No-Churn Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream

No-Churn Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream 12.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Aug 2, 2018

Thanks to pastry chef and cookbook author Stella Parks, you can master this terrific ice cream without an ice cream machine. But you do need an electric mixer (handheld or free-standing).

There are two optional mix-ins; choose none or one but not both, she recommends. We loved the crispy cinnamon clusters especially, which are made with cereal. And although bourbon's in the title, you can omit the alcohol altogether.

Whether you are making no-churn or traditional ice cream, Parks says the fastest way to freeze it is to increase its surface area. So for a batch this size, she scrapes the prepared base into a 2-quart baking dish. Not only does the shape help the ice cream freeze faster, but baking dishes tend to be made of glass, ceramic or stoneware. Heavy materials like those stay cold longer than metal or plastic, so the ice cream won't melt prematurely when it is taken from the freezer. Plus, the shape of a baking dish creates a nice, long runway for pulling up big, round scoops of ice cream.

To read the accompanying story, see: This is the easiest, fastest and best-tasting ice cream we’ve made all summer.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 servings; makes about 6 cups; slightly more with a mix-in

  • For the ice cream
  • 4 large eggs (about 7 ounces, shelled)
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 ounces light brown sugar (shy 1/4 cup, loosely packed)
  • 1/2 ounce bourbon (about 1 tablespoon; see headnote)
  • 1/2 ounce vanilla extract (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for other brands, use less
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces heavy cream (about 3/4 cup)
  • For the buttered pecans (optional)
  • 1 ounce unsalted butter, sliced into thin pats (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces raw pecan pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for other brands, use less
  • For the crispy cinnamon clusters (optional)
  • 2 ounces finely chopped dark, milk or good-quality white chocolate (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 ounce refined coconut oil (1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 1/4 ounces Kix (about 1 1/3 cups), Crispix (1 heaping cup), Rice Krispies (about 1 cup) or other crunchy, low-sugar cereal
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


For the ice cream: Combine the eggs, granulated and brown sugars, the bourbon, if using, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Stir with a flexible spatula until well combined, then place the bowl over a large pan of gently bubbling water. Stir and scrape continuously until the mixture registers 160 degrees on a digital/instant-read thermometer. This should take no more than 10 minutes, so adjust the heat as needed to keep things moving along. Transfer the bowl to a cool work surface.

Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the warmed egg-sugar mixture until pale and thick enough to hold soft peaks, about 15 minutes (the timing will vary with the power of the mixer). When properly mixed, the mixture will be thick enough to mound up on itself in the bowl when dropped from a spoon.

Whip the cream to stiff peaks in a separate large bowl, then add about one-third of the foamed egg mixture, whisking by hand to incorporate. Add the remaining egg mixture, and fold until well combined.

Scrape into a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. If you plan to use any mix-ins (see two options, below), let the ice cream freeze for about 1 hour, until thick and firm, before folding them in.

With or without mix-ins, continue freezing until the ice cream reaches 0 degrees before scooping. Serve as you would traditional ice cream, in ice cream cones or chilled bowls.

For the optional buttered pecans: Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat, then increase heat to medium. Stir constantly with a heat-resistant spatula, until the butter is golden brown, about 1 minute, although the time will vary depending on burner output and skillet size. Remove from the heat, add the pecans, sprinkle with salt and stir until well coated. Let the pecans stand for 15 minutes; this will allow them to fully absorb the butter.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a plate with parchment paper.

Transfer the skillet to the oven (lower rack); toast the pecans until fragrant and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes depending on your personal preference. Scrape onto the plate and freeze until cold and dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a quart-size, freezer zip-top bag and freeze until ready to use (up to several weeks).

For the optional crispy cinnamon clusters: Line a plate with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a medium, microwave-safe bowl, on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir well, then add the cereal and cinnamon, folding the mixture with a spatula so the cereal is completely coated.

Scrape onto the plate and freeze until cold and dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a quart-size, freezer zip-top bag and freeze until ready to use (up to several weeks).

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Recipe Source

From chef and cookbook author Stella Parks, who serves as pastry “wizard” at

Tested by Vanessa Williams.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (without mix-ins): 120

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 7g 11%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 80mg 27%

Sodium: 75mg 3%

Total Carbohydrates: 12g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 12g

Protein: 2g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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