Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

It’s funny that this is my favorite ice cream ever ever because a) the rest of my favorites are minty and b) I’m not the hugest fan of blueberries. It’s a gross story and I’ll spare you all the icky details. But this is another huge hit from Cooking Light (with one major, delicious, and completely un-light addition) that is also one of Sara’s favorites. And everyone who tries it loves it. I took it to a BBQ last summer with a bunch of kids and I didn’t think they’d like it, so I also brought some mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. There was actual fighting over this ice cream and I came home with a bunch of melty, squashed ice cream sandwiches, so I learned my lesson.

In the spirit of experimentation, our friend Lisa made it with strawberries instead of blueberries and didn’t love it. Ever since she told me she wasn’t wild about it, I’ve realized that there’s a lot to love about blueberries in this recipe–they don’t completely freeze, so you get little bites of frozen blueberry, similar in texture to frozen grapes, and it’s delish. Also, the color is beautiful and blueberries just pack a lot of flavor punch and they hold their own very nicely in this recipe.

I actually think it’s a little misleading to call this “Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.” I think non-cheesecake fans will be scared away and die-hard cheesecake-in-my-ice-cream fans may be disappointed. Honestly, you can hardly taste the cream cheese and there are no cheesecake bits. The cream cheese does, however, add a little zing and a lot of richness.

I won’t lie, this recipe is quite time-consuming. But it’s so worth it.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Recipe by Cooking Light

3 c. fresh blueberries (or frozen works too)
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. water
2 c. sugar
6 oz. light cream cheese, softened*
4 egg yolks
3 c. 2% milk*
1 c. half and half*
Optional: 1 prepared graham cracker crust

*If you don’t care about the calories (and you really shouldn’t when making home made ice cream!) use full-fat cream cheese and substitute heavy cream for the half and half and whole milk for the 2%. It makes it soooooo good.

I forgot the regular sugar in this picture. Fortunately, I did not make the same mistake in the ice cream. Don’t forget the sugar! Ever. That just seems like good, everyday advice.

In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, powdered sugar, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

In a large saucepan, combine milk and half and half (or cream and whole milk if you’re taking that route). Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.

While milk is heating, combine cream cheese, egg yolks, and sugar in a bowl and mix well.

After you have removed milk mixture from heat, very slowly pour half of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture while the beater is running. This is called tempering the eggs, meaning that you’re slowly acclimating them to heat so you can cook them without them curdling. Mix the egg mixture well and then add the tempered egg mixture back into the hot milk mixture. Over medium-low heat and stirring very often, cook to 160 degrees (use a candy thermometer; 160 degrees is considered safe for most animal products, eggs included). Remove from heat.

Place pan in ice–I actually just put the pan in my sink and then dumped a whole bunch of ice all around it; hey, it’s one less dish for me to clean!

Allow to cool to a touchable temperature and then add those gorgeous blueberries and all of the liquid with them.

Combine completely and put in the fridge for several hours until well chilled. Because this ice cream is a little more labor intensive that most, I make it up to this step one or even 2 days ahead of time. That way when you’re ready to freeze it, it’s well chilled and will be ready faster!

Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. After churning it will be like soft-serve. Place in an air-tight container in the freezer to let it set up.

If you’re adding the graham cracker crust: While the ice cream maker is working its magic, go ahead and break up the graham cracker crust. Leave some bigger chunks–the ice cream maker will break them down and the texture in the frozen ice cream is awesome!

When the ice cream is very thick, add the pieces of graham cracker crust and then stop the motor as soon as the crust pieces have been mixed in. Transfer to a freezer-safe container (I just use a plastic food storage container) and freeze for at least three hours. The REAL beauty is that for about a week, the longer this sits in your freezer, the better it tastes. So you can make this well in advance if you’re having a party–and THANK GOODNESS for that, since you’re pretty much guaranteed to be spending at least 1 hour working on this stuff, not counting all the waiting time!

Another reason why you want to freeze this for as long as possible is because this is pretty soft and seems to have a lower melting temperature than most commercial ice creams. Even after an overnight in the freezer, it’s pretty easy to scoop up.

The flavor is rich and creamy, the berries are sweet, the cream cheese adds a tang and the finished product is so worth the time you put into making it!

Try it in a little homemade waffle cone

Or a big ol’ bowl

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. OH MY GOSH! these are GORGEOUS!!! I love blueberry ice cream and your version is definitely a must try for me.

  2. This looks AMAZING! Will undoubtedly be trying this though I've only made 5 minute ice cream before.
    With home made cones! YUM!

  3. I add it at the very, very end when it's almost frozen and I only break it up into a couple of really big chunks. I also only use the name-brand crusts (like Keebler) because they seem to crumble less than, say, the Walmart brand. It also probably wouldn't be a bad idea to freeze the crust before even breaking it up to keep the crumbs at a minimum.

  4. Kate, what's your secret?! Maybe I just need to use really big chunks, or stir them in by hand? I love the flavor of it- it's just the crumbs that drive me nutty 🙂

  5. Sara, that's funny because the graham cracker crust is my favorite part! 🙂 I've never had it crumble up, though, and it seems to be a pretty common complaint. But yeah, between the frozen bits of blueberry and the frozen bits of graham cracker crust, it's heaven!

