Lemon Frozen Yogurt

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Tangy yogurt bursting with the electrifying scent of tart lemon.
This has been a best seller in our shops for years. It was one of my first flavors ever, reminiscent of my favorite sherbets when I was a kid. When they are in season, we use Meyer lemons for a softer, sweet-tart flavor, and during the warm months, we make lemon and blueberry yogurt.
I have included a variation for a blueberry version, but the lemon yogurt will go with any of our fruit sauces.


Frozen Yogurt Base:
  • 1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • Zest from 1 lemon (reserved from below)

Lemon syrup:

  • 2 to 3 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
Pairs well with: Cherry pie. Dark chocolate.

Advanced Prep

For the frozen yogurt base: Fit a sieve over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to drain. Discard the liquid, and measure out 1 1/4 cups of the drained yogurt; set aside.


For the lemon syrup: Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 1 lemon; reserve for the frozen yogurt (leave the lemon zest in large strips so it's easier to strain out later). Juice enough of the lemons to make 1/2 cup.

Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool.

For the frozen yogurt base: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.


Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon zest in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling 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. Add the reserved 1 1/4 cups yogurt and the lemon syrup and whisk until smooth. 

Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.


Remove the zest from the frozen yogurt base. Pour into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. 

Pack the frozen yogurt into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Variation: Lemon & Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Make Blueberry Sauce (see below) and chill completely. Make the Lemon Frozen Yogurt as directed. As you pack the frozen yogurt into the storage container, alternate it with layers of Blueberry Sauce. End with a spoonful of sauce; do not mix. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Blueberry Sauce
Makes about 1 3/4 cups 

Fabulous with citrus yogurts or in sundaes, this sauce is versatile, easy, and gorgeous.
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Mix the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are tender and the sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then refrigerate until cold before using.

Makes a generous 1 quart

Top Recipes

Breaking Southern food stereotypes with chef Edouardo Jordan of Junebaby

Chef Edouardo Jordan takes Southern food to a new level, highlighting Southern ingredients and tradition at his Seattle restaurant, Junebaby. Host Francis Lam talked with Jordan about his deep research into Southern cooking, and what it means to present Southern cuisine in the opposite corner of the country.