butternut squash ice cream with caramel sauce


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

Butternut squash ice cream with caramel sauce

A while ago, I mentioned an exciting new photography related project that I would potentially get involved in, well here it is. Each month, I get to pick and interview one of my favorite food photographers and share it with you on the Huffington Post Taste section. If you haven’t had a chance check out the first interview check it out


. I’m having a lot of fun with this new project and I hope to talk to some of the many photographers whose work continues to inspire and amaze me.

A Scoop of butternut squash ice cream

Now back to the food, this is one of my favorite new flavors for seasonal ice creams. Just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean I am not going to make or eat ice cream. I think ice creams and sorbets are desserts that can be adapted and eaten at any time of the year. They also make the cold weather a little more delightful.

All I will say here is that butternut squash with swirls of frozen caramel sauce in an ice cream is simply amazing. This is one flavor combination that really surprised me in a good way! It’ also one of my new fun ways to eat squash. To prepare the butternut squash puree, you can either buy raw precut butternut squash from your local grocery store or peel and cut the squash into one inch chunks. Microwave the squash pieces for about 3 minutes and then pulse the entire thing in a food processor to get a smooth puree. I have not tried roasting the butternut squash for this recipe but I think it should work fine but the roasting could potentially change the taste a little. I find the microwaving method faster and easier and any excess squash that I don’t end up using gets frozen for later use.

The extra caramel sauce that did not go into layering the ice cream, I refrigerated and then served it on the side before warming it up slightly. I’ve loosely based my recipe using the basic ice cream base from

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home – Jenni Britton Bauer


Butternutsquash caramel sauce icecream

butternut squash ice cream with caramel sauce


6 servings


1 cup butternut squash puree, unsweetened

2 cups whole milk + 2 tablespoons of milk

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup (5 1/4 ounces)  raw dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour

1. Add the butternut squash puree, 2 cups of milk, cream, sugar, and honey into a thick bottomed stock pot and bring to a boil on a medium high-flame, whisking occasionally. After 4 minutes of boiling reduce to a gentle simmer.

2. Mix the two tablespoons of milk and cornflour in a small bowl to make a slurry. Pour and whisk by hand the slurry into the hot butternut squash mixture. Cook the liquid for another 2 minutes on medium-high heat until the mixture begins to thicken.  Remove from heat.

3. Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Whisk it a little and then add about one cup of the hot ice cream base. Whisk by hand until smooth, add the rest of the ice cream base and whisk till combined.

4 Transfer the liquid into a gallon ziploc bag and seal. Place in an ice-water bath and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

5. Pour the ice cream mixture into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and churn as per directions of your manufacturer. 

6. Layer half of the ice cream into a freezer-safe air-tight container. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the prepared caramel sauce (instructions below) and then layer again with the rest of the ice cream followed by another 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce. Cover the top layer with parchment paper, place the lid on top of the container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. 

caramel sauce


approximately 1 cup


2/3 cup raw dark brown sugar

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Add the brown sugar to a thick bottomed stockpot and heat on a medium high flame with constant stirring. As soon as the sugar begins to melt it will start to caramelize, cook for 1 minute (if you like the sauce darker then cook it for another 1 minute, but be careful to not burn the sugar completely). 2. Remove the stockpot from the flame and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Add the salt. Bring the mixture back to the stove and stir on a medium-high flame to dissolve any hardened caramel completely. 

3. Transfer the sauce to sandwich size ziploc bag, seal and cool for 20 minutes in an ice water bath.

30 Responses

  1. This looks amazing as is but do you know what I think would make it even better? Use coconut milk instead of milk/cream! I might have to try it!

  2. Only an insanely talented brain can think about incorporating butternut squash and ice cream! How incredibly sweet!

    Will try your recipe for sure. Bookmarked with pleasure 🙂

    And those PERFECT pictures! Took my breath away as soon as I laid my eyes on them.

  3. Congratulations! I will be looking forward to reading your interviews … am so happy for you . The photographs are amazing and I love the pouring effect there… I thought I was hallucinating 😉

  4. I can't wait to hop on over to the Huffington Post to read your interview. This picture is so drool inducing and gorgeous!

  5. This looks soooo delicious. And how exciting about the Huffington Post – is it all food photographers, or photography in general? Either way, I totally trust your taste! 🙂

  6. I swear Nik, you come up with the most beautiful and unique dishes! This dessert is out of this world!

  7. This looks unbelievable, Nik, I just pinned and will be sharing later today on fb! Your photos are so enticing.

  8. love that you are still making icecream! what a great huffpost gig too..
    A friend of mine made caramel sauce at my house last weekend – the same recipe as yours. Im still licking spoonfuls 🙂

  9. saw it and had had had to make it. sadly I realized my canister wasn't as frozen as I needed it to be until it was too late (rookie mistake!). So here's the daft question from a rookie ice cream maker: will the custard hold over night in the fridge while I re-freeze the canister so I can put it back in tomorrow night? If not, shoudl I just put it in the freezer and stir it constantly so it doesn't turn into a brick? start over? what is a rookie to do?!?

  10. Hi Dana, it depends on how acidic the squash is. If it is too acidic the milk in it could curdle overnight, however since the squash and milk were boiled together earlier, I think you should be fine and I don't think it will coagulate. Hope you like it!

  11. For now, I plan to interview food photographers only. Thanks for the vote of confidence and I appreciate the support.

  12. ended up starting from scratch just to be sure and it was AMAZING. threw in some caramelized walnuts and used it between fresh baked ginger snaps to make ice cream sandwiches! this recipe is amazing; thank you so much for the guidance!

  13. Hi Nik,

    That animated photo is so cool and love the idea of using a sweet vegetable in ice cream. Makes ice cream in winter totally worth it:)

  14. Oh the walnuts sound delicious, Dana. Fantastic idea, your ginger snap sandwiches sound like something I would love to eat right now!

  15. Wonderful idea and gorgeous pics!! I think I'm going to try this today with coconut milk and maple syrup or honey or something instead – Paleo version! Yum!

  16. My husband made this yesterday and served as his final course for a beer dinner topped with dulce de leche and ginger crumble…and paired with pumpkin saison . People raved about it. Truly an amazing texture and delicious ice cream

    1. Yay! I am so glad you guys tried it out and enjoyed it. I should make ice cream soon, it seems like I’ve taken a break from my churner 🙂

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