Ricotta Buttermilk Ice Cream

Posted on by on June 1st, 2012 | 49 Comments »

The desert landscape of brown rugged earth disappeared in the rear view mirror as we drove north. Rolling hills of tall green trees, sunflower fields and fruit orchids whizzed by out the car window. I gave my husbands knee a squeeze as he drove.

While back home in NY our friends and families were gearing up to celebrate Memorial Day with trips to the beach, backyard BBQ’s and boat rides, we were getting ready for our own long holiday weekend in Israel. A last minute trip had us driving to the north to Afula to visit our dear friend and spend the holiday of Shavuot with his family.

Shavuot is a holiday that commemorates the receiving of the ten commandments by the Jewish people and it is customary on Shavuot to eat a dairy meal. We eat dairy because in the ten commandments the laws of kashrut came into existence and upon receiving these new laws, people didn’t have the means to cook kosher meat yet and so the first meal after receiving the commandants, was a dairy one. In keeping with the tradition of the holiday it has become pretty much required to eat things like cheesecake, ice cream, blintzes and anything else you could want as long as its covered in cheese. The greatest holiday ever? Possibly.

I packed up a freezer bag with ice and carefully packed in it a wonderful mascarpone cheesecake topped with fresh passion fruit. My husband and I only worried that by the time we made it to Afula it would be a melted mess. Luckily it was just as perfect and delicious as the first time I made it with pomegranates. (If you haven’t checked it out, do. I promise it is one of the greatest cheesecakes you could eat, hands down.) It was the perfect touch to the holiday dairy meal.

We spent the weekend lounging around Afula, eating cheesecake for breakfast, practicing our endurance as parents while endlessly playing with our friends nephews and niece, eating a huge dairy meal of delicious foods all cooked with cheese, visiting a local kibbutz and taking in the sights atop Mount Tabor. Our weekend ended with a huge family BBQ, we said our goodbyes and headed back down south to Be’er Sheva. A perfect little weekend away.

Even though Shavuot has come and gone and I made a cheesecake to celebrate it, I personally think that we should keep this tradition of eating delicious dairy foods all the time. Especially when those foods include ice cream. As we enter June here in the Negev temperatures soar, the sun makes you feel like you may melt into a puddle and ice cream may be the only way to combate the heat (as long as you eat it fast enough-the heat will melt it within minutes)!

Homemade ice cream is always wonderful because you can control what goes in it and what flavor profile you want it to have. I love easy home made ice creams that I can make without a machine being that mine is back in NY. As I discovered last summer when I made mascarpone ice cream with caramelized figs, you dont need any fancy ice cream maker to make creamy delicious ice cream. After all, there were no ice cream machines back in the day and people were still able to enjoy this yummy summer staple.

This ice cream has four ingredients. FOUR. Thats it. I have been wanting to try ricotta ice cream out for awhile after seeing it pop up all over the blogosphere. I combined it with buttermilk instead of whole milk or cream to tone down the sweetness and the flavors work amazing together. Creamy and delicious this is a perfect ice cream to top onto pies, (which I did on a nice cherry pie- recipe coming soon,) eat with fresh fruit or on its own and works as the perfect base for add ins. Dark chocolate chips and a honey swirl anyone?


8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


In a metal mixing bowl whisk together ricotta cheese and buttermilk until smooth.
Add the simple syrup and vanilla to the ricotta mixture and mix until combined and place bowl in freezer.
After 35 minutes, mix ice cream mixture and return back to freezer.
Continue mixing at 30 minute intervals for 2 hours. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl and break up any crystals that may form, you dont want little bits of ice in your ice cream.
Cover and freeze completely.

For Simple Syrup:

In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Heat until boiling and sugar has disolved, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.


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Cherry Pie (sugar and butter free) »


  1. Posted on: 6-1-2012

    This sounds soooo good!!! I really have to try this – so easy!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-1-2012

      So easy!!! Just dont eat it outside. In this heat it will be soup in seconds!

  2. Posted on: 6-1-2012

    this is yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!def going to try this out!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-1-2012

      I hope you do! It’s too easy a recipe not to and super delicious.

  3. Posted on: 6-1-2012

    Yum! I love cheese, so this sounds like my kind of celebration. And Ricotta ice cream? OH MY. I’m just drooling. Thanks for sharing, sweet friend! I hope you have a beautiful day. Thanks for making mine more delicious!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-1-2012

      I must say Monet, it’s my kind of celebration too!! Whats not to love about getting to eat tons of cheesey yumminess?? Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Posted on: 6-1-2012

    I am in for home made ice-cream and just like you have said, home made means you can control the amount of ingredients. For me, the sugar is the most imp because I don’t fancy anything very sweet. I see that you have used syrup which makes a great change to sugar. Lovely and with 4 ingredients, its a splendid outcome.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-1-2012

      If you aren’t a big fan of very sweet then you will love this Nava! The buttermilk really cuts the sweetness of this ice cream. Its delicious.

  5. Posted on: 6-1-2012

    What a lovely ice cream! And Shavuot is my favourite holiday,foodwise ;D

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-1-2012

      Thanks Yael! Its my favorite too 🙂

  6. Posted on: 6-1-2012

    This is more proof that there are a lot of delicious dairy products out there that make some awesome ice cream. Obviously the heavy cream ingredient may be overrated after seeing this. The other bonus to this recipe is that it is fairly easy. Delicious post!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-1-2012

      I think I may be hooked on using buttermilk in ice cream from now on! The flavor is awesome! I think Ill have to try some other alternatives to cream too.

