Eat Up: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Eat Up: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

It’s the week after Halloween. Odds are, you purchased a ton of candy, and now you have bags and bags of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Take 5s because you didn’t get enough trick-or-treaters. If you don’t have Reese’s or Take 5s, I’ve got bad news: you bought the wrong candy. In fact, the kids on your street probably refer to your house as “that house that gives out really awful candy.” They most likely skipped over all your candy and left it for their parents, and their parents said, “Baby Ruth? Are you kidding? Where’s the Reese’s or Take 5?” That’ll be one of the last desperation candies that gets eaten, after all the good stuff is devoured but they’re still craving that sugar rush. They’ll eat it and think, “This doesn’t satisfy my sweet tooth like a Reese’s or Take 5 would.” And if they find out it was you … oh boy. Have fun at your next block club, and prepare for the stink-eye.

So anyway, do the right thing next year and hand out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (either full size or a handful of the mini ones) or Take 5s. Because those are the best. And because, if you have extra Reese’s, you can make Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream! Bonus!

The best thing about making ice cream at home is that once you have a solid “base recipe,” you can start experimenting with any flavor you want. An ice cream base is basically ice cream without any flavoring. When I was a kid, I remember thinking that ice cream without flavor was just vanilla ice cream. Which is funny because now vanilla is my favorite flavor. Well, there are a few other flavors I like more. Like my own Cookies and Irish Cream, or Mitchell’s Caramel Fudge Brownie, but generally vanilla is always my go-to. But there is always a time and a place for something a little more unique.

Last time I showed you how to make ice cream, I gave you the recipe for the base that I’ve developed, which I think is pretty good. It’s rather sweet, which I like because it’s a dessert, but it’s not too sweet that it over powers your flavors. I don’t use eggs, so you’ll never run into that “has this custard gone too eggy” question. All I did to flavor my base in that one was add vanilla. Simple. For this recipe we just swapped that vanilla out with peanut butter. We went with chunky peanut butter because A) it gives the ice cream an extra level of texture, and B) it’s what we had in the house. If you prefer creamy, do what you do and use creamy. In fact, I generally prefer creamy over crunchy. Although I have found that, as an adult, most people laugh at that decision. What can I say? Nobody’s perfect.

We have a lot of mini Reese’s Cups leftover (and Kit-Kats, actually — Kerry prefers Kit-Kats to Take 5s. What can I say? Nobody’s perfect.) so that’s where the idea for this ice cream came from. We weren’t sure if we wanted to do vanilla and peanut butter cups or peanut butter and peanut butter cups. We figured we’d give peanut butter ice cream a shot. One thing worth noting is that adding flavor elements can often change the texture of the ice cream, and that’s because it throws off the balance of everything in your base. If you add something very sugary, your ice cream is going to have more sugar than you planned. In this recipe’s case, peanut butter will make the ice cream much thicker. It’ll probably freeze much harder. Can you adjust the base recipe to try to compensate? Sure! But I prefer to just take my ice cream out of the freezer 10 minutes early if it freezes harder, and then I’ll have a consistent base I usually work with.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream


  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of cream
  • 1/2 cup of powdered milk
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 10 (or more) mini peanut butter cups, cut into bite sized pieces


  1. Set aside about a quarter cup of the milk.
  2. Combine the rest of the milk, cream, powdered milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium pot.
  3. Heat the mixture over a medium heat, until it begins to boil. Once boiling, boil for 4 minutes. With about a minute left, whisk together the milk you set aside and the cornstarch until all the cornstarch is incorporated.
  4. Remove the boiling mixture from the heat, and whisk in the milk/cornstarch.
  5. Return the mixture to heat, and bring back to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula.
  6. Cook until the mixture thickens up, which is about one more minute. You can do the old “does this coat the back of a spoon” test.
  7. Pour the mixture into a ziplock bag, and then submerge the bag in an ice bath for about 30 minutes.
  8. Once cold, add the peanut butter and squish the bag with your hands to mix the cream and peanut butter together.
  9. Pour the mix into your ice cream maker.
  10. Freeze per your machine’s instructions, usually 20 – 25 minutes.
  11. When the ice cream is almost ready to come out, add in the peanut butter cup pieces so they evenly distribute.
  12. Transfer the ice cream into a sealed container and place in your freezer for at least four hours.

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