Butter Is The Secret To The Richest Homemade Ice Cream You've Ever Had

When thinking about ice cream, there's plenty of rich dairy that comes to mind, from heavy cream to milk, but rarely does one think of butter. Sure, there's the flavors that invoke the golden butter flavor, like browned butter pecan and butter toffee. But this is mostly incorporating butter through the toffee, caramel, and butterscotch sauces added into the ice cream. It begs the question — what would happen if you actually added butter right into your next batch of vanilla ice cream? 

The answer is simple: decadent magic. Whether you go big by adding a whole stick or start small with a few tablespoons, the butter will bring a whole new luxe flavor and texture to the creamy treat. Plus, it takes very little technique and effort to mix in this revolutionary addition. Still, there is a trick to properly incorporating butter into your custard base and what kind of butter to use. So, how should you go about making your own batch of butter ice cream? 

Butter makes everything better

To begin with, pick a plain vanilla base ice cream recipe so that the buttery flavor has the opportunity to shine. And consider investing in a quality, unsalted European-style butter to incorporate into your ice cream. These types of butter have a richer fat content and less water, meaning they'll bring a more luxurious texture and taste to the ice cream base. You can still use American-style butter, but it will bring more moisture to your ice cream, which may mean more clunky ice crystals. 

Once you make the classic vanilla custard base and let it cool down, you'll mix in melted and slightly cooled butter. The base and the butter should roughly be the same tepid temperature so that can easily mix together. Note: mix thoroughly so that the fat doesn't begin to separate. You can start with 2-3 tablespoons of butter or add in the entire stick's worth. You'll then immediately pour your butter base into the ice cream churner so that it blends smoothly.

Want to double down on the butter flavor? Add in a teaspoon of butter extract. If you'd rather incorporate ingredients complementary to buttery flavors, consider folding in some toasted pecans or candied macadamia nuts, as well as toffee brittle chunks or praline bits. Even a drizzle of salted caramel would be welcome here. But just plain butter ice cream is an experience in itself — any way you scoop it, you win.