Sweet Cream Ice Cream

Sweet Cream Ice Cream Recipe

This sweet cream ice cream recipe is my classic, creamy, smooth ice cream base for several recipes—it can be used to make any flavor you wish. It’s the ideal blank canvas, but it’s not without flavor. It’s wonderful by itself or in a sundae or with any sauce or jam layered throughout. You can customize it with the addition of essential oils and extracts, fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, crumbled cakes, cookies, as well as jams and sauces. (When using essential oils, go lightly and taste often—ususally just 2 to 5 drops will do.) The simplest flavors are often the finest. One of our all-time biggest hits, and one of my personal favorites, is the variation presented here where the sweet cream ice cream is swirled with blackberry jam. I also love it on its own. You will find that it’s smooth and creamy with a beautifully scoopable body.–Jeni Britton Bauer

LC Sweet Cream Ice Cream Note

This sweet cream ice cream recipe contains no vanilla. And no chocolate. Just milk, cream, cream cheese, and sugar. It’s sorta like cheesecake although it’s actually sorta indefinable. Guess you’re just going to have to experience it for yourself and letting us know what you’d name it in a comment below.

Special Equipment: Ice cream maker

Sweet Cream Ice Cream Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 10 H
  • Makes about 1 quart


  • 2 2/3 cups (600 grams) whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (14 grams) cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (336 grams) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (76 grams) light corn syrup, [Editor’s Note: Just to clarify, this is different than high-fructose corn syrup and is not nearly as terrible for you. Promise.]


  • 1. Mix about 2 tablespoons milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
  • 2. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
  • 3. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  • 4. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
  • 5. Pour the ice cream base into the ice cream machine canister and process according to manufacturer’s directions. (The ice cream mixture will be very thick even when you begin to churn it. This is okay.)
  • 6. Pack the ice cream into a storage container. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface of the ice cream and seal the container with an airtight lid. Stash the ice cream in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Tuxedo Variation

  • Sweet Cream Ice Cream With Fruit Swirl Variation
  • To layer jam or caramel sauce into ice cream, start by drizzling a spoonful of jam or caramel in the bottom of the storage container and spread a layer of ice cream over it. Add a few more spoonfuls of gooey stuff over the nooks of the ice cream. The sauce should not cover the underlying layer of ice cream. Then add another ice cream layer.  Continue the sauce and ice cream layering until all the ice cream is used. Note that you do not want to “swirl” the sauce into the ice cream because it will get lost; instead, try to keep it in small pockets throughout the ice cream for a more dramatic presentation and flavor. We also like to add a few final spoonfuls of sauce on the top for decoration, just before covering everything with parchment.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
C. Roush

May 16, 2015

This is a simple-to-follow ice cream recipe with good results. The most time-consuming part of the recipe was simply waiting for the mixture to come to a boil on my stove. My stove tends to run a bit hotter than some, so I had to turn the heat down from medium-high for the 4-minute boiling period and stir often; otherwise, I would have had a mess on my hands. After adding the cornstarch and returning to the heat, the 1-minute cooking suggestion didn't result in a thicker mixture, so I kept stirring another minute, which didn't seem to help much. That said, I don't think the finished product was affected negatively. The mixture smelled rather sour as I poured it into my ice cream maker, which made me wonder if I had sour milk, but no worries—what I was smelling was the tang of the cream cheese. My entire family tried the ice cream, and there were good reviews all around. I'd recommend strawberries as a topping or mix-in. I think this would be fabulous served in a waffle cone—perhaps one with a cinnamon or vanilla flavor.

Testers Choice
Marilee Johnson

May 16, 2015

I loved the texture and taste of this ice cream. It was smooth and creamy. There isn't any vanilla called for in the recipe, so the taste is pure sweet cream and cream cheese. I didn't layer with a sauce or jam, but I could see adding a strawberry or blackberry coulis to it. I've made Jeni's ice cream recipes before with great success, and I love her easy-to-follow directions. After combining the milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in the pan and bringing it to a full boil, I let the mixture boil another 4 minutes. I added the cornstarch slurry, put it back on the heat, and it thickened immediately, but I continued to cook it for a full minute. I then mixed in the cream cheese and poured it into a gallon bag. It sat in the ice bath for about 40 minutes before I transferred it to my Cuisinart ice cream maker. When I've made ice cream in the past, it usually froze in 20 minutes, but this sweet cream ice cream took about 35 minutes. I transferred it to a quart container and let it freeze overnight.

