Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill & Freeze Time: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 quart
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
432 Calories
33g Fat
31g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 432
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 43%
Saturated Fat 18g 88%
Cholesterol 131mg 44%
Sodium 80mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 122mg 9%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 233mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The walnuts add a nice crunch and nuttiness to this recipe, but the pure maple syrup is clearly the star of this creamy maple walnut ice cream. It's a delicious change of pace from the average frozen dessert and surprisingly easy to make.

The recipe takes a cooked custard approach to ice cream. It begins by heating real maple syrup with two types of cream. Tempering the eggs with a small amount of the warm cream is essential to avoid scrambled eggs. Once cool, the ice cream is churned in an ice cream machine, and that's when you can add chopped walnuts and maple flakes for a bit of extra crunch and even more maple flavor.

This is a fantastic ice cream to serve with an apple crisp, cobbler, or pie. It's also delicious with a maple syrup drizzle, and you can also use more maple flakes or walnuts as a topping.

"Utterly delicious may be overused, but it absolutely applies to this ice cream. The balance of flavors is perfect. It’s creamy with a wonderful crunch. If you’ve avoided cooked custard ice cream recipes in the past, give it a try. The steps walk you through the process so it’s sure to turn out great." —Colleen Graham

Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup dark maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Color and Robust Taste

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 cup light cream, or evaporated milk

  • 1 pinch kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, more for garnish

  • 1/3 cup maple flakes, more for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Pour the maple syrup into a heavy-duty medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and continue boiling until it has reduced to approximately 3/4 cup, 3 to 4 minutes.

    maple syrup in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the heavy cream, light cream, and salt, stirring frequently. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove it from the heat.

    maple syrup with cream in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well combined. While whisking, pour 1/3 to 1/2 of the hot cream-syrup mixture in a slow, steady stream. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking to blend.

    eggs added to the maple mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Place the saucepan over low heat and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture is hot, but not boiling. If you have an instant-read thermometer, look for a temperature of about 180 F. (The minimum safe temperature for egg dishes is 160 F.) The mixture will be slightly thickened. 

    custard mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl.

    Pour the mixture through the sieve into the bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the mixture until it is thoroughly chilled, 3 to 4 hours.

    custard in a plastic wrap covered bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Churn the custard in an ice cream machine (follow the manufacturer's directions for your specific brand) until thick but still soft. With the motor running, add the chopped walnuts and maple flakes, if using. Continue churning until the ice cream is frozen.

    custard in an ice cream machine

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Transfer the ice cream to a container. Cover the container tightly and freeze until solid.

    Transfer the ice cream to a container

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Serve topped with additional maple flakes and/or chopped walnuts.

    Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • The maple syrup grading system is divided into four grades: Grade A Golden Color and Delicate Taste, Grade A Amber Color and Rich Taste, Grade A Dark Color and Robust Taste, and Processing grade. The Grade A Dark Color and Robust Taste is equivalent to the grade formerly known as Grade B. This grade has a somewhat stronger flavor, so it is preferred in this recipe. If you prefer a subtle flavor, choose the Golden or Amber Color. 
  • Use a sharp chef's knife to chop the walnuts for best results. For a deeper flavor, toast the walnuts: Spread them out in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring and turning constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic. Remove immediately and cool.

Recipe Variation

  • Turn this recipe into a maple pecan ice cream by swapping out the walnuts with chopped pecans.

What are maple flakes?

Maple flakes are dehydrated maple syrup. They offer the same sweet taste in a light and airy dry form without the sticky mess. As a specialty item that's quite often organic, you can purchase maple flakes at high-end grocery stores and online. Maple flakes are great on cereal and desserts or to sweeten coffee and tea. They also make an interesting baking ingredient and could be used in recipes like maple shortbread cookies.