  6. My favorite flavor at TCBY as a child was Blueberry Cheesecake…this looks fantastic and I can't wait to try it! Gorgeous photography too!

  7. After making this the other day for the millionth time- a couple of things I know for sure:

    1. I like it so much better full-fat! I decided if I'm going to put in the time to make it I may as well not spare any expense (or calorie, lol) so I use regular cream cheese and cream/whole milk instead of half and half/ 2%

    2. I prefer it without the graham cracker crust in it. I think it's awesome sprinkled on top, but every time I've tried to put it *inside* the ice cream it just gets all mushed up and makes the overall texture grainy. So we sprinkle at our house

    3. I think this is my most favorite ice cream ever!

  8. You girls are fabulous! My only complaint is I rarely have leftovers.
    I made this ice cream yesterday. It is good, but with 5 boys (ages 2-7)it was a serious labor of love. The time it took for the amount it yielded and how good it was, wasn't worth it for me. I love homemade ice cream and we make it year-round, but I have some delicious dump, stir, sometimes blend, and freeze recipes that don't need the cooking and cooling steps. Also when I started to crumble the pie crust, it crumbled into crumbs. I tried to be gentle and leave big chunks and those eventually turned into crumbs when mixed in the ice cream maker. So I only had a few yummy surprise chunks in it.
    My one other comment is that I use a 5 qt. ice cream maker (I don't mess around with quantities of yummy homemade ice cream!) and LOVE it. It is a Rival and has never given me problems and they are $25-ish at Walmart. So for bigger families where 2 qts don't cut it…there you go.
    We picked several lbs. of blueberries today so I am going to substitute them into my favorite berry recipe that doesn't need cooking and see how it tastes. I'll let you know and share the recipe if it's a keeper.

  9. I LOVE this kind of ice cream. My love came when I discovered this at USU Creamery … good ol’ college days.

  10. Yeah, I have pretty much the cheapest one you can get–it’s made by Rival and while it generally gets the job done, it’s loud, the parts don’t fit together easily, and the motor goes out from time to time. I’d totally spend a little more for the Cuisinart. The one I really want is the Cuisinart between the one Sara has and the one she longs for–it’s around $79 on Amazon.

  11. Anne, I don’t know about Kate, but if you read a few posts down (“It’s party Time!”) There’s a link to the one I have. It’s a Cuisinart and I really love it. It’s not super expensive, and it works really well. One really great thing about buying it from that link at Williams-Sonoma is that it comes with 2 freezer bowls. So you can make 2 batches back to back. That comes in handy with recipes like this one that make more than 1.5 quarts. I’d say stick with a good brand you trust (and not just some random one at a discount store) and you’ll have good luck with it. I’ve had mine for 5 years now and it still runs great. So there’s my 2 cents!

  12. This sounds SO good. Now I want to buy an ice cream maker. What is the best one quality/value that both of you recommend? Thanks.

  13. This looks so yummy, I can’t wait to try it!
    also, I think you may have left out the crust in the ingredients list, although it’s in the picture right below, so probably not a big deal. But you know, I’m anal like that 🙂

  14. Heidi, you can keep ’em frozen. In fact, I would, so none of the yummy juices leak out into the bag.

  15. Erika, I think that most of the basic electric table top models have a 1.5 qt. capacity. It seems to be pretty standard, because most recipes make just enough to fit in there.

  16. I must try this with blueberries instead of strawberries to give this recipe a fair chance.

  17. I think it makes 2 quarts and I have a 1.5 quart ice cream maker. I either half the recipe or I fill it about 3/4 full, refrigerate what I don’t use, and then make the rest the next day after my cannister has had a chance to re-freeze. I reaaaaaaally want a Cuisinart 2 qt. maker, especially after the motor on my little cheap-o one kept pooping out on me last night!

  18. What size ice cream maker do you use? I don’t have one, but want to get one after seeing this recipe!! About how much does this recipe make?

  19. What size ice cream maker do you use? I don’t have one, but want to get one after seeing this recipe!! About how much does this recipe make?

  20. What size ice cream maker do you use? I don’t have one, but want to get one after seeing this recipe!! About how much does this recipe make?

  21. okay, after writing the word “met” in quotations, I realize I look like a wacky internet stalker or something. So just to clarify for everyone, Kate and I DO know each other in real life! We just happened to reconnect on-line after a few years, lol.

  22. Yes Becca, this is the one. Mmm…and home made cones…

    This is one of my very favorites too. And Kate, I totally agree about the blueberries. After Lisa tried it with Strawberries, I tried it that way too, and it SO wasn’t as good as the original blueberry.

    Random memory for you Kate…remember when we first “met” and were talking on IM maybe for the first time after discovering that we both loved to cook and had such similar tastes and styles, including a mutual love of CL. And one of us said, “oh my gosh, have you tried the blueberry cheesecake ice cream? And the other was like, “It’s totally our favorite!” okay, something like that, lol. (and then we started talking about banana breads…) That’s when we knew we were destined for food-bloggerness. Okay, or at least friendship, haha. Anyway, because of that, this ice cream always reminds me of you!

  23. I have made this before (I bleieve on Sara’s insistence??) and it is WONDERFUL!! Especially with homemade cones 🙂