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If you love Hawaii and ice cream, then you are probably going to fall head over heels for this easy Coconut Macadamia Nut Ice Cream recipe. This creamy, easy ice cream has buttery macadamia nut flavor and there are chunks of chopped nuts in each bite.

An image of two glass cups filled with scoops of homemade coconut macadamia nut ice cream.

Coconut Macadamia Nut Ice Cream

One of my favorite thing to do each summer is trying new homemade ice cream flavors. This coconut macadamia nut ice cream is one of those flavors that you don’t see in the stores.  While we were in Kauai a few months ago, I tried a couple of other macadamia nut ice cream variations that I’m going to have to try recreating next. One was chocolate macadamia nut ice cream, which I’m pretty sure you could make just by using my burnt almond fudge ice cream recipe and subbing in macadamia nuts for almonds. The other was my favorite: coconut macadamia nut ice cream. 

An image of a container of coconut macadamia nut ice cream with an ice cream scoop in it.

This coconut macadamia nut ice cream is fabulous all on it’s own or in an ice cream sundae topped with hot fudge or pan fried butterscotch bananas.

Foods Hawaii is Known For

If you are new to my blog, I have a series I’m working on where I tackle the foods each state is known for, one at a time. It’s called American Eats and it has been so much fun that I look forward to researching each new state.

Hawaii is known for some of my very favorite flavors besides macadamia nuts. Pineapple, guava, and coconut are all flavors that are frequently associated with the Hawaiian islands. 

But I take umbrage with calling a recipe “Hawaiian” just because it has pineapple added to it. Kind of how I feel like it’s disingenuous to add avocado to something and call it “Californian”. 

So far, I’ve also shared recipes for Hawaiian macaroni salad, kalua pork, homemade Hawaiian punch, papaya seed dressing, and macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi as part of my collection of Hawaii-inspired recipes in this series. But here are some of my favorite recipes that, while I wouldn’t call them Hawaiian, definitely have Hawaiian flavors that take a starring role:

Pineapple Recipes

Coconut Recipes

Guava Recipes

Macadamia Nut Recipes

I have found that macadamia nut ice cream is a flavor you can’t really get anywhere except Hawaii, which is why I decided to recreate it at home as part of the series. It’s one of the foods Hawaii is known for, although it often takes a supporting role as a component of hula pie or as a base underneath shave ice at places like Hee Fat General Store in Kauai.

I’ve also shared recipes for Hawaiian macaroni salad, kalua pork, homemade Hawaiian punch, papaya seed dressing, and macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi. You’ve pretty much got an entire Hawaiian meal planned for you right there, if you want to give it a shot!

How to Make Coconut Macadamia Nut Ice Cream

  1. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. In a separate large bowl, mash the softened cream cheese with a spoon until smooth.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the chopped macadamia nuts and butter, cooking and stirring over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the butter has melted and the macadamia nuts are a light golden brown. Be careful not to burn. Transfer to a separate bowl.
  3. In the same saucepan, add the milk, coconut milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt, then bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
  4. Return the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture over the cream cheese, whisking until smooth, then cool completely. You can speed up the process by transfer the mixture to a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag and submerging it in an ice bath, adding more ice as needed, until cold. This only takes about 30 minutes. If chilling the mixture in the fridge though, plan on at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
  6. Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn until thick, about 20-30 minutes. Add the chopped macadamia nuts right at the end, then transfer to an airtight container. Freeze for at least 4 hours until the ice cream is firm.

An image of two glass jars with scoops of homemade coconut macadamia nut ice cream in them.  

How to Toast Macadamia Nuts

  1. In a Pan: To toast nuts in a pan, just add them to a dry pan and heat them over medium heat, shaking the pan periodically so the nuts don’t burn. After just a few minutes, a nutty aroma will waft upwards and the color of the nuts will start to deepen just a bit, which is when you know they are done.
  2. In the Oven:  To toast macadamia nuts in the oven, heat the oven to 350 degrees F, then pour the nuts onto a baking sheet in a single, even layer. Toast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so the nuts don’t burn. Again, there will be a nutty aroma and the nuts will turn slightly golden-brown, which are your indicators that the nuts have been toasted.

An image of macadamia nuts in a bowl.

More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

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Macadamia Nut Ice Cream
Yield: 8 servings

Macadamia Nut Ice Cream

If you love Hawaii and ice cream, then you are probably going to fall head over heels for this easy Coconut Macadamia Nut Ice Cream recipe.  This creamy, easy ice cream has buttery macadamia nut flavor and there are chunks of chopped nuts in each bite.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup roasted and unsalted macadamia nuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can coconut milk (1 2/3 cups)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. In a separate large bowl, mash the softened cream cheese with a spoon until smooth.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the chopped macadamia nuts and butter, cooking and stirring over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the butter has melted and the macadamia nuts are a light golden brown. Be careful not to burn. Transfer to a separate bowl.
  3. In the same saucepan, add the milk, coconut milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt, then bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
  4. Return the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute, until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture over the cream cheese, whisking until smooth, then cool completely. You can speed up the process by transfer the mixture to a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag and submerging it in an ice bath, adding more ice as needed, until cold. This only takes about 30 minutes. If chilling the mixture in the fridge though, plan on at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
  6. Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn until thick, about 20-30 minutes. Add the chopped macadamia nuts right at the end, then transfer to an airtight container. Freeze for at least 4 hours until the ice cream is firm.

Notes

I find the easiest way to chop macadamia nuts is by using the food processor. Just pulse them a few times, taking care not to process them too much or it will turn into macadamia nut butter.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 452 Total Fat: 36g Saturated Fat: 24g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 68mg Sodium: 216mg Carbohydrates: 33g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 30g Protein: 4g

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?

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Curious about foods from other states in my American Eats series? Check them out below!

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Iowa • Louisiana • South CarolinaTexas