Can you make a delicious sugar free ice cream recipe right in your kitchen? Sure you can — whether you have an ice cream maker or not. With just a few pantry staples, you can have healthier homemade ice cream stocked up in your freezer for a guilt-free pick-me-up whenever you need it.
Read on for reasons why you should consider switching to and making your own dairy-free and sugar-free ice cream, as well as some simple and straightforward recipes to try. Who knows, you may just end up making some luscious ice cream worthy of opening your own neighborhood low-carb ice cream stand.
It’s well-known that ice cream is a special snack enjoyed by most. Creamy, sweet, and cold, it ticks all the boxes of what makes a treat extra tasty.
But the regular ice cream found in stores is often dairy-based and contains a ton of added sugar — something you have to take into consideration if you’re trying to eat cleaner and consume products more responsibly.
Dairy-free and sugar-free ice cream often rely on coconut milk or other milk alternatives and sugar substitutes. In that sense, this type of ice cream can help those with dairy allergies and digestive issues, as well as those trying to control their blood sugar, without them having to sacrifice their love for this sweet concoction.1
Also, non-dairy and refined sugar-free ice cream can be considered low carb ice cream. This is because some recipes and brands rely on dairy and sugar substitutes that contain less carbohydrates than traditional cow’s milk and refined sugar. So, if you’re counting net carbs or on a keto diet, choose a good sugar-free and dairy-free ice cream to satisfy your craving for sweets without racking up the carb count.2
Know What Your Non-Dairy Ice Cream Is Made Of
But even with lighter ingredients and more balanced sugar content, some sugar-free and dairy-free ice cream may still contain a lot of calories and saturated fat — especially if you choose a brand that uses a coconut milk base.3
It pays to read the labels carefully and know how the ingredients — healthy or not — contribute to your diet and overall health. Luckily, there are a lot of options in the non-dairy ice cream aisle to choose from. But if you really want to be stringent and diligent, you may want to try scooping up your own sugar-free and dairy-free ice cream recipe. This way, you’ll know exactly what goes into it — and you can tweak it to your own taste preferences.
Can You Make Low Carb Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker?
What if you don’t have an ice cream maker? It’s entirely possible to still make cold and creamy ice cream without an ice cream machine. It’ll just take a little more elbow grease. Read on for recipes that don’t require any churning in an extra appliance.
Vanilla Sugar-Free Ice Cream
Here is a basic recipe for a classic vanilla ice cream that doesn’t call for the usual ingredients like heavy cream, condensed milk, or refined sugar. Now, it does require xanthan gum, but you should be able to find this easily in larger stores or online. This ingredient helps make your frozen dessert creamy without you having to churn it.
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (about 13 ounces)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ vanilla bean
- Add coconut milk or cream, maple syrup, xanthan gum, and almond extract into a blender.
- Open up the vanilla bean with a sharp knife (it should split into halves), and scrape out the inside of one half. Add this to the blender.
- Blend ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Pour out the ice cream mixture into a loaf-sized baking pan and cover with tin foil. Place it in the freezer. Chill at least four hours (if you prefer soft-serve) or 5-6 hours for firm ice cream.4
This makes six portions of vanilla bean ice cream. Each serving size contains 94 calories.5
Chocolate Ice Cream (Low-Carb & Sugar-Free)
This sugar-free and dairy-free chocolate ice cream uses a combination of coconut milk and almond milk. You can add other mix-ins, like cinnamon or even coffee, to boost the rich flavor. Try making chocolate chip ice cream by throwing in a handful of vegan or non-dairy chocolate chips before freezing.
- 14-16 ounces pitted dates (soaked in warm water for a few minutes and drained if too hard or dry — you want moist dates)
- 2 cans coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, chilled (about 14 ounces each)
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 ounce cooled espresso (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Cacao nibs or vegan chocolate chips (optional)
- Take a clean large mixing bowl and place it in the freezer.
- Meanwhile, add the pitted dates to your blender or food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Then, add hot water in small amounts while the machine is running to create a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Scoop the coconut cream or milk directly from the can into the chilled mixing bowl. Don’t tip the contents out from the can — toss out or reserve the separated liquid for other uses.
- Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the coconut milk or cream until creamy. Add cocoa powder, almond milk, vanilla extract, and about half of the prepared date paste. Continue to whip until smooth and creamy.
- At this point, taste the cream mixture and adjust flavor. Add more date paste for sweetness or cocoa powder to intensify the chocolate taste. If using, add the optional espresso and cinnamon.
- Transfer chocolate cream ice cream mixture to a baking loaf pan or freezer-safe container pre-lined with parchment paper. Cover top loosely with plastic wrap, then top with aluminum foil.
- Freeze the ice cream mixture for a few hours for a soft serve or mousse-like texture, or overnight for more firm ice cream. Set out for a few minutes before serving to allow chocolate ice cream to soften.6
This ice cream mixture will keep for about a week. This recipe makes about 12 servings, and each serving size contains about 272 calories.7
Low Carb Ice Cream Recipe Mix-Ins
Whether you’re a vanilla ice cream fan or a chocolate fiend, your homemade dairy-free and sugar-free ice cream can be jazzed up with any of these tasty, wholesome mix-ins and toppings:
- Diced or chopped fresh fruit, like berries or stone fruit (peaches, cherries, etc.)
- Almond slivers or other crushed or chopped nuts
- Vegan dark chocolate chunks, chips or shavings
- Flaked or shredded coconut
- Small portions of vegan strawberry cheesecake
- A sprinkle of coarse sea salt
- A dollop of nut butter
- Crystallized ginger8
A Tasty Treat For The Whole Family
Making homemade ice cream is a wholesome activity for the entire family to enjoy. Get everyone involved in the prep, and then set out a family-style buffet of toppings and mix-ins for everyone to build their own sundaes. It’ll be a new family tradition everyone would certainly love to participate in.