Ghost Pepper Corn Ice Cream

Happy Halloween! Here’s a spooky treat for y’all. But don’t be scared away–it’s not as spicy as it sounds, and you can easily make it less or more spicy on your own terms.

Hot ghost peppers on a cutting board next to shucked corn

I’ve given my recommendation in the recipe below, but there are a few ways to manage the spiciness of this flavor. To reduce the spiciness:

  • Use only half the pepper.
  • Use the bottom half of the pepper, instead of the top (where the concentration of seeds are)
  • Use a small pepper
  • Only steep the pepper for 1 hour, then taste the base. If it’s hot enough, remove the pepper before cooling the base.

Hot ghost peppers cut open on a cutting board

To increase the spiciness, instead of simply adding another ghost pepper, you may want to consider steeping the one pepper for longer (I’ve done 24 hours once, and that was a perfect amount of time for me). Even if you use just one whole pepper, don’t forget to cut it open so that the seeds can add to the spiciness and smokiness.

ghost pepper corn ice cream in front of a fall foliage arrangement


  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 dried ghost pepper, sliced in half
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked, kernels sliced off, cobs sliced into thirds


  1. Heat the milk, cream, milk powder, sugar, and salt over medium-low heat and stir lightly until the powder and sugar are dissolved. Turn off the heat.
  2. When the milk mixture is below 70 degrees C, pour the egg yolks into the milk-cream mixture on the stovetop. Mix to combine. Turn the heat back to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it reaches between 74-78 degrees C on a candy thermometer. Turn off the heat.
  3. Add the corn and ghost pepper (see notes above about monitoring spiciness). Steep corn for 1 hour. Strain. Add the ghost pepper back into the base, and set the base in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove or strain the ghost pepper. Churn your ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Place it in safe storage in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to solidify.
  5. Scoop and enjoy!