Home RecipesDesserts Peruvian “Queso Helado” or Cold Cheese

Peruvian “Queso Helado” or Cold Cheese

by Lorena

If you like rice pudding you will love this dessert from Arequipa. The “queso helado” has touches of cinnamon, cloves and coconut that makes it one of my favourite desserts. Even if there’s no cheese in it, this dessert is called like this because when you make it in a mould it looks a lot like a block of cheese that is then sliced to serve.

In the streets of Arequipa you still find people doing it the old-fashioned way: they have a large bowl with ice and a metal one on top of that where they have the mi. They stir constantly with patience until it starts to freeze.

The “queso helado” always has a few water crystals inside and it’s part of its typical characteristic. However in time we’ve started to want a more creamy finish and in this recipe the cornflour helps with that. In the end this recipe has a minimum amount of crystals.

My mom’s family is originally from Arequipa so I have a lot of love for this dessert even if I’ve only been to Arequipa once. It was my aunt who gave me the recipe and I adapted it to reach the result I wanted.

As I explain in the video, I like to use silicone moulds for this type of dessert and I actually cut them into individual ones to make it easier to unmould.

Peruvian "Queso Helado"

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Low
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Freezing Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 people in individual moulds or a 26x11cm mould
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


  • 50 g grated coconut
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cloves
  • 400 g evaporated milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 400 g condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp cornflour + 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 200 g evaporated milk to finish


  • Put the coconut, cinnamon and cloves in a pot. Toast stirring constantly on low heat until the coconut is golden.
  • Add the 400g evaporated milk and water and let it boil for 10min so it infuses with the coconut, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Add the condensed milk, vanilla and cornflour dissolved in cold water and stir until it boils and thickens.
  • Add 1/4 of the mi onto the yolks and whisk fast so it doesn't curdle. Then put it back into the mix and stir over low heat for an extra 30 seconds - 1 minute so the egg yolks thicken up the mi further.
  • Finish off the heat with the extra 200g of evaporated milk at room temperature.
  • Pass through a sieve. If you like the texture of grated coconut you can put a bit back inside the mix.
  • Pour onto individual containers or a rectangular mould and freeze for 8 hours.
  • To unmould submerge the outer part of the mould, dry out and turn it onto a plate.
Tried this recipe?Mention @CravingsJournal or tag #RecipeCJ!


Patricia February 6, 2023 - 9:53 pm

Is corn flour the same as corn starch or is there such a thing as corn flour?
How do you translate the measurements into the U.S. Standard unit.

Lorena February 8, 2023 - 1:29 pm

Hi! It’s cornflour, yes! You can use a scale for these measurements


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