Kitchen Q&A: Peanut Butter Swirl for Ice Cream

I’ve had a few e-mail requests for a peanut butter swirl recipe for ice cream.

And I thought to myself, “Yeah–why haven’t I done that yet?”

So, for my little guy’s second birthday, I decided to make him a peanut butter swirl ice cream cake. (Don’t get too excited–the cake was a disaster, despite how delicious it looks!)

I did my research on different peanut butter swirl recipes. There are quite a few out there. I didn’t really love any of them.

Peanut butter can be hard to work with. When you mix it with other ingredients, like sugar, it gets super thick. I wanted to be careful of that and know that it would still freeze well, but not freeze solid.

I decided to go with natural peanut butter–mostly because I have ample amounts of it on hand at all times, and sweetened condensed milk.

Why sweetened condensed milk? Besides the fact that we love it, I was positive it would lend the kind of texture I wanted–like caramel. And it did.

It took on the desired caramel texture and was just sweet enough. I think Jif or Skippy might have been too sweet.

A full recipe makes a lot. My husband and kids ate the remaining PB swirl by the spoonful. Next time I make it, I will halve the recipe. But, if you want, I think making a full batch would be great because you could use the remainder as a peanut butter sauce. (Unless you need it for a 4 quart recipe–then you would double it.)

Start with a good recipe for ice cream–

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (this is the same recipe you’ll find most anywhere–it’s really good)
Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream (better than Haagen Daaz!)

Peanut Butter Swirl for Ice Cream

1 cup natural peanut butter
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2-4 tbsp. milk (for thinning)

Stir the peanut butter and condensed milk together, adding a little milk to thin it out. It should be the consistency similar to thick caramel sauce. (You can also beat it with an electric mixer.)

You will only need half of this recipe for a 1 1/2 quart ice cream recipe (like the ones above.) Double the recipe for 1 gallon (4 quart) recipes–for ice cream makers like the one grandma had.

To swirl into ice cream:

Freeze your ice cream of choice in an ice cream maker. Place 1/3 of the frozen ice cream in a freezer-proof container. Dollop spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture evenly over the surface of the ice cream. Top with more ice cream, more spoonfuls of peanut butter, the remaining ice cream and the remaining peanut butter mixture. Use a thin knife or wooden skewer to swirl the peanut butter throughout the ice cream. (You may want to place the container in the freezer until it starts to set up a bit before swirling the peanut butter. You don’t want it to sink to the bottom.)

Let harden in the freezer before serving.

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  1. Sorry it was a disaster, but it does look good! I make a really tasty banana split one with a rice krispies crust on the bottom if you’d like the recipe!

  2. i think your blog is way better than cook’s illustrated magazine. similar in that you describe the process, but i love the photos and your commentary is much more entertaining.

    you rule, lindsey!

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