Copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe

Every fall, the list of pumpkin-spiced offerings grows larger and larger. What started as an obsession with Starbucks' PSL has expanded to everything from drinks to scones and bagels, and we aren't exactly complaining. The combination of smooth pumpkin and ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg has us captivated. If there's one fast-food chain that's really able to pull it off, it's Dairy Queen. They not only flavor a Blizzard with pumpkin spice, making it taste like pumpkin pie a la mode, but they also swirl "real pumpkin pie pieces" into the mix (via Dairy Queen). That really makes the dessert taste like pie!

Sadly, Dairy Queen's pumpkin pie Blizzard doesn't stick around for long, so we developed a copycat recipe that can be made all year long. All you need is a few ingredients and a blender or a stand mixer. In less than five minutes, you can transform regular vanilla ice cream into a copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe that almost tastes better than the original.

Gather the ingredients for this copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe

Making this copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe is all about gathering the right ingredients. So, we took a peek at Dairy Queen's website to find out what the chain puts in its famous seasonal Blizzard.

It starts with vanilla ice cream, which we thinned out with a little milk to emulate the consistency of Dairy Queen's ice cream. To get the pumpkin pie flavor, we picked up a 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree and flavored it ourselves with pumpkin pie spice. Store-bought pumpkin pie mix would also work here, but we found the cans are much too large considering that we only need a quarter of a cup. To finish the pumpkin pie Blizzard, we needed something that would work as Dairy Queen's pie pieces. They're made with wheat flour, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, and water — a pretty similar ingredient list to vanilla wafers. So we picked up a box and found they worked just fine.

Looking for the full list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions? Scroll down to the directions section below.

Are vanilla wafers required to make a copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe?

Vanilla wafers are the perfect substitute for the pie pieces used in Dairy Queen's pumpkin pie Blizzard. In fact, although we can't find an official confirmation, the Atlantic surmises that Dairy Queen uses crushed-up Nilla wafers to make their Blizzards. Real pie crust recipes are soft and flakey, and they "probably could not stand up to immersion in soft-serve." Vanilla wafers do hold up, remaining crunchy even after they've been submerged in ice cream.

If you don't have vanilla wafers on hand, you can make your own makeshift pie crust using graham crackers. Start by finally crushing six graham cracker squares and blending them with a tablespoon of melted butter and white sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom of a loaf pan or similar pan and refrigerate the mixture until firm, about an hour. Then, break your graham cracker crust up into pieces and use it to make this copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe.

To make the recipe gluten-free, use a gluten-free brand of graham crackers or pretzels to make the pie crust. Of course, you can always skip the pie pieces altogether and substitute nuts like pecans for a similar crunchy effect.

What's the best ice cream to use for this copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe?

Dairy Queen's Blizzards use artificially flavored vanilla reduced-fat ice cream that's made with milkfat, nonfat milk, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and a bunch of preservatives and thickening agents. There are plenty of ice cream brands on the market with similar ingredients, but we chose Breyers Natural Vanilla when making our test batch for this copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe. We liked that the ingredients label was simple — milk, cream, sugar, vegetable gum (a thickener/stabilizer), and natural flavor.

Of course, no brand of store-bought ice cream is as light and airy as Dairy Queen's soft-serve ice cream. They also hold their soft-serve at 23 degrees Fahrenheit (compared to your freezer's zero degrees), and the higher temperatures make the ice cream softer. To fix this problem, we add a little milk to the blender when mixing up our copycat Blizzard. It loosens up the ice cream but doesn't thin it out too much, creating the perfect texture for a Blizzard you can hold upside down (if you dare).

Should you use pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie mix to make the best copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe?

We know that Dairy Queen doesn't use plain pumpkin puree in the pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe. On their website, they list pumpkin, water, sugar, salt, spices, dextrose, and natural flavors as the components of the pumpkin pie mix. A Redditor also claimed that the chain uses Libby's pumpkin pie mix, so why did we insist on using pumpkin puree instead of the sweetened pre-mixed variety? Well, we found that a quarter cup of pumpkin puree mixed with half a teaspoon pumpkin pie spice created the perfect pumpkin pie flavor for our copycat.

