Traditionally savory summer flavors go sweet in this delicious cinnamon basil and pine nut praline ice cream.
cinnamon basil and pine nut praline ice cream

I know what you’re thinking.

And YES these are the lengths I have to go through to get my husband to eat his greens. Let’s just say we’re all lucky this isn’t kale ice cream, okay?

Also, it is incredibly good. So there’s that.


Half of you are dying for a bowl right now and the other half are backing away slowly. I get it.

But when you really think about it, is putting basil in sweet things so weird?

I just can’t imagine it’s that much crazier than mint chocolateΒ chip or lemon rosemary, and my taste buds consider those to be the highest caliber of flavors. Like, maybe they should be their own food group or something.

(Hint hint.)


My point being that I think we should all keep an open mind and not judge an ice cream by its herbal infusion, mmkay?

One scoop and you’ll be riding the basil ice cream train right along with me. And scooping up honey pine nut praline clusters for crunch and smoky sweetness as we go.


If anything, what I would say this ice cream tastes most like is SUMMER. It has some herbal basil notes, of course, but it’s also just: refreshing, sweet, nutty, crunchy, creamy, smooth, and exactly want you want to cool off on a hot night. Or hot afternoon. Or hot morning.

Speaking of which: green (basil ice cream) smoothies. Let’s make it a thing.


Cinnamon Basil and Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream
Traditionally savory summer flavors go sweet in this delicious cinnamon basil and pine nut praline ice cream.
Yield: 1 quart
For the ice cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • large handful of fresh cinnamon basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • ¼ cup Pine Nut Pralines (recipe below)
For the pine nut pralines
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  1. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch. Set aside. Whisk the cream cheese and the salt in a medium bowl until smooth and set aside. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  2. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes, making sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  3. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the basil. Pour into a 1 gallon Ziploc bag, seal, and submerge in the ice bath. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes.
  4. Strain the basil out of the custard. Pour the custard into a frozen ice cream maker canister and churn until thick and creamy, according to manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Pack the ice cream into a cold storage container, folding in the pine nut pralines as you go. Store in the freezer in an airtight container.
For the pine nut pralines
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the nuts, brown sugar, honey, butter, and sea salt in a bowl. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 8 minutes. Stir and bake for another 5-6 minutes, stirring twice. Remove from the heat and let cool, stirring the nuts frequently to break them up.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 scoops

More savory-sweet twists!

chocolate cupcakes with basil buttercream frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream Frosting

thai basil ice cream

Thai Basil Ice Cream

black pepper and black cherry marble cheesecake

Black Pepper and Black Cherry Marble Cheesecake

From Around the Web:

Avocado Semifreddo with Strawberries and Basil from Healthy Nibbles and Bits

Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream from The Cupcake Project

Blueberry, Basil, and Goat Cheese Hand Pies from Local Milk

Vegan Blackberry Basil Ice Cream from Snixy Kitchen

Strawberry Basil + Cream Popsicles from Local Haven


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43 Responses to Cinnamon Basil and Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream

  1. I have never heard of cinnamon basil leaves before. But I love them both. And this ice cream is a KILLER, Joanne. So many amazing flavors and all summer goodness. I will be making this soon! Have lovely weekend! πŸ™‚

  2. Gorgeous! I’ve made thyme and goats cheese ice cream before, so basil sounds good to me! Ooh, basil and strawberry?

  3. Zainab says:

    WHOA!! You didn’t!

  4. Put me in the half that’s dying for a bowl of this right now! This is such a creative ice cream flavor, I’m sure the basil adds a lovely hint of flavor to it πŸ™‚

  5. I’m pretty sure I just squealed out loud a little bit when I saw all that praline nut goodness. And basil!! Um, you are my hero in the ice cream department today. This is the ultimate end-of-summer dessert!

  6. grace says:

    since i’ve become obsessed with basil this summer, i’ve been wanted to try a basil ice cream. i love mint chocolate chip, so why not? involving cinnamon just ensures that i’ll be a fan of this–bravo!

  7. You totally WIN the basil grand prize for the Summer of 2015 with this one! Genius!!!

  8. Barbara says:

    I’ve always thought herbal ice creams are divine! And this one is certainly a winner in the flavor department. Pralines? I love it!

  9. Julia says:

    I LOVE basil ice cream and have always enjoyed the store-bought pecan praline so this recipe is looking mighty fine to me! Those sweet cinnamony pecans are calling my name. Bring it, girl!

  10. I have soooo much basil. Why haven’t I thought of using it in ice cream?!

  11. Basil in ice cream? That’s not something that I have tried before, but I would definitely like to. We have an ice cream place near us that does all kinds of different flavours, but I have never seen any with basil in it.

