Because I love cheesecake, it only makes sense to make homemade cheesecake ice cream. I love having chunky ice cream with bits and pieces of yummy mix-ins, so it also only made sense to add buttery-sweet, soft and chewy graham cracker crust morsels to the recipe.
Cheesecake Ice Cream Recipe
Some tips to get started:
- Allow your package of cream cheese to warm up to room temperature or soften gently in microwave before using.
- Make the base first and allow enough time to chill (at least 1 hour), but more time is better because the ingredients have time to mingle and develop more flavor.
- Allow enough time for your buttered crust pieces to cool down before you add them to the ice cream maker. Put them in the refrigerator or freezer if you are trying to speed things up.
Ice Cream Base:
- 8 oz package of room-temperature cream cheese – I have only used regular cream cheese and haven’t tried light, fat-free or Neufchatel cream cheese. If you do, note that the texture may come out less creamy because of the lower fat content.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt or Mascarpone – In this case, I have used non-fat Greek Yogurt & I didn’t miss the fat, but you can try lowfat or full-fat Greek Yogurt if you want. Just make sure you use Greek Yogurt, not regular unstrained yogurt. I like the little bit of extra tang that the yogurt gives over the mascarpone, but you can use either. I have also used all sour cream (so 1/2 cup total for this recipe) if I didn’t have yogurt or marscarpone.
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup all-natural sour cream – don’t use fat-free/low-fat and try to buy the natural sour cream without the carrageenan, locust bean gum, xanthum gum, modified food starch, potassium sorbate, etc.. The ingredients should be no more than cultured milk and/or cream – that’s it!
Graham Cracker Crust Morsels:
- 4 graham cracker rectangles – As you can see from the photos, when I use 4 graham crackers, the ratio of ice cream to crust pieces is nearly 50/50 so if you don’t want it as dense, use less crackers and less corresponding butter and sugar. Check the label on your graham cracker box. Many name brands use hydrogenated oils and/or artificial flavors. Surprisingly, I found my local supermarket generic brand uses neither and had only natural ingredients. I have also used pecan shortbread cookies (Pecan Sandies) as a substitute for the graham crackers, omitting the brown sugar.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
For the Ice Cream Base:
- Cut up the cream cheese into smaller, 1-2-inch pieces and place into a stand-mixer bowl.
- Attach the mixing paddle and mix the cream cheese until very smooth and free of lumps.
- While the mixer is still running, gradually add the sugar and salt and mix until blended.
- Add the yogurt or mascarpone, lemon zest and mix well.
- Slowly add the milk and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Fold in the sour cream until blended.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
For the Graham Cracker Crust Morsels:
- Crush your graham crackers into various size pieces. I simply put them into a Ziploc bag and crush them up with my hands. You’ll get some tiny crumbs as well as larger pieces.
- Add the sugar and cinnamon to your cracker crumbs and mix.
- Melt the butter in a skillet on the stove or microwave.
- Pour your crumbs into the skillet and toss to coat well or pour your melted butter onto the crumb and sugar mixture in a bowl; coat well.
- Let cool. If you are chilling your ice cream base overnight, then keep the crumbs in a covered container. You could also make the crumbs the next day, just allow enough time for them to cool to room temperature before adding to the ice cream. If the pieces end up sticking together when the butter cools, just break them apart again before adding to the ice cream maker.
Now It’s Time To Put It All Together!
- Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker of choice and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- 5 minutes before your ice cream has finished churning, slowly add the graham cracker pieces into the ice cream maker and let it all mix completely.
- East soft serve or place in freezer for at least 2 hours for hard ice cream.
We have been trying lots of different ice cream recipes especially since the weather has been so hot and because it’s been so easy with the new ice cream maker. This recipe has been one of my absolute favorites because the texture of the ice cream is very creamy and the taste is just like having a slice of cheesecake, only in frozen form.
Variations and Toppings
As there are many kinds of cheesecakes, so too are there endless flavors of cheesecake ice cream. You can make strawberry, cherry, blueberry, chocolate or even pumpkin cheesecake ice cream. You could also make a fruit syrup or chocolate or caramel topping to pour over for a cheesecake ice cream sundae. What are your favorite flavor combinations?