Creamed Cheese Ice Cream

Cottage cheese ice cream swirled with raspberry preserves

Poor cottage cheese is the butt of all jokes (no pun intended). It’s seen as tasteless diet food, yet no one wants to be called “cottage cheese thighs.” Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts should have changed all that. She discovered that puréed cottage cheese becomes as smooth and elegant as sour cream.

In Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, Alice Medrich makes sublime tiramisù and cheesecake with “Maida’s Cream.” I don’t even bother with the full-fat versions anymore. Since puréed cottage cheese can stand in for mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and sour cream, I wondered if its richness could translate to ice cream.

Since simple is often best, I substituted the puréed cheese for the strained yogurt in David Lebovitz’s plain frozen yogurt recipe. I added some oil (since cottage cheese is lean) and a splash of vodka to keep it scoopable. The end result was pure tasting and luscious. It’s less tart than plain frozen yogurt, so it’s more amenable to add-ins, like chocolate.

It’s best eaten two hours after it’s made, or else it gets rock hard. There’s a couple ways to remedy this issue: use more sugar, prepare a custard base (try substituting 2 cups of puréed cottage cheese for the cream) or let the cold ice cream sit on your counter for 15 minutes.


freshly churned cottage cheese ice cream

Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

Recipe based on techniques from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts, The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz and The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

3 cups (681 g) 1% low-fat, no salt added cottage cheese
3/4 to 1 cup (150 to 200g) sugar, depending on your sweet tooth
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 Tbsp vodka

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and blend for 3-5 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides with a spatula a couple times. It’s important not to cheat on the processing time, or else the cheese won’t get perfectly smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Harden it in the freezer for a couple hours, and then eat it all!

Variation: To make fruit-swirled ice cream, have ready 1/4 cup of your favorite preserves. After the ice cream is done churning, drop a tablespoon of preserves to the bottom of the storage container. Drop spoonfuls of preserves between layers of ice cream. Don’t stir too much, or you’ll lose the swirls.

Note: Try to get cottage cheese without additives, like gums or starches. I like the no-salt added variety, or else it’s too salty for dessert (do you really need 15% of your daily sodium in one serving?). The shorter the ingredient list, the better. Friendship makes great tasting, all-natural cottage cheese, although the curds are too firm to get perfectly smooth.

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  1. Kitt said,

    Wow, interesting! And clever. I just made Lebovitz’s strawberry frozen yoghurt. I may have to try your variation. I wonder if it might make for an interesting mouth feel not to puree it perfectly smooth.

    September 18, 2007 at 11:58 am

  2. Niko said,

    That sounds really good. I can’t believe something so dessert-like could be made with low-fat ingrediants. Any idea how many grams of fat are in a 1 cup or 6oz serving?

    September 18, 2007 at 2:45 pm

  3. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    I couldn’t get my ice cream perfectly smooth because I used Friendship brand. It was a bit gritty but still delicious tasting.

    A generous 1 cup serving has 6.75 grams of fat. I estimated that the cottage cheese has 6 grams of fat, plus 21 grams of added fat in the oil. The recipe makes about 4 cups.

    September 18, 2007 at 10:28 pm

  4. Lisa (Homesick Texan) said,

    I throw cottage cheese in the blender to make a sauce for my macaroni and cheese, and I’m always surprised at how it whips up into something so smooth and creamy. Quite a transformation! Now I’ll have to try this frozen dessert.

    September 20, 2007 at 6:05 pm

  5. Jessica "Su Good Eats" said,

    That’s too funny. I just added cottage cheese to my bechamel sauce for mac and cheese. It split on me though. Maybe it’s because I used soy milk (I didn’t have regular milk), or because my cheese was very hard (I didn’t have standard cheddar either).

    September 20, 2007 at 9:16 pm

  6. Steve said,

    I just tried this last night and finished it with most of a pint of fresh raspberries. The one “mistake” was that I might have used too much vanilla, but I suspect I’ll be trying this recipe again in the near future. And I agree, Friendship still left a bit of “grit” after 5 minutes in the cuisinart or so.

    A definite winner.

    September 21, 2007 at 9:59 am

  7. Cakespy said,

    When I had my wisdom teeth taken out last month I became very intimate with cottage cheese…I wish I had known about this recipe. It looks amazing.

    September 27, 2007 at 10:35 pm

  8. Dame S said,

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I have so far made it with:
    i) bourbon
    ii) eau de vie de poire
    iii) lemon oil.

    All of them were received to warm reviews. The family has decided to experiment with a lemon oil and orange shred version as a topping for mince pies and Coventry godcakes rather than the more traditional brandy butter.

    Thank you again.

    November 28, 2007 at 4:56 pm

  9. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Dame, that’s pretty clever with the lemon oil and bourbon. Thanks for the suggestion.

    November 28, 2007 at 11:33 pm

  10. bobby said,

    bleh, so much sugar. id completely cut out the sugar and use a banana and a few tablespoons of honey instead. whats the point of trying to make a healthy version of ice cream if you use all that sugar?

    December 9, 2007 at 9:31 pm

  11. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Frozen desserts seem like they have a lot of sugar, but you need that much for two reasons. First, food is less flavorful when it’s cold, so this ice cream doesn’t taste very sweet. Second, sugar prevents it from being an icy mass. If you try to freeze plain yogurt, you’ll get a Popsicle.

    December 9, 2007 at 10:18 pm

  12. Lauren said,

    Great minds think alike! 🙂 I made an all natural sugar-free version of this at my blog, linking to you. Even with the low fat cottage cheese, the texture just out of the ice cream maker is divine. This and your nutella recipe are pure genius!

    August 17, 2008 at 2:30 am

  13. Fraser Steen said,

    Genius! Was just searching for exactly this. I am weight training and I make a very nice yogurt like energy booster with cottage cheese and I was wondering whether I could make an Ice cream out of it.

    Basically blend:
    ~150g cottage cheese
    1/2 cup oats
    1 tsp peanut butter
    1 banana
    1 1/2 tsp honey

    Blend the oats first to turn them in to an almost flour

    Fairly high in (low gi) calories but also high in protein a great energy booster.

    November 25, 2009 at 5:22 am

  14. Erin said,

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It is delicious! I had a big tub of cottage cheese I needed to use up. Thankfully I have a vitamix so I was able to get it very smooth. I added triple sec instead of vodka because that’s the liquor I had on hand. And thank you for the idea of adding the fruit preserves when putting in the freezing container! I added strawberry preserves and blobs of melted chocolate chips, and gently spread them. Awesome!! Rich! Tastes like a rich custard based ice cream.

    May 27, 2016 at 9:29 pm

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