This blueberry cheesecake ice cream recipe is a beautifully purple dairy free dessert made with natural ingredients. There’s no need for cooking because the ice cream batter is mixed in a blender. Then you can freeze it in an ice cream machine, or using a no churn method.
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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Video
Homemade Ice Cream
There’s something special, and inherently summery, in making your own ice cream. Creating a creamy custard batter, that’s a blank slate for your favorite flavor combinations, is one of the most delightful activities you can do in the kitchen.
From a no cook cake batter ice cream, to a strawberry ice cream made from a custard batter with tempered eggs, and even a no churn pumpkin ice cream, ice cream making is an important tradition in our family.
So when we learned that at least two of our family members struggle with digesting dairy, I knew that I needed to learn how to start making dairy free ice cream that was just as good, if not better.
This blueberry cheesecake ice cream, with tangy lemon and a dairy free cream cheese texture from cashews, definitely fits the bill.
Dairy Free Ice Cream
Previously, my only experience with making dairy free ice cream was in blending frozen fruit with small amounts of dairy free milk, like our dragon fruit soft serve ice cream. But as I became more experienced in whole food replacements for dairy, I began to learn ways that I could incorporate those ingredients into ice cream.
My favorite base for a dairy free ice cream recipe is soaked cashews. By soaking cashews, they absorb water which gives them a very creamy texture when blended. Depending on how much liquid you blend them with, you can get textures comparable to milk, heavy cream, sour cream, and even cream cheese.
This makes them a great option for dairy free ice cream recipes, like blueberry cheesecake ice cream.
HOW TO MAKE BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM
There are a few different ways you can freeze your ice cream, and a few different options for ingredient substitutions. If you see an ingredient or supply that won’t work for you, check in the paragraph for that ingredient to see alternatives.
- Cashews (raw and unsalted)
- Canned coconut milk (full fat)
- Coconut milk yogurt
- Tapioca starch
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla Extract
Cashews: Make sure the cashews you use are raw and unsalted. Roasted cashews will change the flavor and texture. If you don’t have cashews, you can use raw unsalted almonds, but it will be a slightly different texture and have a different flavor.
Canned Coconut Milk: To get the best flavor and creaminess, you’ll want to use a full fat canned coconut milk. This is not the coconut milk you get in the non dairy milk section.You’ll typically find rich and creamy canned coconut milk in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store. If you have a coconut allergy, you can use a different milk alternative. Try to use one that’s thicker like Silk Protein milk or So Delicious Almond Milk with Cashew. (not sponsored, I’ve just had better success with these two for ice cream)
Dairy Free Yogurt: This is not yogurt that’s coconut flavored, but dairy-free yogurt made from coconut milk. I have made this blueberry cheesecake ice cream with coconut milk yogurt, oat milk yogurt, and cashew yogurt. All three have worked well. If you don’t have plain dairy free yogurt, vanilla flavored is good too.
Tapioca Starch: If you don’t have tapioca starch, cornstarch works as well. I just prefer tapioca starch or arrowroot powder (another good option). The starch helps absorb water so that your ice cream is not as rock hard when it freezes.
Maple Syrup: I prefer natural sweeteners, so went with maple syrup in the blueberry cheesecake ice cream. You could also use a couple tablespoons of honey instead.
Salt: You need a tiny bit of salt, just a pinch, to help bring all the flavors out. Even sweet foods usually need salt.
Vanilla Extract: This is another flavor enhancer. It doesn’t give a strong vanilla flavor, but adds an element of sweetness without adding more sugars.
Lemon: The lemon is an important ingredient for blueberry cheesecake ice cream because it helps to give that tangy cheesecake flavor. Lemon is also a wonderful flavor pairing for blueberries. You’ll use the zest of the whole lemon and then the juice of half of it. When zesting the lemon, only get the very outer top yellow part. You don’t want the white pith underneath because that’s bitter. But when you get just the yellow lemon zest, you get all those rich lemon oils.
Fresh Blueberries: If you don’t have fresh blueberries, you can definitely use frozen. Just try to use ones that don’t have a lot of ice crystals on them.
- Kitchen knife
- Microplane grater
- Freezer safe food container
- Ice cream scoop or spoon
- Ice cream machine (optional)
- Quart and Gallon Bags (optional)
- Ice (optional)
- Kosher or ice cream salt (optional)
- Towel (optional)
Blender:We have a high powered Blendtec blender that is great for getting a good puree. If you don’t have a high powered blender, you will just need to soak your cashews longer to make the blueberry cheesecake ice cream recipe. There is more information on that in the instructions. If you don’t have a blender, a food processor also works well.
Kitchen knife: This is just to cut the lemon in half to juice it, so any sharp knife will do.
Microplane grater: The microplane grater is for zesting the lemon. You could use the fine side of a box grater if you don’t have a microplane grater.
Spatula: You’ll want a flexible spatula for getting the ice cream batter out of the blender.
Freezer safe food container: If you’re doing the no churn method you’ll need a container to freeze the ice cream in. A glass food storage container or a metal loaf pan both work great.
Ice cream scoop or spoon: I love this ice cream scoop for nice round balls of ice cream. But a regular eating spoon can work too.
