Pink peppermint stick ice cream: Tickle your taste buds pink

Picture, if you will, two grown women in the drugstore, giggling and giddy, shopping baskets piled high with just one thing.

No, not hair color or perfume, nor nail polish either. It was even better –

Candy canes!

Two weeks after Christmas my friend Cami called me and said candy canes were on sale for 27¢ a box. Wowza! How could I resist? We hopped in the car and headed over to the store.

Now, I’m sure the sales people thought we were crazed. We bought 6 boxes of peppermint canes each, and cleaned them out of the funky flavors as well. Cherry, pear, cinnamon, apple, and rainbow were fun treats, but we were really after the peppermint canes to use in our baking.

Cami’s canes were headed for several batches of chocolate peppermint biscotti, and mine were all headed for the crusher to be made into ice cream.

You see, peppermint stick ice cream is my husband David’s favorite flavor. We’re both old enough to remember getting it at Howard Johnson’s, and at the Friendly’s Restaurant in the Searstown Mall in Leominster, MA.  Back then the scoops were dotted with tiny red and green candies that melted and left minty sugar trails for tracing with your tongue. Ah, those were the days.

My family had been sweet enough to get me an ice cream maker for Christmas, and we celebrated in grand style with perfect pink puffs of peppermint.

Fast forward to summer, and we’ve still got one box of canes left. Move over vanilla, peppermint stick ice cream rocks in summer just as well as in winter, so we’re headed into the kitchen once again.

Come join us, and Let’s make Pink Peppermint Stick Ice Cream.


Place about 6 to 8 broken candy canes into a mini food processor. While you certainly can do this the old-fashioned way with a plastic bag and hammer, I like how quickly the processor gives you very fine powder, along with some larger chunks for crunch.


Already you can see the pink tone that will be in our ice cream, plus some big pieces of candy for texture.

Set the crushed candy aside for now.


In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup whole milk, 2 large eggs, and 1/3 cup sugar until well blended.

Add 3 tablespoons dry instant vanilla pudding mix, or our pastry cream filling mix (my must-have for ice cream bases).

Whisk in the dry mix until completely dissolved.


The mixture will start to thicken, which is just what we want.

Because I use farm-fresh eggs from my coop out back, the yolks are always bright yellow. This gives a slight orange tint to my base sometimes. Looking back, for pink peppermint I’ll probably use store-bought eggs next time, to keep the base a little more neutral.


Add the reserved crushed candy canes and 1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil, and whisk your mix for about a minute. The peppermint “dust” will dissolve quickly, and you’ll see the base turn pinker and pinker.

If you want to go bright pink, you can add a few drops of red or pink food coloring at this stage.

Cover the bowl and chill the base for at least 2 hours, or overnight. The colder the base, the faster it will freeze. Fast freezing means smaller ice crystals and a smoother ice cream.


Pour the cold base into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers’ directions.

The aroma of this ice cream permeates the whole house with an invigorating peppermint scent, quite refreshing during the warm months of summer.


I must say, this is by far the most tempting ice cream to eat straight from the machine. Cold, but still soft, it goes down so easy and is so refreshing it’s hard to stop.

If you want hard serve ice cream, though, scoop the soft ice cream into a container, seal tightly, and freeze for an additional 4 to 6 hours in your freezer.

Pink peppermint stick ice cream is wonderful by itself, but simply astounding on top of anything chocolate. A warm brownie with a scoop on top is heaven in a dish.

My husband’s absolute favorite way to enjoy this ice cream, though, is in a peppermint stick milkshake. Three scoops and a dash of milk blended to creamy perfection will make his day, week, and month.

That makes me curious. Do you prefer hard ice cream? Soft? Milkshakes? Floats?  Fill up our comments section below with your favorites.

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Pink Peppermint Stick Ice Cream.

Print just the recipe.

Bake those brownies you know you want as a base for the ice cream!


MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. Erin in PA

    Oh I love peppermint stick ice cream! And lucky for me, I actually found a box of candy canes I had bought at Christmas time, but forgot about. 🙂 this will be quite refreshing on a 95 degree day!
    ohhh, enjoy Erin, enjoy! ~ MJ

    1. Catherine Gobron

      I just had to tell you how much my family and I loved this recipe! I came across this as I was looking for a recipe for Peppermint Stick Ice Cream (as it’s my sister’s favorite) for her birthday cake (I used an oreo cookie crust) I made it as the recipe calls for except I used peppermint candies instead of candy canes and it came out fabulous!! Now it has become a family favorite!

      I have since made it again and it was requested to try and put “green candy” pieces in as well (I make 2 batches so that’s not a problem) When I tried to do that (long story short) I ended up with Spearmint Ice Cream!!! _ not realizing until it was too late that the green candy was in fact spearmint not peppermint. 🙂 So now I have 2 homemade ice cream recipes that my family loves! Thank you so much!
      CLG, Lee NH

  2. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - BRAZIL

    Brazil is hot country specially at summer, but every month of the year we taste some hotty days even at winter.
    Naturally we brazilians love ice creams.
    The end of the recipe is not clear to me.
    Is it really necessary to process the cream using ice cream maker?
    Can we finish well the recipe, to obtain good results, even not using ice cream maker?
    How can i do, then?

    For the best texture–smooth and creamy–you’d want to use an ice cream maker. We do give some tips on making ice cream without one in our Blog about mocha ice cream: Essentially, you will stir the ice cream every hour until you achieve the consistency you want: after 4 hours, it will be soft serve in texture and 6 it will be very firm. Best, Kim@KAF

  3. Keri

    I like ice cream in any way, shape, or form! Not picky as long as it’s good! 😉
    My husband only really likes it in milkshake form. You described a milkshake as a milkshake should be– thick! Some of my MA family seems to think a milkshake is mostly milk with a little ice cream. I grew up in MA as a child, but still don’t know the difference between a frappe and a milkshake! If you ask the counter girls at the shops up there about the differences, the answers vary! I’m fully transplanted to the South now, where a milkshake is a proper milkshake 😉
    We have some GA peaches now that may be destined for the ice cream maker!
    Oh Keri, I remember asking the “frappe vs. milkshake” question at Friendly’s Restaurant when I was younger. Imagine my surprise when here in Vermont they had it in opposite order! Thanks for sharing. ~ MJ

  4. Jenn

    MJ – all the ice creams I’ve made with eggs always required cooking. Is this not required because you are using your own eggs? And what purpose do they serve if you’re not cooking the custard? Just curious!

    Jenn–the eggs are pasteurized and thus safe to use raw in this recipe. If you have fresh eggs, you would want to cook the base first, just as we do for the Vanilla Bean ice cream: temper the hot liquids into the eggs/sugar, then heat the mixture to 185F:

    Even when you don’t cook the pasteurized eggs, they still provide a very creamy texture to the ice cream–using raw (but safe!) eggs actually helps keep the texture very light and smooth. Cooking the base intensifies and “densifies” the ice cream, but not so dramatically that it detracts from the texture–just different! I hope this helps! Kim@KAF

  5. pb684

    This sounds great but I’m a bit concerned about using raw egg…I noticed that the base isn’t cooked at all.

    The eggs we use in this are pasteurized and thus, are safe to use. If you do not have access to pasteurized eggs, you would want to prepare the base as we do for our Vanilla Bean Ice cream by tempering the eggs with warmed liquids and gently cooking the base up to 185. Here is the link to the recipe: Best, Kim@KAF

  6. janemccallister

    I wasn’t allowed to have candy as a child because I had bad teeth. So I would always order the peppermint stick ice cream at Howard Johnson’s. I was getting candy that way and thought I was getting away with something!
    Way to work it Jane! That’s how I felt about candy cigarettes when I was a kid. Glad I grew out of thatphase! ~ MJ

  7. Arlene

    Hi, this looks so smoothe! That is my problem with almost every ice cream I’ve made – I think the addition of eggs might be helpful – but my real question is what is make and brand of your ice cream maker? I use the freeze the cannister in the freezor kind, and thinking it doesn’t freeze the cream fast enough.