  12. I am definitely not in the other half that would back out! This is just EPIC! I lovee the herby basil flavour in desserts and the way you’ve described the smoky sweetness and crunch from the praline is making me salivate!!!! How I WISH I could be eating this deliciousness straight out of that ice cream tin RIGHT NOW! Yum!

  13. Wow! Would have never thought of this, but I’m sure it’s amazing.

  14. I’ve never had basil in ice cream before but this sounds so wonderful. The cinnamon with praline makes it that much better!! I have got to try this!

  15. This is so intriguing! Admittedly, I’ve never had or put basil in ice cream before, but… I’d be down for it.

  16. I am part of that half that wants to lick my screen – I love love love cinnamon in an ice cream and with pine nuts, pralines and basil – this must have been orga$mic! Waiting for that kale ice cream…because – kale…

  17. Susan says:

    Maybe I can just sprinkle some cinnamon on my plain basil leaves? πŸ™‚ My favorite ice cream has either chocolate, nuts, praline, or a combination of all of them. The pine nut praline looks amazing!

  18. The ice cream looks amazing!! very unusual flavour combination… very tempting! πŸ™‚

  19. Erica says:

    You are my HERO. Pine nuts and basil AND cinnamon?!? Oh. my. god.

  20. Meg says:

    Yeeeeep, I’d be all over this! Lemon rosemary for life!

  21. Marissa says:

    Now I’ll be on the hunt for cinnamon basil – I’ve never heard of it. I often use Thai basil because I like the hint of licorice, so a hint of cinnamon would be right up my alley!

    This ice cream looks fabulous – I love how the goodies are in big clumps. Mouth. Is. Watering…

  22. Danguole says:

    I’ve made basil chip ice cream before (basically mint chip with basil instead) and it was heavenly. This sounds outrageously good and I need some riiiiiight meow, please and thank you.

  23. You’re Italian. I completely trust you. Pass me a spoon.

  24. I love the deconstructed pesto-ish thing going on here- so yum! So intrigued by these flavor combinations πŸ™‚

  25. I am all about this! You are killin it with the ice cream recipes this summer!!

  26. Kelly says:

    This is the most delicious way to sneak in those greens! Love basil ice cream and with the pine nut pralines and cinnamon? I’m totally dying for a bowl of this summery goodness!

  27. easypeasy says:

    I Love basil so this recipe doesn’t sound weird to me at all. It sounds heavenly!!! And it’s really hot in my neck of the woods so this is perfect timing! πŸ™‚

  28. I’ve noted some of your sweet basil recipes before and think they’re great ideas. Like you say, if mint can join with chocolate, why not other herbs (frankly, when it comes to chocolate, why not most things)? This sounds like the perfect summer dessert.

  29. Carolyn @ Cabot Cheese says:

    I need a bowl of this right now. This is an amazing combination of flavors!~Carolyn @ Cabot

  30. Whoa!!! I LOVE this flavor combination!!!! Basil?!!! freaking LOVE this, Joanne!

  31. Yum! This looks amazing. Who would have thought to put basil in ice cream – sounds like a new and yummy flavor. πŸ™‚ And he’s eating his greens in this ice cream too!

  32. I’m dying for a scoop or five right now. I did have basil ice cream once and it was green and tasted like pesto – I have much, much higher hopes for this.

  33. Kate says:

    Pesto praline ice cream!

  34. Sarah says:

    Woahhhhh! STOP EVERYHING! Can you ship ice cream cross country pretty please? This looks Soooooo good!

  35. I think basil goes perfectly well in desserts, and the cinnamon basil has such a great flavour πŸ™‚

  36. I wish I had something clever to say, but right now I’m busy trying to find my mind since you’ve blown it. This is just pure deliciousness right here. I need about four giiiiiiaaaaant scoops.

  37. OMG, Joanne! This is SO NOT weird AT all! This is everything that is right in life! Basil in ice cream?! YEESSSS! Why in the helz did I not think of that?? GENIUS! And honey pine nut praline clusters?!? GIMME that deliciousness by the pound! I love EVERYTHING about this ice cream chicka! SO.Much.YUMM! Pinned! Cheers! πŸ™‚

  38. This ice cream looks so good, Joanne! Sounds like an amazing flavour combo!

  39. This ice cream sounds amazing! Our mouths are salivating!

  40. elly says:

    I kind of feel like praline should go on literally everything.

  41. *jaw drops*

    overwhelmed by all the brilliant deliciousness going on in this ice cream!

  42. What a great flavor combo! & basil goes with everything – so no backing away here πŸ˜‰

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