Dark Chocolate-Tahini Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

It's a common scenario: After a day of eating perfectly balanced salads, nourishing grain bowls, and low-cal protein shakes, we find ourselves reaching into the freezer for a few too many scoops of ice cream. It's one of the most loved treats (right behind potato chips), and too often the reason our diets aren't going the way we planned. The truth is, there's nothing wrong with ice cream every now and again — since after all, a good diet is one you can maintain — but what if even your ice cream could be just a little bit healthier, too? In that spirit, we suggest swapping the sugary tubs of store-bought dessert for a homemade alternative with a secret ingredient: cottage cheese

High in protein and low in carbs, the breakfast-friendly curd is perfect for sweet desserts, acting as a thick version of heavy cream. Cottage cheese ice cream is easy to make, too, only requiring a food processor and a freezer. Shared by recipe developer and nutritionist coach Michelle McGlinn, this dessert is flavored with rich dark chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla, and tahini for a creamy ice cream that is both sweet and nutty. It may not be your typical Häagen-Dazs, but for a several spare grams of protein right before bed, we'll take the tradeoff — it's worth it for the extra scoop.

Gather the ingredients for dark chocolate-tahini cottage cheese ice cream

The first ingredient you'll need for this ice cream is, of course, cottage cheese. It's not as weird as it sounds; cottage cheese is simply a slightly curdled milk product, mild in flavor and thick in consistency. For the best ice cream, look for full-fat cottage cheese, which will act most similarly to milk and produce a creamy texture when frozen.

Beyond the cheese, you'll need cocoa powder, tahini, vanilla extract, honey, and dark chocolate. Use any dark chocolate you prefer as long as it's easy to melt (we prefer the squares made for baking). If you don't have tahini on hand, simply swap for peanut butter.

Step 1: Combine the ice cream ingredients

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

Step 2: Blend or pulse until smooth

Pulse until completely smooth.

Step 3: Freeze

Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan, smooth over with a spatula, and cover. Freeze until solid, about 5-8 hours.

Step 4: Let it soften a bit

When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and thaw until soft enough to scoop.

Step 5: Serve

Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.

What are the nutritional benefits of cottage cheese ice cream?

Cottage cheese is a known nutritional powerhouse, usually eaten with breakfast as an energizing meal for the rest of the day. For bodybuilders and athletes in particular, cottage cheese is a valuable source of protein that can help hit protein goals without overloading calories. What's more is that cottage cheese is made with salt and can be used in savory applications, unlike its nutritional cousin, yogurt, which is more often used for sweeter dishes. In fact, cottage cheese ice cream is even better than fro-yo because it is high in protein, reaching up to 28 grams per 1-cup serving. 

One serving of plain cottage cheese ice cream contains 220 calories, compared to regular ice cream that can contain almost double that. What's also significant about cottage cheese is how low in both fats and carbs it is, containing almost a third of regular ice cream's totals per serving. Though the added chocolate in this particular recipe skews these numbers slightly, cottage cheese ice cream is still a great alternative for anyone looking for a high-protein, low carb frozen dessert.

How do I make my cottage cheese ice cream sweeter?

Cottage cheese is made with an acid, like vinegar, to separate the milk solids from the whey, resulting in a slightly tangy, chunky cheese that's similar to yogurt and ricotta. Unlike yogurt, cottage cheese contains a great deal of sodium, which gives it a more savory flavor that typically goes well with salt and pepper. To use cottage cheese for sweet applications, you need to add sweeteners like honey, agave, or simple syrup. 

This recipe suggests a baseline amount of honey, which sweetens the dessert without undoing the nutritional benefits. If you'd rather the ice cream be sweeter, add more honey, or use a sweeter variety of chocolate, like semi-sweet, instead of dark. You can also add whole chocolate chips into the ice cream after blending for bursts of sweet chocolate flavor. We advise against adding pure sugar, which will give your ice cream a grainy consistency, and instead suggest using simple syrup if honey just isn't satisfying your sweet tooth. Really want to get close to real ice cream? Try blending ½ cup sweetened condensed milk into the mixture before freezing.

Dark Chocolate-Tahini Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe
5 from 28 ratings
Paired with dark chocolate and tahini, cottage cheese makes a rich, nutty ice cream that's low in carbs, high in protein, and can be made in the food processor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
scoop of ice cream
Total time: 5 hours, 5 minutes
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 ½ ounces 70% cacao dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons honey, or to taste
Optional Ingredients
  • Sesame seeds, for topping
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until completely smooth.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan, smooth over with a spatula, and cover. Freeze until solid, about 5-8 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and thaw until soft enough to scoop.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.
Calories per Serving 323
Total Fat 19.8 g
Saturated Fat 8.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 19.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.4 g
Total Sugars 12.1 g
Sodium 368.8 mg
Protein 16.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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