Oh goodness, how I wish I had made this pie prior to last weekend so that you all could have enjoyed it over the holiday. However, it was only because of the long weekend that I actually had time/energy to make this and therefore, the ability to share it with you. Such is life. Really, the important thing is that now I know about it and now you know about it, and we should all make pretzel ice cream pie all the time, amen.

The inspiration for this was twofold. First, the always excellent and inspiring Milk Bar cookbook has a pretzel ice cream pie. We’re talking amazing malted pretzel crust AND pretzel-infused ice cream (!!!)

I knew that needed to happen ASAP, but it occurred to me to include a strawberry layer as a nod to that apparently well known party dessert that involves (I believe) a pretzel crust, a layer of strawberries with jello and topped with frozen whipped topping. Though the original dessert has never appealed to me, this riff most certainly did. I think Ben said it best when, after tasting it he said, “It really just isn’t fair to all the other kinds of pie.” Agreed.

  • Prep about 40 minutes
  • Cook 20 minutes
  • Yield 1 9-inch pie


For the crust: 

  • 2 cups mini pretzels
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1 tbsp. malt powder
  • 9-10 tbsp. butter, divided

For the ice cream: 

  • 4-5 cups mini pretzels
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

For the topping: 

  • 1 lb. strawberries, rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    To make the crust, first make the pretzel crunch. Preheat the oven to 275˚ F. Crush the pretzels into small bits. (I put them in a pie plate and crushed with a heavy drinking glass. You could also place in a bag and use a rolling pin, but it is a waste of a bag!) Add in the sugars, milk powder and malt powder. Melt 7 tablespoons of the butter, stir in and toss until evenly combined and the mixture begins to clump. Spread the clusters on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

  • 02

    Once the pretzel crunch has cooled completely, melt the remaining butter and toss 2 tablespoons with the entire batch of pretzel crunch. Press the mixture into the sides of a 9-inch pie plate in an even layer. (If the mixture isn’t sticking together, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and then shape the crust.) Transfer to the freezer to chill.

  • 03

    To make the ice cream, preheat the oven to 300˚ F. Place the pretzels on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until toasted. Let cool. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and cream with the vanilla bean and sugars. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has completely dissolved into the liquid and the mixture is just beginning to form small bubbles, stir in the toasted pretzels, cover and remove from the heat. Let steep about 5-8 minutes. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve and discard the pretzels. Chill the mixture thoroughly before proceeding.

  • 04

    Freeze the pretzel ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the mixture has reached a soft serve consistency, spread in an even layer in the pretzel crust. Return the pie to the freezer.

  • 05

    To make the topping, combine the berries, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and toss well to combine. Let the berries stand about 15-30 minutes to macerate. Gently mash some of the berries into the liquid with a fork. Spread the strawberry topping over the ice cream layer of the pie and freeze. (Alternatively, serve as is over the sliced ice cream pie for non-frozen berry topping. Both ways are good.) Let stand at room temperature about 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.