This strawberry cheesecake ice cream is made with cream cheese and real strawberries, and is an egg-free, extra-creamy summer treat. Inspired by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream!
I’ve been on an ice cream kick this summer.
Ice cream is cold, it’s creamy– it’s perfect for hot and humid summer days.
And so, when I found myself staring at a bag full of strawberries in my freezer– it only made sense to blend them into a cold, icy treat.
At first, I thought– smoothie!
But then I said, “No, no– these strawberries are going to become ice cream.”
Specifically, strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
You see, I’ve been on a frozen dessert kick. I’ve been enjoying watermelon sorbet, mango sorbet, mango frozen yogurt, kefir ice cream, mango popsicles, homemade fudgesicles, beer ice cream, berry granita, and of course, this strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
Start with a Cheesecake Ice Cream Base
My favorite ice cream is NOT the traditional egg yolk recipe.
Instead, I love the way Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream from Columbus, Ohio makes ice cream– with cream cheese.
I used Jeni’s cream cheese, milk, and cream ice cream base for this chocolate mint ice cream, and I knew it would make a perfect strawberry cheesecake ice cream!
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, Step 1: Thicken The Milk
To make an egg-less ice cream base, you’ll need to thicken a little cold milk with cornstarch.
Then, you’ll thicken a little more milk (in a separate bowl) with cream cheese.
Step 2: Make the Ice Cream Base
In a saucepan, heat (more) milk, cream, sugar, and honey, and bring it to a simmer.
This is going to be your ice cream base.
Add some of the hot milk mixture to the cornstarch mixture, and whisk. Pour the (now warm) cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan– whisking constantly.
The goal is to keep the cornstarch from forming lumps or clumps in the ice cream base.
Bring the ice cream base to a boil (to get rid of the cornstarch flavor), and take it off the heat.
Whisk in the cream cheese and milk mixture, and keep whisking until everything is smooth and creamy.
Chill the mixture until it’s cold.
While the cheesecake ice cream base is chilling, go jump in a swimming pool, check on your garden, pet your cat, or read a book in the air conditioning.
That’s my subtle way of telling you it’s going to be a few hours before you can move onto the next step.
Step 3: Add the Strawberries
Once your ice cream base has chilled, it’s time for the next step!
Pour the batter into a blender, along with about a pint of fresh or frozen strawberries.
Blend until it’s creamy.
Step 4: Churn the Ice Cream
You need an ice cream maker for this recipe.
Pour your freshly blended strawberry cheesecake ice cream into the ice cream maker, and let it churn.
Need an ice cream maker? I use (and love) a 1 ½ quart sized Cuisinart ice cream maker with a freezer bowl.
Step 5: Freeze the Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
When the ice cream finishes churning, it will look like soft-serve ice cream. Delicious– but not exactly what we’re going for.
Pour it into a pan, and slide it into the freezer.
This is a good time to take another break– go see if your tomatoes have turned red yet, or water some flowers.
Once the strawberry cheesecake ice cream hardens, scoop it out, top it with some crushed graham crackers, and dig in!
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- 2 ¼ cups whole milk, divided
- 5 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup sugar If your strawberries are very sweet, use a little less sugar. If they're very tart, use a little more.
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled (fresh or frozen)
- To Serve: crushed graham crackers, fresh diced strawberries (optional)
- Before beginning, make sure your ice cream maker freezer bowl is frozen (if needed).
Mix Milk with Thickeners:
- Mix Milk + Cornstarch: Mix ¼ cup of the milk and all the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Set aside.
- Mix Milk + Cream Cheese: Warm cream cheese and another ¼ cup of milk for 20 seconds in the microwave. Whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the salt. Set aside.
Make the Ice Cream Base:
- Place the remaining 1 ¾ cups milk, cream, sugar, and honey in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the cornstarch mixture. Slowly pour the cornstarch and milk mixture back into the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return to medium heat and cook, whisking frequently, until it comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
- Whisk in the cream cheese mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Whisk until smooth.
Chill the Ice Cream Base:
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and then chill the ice cream base for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Make the Ice Cream:
- Pour chilled mixture and 1 pint strawberries into a blender, and blend on high until smooth.
- Pour mixture into ice cream maker, and churn according to your machines directions.
- Scrape the ice cream into a container, and lay wax paper directly on top of the ice cream (to keep ice crystals from forming on top). Seal with a lid (or plastic wrap or foil) and freeze for 2-3 hours or until hardened.Tip: Ice cream will harden more quickly in a shallow container.
- Keep frozen, and use within 2 months. Keep the container sealed and the wax paper directly on top of the ice cream.