If you think the keto diet wouldn't be too welcoming to a big bowl of classic ice cream, then you'd be right. This buzzed-about meal plan relies on getting the body to a state of ketosis to burn fats instead of the typical carbs, and you won't necessarily see ice cream on the approved list of must-eats. But don't count it out entirely.
The keto diet may rely heavily on fish, meat, and vegetables, but dairy is included, too. So when it comes to ice cream, you just have to be creative about keeping the carb content low. We found 10 ice cream recipes you can try when cravings hit, which range from simple vanilla to rich chocolate peanut butter.
There are sweetener substitutes and various extracts involved, but it's nothing you can't handle. After all, you're already committed to quite the rigorous routine.
The Lowdown: Clearly, a site named Perfect Keto would know how to solve this ice cream conundrum. Its recipe for no-churn ice cream includes just three ingredients—whipping cream, monk fruit sweetener, and pure vanilla extract—and requires just a few minutes in the freezer before it's ready.
Quick Tip: "With fewer than five grams of net carbs per serving, you can enjoy it while remaining in ketosis," the recipe says.
Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
The lowdown: Made from whipping cream, vanilla extract, and unsweetened almond milk, the base for this recipe from Ruled Me is then layered with cookie crumbs comprised of cocoa powder and almond flour. It's fast, easy, and delicious.
Quick Tip: "If you want to achieve a soft-serve ice cream consistency, then you can serve the ice cream directly from the machine for ultimate creaminess," the recipe says. "If you prefer a firmer consistency, the optimal time to indulge is once the ice cream has had at least three hours in the freezer."
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
The Lowdown: Thanks to Sugar-Free Mom, there's a way to enjoy butter pecan ice cream while on the keto diet. Heavy cream, maple pecan sweetener, and two egg yolks mix together to make this guilt-free treat.
Quick Tip: "Since the base of the ice cream itself is completely nut free, you can certainly leave out the added pecans to make this nut free," Brenda says. "It will still be a buttery, creamy maple-flavored ice cream and I'm sure you'll love it."
Mocha Ice Cream
The Lowdown: This mocha ice cream recipe, which is also from Ruled Me, is pretty simple—it only requires a mix of heaving whipping cream, cocoa powder, and instant coffee. But it does call for a gelato maker, and that may be a splurge if you don't already have one. We suggest trying it in a typical ice cream maker to experiment a bit.
Quick Tip: "The consistency you're going after during the blending process will be a little bit gummy," the recipe says. "Similar to what you'd expect melted gummy bears to be."
Low-Carb Strawberry Ice Cream
The Lowdown: This ice cream from Low Carb Sisters creates a rich flavor with frozen strawberries, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract. A pinch of sea salt balances out the sweeteners, too.
Quick Tip: "The hot custard will help defrost the frozen strawberries," Laura says. "The frozen strawberries will also cool the custard, so an ice bath is not needed, unless you are substituting fresh strawberries."
Chocolate Ice Cream
The Lowdown: Fluffy egg whites and whipped cream combine to make the light consistency of this low-carb recipe from I Breathe I'm Hungry, which also has dark chocolate and cocoa butter for a layered finish. You don't need an ice cream maker to get this done, either, so you could have it in the next hour.
Quick Tip: "If you freeze it for more than six hours, remember to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before eating," Mellissa says.
Chocolate Bacon Toffee Ice Cream
The Lowdown: Who knew that chocolate, bacon, and toffee ice cream could be considered keto? It works thanks to this recipe, which is also from I Breathe I'm Hungry, because of sugar-free and sugar substitute ingredients that are also mixed in.
Quick Tip: "For the best results, it's important to use a high-quality bacon, and to cook it until fully crisp and brittle before adding it to the melted chocolate," Mellissa notes.
Mint Ice Cream
The Lowdown: Mellissa from I Breathe I'm Hungry deserves one more mention on this list since she did write a whole book on keto recipes. Her mint ice cream option is sugar-free, but the inclusion of peppermint-flavored syrup and mint extract definitely deliver flavor.
Quick Tip: "You can add bits of dark chocolate or cocoa nibs in the final minutes of churning if you want," she says. "Or shave dark chocolate over it and then drizzle sugar-free chocolate sauce on top, like I do."
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
The Lowdown: Natural, organic peanut butter is the star ingredient of this option from Low-Carb Yum, and Lisa used a jar that was half-creamy and half-chunky. From there, she added unsweetened almond milk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract to the mix.
Quick Tip: “Whey protein can be added to make up bulk lost when using a concentrated sweetener like stevia,” Lisa says. “It will produce more ice cream without adding carbs.”
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter
The Lowdown: When you need a little more richness with your peanut butter, opt for this ice cream from Keto Crate Blog, which adds sugar-free chocolate chips to the bowl. Heavy cream, almond milk, and vanilla extract make appearances, too, but you already knew that.
Quick Tip: "We used heavy cream and almond milk in this ice cream recipe to cut the calories a bit, since it's quite dense as it is (thanks, peanut butter). Feel free to use all heavy cream, it wouldn't hurt the consistency," Vicky says.