{No-Churn} Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

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‘Tis the season to be jolly!

‘Tis the season for being good commercial consumers, voracious listeners of 24/7 holiday music, and hopeless romantics who watch ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas movie marathons while indulging in a giant bowl of homemade pumpkin spice ice cream.

I’m as crazy about the holiday season as the next person. Yes, mass commercialism sucks balls, but unless you’re absolutely determined to be cynical about hot chocolate and fuzzy feelings and hot chocolate and great holiday classics such as Elf or How the Grinch Stole Christmas–and let’s face it, who can be cynical about any of these things?–the holidays rock. Period.

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One of my absolute favorite part of the holidays–apart from the food and the movies and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playing on repeat–is that we get a chance to make up all the things we forgot to do during the other 11 months of the year. This includes small things like gift-giving and thoughtfulness, but it also includes big things like donating clothes to the needy and volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Christmas may have evolved into a corporate sham: but just as “nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent,” the companies have found it impossible to suck the holiday spirit completely dry of its moral prerogative, too.

We all know that one person who gives selflessly and un-self-consciously all year long. Back in college, I had a friend who always stopped for the homeless on the streets. Sometimes he would step out of his way to buy a bag of donuts or a box of takeout and offer that instead of cash, since you don’t need to worry about what someone will do with pre-bought food. He never flinched from a dirty outstretched hand or shied away from a plea for spare change, the way I sometimes do. Having grown up being taught that when a stranger calls for your attention, you quickly avert your eyes and hurry past them as quickly as possible, I still find it difficult to push my discomfort aside and reach into my pocket for whatever coins are jingling there.

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Just this past week, C and I went on a mini-adventure around town doing carefree things like spraying our names in fake snow on the store displays (okay, he did that, not me) and sharing my first ever caramel apple. I love hanging out with him because, unlike me, he’s the sort of person who acts like a free spirit without ever doubting what that means.

(On the contrary, I’m the kind of girl who spends an entire night scrubbing herself in the hot shower because she picked up a discarded apron with her thumb and index finger off the sidewalk earlier that day.)

After brunch, C pointed out a (somewhat shady?) alleyway and observed, almost as an afterthought, that it’d be fun to cut through. As we walked side by side down the narrow lane, visions of hidden ax-murderers and festering needles flew through my brain at a million miles per second. Then the dreaded moment came. As we approached the mid-portion of the alley, we passed a disheveled-looking man who was loitering around, wearing a beanie and a rather gruff look on his unkempt face. My hands instinctively tightened and I drew myself closer to C, but then somewhere next to me I heard it: C’s casual greeting–“hey, how’s it going?”–accompanied by a small wave of the hand and the kind of smile you give a familiar acquaintance. To my surprise and infinite relief, the man finally nodded back and said “hello” before trundling off again, minding his own business like I had not learned to mind mine.

It’s funny what small lessons we find hidden in the most unexpected places. Amazing folks like my college friend and C serve as daily reminders about how little gestures can go such a long way–not only in helping others, but in helping ourselves get over the prejudices that keep us from extending that helping hand in the first place.

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Though I’m still working on my Giving mojo, never let it be said that I won’t be helping you this holiday season, even if it’s only in the kitchen. If you’re currently experiencing the holiday-time rush and hubbub, this pumpkin spice ice cream recipe (adapted from the wonderful John at Kitchen Riffs) can save the day! It takes minutes to prep and then it’s hands-off, no-churn, no-machine-needed ice cream freezing time. I even folded in chunks of leftover pumpkin pie into my ice cream, which is a good idea and adds just the {pumpkin} spice you need to your holiday potluck repertoire.

I invited a huge group of friends over a while back to help me enjoy this ice cream, along with about 8 dozen cookies I had baked for the occasion. This ice cream was a smash hit, and nobody could believe it was homemade. As bakers, chefs, and sweet-toothed folks, the least we can do during this time of the year is to share the dessert love…because that’s what we do, right?

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What about you? What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?



{No-Churn} Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

{No-Churn} Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

An excellent no-churn pumpkin ice cream recipe that hits the spot during any holiday season! It takes just minutes to assemble and doesn't require an ice cream maker or annoying check-ups. Just mix, freeze, and enjoy! Adapted slightly from Kitchen Riffs.


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 small slice leftover pumpkin pie, chopped coarsely (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and syrup. Heat in microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring between each interval, for 5-7 minutes total (until your pumpkin is heated well through and cooked). Set aside to cool.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whip heavy whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold cooled pumpkin mixture into cream, then add 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Taste, and add up to one additional tablespoon of condensed milk until it reaches your desired sweetness.
  3. Fold in chopped pumpkin pie pieces if desired.
  4. Transfer mixture to a shallow container or loaf pan, then cover tightly with cling wrap. Freeze ice cream for at least 6-8 hours before serving with a side of holiday spirit!

To me, the holidays mean:

Happy December, everyone!