For starters, the two are only slightly different. Pumpkin puree is exactly what it sounds like: pureed, cooked winter squash (like pumpkin or butternut squash). Pumpkin pie mix contains added ingredients, like spices and sugar. It also comes in a much larger can. A can of pumpkin puree contains 15 ounces, or just shy of two cups of puree. Pumpkin pie mix, on the other hand, is twice as large, coming in a 30-ounce can. Since we only needed a quarter of a cup of pumpkin to make a single Blizzard serving, it made sense to buy the smaller can. If you do plan to make 13 Blizzards at once, feel free to pick up the pumpkin pie can instead.

What to do with the leftover pumpkin puree after you make your copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe

Whether you choose pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie mix for your copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe, you'll still end up with leftover pumpkin. The alternative is to make your own pumpkin puree, but even then, it's hard to make a single quarter-cup serving. Luckily, the leftovers are super easy to freeze. Simply grab an ice cube tray or muffin tin. You can freeze the leftovers in one-tablespoon cubes (or quarter-cup muffin shapes). When they're completely frozen, store them in a freezer-safe bag and use them the next time you need a little pumpkin.

Leftover pumpkin puree is great for making more pumpkin pie Blizzards. Or use it to make our copycat Starbucks pumpkin cream cold brew recipe, which only requires three tablespoons of pumpkin puree. Small quantities of pumpkin puree are also great for flavoring yogurt or mixing into your morning oatmeal or smoothie. You can even use it in savory recipes, adding a splash to enchilada sauce, mac and cheese, or hummus to create a tasty dip.

Use a blender to make this copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe

A quick word of warning before you begin making this copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe: You'll want to be ready to drink up. We're mixing the ice cream with milk and pumpkin puree, changing its temperature and consistency. If you put it back into the freezer, it will become crystalized and have a gritty texture. You can save it for later, but it just won't taste the same.

When you're ready, pulse the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice in a blender. Once the spices are fully incorporated into the puree, add the milk and ice cream, and blend for about 30 seconds. There should be no streaks of pumpkin left in the ice cream. Break up the vanilla wafers into pieces (or your homemade graham cracker crust or pecans, if you're going that route) and add them to the blender. Pulse a few times to mix the pie crust pieces into the Blizzard.

Then, pour the Blizzard into a glass and top it with whipped topping, like Cool Whip or Reddi-wip. Add a few crumbled vanilla wafers on top as a garnish, and dust the finished product with nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.

How close did we get to the original Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard?

Our copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe captured everything we love about the Dairy Queen original. It was perfectly sweet and spiced, and the little pie pieces (our vanilla wafers) added the right amount of crunch to make us believe we were eating a real pumpkin pie. It was also thick enough to hold upside down (although you don't want to try it after adding the whipped topping ... that made a bit of a mess!).

The best part about this copycat recipe how easy it is to make. It only took about five minutes to combine the ingredients, and nothing required any chopping or advance prep. The process is even easier if you pre-portioned out the pumpkin puree and had the ice cubes ready to use in the freezer. Better yet, this recipe allows you to get your pumpkin pie spice fix any time of year. Dairy Queen's pumpkin pie Blizzard is only around for a limited time: In 2020, it came out on August 31, and it'll likely only stick around for the fall season. This recipe can definitely hang around much longer than that.

Copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe
4 from 2 ratings
Sadly, Dairy Queen's pumpkin pie Blizzard doesn't stick around for long, so we developed a copycat recipe that can be made all year long. All you need is a few ingredients. In less than five minutes, you can transform vanilla ice cream into a copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
1
Blizzard
how to make a copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe
Ready in 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup vanilla wafers (about 6 pieces), plus additional for garnish
  • Whipped topping, for garnish
  • Ground nutmeg, for garnish
  • 6 graham cracker squares, finely crushed (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar (optional)
Directions
  1. If you're not using vanilla wafers, combine the graham cracker squares, melted butter, and sugar in a blender. Press the mixture into the bottom of a loaf pan, and place the mixture into the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. In a blender, pulse the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until the spices are incorporated.
  3. Add the milk and ice cream and blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Break the vanilla wafers (or homemade graham cracker crust) into pieces and add them to the blender. Pulse until the pieces are mixed into the Blizzard.
  5. Pour the Blizzard into a glass and top it with the whipped topping. Add crumbled vanilla wafers to the topping and add a dusting of nutmeg.
  6. The leftovers don't keep well, so enjoy in one sitting.
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