Influencer Reveals Disturbing History Behind The Origins Of Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Do you know the story behind this classic flavor?

Screenshots from TikTok / TikTok

Nikki Jenkins is a TikTok creator who posts videos of herself cooking delicious food alongside history lessons, primarily focusing on Black American history. In one recent video, she educated her viewers on the history behind butter pecan ice cream and its popularity in the Black community.

Jenkins revealed the significance of Butter Pecan ice cream in Black history.

According to Jenkins, Black Americans in the Jim Crow South were denied the right to eat vanilla ice cream.


“While it was never officially a law, just as many other racist practices were accepted but never codified into law, there are countless anecdotal stories from Black people passed down from generation to generation that they, or a friend or family member, had been denied the right to purchase vanilla ice cream or that they’d experienced violence when caught eating vanilla ice cream,” Jenkins said.

RELATED: Why I Think Black People Can't Be Racist – Even Though Some Black Scholars Disagree With Me

Jenkins explained that in the mid-1800s, an enslaved man named Antoine developed a grafting technique to propagate pecan trees, allowing them to be cultivated as a commercial crop. Due to the accessibility of the ingredients for butter pecan ice cream and the fact that it was relatively easy to make, the flavor gained popularity among Black Americans.




The comments on Jenkins's video were full of people who loved butter pecan ice cream but hadn’t known about its history.

Many mentioned that it was the favorite flavor of their older family members and that they were grateful to learn about its background.

RELATED: A Man Cooks Strangers' Favorite Childhood Meals & Delivers It To Them—The Results Are As Moving As They Are Delicious

An article published by the Daily Dot delved deeper into the history of butter pecan. The author spoke with Darryl Goodner, a Louisville ice cream shop owner who was inspired by the legacy of butter pecan to launch a podcast titled the Butter Pecan Podcast in which he and his co-host discuss connections between systemic racism and foods, as well as other topics related to racism throughout history. Goodner shared, “There is always an undercurrent of racism even in the most seemingly benign issues like ice cream. Butter pecan is indicative of a lot of things about Black people as a culture: when you don’t have this option, you figure out the other one.”


Food writer Robin Caldwell also published an article about butter pecan ice cream and Black culture. She spoke with members of the Culinary Cousins Grits Club, which she described as “a group of Black women (and some men) with food businesses and blogs,” about the flavor. The women Caldwell talked to shared their fond memories of making butter pecan ice cream from scratch and eating it with their families.

RELATED: Woman Catches Plane Passenger Writing Text About Her After She Accidentally Bumped Into Her

A commenter on Caldwell’s piece joined in the reminiscing, adding “This article conjured up memories of my momma, my aunts, and my grandmother making homemade ice cream and the rock salt (was that what it was called?), the churning, the laughter, the licking of that thing in the middle… and then, finally, the joy of the first taste of that sweet treat that was like none other and definitely much tastier than anything in the freezers of grocery stores or any ice cream shops… thanks for the memories! Yes… butter pecan is a southern Black thing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!”

Jenkins’s video was enlightening and provoked plenty of discussion from people who had an affinity for butter pecan and were interested in its place in history.


In her other videos, Jenkins discusses other dishes with ties to Black history, including BBQ'd meat, ranch dressing, collard greens, potato chips, calas, Nashville hot chicken, mac and cheese, and sweet potato pie.

She also wrote a cookbook titled Blackberry Table, which she describes as a book celebrating Black American food, culture, and history.

RELATED: A Woman Has Been Baking Recipes Carved Into Gravestones


Jessica Bracken is a writer living in Davis, California. She covers entertainment and news for YourTango.