24 Replies to “{No-Churn} Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream”

  1. Don’t you love pumpkin spice ice cream? Great idea, adding some actual pumpkin pie. And thanks for the link love!

    1. Of course–I’m so glad I got to try this, I’ve been waiting to have a smidge of condensed milk left just so I could!

  2. Leftover pumpkin pie? Sadly not at my house! But this fantastic ice cream recipe might be just the excuse to bake more pie!

    1. It is a truth universally acknowledged that one can never have too much pie in the house! Thanks, Deb–have a wonderful week!

  3. How I wish we were neighbors so I can enjoy this ice cream and freshly baked cookies! But thanks for sharing the recipe, girl. At least I can join you virtually and pumpkin pie into an ice cream? Heck yeahhhh

    1. YES–Linda, seriously, this would be the best meet-up chow!

  4. I still haven’t made a no-churn ice cream! I may have to wait till the temps rise a bit before trying this winner, but I know my kids would all give this thumbs up!
    P.S. My aunt was like your friend. She’d sit down with the homeless and offer up half her sandwich. You’ve reminded me to try to be more like her. xo

    1. Those real-life reminders are the absolute best, and inspirational to boot. I hope you get to try your hand at no-churn ice cream soon, Liz!

  5. It is a HAPPY TUESDAY indeed!! I saw this in my inbox this morning and just made me happy 🙂 Love the seasonal flavors here!!

    1. awww I’m so glad. You’re the BEST, Zainab!! xoxo

  6. I would have had your exact same reaction to the homeless man, although, I think, especially as women, that reaction is totally reasonable! I am definitely excited for the holiday season…especially if it means eating lots of this ice cream!

    1. You know, that’s a good point–I hadn’t really considered it that way, but it usually IS my guy friends who are most willing to reach out. I’ll have to think about that one! Over some ice cream, nom nom!

  7. The holidays DO rock and so does this ice cream! LOVE that you added leftover pumpkin pie in here, that sounds incredible and no churn too? That sounds perfect!
    P.S. Your ice cream scoop is so so adorable 🙂

    1. Haha! Thanks, Kelly! My parents surprised me with the ice cream scoop at Disneyland when they saw me eyeing it (but not willing to dish out and actually buy it)!

  8. Wow I saw this and once more, regretted my lack of Thanksgiving experience! I love the look of your ice cream and would actually love to dive in head first!

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Hey hey heyyy girl! I’m so glad I’m finally getting to your comments. Darn bad luck they got caught in my spam filter!!! I’ll admit, I was kindaaaa looking around going, Dang, I miss that girl! 😉 if only I could send you a batch of this ice cream. It’s summer in your parts anyway, yeah?

  9. giiiiirl aint nobody got leftover pumpkin pie 😉 hehe haven visited in so long! school, etc, you know 🙁 this looks awesome 😀

    1. hihihi! School boo 🙁 hope you’re staying afloat–it’s almost the Christmas break, right?! (And yeahhh, I don’t have any leftover pie now either. Boo-hoo.)

  10. It’s definitely odd to learn life lessons in a strange alleyway, eh? Bless C for saying hi. It’s sad that our society today has so much danger that we fear people by looks alone. But then again, it’s our instinct to protect too. I think I would’ve acted the same way in the alley.

    And this pumpkin ice cream looks divine. So rich, creamy and added pumpkin pie? Definitely a winner.

    1. I’m so grateful for people like C in this world! Even though I don’t think I’d do much differently if I was put in the same situation now, I’m sure I’d be much more conscientious about how I viewed the whole picture. Thanks for your perspective, Lisa!

  11. I don’t have an ice cream maker so this recipe is just perfect for me. I love how easy it is to make. And I am a huge fan of holiday movies. I started indulging in Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies the moment it hit November… lol

    1. Ooooooh you’re going to love this then! I have been contemplating buying an ice cream maker for forever now, but recipes like this one just keep me delaying it… 😛 and omg Hallmark Christmas movies? Yesss sign me up!

  12. I love the holiday so much, you have no idea. I don’t even mind that big box stores start selling holiday decorations in August. Bring it on! It goes back to my childhood, where we didn’t have much of anything and the only time of year we got a gift or sweets was at Christmas. This time of year will forever hold it’s magic for me. I find that the older I get, the more I want to give back to my community. That’s why I’ve already signed up for volunteer work starting January. Good for your college friend and C for reaching out to others. You do the same thing, y’know. You bring so much love and positivity to my life, not to mention amazing recipes. Ummm…you folded in pieces of pumpkin pie to this ice cream?! Freaking brilliant! You made 8 dozen cookies?! Lucky friends! Wish I could’ve been there to scarf down all the deliciousness 🙂

    1. If I’ve said this once I’ve said it a million times, but your comments always leave me warm and fuzzy and maybe cringing from the urge to shout, “Not true! Not true!” But in the best way! I’m sooo glad for the holidays as well–in fact, I just got your Christmas card in the mail (YAY) so I know you must be enjoying yourself in the holiday spirit!! I just hope I get around to writing cards this year….but if I don’t, don’t be offended! I sometimes just get busy and forget. Anywayyyy live it up in the holiday-time, miss! We’ll chat soon!

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