The tournament favourite was pushed all the way by his gutsy opponent in a brilliant match, which produced 22 180s.
van Gerwen will take on Peter Wright in the last eight after Snakebite defeated Gerwyn Price.
“It’s amazing to win a game like this,” said van Gerwen who averaged 102.
“Ian played brilliant and put a lot of pressure on my shoulders so it’s fantastic to get through.
“Ian deserves a lot of credit but I’m proud to be in the semi-finals again.”
Finishes of 106 and 105 helped White race into a 6-1 lead before van Gerwen rattled off three legs in quick succession.
White then held to restore a three-leg advantage but the Dutchman raised his level, hitting four 180s in the next two legs to reduce the deficit to 7-6.
He then took out 72 to draw level for the first time and, despite van Gerwen hitting his seventh maximum, White edged back ahead.
‘Mighty Mike’ levelled with another 72 finish but White took the following two legs.
van Gerwen broke back immediately with a brilliant 156 finish and then bedded tops to make it ten apiece.
The 2014 World Champion then moved ahead for the first time in the match and then took a fourth straight leg to pull two legs clear.
White took the following three legs though to edge back in front but van Gerwen pinned double three to stem the tide.
He then fired in his twelfth maximum as he broke his opponent’s throw to move ahead.
The Dutch ace pegged double 16 to go within one leg of victory and, after White missed the chance to prolong proceedings, van Gerwen finished the job on tops.
He will play Wright on Saturday in his third consecutive Blackpool semi-final.