Pineapple Habanero Ice Cream

Naomi Nakashima


My husband and I created this recipe together after buying the new ice cream maker and he loves unique and non-traditional flavor combinations. This has quickly become a family favorite.

The sweetness of the pineapple is enhanced by the small heat of the habaneros - or maybe the heat of the habaneros are enhanced by the sweetness of the pineapple? Either way, your taste buds will dance when you bite into this pineapple ice cream and you'll feel just a tingle of heat afterward. You can control the level of sweetness and heat easily by making a few minor adjustments depending on your taste.

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About 1-2 Quarts


16 Hr


35 Min


Ice-Cream Maker

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Oh wow... this ice cream is phenomenal! It's cool and creamy with bits of pineapple. Then, around the second bite you get the heat from the habanero. It's an unusual but great flavor combination. If you like a bit of heat, this will be a hit this summer. I'd recommend making extra glaze for serving, it's so yummy!


habanero peppers, fresh
1 can(s)
pineapple, crushed with juice (20 oz can)
2 c
whole milk
1 1/3 c
1/4 tsp
kosher salt
10 large
egg yolks
1 qt
heavy cream


1/8 tsp
pineapple flavoring oil (or 1/2 teaspoon pineapple extract)


1 1/2 c
pineapple juice (from the can, if possible)
1/4 c
brown sugar, lightly packed
3 Tbsp
butter, cut into small cubes

Directions Step-By-Step

First, open the can of crushed pineapple and drain the juice into a bowl. It's very important to drain the pineapple well using a very small strainer or cheesecloth. You want the chunks of pineapple to be fairly dry so that their moisture doesn't turn into icy bits in the ice cream. Reserve the juice for making a glaze later.

You should get about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of pineapple juice this way, give or take. Ideally, you want 1 1/2 cups (though you can make it work with a little less). If you can't get the full amount you need, supplement the juice by adding more from another source (either another can of pineapples or a small amount of pineapple juice bought separately).
Seed and chop the habaneros very fine. The habaneros will get added at two different times in the process, half when infusing the milk with the flavor, and the other half when getting ready to chill the ice cream before churning, so set aside half of the habaneros.

If you want to add extra spice to this recipe, this is the time to do it. You can keep the seeds with the half of the peppers that will be getting used first (infusing the milk). Make sure there are no seeds in the other half of the peppers.
In a medium sauce pan, stir together the milk, sugar and salt. Keep stirring over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
When the milk reaches its simmering point, add the half of the habanero peppers (make sure it is the half with seeds if you are trying to add extra spice - these will be strained out later in the process!). Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Then cut the heat and allow to sit another 10-15 minutes while the flavor of the peppers are infused.
** If you wish to add a bit more sweetness, this is when you can do so by adding in the pineapple flavored oil - like the kind used for hard candy. I've never tried this with pineapple extract before, so I am not sure what the extract will do to the texture of the ice cream, but the oil is a lot more concentrated and takes very little to add a lot of flavor. ***
While the milk mixture is resting, combine the crushed pineapple bits to the heavy cream in a large mixing bowl and stir. Set this aside and place a fine strainer over the bowl.
This is when I make the glaze. Add the reserved pineapple juice to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Continue to boil the pineapple juice until it reduces by about 1/3. Stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves.
Then add the butter about a teaspoon at a time while stirring constantly. Once the butter has melted, continue stirring until you see a glossy sheen.
Then remove from the heat and set aside. This glaze will thicken up as it cools, so if you like you can even set it into the refrigerator.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. To temper the egg yolks, slowly pour in the warm milk mixture while whisking constantly. Do not stop whisking or you will end up with scrambled eggs.

Once the milk mixture is fully combined, pours the eggs and milk back into the sauce pan and set the heat back to low.
Continue stirring constantly over low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat your spatula (about 6-7 minutes). Make sure to also pay attention to the bottom of the sauce pan, as you will probably need to scrape that continually.
Carefully pour the custard through the strainer and into the cream/pineapple mixture. Make sure you fully strain out all the bits of pepper and especially the seeds.
Add in the reserved half of the peppers (no seeds!) and stir everything until it is well combined and smooth.
Depending on your time and equipment - you can set this bowl over an ice bath and continue stirring until cooled all the way through. I've not tried this because I don't have a large enough bowl to create the ice bath in. So I just place the entire bowl into the refrigerator and allow to set (or, as my ice cream maker calls it, allow it to "ripen") overnight.

If you choose to use the ice bath method, it should take much less time to ripen the batter in the fridge, maybe a couple hours or so, instead of overnight.
The next morning, set up your ice cream maker according to the instructions. I use the Kitchen-Aid attachment on the stand mixer. Pour in the batter according to the instructions and start churning.

(For me, the entire batter had to be done in 2 batches using this attachment; though I could cut the recipe in half and just make the one batch, but it doesn't appear to last long enough that way).

With this attachment, churning took about 17 minutes each time. But your times may vary. You're looking to churn just until you reach the consistency of a soft-serve ice cream.
Once the batter has reached soft-serve consistency, start scooping it out into a freezer-safe container that is air-tight. As you scoop out the ice cream, swirl in the pineapple glaze that you set aside (it should now be the consistency of honey or thick caramel; heat it up just a little to soften it if it is too thick).

Close up the container and place it into the freezer and allow to finish there, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

If you need to split this up into multiple batches, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker for how long to wait until you're ready to start churning the second batch. You can keep the batter in the refrigerator at least 2 more days after its been done; though I can tell you, the second batch of ice cream is a little spicier (probably because the pepper got to sit in it a little longer).

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Ice Cream & Ices
Main Ingredient: Dairy
Regional Style: American
Collection: Summer Desserts!