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This Cherry Garcia Ice Cream recipe is decadent-tasting but secretly healthy, and puts summer cherries to perfect use when you want a nourishing sweet treat. The best part is that there’s no ice cream maker required!

front view of healthy cherry garcia ice cream recipe in glass dish

I’ve always been a chocolate girl when it comes to dessert. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that my usual motto is that if a sweet treat doesn’t have chocolate, it just isn’t worth it.

But I have branched out a little, realizing the deliciousness in things like ethereally light angel food cake, deliciously crisp butter toffee shortbread cookies, and classic flavor combinations like nostalgic peanut butter and jelly made into crumble bars.

This healthy Cherry Garcia recipe has just enough chocolate to hold my interest, without it overwhelming the recipe.

Because let’s face it, cherries also deserve a moment in the spotlight! Their season is so short-lived it warrants a celebration in the form of anything and everything cherry-flavored, including a healthy version of ice cream!

top view of chocolate cherry ice cream in glass

What is in Cherry Garcia Ice Cream?

Cherry Garcia is a flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. It is cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes.

According to Ben & Jerry’s, this ice cream originated as a fan-suggested flavor, and is a tribute to Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia.

Ben & Jerry’s also makes a low-fat frozen yogurt version of this flavor.

Healthy Homemade Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Recipe

For this recipe, we frozen cherries as the ice cream base with a touch of cream cheese and heavy cream. If you prefer to cut the calories and fat a bit, you can omit the cream cheese and heavy cream, and instead use 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt. And we add a little dark chocolate because it pairs perfectly with the flavor of cherry, especially in ice cream.

So let’s talk for a minute about what makes cherries healthy!

Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries are rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body, and help to prevent cancer and heart disease.

Additionally, the purple and blue pigments in cherries, called anthocyanins, help reduce pain related to inflammation.

Cherries are also a good source of potassium, which helps the body eliminate excess sodium, thus helping to lower blood pressure.

You can read more about the health benefits of cherries on Fox News, Health, and Live Strong.

Cherries Nutrition

According to USDA FoodData Central, 1 cup of pitted cherries (154 g) has the following nutrition information:

  • 97kcals
  • 1.6g protein
  • 0.3g total fat
  • 24.6g total carbohydrates
  • 3.2g fiber
cherries in st oneware bowl on white table


Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

  • Sweet red cherries – You can use fresh or frozen. If you’re using fresh cherries, wash them, remove the stems and pits, spread them out in a parchment paper-lined baking tray to flash freeze, and freeze until solid, about 2 to 4 hours.
  • Cream cheese and heavy whipping cream – We use a combination of cream cheese and heavy cream for a lusciously rich and creamy texture that simulates ice cream even though our base is mostly cherries. If you prefer frozen yogurt, you can omit the cream cheese and heavy whipping cream and add 1/4 cup of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt instead.
  • Stevia – My sweetener of choice here is stevia, but you can use any sweetener you like: sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, monk fruit, allulose, etc.
  • Vanilla extract – For flavor and aroma.
  • Salt – Salt intensifies the cherry flavor and pulls out the fruit’s natural sweetness.
  • Dark chocolate – You can use any type of dark chocolate you like. I give suggestions for some good sugar-free and low-sugar options.


  1. Add all ingredients except the chocolate to a high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy, tamping down the ingredients as necessary. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  2. Serve immediately, garnished with a fresh cherry if desired.
top view of cherry chocolate ice cream in glass bowl on white table

Low Carb Chocolate Options

Just a little bit of chocolate adds so much flavor to this recipe! There are a ton of good options available when you’re looking for delicious low carb chocolate:

  • Sugar free chocolate options – I like Lily’s and Chocoperfection.
  • Dark chocolate – 70% cacao is good, but I usually opt for 80 to 85%. A few of my favorites include Lindt, Pascha, and Green & Black’s.
  • Unsweetened chocolate – Yes, it’s bitter, but some people develop a taste for it! I like Pascha 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate chips, and Ghirardelli 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate bars.
  • Homemade low carb chocolate – If you want to make your own version of low carb chocolate at home, it’s even better because you get to control the quality of ingredients that go into it, as well as the sweetness level. You’ll need cacao butter and unsweetened cocoa powder, and whatever sweetener you like. (I like using a 2:1 ratio of cacao butter:powder, as measured by weight, not volume. And I sometimes play around with the sweeteners; I’ve had success with honey, maple syrup, stevia, and coconut sugar.)

More Cherry Desserts to Try

close up front view of healthy cherry chocolate ice cream in small glass

Let’s Connect

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Healthy Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Recipe (No Ice Cream Maker)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Yields: 2 servings
This 5-minute, easy, no-churn Cherry Garcia Ice Cream recipe tastes decadent, but is secretly healthy! It puts summer cherries to perfect use when you want a nourishing sweet treat.

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  • Add all ingredients except the chocolate to a high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy, tamping down the ingredients as necessary. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with a fresh cherry if desired.


  • Net Carbs: 6.5g per serving (1/2 of recipe)
  • To Make Frozen Yogurt: To cut the calories and fat a bit you can omit the cream cheese and heavy cream, and instead use 1/4 cup of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt.


Serving: 0.5of recipe | Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 116mg | Potassium: 230mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 655IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 0.8mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream, Cherry Garcia, Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Recipe, Cherry Garcia Recipe, Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

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healthy cherry garcia recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on August 27, 2018 and updated on June 26, 2020.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Well, I halved the recipe, since there’s only one of me and I’m trying to lose weight 😛 And I used my Magic Bullet instead of my Ninja Foodi, since it’s such a small portion. As I figured, the ingredients weren’t liquid enough for the Bullet LOL So I added water to it, so avoid more calories. Now I’m drinking it 😂 It IS quite tasty. Maybe I’ll have to make a big batch, freeze the extra portions and hope that works next time.

  2. 5 stars
    Looks creamy and oh so delicious Faith. A few months back I was able to attend a cherry harvest up in Yakima Washington and it was fascinating touring the orchards and packaging plant.
    Thanks for including me here, too. :)

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