Candied Bacon Ice Cream Recipe

Bacon Ice Cream

Who doesn’t like bacon and eggs?

Ok, maybe vegans. And folks who are kosher. And people who don’t eat eggs. Or those who don’t like bacon. But I’m not sure that’s possible. (I have a great bacon joke, but it’s not ‘pc’, so I’d better keep it to myself.)

I’m a big fan of both bacon and the beautiful, bright-orange yolked eggs we get in France, so why confine them to breakfast? I was pretty sure Candied Bacon Ice Cream would work. I mean, it’s got salt. It’s got smoke. So why not candy it? Inspired by Michael Ruhlman, l wanted to see what would happened when they all got together.

Candied Bacon

Candying the bacon was a hoot. Being in an experimental mood, I tried everything from agave nectar to maple syrup to dark raw cassonade sugar.

I lined up five strips and baked them off.

prebaked bacon

Surprisingly, the best results I had was using regular light brown sugar. The agave nectar I painted on, as well as the maple syrup—which I had impossibly-hopeful hopes for—just slid right off. I suppose I could’ve reduced maple syrup to a thick glaze before brushing it on, but I’m down to the last quarter of the bottle I brought back from the Greenmarket in New York.

And as much as I love you all, I don’t love you more than maple syrup.

postbaked bacon

Still, for flavor and crisp-itude, the light brown sugar won hands-down and baked to a firm, shiny-sweet glaze. Of course, individual ovens vary and although I asked my charcutier to cut my bacon on the moderately-thick side (around ¼-inch or ½ centimeter)—if yours is thinner or thicker, keep an eye on it in the oven. American bacon tends to throw off lots of fat, so you might want to bake it on a rack.

(Someone came over to write a story about my kitchen last week and was a bit surprised I didn’t have a microwave. Unfortunately it came down to a space-issue an the monster espresso machine won out. So I candied my bacon the old-fashioned way.)

As I was scooping the ice cream out of the machine and tossing in the bits of candied bacon, getting ready to lick the spatula (hey, pipe down…no one was looking…) I had a last-minute thought that dusting of ground cinnamon would be nice, so I added it. I tend to be pretty restrained when using cinnamon around here since if I offer a taste of something with more than a very light dusting of it to French friends, they have a hard time getting past the cinnamon and I can’t get an accurate evaluation from them.

They do like cinnamon, just not in the vast quantities we American like to shovel in. So I wanted it to be subtle and not off-putting, but present. Aren’t I good at pleasing everyone? Très ‘pc’.

My final test was when I brought a small container of this to my butcher to see what he thought. I didn’t tell him what it was and he took a bite. I waited. He tasted. The priceless look on his face!

Then I breathed a sigh of relief when he polished it off and gave it the thumbs up.

But then again, he’s a little biased.

bacon ice cream2

Bacon Ice Cream
About ¾ qt (¾l)

Like my butcher, I loved the salty taste of bacon with brown sugar, but I’m also going to be folding bits of candy bacon into Coffee Ice Cream in the future. Or maybe get really crazy and try little bits in a batch of Avocado Ice Cream.

If you don’t have half-and-half, simply mix together heavy cream and whole milk in equal proportions. I’m not sure about dairy alternatives, but since this doesn’t fall into the vegan category, I think this time I’m off the hook. ; )

For the candied bacon;
5 strips bacon
about 2 teaspoons light brown sugar

For the ice cream custard:

  • 3 tablespoons (45g) salted butter
  • ¾ cup (packed) brown sugar (140g), light or dark (you can use either)
  • 2¾ (675ml) cup half-and-half
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

2. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil, shiny side down.

3. Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length.

4. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.

5. Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.

(Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)

6. To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half. Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.

7. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

8. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

9. Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using.

10. Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.


Related Posts:

Meet Your Maker

Making Ice Cream Without A Machine

More Bacon Bits:

Put your money where your bacon is

Homemade bacon vodka

Your daily bacon

Bacon for boo-boos

Pig candy

Bacon baklava

Bacon toffee

Does everything taste better with bacon?