Testers Choice
Elie Nassar

May 16, 2015

This is an excellent ice cream base recipe that can be used in tons of variations. The basic recipe is just like the title promises—sweet, creamy, and scoopable right out of the freezer. I had homemade blueberry preserves on hand, so that's what I went with as an add-in. (Blueberries and cream are a match made in heaven.) I chilled the sweet cream ice cream mixture in the fridge for about 8 hours before churning it (I didn't have the time to churn it the same day, and ice cream bases benefit from a long rest in the fridge anyway). Adding the blueberry jam by the spoonful worked very well and 1 final spoonful or 2 on top added a nice touch and made sure there was a burst of flavor with every scoop. Do not take a shortcut with the 4 minutes boiling time. This is important for the sugars in the milk to fully cook and will improve the texture and flavor of the ice cream.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

May 16, 2015

One of my favorite ice creams to make is Jeni’s Black Coffee Ice Cream. It was a tester recipe here a few years ago, and it's a real winner. The cream cheese, the cornstarch slurry, the cooking method, the parchment paper covering the finished product. How could I not try this sweet cream ice cream? This is even easier to make than the black coffee ice cream and is so much easier to make than ice creams that are made with egg yolks. You basically mix up some ingredients, boil them for a few minutes, whisk in the cornstarch slurry, boil for another minute, then mix everything into the cream cheese. That’s it. I must say, I never put my ice cream mixture into a plastic bag as the recipe directs you to. When making Jeni’s ice creams, I always put my mixture in a deep bowl (this saves you a bowl to wash if you have the cream cheese in that bowl) and then place this bowl in a larger bowl which is filled partway with ice water. I then put that into the refrigerator. It cools down beautifully. I was not able to process my ice cream after the 30 minutes called for in the recipe. I was delayed, and the mixture ended up sitting in the refrigerator for 5 1/2 hours. I have never found it to be a problem having it spend some extra time in the fridge. The ice cream spent 30 minutes in my ice cream maker. I was rewarded with 3 pints ice cream. As advertised, this ice cream tastes like sweet cream. It's a great base for add-ins. I treated each pint differently. With the first pint, I poured some dark chocolate sauce in between the layers and sprinkled pistachio toffee over that. After being in the freezer for awhile, the chocolate sauce solidified too much. The ice cream really needed to soften or you had to break through the layers. I would not make this with a chocolate sauce again. (Did I really say that?) When making the second pint, I found a forgotten jar of brandied cherries that I'd made last summer in the refrigerator. I boiled down and thickened the sauce with a little cornstarch and chopped the cherries. I layered that into one of the pint containers with the ice cream. Really yummy. Earlier in the day I had made honey nut pralines, which I sprinkled in between layers of ice cream for the third pint. The coating melted a bit and created a tiny bit of sauce here and there. Another winner. I’m sure that when I make this ice cream again, I will have thought of something else. I must say, however, that the ice cream is also really very good on its own, and that next time I will be sure to let more of the base shine through.

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

May 16, 2015

This recipe works as written. EVERY SINGLE TIME! This has been my go-to recipe for more than a year. One of the many great things about this recipe is the substitution of cream cheese for egg. interestingly, I would say that the flavor of this fabulous ice cream, when served plain, is custard-like. Considering the lack of egg, this seems unusual. This also has no vanilla, but splitting a whole vanilla bean and scraping the seeds into the mix before you boil it produces wonderful results! I have made many flavors using this basic recipe and have always been pleased. Just a couple suggestions follow. When you mix the hot cream with the cream cheese, whisk it well, or you may end up with chunks of cream cheese, which can be delicious but isn't what you're looking for. Also, I like to freeze the finished ice cream for another 5 or 6 hours to make it very solid, although you can eat it immediately after churning, and it is still top-notch. I really love this recipe, and you can make it in a little more than half an hour, about the same amount of time it'd take to drive to the store to buy something that wouldn't be nearly as good!

  1. Alex says:

    I went to a book signing/demo last year with Jeni of Jeni’s Ice Cream. First, she is super fun and an inspiring business woman! But this Sweet Cream ice cream was my hands-down favorite treat we tasted. (It was particularly scrumptious with her perfect, easy Blueberry Cobbler—a classic recipe for her high school Home Ec class.) The simplicity of the Sweet Cream ice cream really lets so the pure sweet flavor of high quality cream shine through brilliantly. It was eye-opening to taste how much vanilla masks the flavor of cream—something I never noticed until it wasn’t there. This is a great one to add to your repertoire!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more, Alex. On all counts. We so appreciate you taking the time to comment. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next!

  2. This is also my go-to recipe for ice cream. It’s delicious and works every time. I like to serve it plain, or with instant espresso powder sprinkled on top, or with a shot of espresso (at night decaf) for a traditional affogato. I also like a small scoop on top of a piece of Alice Medrich’s Almond Cake with a Crunchy Crust from her book Pure Desserts.

    I agree with Jackie G. and never put the hot mixture in a plastic bag. I use a small stainless steel bowl fitted into a larger bowl and make an ice bath. I then put both bowls in the refrigerator for two hours before proceeding with the ice cream and have always had luck with this method. In fact, I make this so often I keep the stainless steel bowls in the refrigerator all the time so they are already cold when I start the recipe.

    This recipe is really sublime, and I thank Jeni for being so generous as to share it. I have – and love – both her books.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I see we have a mutual love of both Jeni and this ice cream. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your suggestions. Love them.

  3. Laverne Brown says:

    Where can I find the Culinaria ice creams? I can’t find it at Culinaria in downtown St. Louis.

    • David Leite says:

      Lavern, thanks for writing. We’re not associated with the Culinaria market in St. Louis. We’re a food website, and this recipe comes from a cookbook. Sorry I can’t help more.

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