Filed under: Frozen
August 16, 2020

Lemon Poppyseed Ice Cream with Blueberry Swirl

Tart lemon gelato studded with the gentle crunch of poppyseeds and swirled with a sweet roasted blueberry sauce.    Sam

4 from 2 votes
Jump to recipe
lemon poppyseed ice cream

Tart lemon gelato studded with the gentle crunch of poppyseeds and swirled with a sweet roasted blueberry sauce. 


lemon poppyseed ice cream being scooped

Sam and Gelato

A long, long time ago, back when yours truly was a young poly sci undergrad with dreams of becoming a photojournalist, I got an evening/weekend job at a local Italian-style cafe. In my interview for the job, I had talked about my knowledge and love of baking and the owner was really into it. She hired me on the spot as a barista with a plan to eventually transition me to the back where they made the gelato.

I had that job for about two years and have held (at least) ten others since, some good, some bad. But that was my favorite. I knew it at the time. I’d stand next to the giant gelato machine while it churned, scrape it down with a flat spatula into a long, metal dish trying to make a pretty design and think – could there be a better job than this? Once I was a settled into my new role, I started coming up with my own flavors for the cafe; oreo was my signature flavor (this is what happens when you leave an American in the kitchen, lol). Nowadays when I work on ice cream recipes I like to think I have a little bit of a professional background doing it!


lemon poppyseed ice cream

Gelato vs Ice Cream

What’s the difference between gelato and ice cream? I’m so glad you asked, I was trained to answer this on my first day at the job! Gelato has a higher amount of milk than cream; a lower percentage of fat, and is churned at a slower rate so less air is incorporated, making it dense. It’s also served warmer so it’s softer. Although I used an ice cream maker to make this, I am dubbing it gelato because it fits the description: there’s more milk than cream, no egg yolks, and texture wise it’s quite similar to gelato (you may need to let it thaw a bit before serving). Even with the lack of fat, it is creamy and incredibly smooth – save those cute little crunches from the poppyseeds! Also, I remember reading somewhere awhile back that home ice cream makers, because they are slower than industrial, produce a texture more similar to gelato. I can definitely see this to be true!



lemon poppyseed ice cream

Lemon poppyseed & roasted blueberries

I hope you know by now how I feel about poppyseeds being an afterthought. I never want to just speckle a muffin or a bread with them and instead want a full poppy experience. Obviously, there’s much more than a spoonful in this recipe. You could make a lemon ice recipe sure, that’s been done though. And maybe someone somewhere added blueberries to it. But a lemon poppyseed ice cream with a more than a tablespoon? And blueberries slow-roasted to produce a wonderfully strong, concentrated berry flavor? This is the one you want to make =)


Things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t add the poppyseeds to the base until right before you churn it – poppies like to absorb liquid!
  • You’ll need an ice cream maker to churn the base. I have a kitchenaid attachment ice cream bowl and a cuisinart pure indulgence maker. The latter, gifted to me from a partnership, is my preferred device because it’s a bit quicker and the bowl isn’t so big it takes up the entire freezer.
  • Slow roast the berries (you can go for up to an hour depending on how much sauce you are making). If you like, make more than you’ll need for this recipe and make some roasted blueberry rolls, or some roasted blueberry ice cream or some roasted blueberry cheesecake! (can you tell I have a deep love for this stuff? lol)


lemon poppyseed ice cream


Lemon Poppyseed Gelato with Blueberry Swirl


Lemon Poppyseed Gelato

lemon poppyseed ice cream
4 from 2 votes


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ tablespoon tapioca starch
  • ¼ cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Zest of two large lemons
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • ½ cup poppy seeds
  • 1 cup blueberries


  • To make the blueberry ripple: place blueberries on a sheet pan and roast at 375 F for 30-45 minutes, until they have broken down, released their juices and the water has begun to evaporate. Press through a mesh sieve to remove the skins. Set in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • In a pot, combine the milk, cream cheese, cream, sugar, zest and juice of lemons and starch and whisk to combine. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and pour through a mesh sieve to remove any bits. Stir in the vanilla. Chill base overnight. Freeze ice cream machine bowl.
  • The next day, add the poppyseeds to the base and churn according to machine instructions. Once frozen, scoop it into a container, swirling the blueberry sauce into the base.

Did you make this recipe?

Share & tag me on instagram @buttermilkbysam


Rate + Review

What do you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Reviews

  1. 3 stars
    Overall this recipe wasn’t for me. As you note it is on the lighter side cream-wise, but that plus the blueberry sauce meant the final product was very icy when frozen. It is not very sweet, to the point that my husband asked me if I forgot the sugar. Also having to get whipped cream cheese only to cook it into the base was annoying; in that application normal cream cheese would have been fine.

  2. I am not familiar with tapioca starch. Is there a substitute you can recommend…cornstarch perhaps?
    I am excited to try this recipe. I love lemon ice cream but never considered adding blueberry.

  3. About how much blueberry sauce should you have? After roasting the blueberries, I only have maybe 1/4 of sauce.

  4. 5 stars
    Just lovely, not your run of the mill ice cream, lemon poppyseed is such a nice touch, I’ve never seen it in an ice cream flavir before, thank you!