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Chunky Turtle Ice Cream
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr

This chunky turtle ice cream is made with salted caramel and loaded with toasted pecans, and plenty of chocolate. This delicious ice cream recipe will become your family favourite!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Ice Cream
Keyword: chocolate ice cream, turtles ice cream
Servings: 10
Calories: 416 kcal
Author: Kim Beaulieu
For the Ice Cream Base:
  • 1.5 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup salted pecans
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the Salted Pecans:
  • 1 cup unsalted pecan pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Ice Cream Base:
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. (you are going to use it to cool the cooked mixture so you have a medium sized bowl that fits inside it, test it out ahead of time)
  2. In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the whole milk with the cornstarch, whisk it until smooth, and set aside.
  3. Measure the sugar into a large, deep saucepan. Place it over medium heat and try not to freak out. Trust the process. Now let the edges start to melt, do not touch it until that starts to happen, no matter how tempting it is. Cook the sugar, stirring frequently and gently, until it starts to brown. You want it to turn a nice amber colour. Once it turns amber, quickly and carefully (caramel bubbles and acts a fool so don't freak out if it starts to bubble up and make some noise) add about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the heavy cream to the saucepan. Remember it's going to bubble and spit, so be careful when doing this step. Stir, the caramel will harden (and you're going to be thinking you ruined but again, trust the process), but it's okay. Add the remaining cream to the saucepan, stirring to combine it.
  4. Now pop the saucepan back over medium heat and add the rest of the whole milk (remember you took 2 tablespoons out of it earlier and reserved the rest), stirring while it combines. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes, you want the caramelized sugar to dissolve completely.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture you set aside earlier, whisking gradually till combined.
  6. Return to a boil over moderately high heat until the mixture thickens slightly, this should take about a minute.
  7. Pour the mixture into into a medium sized bowl, then whisk in the salt. Place that bowl inside the ice water bath and allow it to cool for about 20 or 25 minutes. Whisk it occasionally as it cools.
  8. Now cover the bowl and pop it in your fridge for about 4 hours, or overnight.
For the Salted Pecans:
  1. The author calls for roasting them in the oven. I actually did mine on the stove-top since I was cooking something else in my oven. I'll give you both options.
  2. Option #1- Oven method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Combine ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Toss to coat the pecans. Spread on a rimmed cookie sheet evenly and pop in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir them once during the cook time. They are done when they are toasted and aromatic. Your house should smell like heaven at the moment they are done. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding to ice cream.
  3. Option #2- Stove-top method: In a large pan, melt your butter, then toss in the pecans, and sprinkle the salt over top. Cook over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring the pecans until they are toasted and aromatic. Your house should smell like heaven at the moment they are done. Remove from the stove-top, transfer to a plate and allow them to cool completely before adding them to the ice cream.
Putting it all together:
  1. Remove the ice cream base from the fridge. Pour into your ice cream maker (Please ensure your ice cream bowl has been in the freezer and ready for this step! I have two bowls and leave them in my freezer all the time so they are ready for any ice cream emergency.)
  2. Churn the ice cream for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your particular ice cream maker the time can vary. Most take from about 10 to 20 as a general rule.
  3. Fold in the pecans and chocolate as the last step.
  4. Cover your ice cream maker bowl, or attachment (whatever you are freezing the ice cream in) with plastic or tinfoil. My method of choice is tinfoil over top, then I wrap an elastic around it, makes it super easy to peek in to check on it, but also seals the top from any air getting in. Just a trick I learned from making way too much ice cream.
  5. Allow your ice cream to set up in the freezer for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  6. Serve with a big old "turtle" loving smile.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Please note the cook time does not reflect all the inactive time. You need two days to make this ice cream. My suggestion is to make the base and the pecans one evening. Then churn the ice cream the next morning, allowing it to freeze for the entire day. I made my base one evening, then churned the next day. Then froze it all day and overnight. Then we ate it on the third day. Just force of habit. I like my ice cream set up really well. So time this out so you have a minimum of 1 hour prep, 4 hours of chill time, and 4 hours of freezing time. So the absolute minimum time to make this is 9 hours, 8 of it being inactive.

Recipe credit to Scoop Adventures by Lindsay Clendaniel. Used with permission by author and editor. I received a copy of Lindsay's book for free before I made the recipe. 

Nutrition Facts
Chunky Turtle Ice Cream
Amount Per Serving
Calories 416 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Fat 35g54%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 64mg21%
Sodium 275mg12%
Potassium 215mg6%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 718IU14%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.