    Arlene: we use that kind of ice cream maker, actually: it’s a CuisinArt machine: In terms of making smooth ice cream: you want to be sure the ice cream base is very cold before it goes into the frozen part of the machine: the colder it is, the faster it will freeze, and the smaller the ice crystals are in the final product (i.e. smoother texture with smaller crystals!). You may also want to try our Vanilla Bean ice cream which is a custard-based ice cream: we gently cook the custard first (to cook the eggs and make the ice cream safe to eat!), then it gets chilled overnight and frozen the next day. This might help create a smooth final treat! Best, Kim@KAF

  8. Mel White

    How much crushed peppermint is in this recipe. I don’t have any leftover candy canes, but maybe I could use “starlight” mints or peppermint sticks. I love peppermint ice cream in warm weather and have never understood why people think that it’s only for the holiday season.

    Hi Mel, the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of crushed candies total: it’s about 6-8 candy canes, perhaps 2/3 of whole starbrite candies. Kim@KAF

    1. Mary Lair

      My Reply To Mel White:

      I am making this recipe for the 5th time right now! Having run out of candy canes or the bags of Atkinson Candy Co.’s already-chopped peppermint pieces (which seem also to be sold only at Xmas), I thought about what kind of peppermint would be best, and opted last week to buy a large 30 oz. plastic canister of those soft peppermint “puffs.” I got them at Walmart, and the maker is “Red Bird/Southern Refresh*Mints, Since 1890.” The container says also, that these are “The Original Soft Peppermint Puffs.” (?? IDK, but they ARE excellent!)

      I have to say, this batch has to be the BEST Peppermint Ice Cream I have ever made, or even TASTED, and Peppermint has been my favorite ice cream flavor, hands down, for as long as I can remember.

      And BTW, this is the BEST recipe I’ve ever used to make it. Seriously. AND it’s so easy! Makes me feel almost guilty to make something so that is so excellent.

      In closing, I would be hard pressed to say which one, the candy canes or the peppermint puffs, is the best candy to make this ice cream with. But definitely, I would choose the peppermint puffs over those “starlight mints” any day. The puffs cost more but it is well worth it!!

      Happy ice cream churning to us all!

      Marybeth L

  9. Kathleen

    I don’t care much for peppermint..but those spoons! Could you share the source for those darling spoons in the photo of the finished ice cream?

    Kathleen, I do apologize but those spoons are just props from the photo studio. No one knows where they came from! Kim@KAF

  10. Christa

    Hi there
    I was reading the recipe and thought, “Oh, here’s my chance to finally ask this question!”
    Why do you (and other recipes I’ve seen – like in the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream book ) add in raw egg to an ice cream recipe? I understand if you are adding egg and cooking it to create a custard base, but what does raw egg do to enhance ice cream?
    Eggs can add flavor and color, prevent ice crystallization, and make for that smooth and creamy texture. Yum! Elisabeth

  11. Savannagal

    What’s the point of the dry pudding mix or pastry cream filling mix? Can that be left out? Or can something else that is not pre-packaged be substituted?
    You can absolutely leave it out. It helps make a smoother texture for the ice cream, but can be left out. ~ MJ

  12. Bonnie

    Yum! My family’s favorite is a scoop or two of homemade peppermint ice cream nestled in a meringue shell with hot fudge sauce. We have it every Christmas bbut you have inspired me to make it in the summer too.

  13. Dee

    Looks great however I will be making this without the instant pudding mix as I do not use such products. I was ready to sadly reject this recipe but I happily saw your response to another poster so we are good to go! I also have my own chickens with the vibrant yellow yolks and I will NOT be using store-bought eggs. I plan on serving it with a hot fudge pudding cake!

  14. Steve

    I have been talking to people about PSIC for far too long. It’s time to take action. I shall make this happen. Thank you Steve


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