Maple Bacon cupcakes

Bacon unwrapped

Makin’ bacon

Even vegetarians like bacon

Spray-on bacon

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  • July 17, 2010 3:49pm

    this sounded delicious from the beginning. so good that i read it last nite and made some this morning! i am amazed. my first batch was sooo good that i didnt think it could get any better, but then i made more this afternoon and i was pretty sure i burnt the bacon. it was a little black on the edges and smelled somewhat overdone, but it wasnt different in taste. after i layed it on the counter and it cooled for a minute or so, i cut it up and when i put the knife down on it, it shattered!!! literally shattered and some fell on the floor -my dog enjoyed that :) and when you bit it it fell apart in your mouth. i want to drool just thinking about it. many thanks for the recipe

    ps: for anyone who doesnt have enough time to make the icecream or dont have an icecream machine,you can use store bought vanilla icecream, thats what i did due to lack of time and it turned out incredible!

  • Sarah
    August 11, 2010 11:09am

    Hi David;

    I just have to say that I just started reading your blog recently when my boyfriend bought me an ice cream machine for my birthday. I have tried so many flavors that I just absolutely love (thank you for making the formulas public!). I went to Johnson and Wales and now I am a baker at Seven Stars Bakery in RI we specialize in Artisan Breads I do mostly bread mixing and some pastry mixing/baking. So anyways I am trying to get to a point where I can formulate my own ice cream! So my question is why use half and half in this bacon ice cream? (Which I made last night and am in LOVE with so is my boyfriend) I ended up having to use 2 cups half and half and 3/4 c. 1% (because of my poor planning) and the ice cream is just not as creamy as I would like. Would using all heavy cream make it much creamier? Or is there a specific reason to use the half & half? Would I need to decrease the amount of egg yolks because of the added fat?


  • michelle
    August 15, 2010 8:44pm

    I’ve tried this recipe yesterday, and I have to say it’s not to my taste…The base for the ice cream is fantastic, but the bacon isn’t for me.

    If you still want to try it, I definitely suggest using only 1 or 2 slices. I used the 5 slices listed but ended up using only 3 because it seemed like a bit too much bacon. It turned out to be too much bacon even using that quantity!

  • Maisie
    August 22, 2010 3:07am

    I was thinking of making a candied bacon ice cream, and the recipe I was thinking of was almost exactly the same as this one! I also thought it would be good with coffee ice cream too :) I will be trying this out soon.

  • Maisie
    August 22, 2010 5:32am

    Hi David, I forgot to mention in my previous comment, that a little nutmeg possibly be a delightful addition.

  • Corie
    November 22, 2010 12:26am

    I made this for my birthday and loved it!! Thanks!

  • December 8, 2010 11:43pm

    Love the surprise of this, the incredible flavor of the base…tasting it in every phase as the ice cream maker churns. Follow two intensely meaty dinners with this as the surprise dessert….turns out you can never have enough bacon.

    Thank you for the recipe — great stuff.

  • Wolf
    December 27, 2010 10:26pm

    Could you make an ex-alcoholic friendly version? I don’t see what’s the point of the rum and how much vanilla beans or something would up put in the extract’s stead?

  • December 28, 2010 12:42pm
    David Lebovitz

    Wolf: You could skip the alcohol. What is does is provide flavor, as well as keeps the texture softer. You can read more about that at my post Tips for Keeping Homemade Ice Cream Softer. Alcohol, which is also present in vanilla extract, also changes the way this taste. But you can indeed use vanilla bean if you wish.

    Readers are always welcome to modify recipes to suit their individual needs. For more information on substituting ingredients in my recipes, you can check out Baking Ingredients and Substitutions.

  • Mandakini
    January 21, 2011 3:47pm

    Hi David,

    Had written a comment, but cant find it on the post anymore. Just wanted to know, the instruction manual for ICE 50 BCU, says churn for 30 mins for soft set ice cream, but you usually say churn it till the machine stops automatically. Should I be doing that as well? What is the difference?

    thanks a lot!!

    Some machines have an auto-stop feature, and others don’t. I recommend following the instructions that came with your machine. If you have particular questions about it, it’s best to contact the manufacturer. -dl

  • Mandakini
    January 21, 2011 3:59pm


  • January 21, 2011 6:49pm

    This ice cream recipe is amazing… I am so going to try this next week. Great pictures also.