Citrus squeezer (optional): You can squeeze the juice from the lemon by hand, but I like using a juicer to make sure I’m getting out as much juice as possible.
Ice cream machine (optional): This is our ice cream machine, it’s a really easy option for churning your ice cream, and pretty affordable. We got ours as a wedding present and have been using it regularly for over a decade.
Quart and Gallon Bags (optional): You’ll need the bags only if you’re making your ice cream in a bag.
Ice (optional): For ice cream in a bag method.
Kosher or ice cream salt (optional): To lower the freezing point of the ice for the bag method.
Towel (optional): To protect your hands for the bag method.
Start by placing the cup of cashews into a bowl, and then fill the bowl with enough water that they are well covered. Place the bowl in the fridge. If you have a high powered blender you only need to soak them for about 15 minutes.
If you have just a regular kitchen blender you’ll need to soak them overnight. When they’re done soaking, pour into a strainer to completely drain off excess water.
Once the cashews are ready, place all of your ingredients into your blender. Put the lid on and blend until completely pureed and smooth.
If you are using the no churn method, pour and scoop your ice cream batter into a glass food storage container or a metal loaf pan and smooth out with your spatula.
Cover with plastic wrap and place the container in the freezer for 3-5 hours, until frozen through.
For the Ice cream machine churning method, pour your blueberry cheesecake ice cream batter into the frozen container for your ice cream machine.
Churn for 20-30 minutes, whatever your machine needs. I basically let the machine run until it can’t churn anymore because the ice cream is too frozen.
At this point you can eat the ice cream as a soft serve, but I like to put it into a container and freeze for about an hour to let it get a little more firm.
To make ice cream in a bag, check out our post that goes into all the details.
SAFETY TIPS FOR MAKING BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM WITH KIDS
There are a few potentially dangerous steps in making blueberry cheesecake ice cream with your kids.
- I still don’t let my kids (currently 5 & 7) use the microplane grater because it’s so easy to accidentally grate your knuckles. If you want them involved in this step, you can have them help hold the grater in place while you run the lemon over it.
- I also cut the lemon in half myself, and make sure the kids have their hands up in the air (so fingers won’t be on the surface where I am cutting) or behind their backs.
- You’ll see in the video that my kids stuck their hands in the blender as soon as I took the lid off. This scared me silly because the blender was still plugged in and turned on. Learn from my mistake and teach your kids BEFORE using the blender that you never put hands or tools into the blender while it is plugged in. It’s too easy to accidentally push a button while little hands are inside.
- The same rule applies to ice cream machines. With an open top like my machine has, it can be tempting to put fingers in to get a taste. But this is a machine with moving parts and that is not a safe choice. I keep the machine up at the back of the counter so it’s out of reach while I’m letting it run.
- If you are making ice cream in a bag, make sure to have a towel, oven mitts, or winter gloves for the kids to wear so they don’t get burns on their hands from the extremely cold ice and water.
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- 1 cup cashews, soaked and strained
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk, full fat
- ½ cup coconut milk yogurt
- 3 TBS cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 3 TBS maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of one lemon
- 3 TBS lemon juice (juice of ½ large lemon)
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
MAKING THE ICE CREAM BATTER
- Your first step is preparing the cashews. Start by placing the cup of cashews into a bowl, and then fill the bowl with enough water that the cashews are well covered. Place the bowl in the fridge. If you have a high powered blender you only need to soak them for about 15 minutes. If you have just a regular kitchen blender you’ll need to soak them overnight. When they’re done soaking, pour the cashews into a strainer to completely drain off excess water.
- Once the cashews are ready, place all of your ingredients into your blender. Put the lid on and blend until completely pureed and smooth.
NO CHURN METHOD
- Pour and scoop your ice cream batter into a glass food storage container or a metal loaf pan and smooth out with your spatula.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place the container in the freezer for about 5 hours, until firm.
ICE CREAM MACHINE METHOD
- Pour your blueberry cheesecake ice cream batter into the frozen container for your ice cream machine.
- Churn for 20-30 minutes, whatever your machine needs. I basically let the machine run until it can’t churn anymore because the ice cream is too frozen.
- At this point you can eat the ice cream as a soft serve, but I like to put it into a container and freeze for about an hour to let it get a little more firm.
ICE CREAM IN A BAG METHOD
- Fill two gallon zip top bags half full with ice, then add 1/2 cup of salt to each bag of ice. Make sure to use a coarse salt, not table salt.
- Divide the ice cream mix between two quart bags, and seal well, pressing the air out as you seal them.
- Tuck the ice cream bags into the ice, getting them surrounded by it, then seal the gallon bags, again pressing the air out.
- Using mittens or other hand protection, shake the bags for a few minutes. You can periodically feel the inner bag to see if it is freezing.
- Once the ice cream mix has frozen, unseal the ice bag and pull out the inner bag. Carefully wipe the inner bag with a towel before opening it so you don't get salt water on your ice cream as you scoop it out.
The coconut milk yogurt is not yogurt that's coconut flavored, but dairy-free yogurt made from coconut milk. I have made this blueberry cheesecake ice cream with coconut milk yogurt, oat milk yogurt, and cashew yogurt. All three have worked well. If you don’t have plain dairy free yogurt, vanilla flavored is good too.
Serving Size:1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 183mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.