Have you seen the viral videos of folks making homemade ice cream with cottage cheese? It looks quite simple: Cottage cheese is blended with a sweetener—honey, sugar, agave, etc.—and frozen. Yumna Jawad of Feel Good Foodie flavored hers with frozen strawberries, graham crackers, and honey. NYT Cooking posted a version with Nutella, hazelnuts, and Ferrero Rocher.
Both sounded delicious, but would it truly satisfy an ice cream craving? I had my doubts.
It's cottage cheese after all—not something I'd describe as delicious. I only buy it when I need to test a recipe that calls for it. No one else in my family likes it either. Would freezing it and calling it ice cream make it taste any better? I had to try it for myself, so I set off to make a version inspired by my favorite store-bought pint: Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream, a luscious and creamy vanilla ice cream with caramel swirls and pieces of chocolate-covered waffle cone.
How to Make Cottage Cheese Ice Cream
How I Made Cottage Cheese Ice Cream
An unflavored cottage cheese ice cream only requires whole milk cottage cheese (labeled as 4% Milkfat) and a sweetener. But I couldn’t deprive myself of the opportunity to add flavors. Here are the ingredients I used:
- 1 (16-ounce) container full-fat cottage cheese
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons caramel sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (You can use chocolate chips.)
- 1/4 cup crumbled salted pretzels (I didn’t have waffle cones or cookies on hand, which is what Ben & Jerry’s add to Americone Dream.)
You start by blending the cottage cheese until it is smooth. Most Reels I’ve seen blend the cottage cheese in a food processor or blender. Then I saw Vaughn Vreeland whip his cottage cheese right in its container using an immersion blender. It’s a smart tool that makes clean-up easy, plus you can freeze the ice cream in the container, so that's what I did.
I added agave and vanilla extract to the cottage cheese. Then I blended it using an immersion blender for a solid five minutes, moving the stick up and down to incorporate as much air as possible until the cottage cheese looked smooth, light, and fluffy.
The plastic tub that holds the cottage cheese is a tight fit once you start incorporating ingredients and air into the cottage cheese. It requires a nifty bit of sleight of hand to make sure the cottage cheese doesn’t overflow. Transfer the mixture into a wider bowl if you’d like. I like living on the edge—of almost spilling over!
I dolloped the caramel sauce on top—it’s best cold straight from the fridge so that it doesn’t melt into the cottage cheese, which will give you caramel-flavored ice cream—and folded it into the cottage cheese using a spoon. Then, I folded in the chocolate and pretzels too.
I had to cover the tub with plastic wrap instead of its lid because I ended up with an overfilled mound on top. You can transfer yours into a larger lidded vessel.
I froze it for about six hours, which is the ideal freeze time for my freezer. The next day it was frozen solid and impossible to scoop—one downside to homemade cottage cheese ice cream. (If that happens to you, set it on your kitchen counter and wait until it softens. I know it's hard to wait, but that's the only way. I wouldn't microwave the plastic tub.)
Endless Possibilities For Flavors
The best part of making homemade cottage cheese ice cream is the endless possibilities for flavors. Here are a few ideas:
- Frozen cherries and chopped dark chocolate
- Espresso powder, vanilla extract, and sea salt
- Unsweetened cocoa powder and brownie pieces
- Frozen fruit, like mango, strawberries, passion fruit, raspberries, bananas
- Pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice
My kids thought the cottage cheese ice cream was store-bought ice cream yogurt. They loved it and suggested adding the following flavors next time. If this looks like the Dairy Queen Blizzard Treats menu, it’s true.
- Mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, crumbled graham crackers
- Pecans, chocolate chips, caramel sauce
- Mini M&M’s
- Crumbled Oreo Cookies
- Chopped Butterfingers, Heath, Snickers, or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Just sprinkles!
I was not surprised that cottage cheese ice cream is not the same as the thick, luscious, and creamy Ben & Jerry’s I keep stocked in my freezer. Not even close. It’s lighter, icier, and not as creamy as regular ice cream because it has a lot less fat. Full-fat cottage cheese has about 4 percent fat, while most ice cream is made with cream, which typically has at least 36 percent fat. That's a huge difference!
Does it feel like I was promised ice cream, but ended up with something worse? Quite the opposite! It's a frozen treat that would satisfy my craving for something cold, sweet, and creamy. Cottage cheese is a little tangy, so the flavor reminds me of frozen yogurt, which I love. My kids were not aware I was trying out the recipe and thought I had bought frozen yogurt at the grocery store. For all these reasons, I would highly recommend you try this.