Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Gelato (or Ice Cream)

pumpkin gelatoSummer is slowly coming to the end but here in Louisiana, we still have a few more months of scorching heat which means a few more months of ice cream! Since our farmer’s market is filled with butternut squash, I could think of no better way than to use this yummy vegetable than in a gelato! :) It kinda tastes like a pumpkin dessert; full of flavors such as cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. When topped with a few “candied” nuts, it’s the perfect summertime treat!

This recipe is a variation on my Vanilla Bean Gelato. I thought I would spice it up with one of my FAVORITE vegetables, butternut squash! The taste of butternut squash reminds me of pumpkin. If you get a really sweet one, like a fresh one from the farmer’s market, it can be peeled and sliced, then eaten raw! One of the ones I purchased at the farmer’s market actually tasted a little like cantaloupe, and it only cost $1. I have enjoyed adding butternut squash to my repertoire this summer, especially this gelato.040

Gelato vs. Ice Cream

So what is gelato? It is an Italian ice cream that uses more milk than cream. It is also more dense and has less air incorporated it than traditional ice cream. Typically, this means using a different vessel to make it, but you don’t necessarily need to have a gelato maker but shhh, don’t tell a Gelato connoisseur! :) 
To make gelato in a standard ice cream maker, follow the instructions below by taking out the partially frozen mixture before it firms up and before it gets aerated. Then pour it into a bowl and freeze it for 23 hours, or until hardened. You now have gelato.
For regular ice cream, just let the ice cream maker turn your mixture until it is very thick and aerated. Either way you do it, you will have a delicious treat! 
11 ice cream

Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

I LOVE my compressor ice cream maker! No bowls to freeze or rock salt to deal with. Other great ice cream makers are the Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker (under $50) or the Electric Ice Cream Maker. (I have all 3 of these ice cream makers!) If you don’t have a maker, you can use this recipe for impressive ice cream without using a machine! (It really does work)! 


For Dairy-Free: Use canned coconut milk for the milk and/or cream. I am sure true Italians wouldn’t call it gelato but I would still call it good! :) 

Sweetener: I used Organic KAL Stevia to sweeten this Gelato for one batch and Organic Trader Joe’s Stevia for another batch.  If using Organic Sweet Leaf Stevia, use 1/2 tsp. for this recipe. Everyone’s pallet will respond differently to the taste of stevia and the last thing you want to do is add too much and make your Gelato bitter. Remember, you can use ANY sweetener you choose in all of my recipes, especially this one. If you are using a granular sweetener like coconut sugar or xylitol, be sure to add it when the mixture is cooking so that it dissolves easily. Stevia is added at the very end because the sweetness of stevia can sometimes cook out. 

Vegetable of choice: Don’t have butternut squash? Consider using cooked sweet potato or even cooked pumpkin.  Cook these veggies in your slow cooker on high for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until tender. 

I hope you enjoy this summer treat! I will definitely be making this again in the fall for Thanksgiving using pumpkin! I say ice cream and gelato year round, let’s make a new trend!


Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Gelato (or Ice Cream)
Serves 10

1/2 cup servings

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  1. In a medium bowl, add egg yolks and salt. Whisk for about 1 minute or until thick. Set aside.  

    In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, add milk.  Warm milk to scalding (little bubbles will form on side of the pot). Temper the egg yolks by whisking 1/2 cup of the scaled milk into the egg yolks.  Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pot with the milk. Over medium-low heat stir egg and milk mixture until thickened. This should take about 8-10 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.

    Once the mixture is thick, turn off the heat and whisk in the cream, vanilla and sweetener.  Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed. Pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight. 

    Once cooled, add the mashed butternut squash, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use an immersion blender to make sure the gelato mixture is smooth (you could also use blender or food processor). Taste for sweetness again and adjust if needed. Pour the mixture into your ice cream or gelato maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

    If using a regular ice cream maker, let the maker run until the gelato mixture starts to thicken but is not stiff. Transfer thickened mixture to freezer safe bowl with lid and freeze for 3-4 hours or until gelato sets up. If frozen overnight, leave hardened gelato at room temperature for 60 minutes (depending on the room temperature) or until itis softened enough to scoop.

    Serve with "Candied" Pecans. 

    NOTE: Feel free to leave the mixture in your ice cream maker for the full time or until the mixture is very thick. This will be more like ice cream but still delicious! 

  1. Nutrition: 100 Calories, 7.5 grams Fat, 7 grams Net Carbs, 3 grams Protein
  2. Nutrition is based on using cow's milk and cow's cream and does not include the "Candied" Nuts which are optional.
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  1. Brenda Korinek says

    This is seriously delicious! Smooth and creamy with just the right amount of spices. I made some today using coconut milk in place of the whole milk and pumpkin, because that’s what I had on hand. It turned out so great I don’t want to share with anyone else (but I will)! :-)

  2. Terry says

    I was very disappointed. As I was cooking the almond milk with the eggs (which I carefully tempered) the eggs started to congeal, looking like I never tempered them. I don’t know what I did wrong because I had carefully tempered the eggs. I don’t think I will try it again. It is very time consuming. It would have been worth it if I hadn’t ended up the the mess of egg yolks.

    • satisfyingeats says

      Hi Terry, I am sorry you had troubles. Ideally, almond milk is not the first choice but that shouldn’t have caused the eggs to congeal. Did you cook it too long perhaps? I have taken the almond milk off the recipe until I can test it again.

  3. Keira says

    I’m sure it would hugely alter the recipe but can you get away with making this without the eggs?
    thanks so much!!

    • satisfyingeats says

      Keira, if omitting the eggs skip the whole cooking process. It will lack a little of the body but still taste good.

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