  7. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    Ricotta buttermilk ice cream – that sounds and looks delicious and then served in these pretty pink glass serving bowls with fresh cherries on top…just wonderful! A friend of mine used to make vanilla ice cream without an ice cream machine and I always thoght that it tasted just as smooth and delicious as if she had made it wth an ice cream machine (I saw that you made the mascarpone ice cream without the machine as well). Loved your photos and your post. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Thanks Andrea! This is the second ice cream I have made without a machine and although it takes a lot of time to make since you need to mix it every 30 minutes, it comes out just as creamy and delicious as it would in a machine. As long as you have the time for it, there is no reason to use a fancy machine!

  8. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    What a great ice cream recipe! Buttermilk and ricotta in the ice cream? I’ve never heard of it and sounds so good! Love the look of this ice cream…delicious~~~!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Thanks Nami!! It does seem like an unusual blend of flavors in here but it works so well and is super yummy!

  9. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    This is a new ice cream ingredient combo for me which I am more tan willing to try – looks so yum 😀


    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!

  10. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    Oh, what a marvelous ice cream. I’ve just tried using mascarpone in my latest and now must try ricotta. I hope you’ll link up to our ice cream blog hop this month 🙂 Enjoy your weekend, my friend~

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Thanks Liz! I love mascarpone ice cream. Its so delicious. The ricotta is really wonderful as well. I have linked up to the ice cream blog hop! What a perfect blog hop for summer.

  11. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    Now that I learnt how to cook my own ricotta cheese I’ll try this icecream! Simple and fast 😉

    Thanks for joining in,
    Happy #icecreamlove!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Oooo I need to make my own ricotta cheese next!!! Would love that!

  12. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    This is a killer ice cream recipe! I’ve never thought of or heard of anything like it. I will definitely be trying this, this summer!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Thanks Russell! Means a lot coming from you! You are always coming up with such wonderful flavor combos. Hope you do try it and love it!

  13. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    What a great idea, I bet it taste just like frozen cheese cake. Nice to learn about the Jewish holiday, I had no idea. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Thanks Suzanne! It does resemble a frozen ricotta cheesecake!!! Maybe some graham cracker bits tossed in would be a great addition to that!

  14. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    Ricotta and buttermilk together make this so amazing! Thanks for sharing the ice cream love!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-2-2012

      Thanks Elizabeth! Always happy to share in some ice cream love! Have a great weekend.

  15. Posted on: 6-2-2012

    I love the buttermilk- ricotta combo here – two of my fav combos. The best thing is that this recipe will have comfort of both an icecream & tartness of frozen yogurt I m so with you on the homemade icecream- so much healthier. Cant wait to try this!

  16. BethMichelle
    Posted on: 6-3-2012

    This was my first time having ricotta and buttermilk together. Loved how the flavors worked! Nothing beats homemade!!! Have a great weekend 🙂

  17. Posted on: 6-3-2012

    Oh man, a holiday based around eating dairy? That sounds amazing! This ice cream looks incredible too. I love making home made ricotta, and I bet that ricotta ice cream would be the perfect way to feature it in a dessert. Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it out!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-3-2012

      I so want to make my own ricotta! I have to try that next. This would be the perfect dessert to showcase it. Let me know how it works out for you!

  18. Posted on: 6-3-2012

    Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-3-2012

      Thanks so much!

  19. Posted on: 6-3-2012

    This really looks yummy, I have never had ricotta ice cream or made with buttermilk. You didn’t need to use an ice cream maker? That is my problem, I don’t have one. Congrats on the Top 9.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-4-2012

      Thanks Suzi! No ice cream maker needed!! As long as you have the time to stir the mixture every 30 minutes for 2 hours you can get creamy ice cream without a machine! Make sure to break up any crystals that form while mixing to make sure you’re I’ve cream doesn’t have pieces of ice in it.

  20. Posted on: 6-3-2012

    Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz … What a great food story you have here 🙂 … You have been nominated for my NEW Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. You can check out the details at my site … http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/ … Have a great foodie day!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-4-2012

      Thank you so much for the nomination CJ! I’m so glad you enjoy reading my blog.

  21. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    This looks so good.. yum. I’m be giving this a try… I just know hubby will love it. Thanks for sharing.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-4-2012

      Thanks Tania! I hope you and your husband enjoy it!

  22. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    oh what a fun dessert!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-4-2012

      And delicious!!

  23. Posted on: 6-8-2012

    A four ingredient ice cream? Sign me up! You’re right; delicious dairy meals should be a staple regardless of whether or not it’s a holiday!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-10-2012

      Who doesn’t love an ice cream as easy as this with only 4 ingredients?! Everyday should be a dairy holiday!

  24. Posted on: 6-9-2012

    Oh wow Beth! I can only imagine how creamy this must be! the short ingredient list is just giving me the nudge I need to go make this one right away! 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-10-2012

      Yes! It’s so creamy and delicious. Hope you do try it out, it’s wonderful!

  25. Posted on: 6-13-2012

    No way – Afula! My husband lived there during his senior year in high school. We’ve been back numerous times to visit and it always evokes warm memories for him. Sounds like a lovely Shavuot!

    Your ice cream looks incredible. Ricotta and buttermilk are an inspired combination! I can’t wait to try it. Your photos are stunning, too!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-13-2012

      That is so funny! I never meet too many people that have come from or been to Afula!! I always love going there on the holidays.
      Thanks for your kind words. The ice cream is amazingggg!

  26. Makenna
    Posted on: 10-16-2012

    Do you have to use the cheese I’ve been looking for a simple vanilla ice cream recipe so can I just double the vanilla and cut the cheese?

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