6 Best Keto Ice Cream Brands of 2019

Just a few years ago, stumbling upon a tasty keto ice cream at the grocery store was something you could only dream about. Sure, there are plenty of low-carb ice cream recipes on the internet, but sometimes you just want to enjoy your favorite flavors like chocolate ice cream, cookie dough, and cookies and cream without pulling out your ice cream maker.

Luckily, high-fat, low-carb ice cream options are becoming more prevalent in the frozen aisle of most grocery stores.

Here’s what’s not so lucky: Not all keto ice cream brands use clean ingredients or keep your blood sugar stable. Lurking behind those colorful, enticing labels and impressive marketing campaigns are a host of unwanted ingredients like sugar alcohols and preservatives.

In this guide, you’ll discover which store-bought ice cream brands are the smartest and safest to enjoy on the keto diet. Plus, you’ll learn which ingredients to avoid when picking out your favorite frozen sweet treats.

3 Ingredients to Avoid in Keto Ice Creams

Certain ingredients in packaged low-carb foods can cause more damage than they’re worth. High levels of sugar alcohols, certain gums, and other fillers and binders can cause gut issues or sap your energy.

Here are the most common ingredients you’ll need to watch out for in keto ice cream:

#1: Artificial Sweeteners 

When manufacturers go sugar-free, they often load up their products with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, sorbitol, and xylitol. But these products aren’t safe or better for you just because they’re free of sugar.
While a solid consensus on artificial sweeteners is still out, many studies link them to diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders[*].

There’s also evidence that these sweeteners can shift the composition of your gut bacteria, which could cause unwanted weight gain and other gut issues[*].

If you see any artificial sweeteners on your ice cream label, leave it on the shelf. Try looking for low-carb ice creams sweetened with monk fruit, stevia, or erythritol (commonly sold as Swerve).

#2: Added Hormones in Milk or Cream

Just like you want to avoid hormones in cheese and milk, your ice cream should be no different.

Any growth hormones or antibiotics given to dairy cows will be passed to you when you consume their milk. These hormones can disrupt your body’s hormones, which may lead to a slew of health issues[*].

Ditch any low-carb ice cream that doesn’t specifically indicate that it’s hormone- and antibiotic-free.

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#3: Preservatives and Other Additives

Manufacturers use organic and inorganic preservatives to enhance the flavor of foods, improve their texture, and keep them shelf-stable longer.

But the problem with many of these chemicals is that the long-term human health effects are still unknown.

One popular preservative used in ice cream is maltodextrin, a highly processed powder usually made from corn.

Maltodextrin is high on the glycemic index and will definitely spike your blood sugar. It can also alter your gut bacteria in a way that makes you more susceptible to disease[*].

Additives like artificial colors may have carcinogenic and neurotoxic effects in certain populations. And high omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, peanut, and sunflower can cause significant inflammation[*].

To be safe, avoid any low-carb ice cream with:

  • Preservatives such as sodium phosphate, potassium sorbate, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, and sodium nitrite.
  • Food colorings such as artificial red, yellow, and blue dyes.
  • Low-quality vegetable oils such as soybean, peanut, and sunflower.

Thanks to the rise in popularity of the keto diet, big food manufacturers are starting to hop on the “low-carb” train. But many of these so-called keto ice cream options contain questionable ingredients that are likely to kick you out of ketosis.

That’s why you’ll need to look past the marketing jargon on the label whether you’re eating ice cream or any other packaged foods on keto.

Low-Carb Ice Creams to Avoid

Just because something says “only XX net carbs” or “keto-friendly” doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your healthy keto lifestyle. These products may spike your blood sugar levels and kick you out of ketosis despite the low-carb macros.

breyers carb smart ice cream
Case in point: This Breyers Carb Smart ice cream. While not a sugar-free ice cream, at first glance it seems like a keto-friendly choice.

The label on the Carb Smart products mention that it’s “part of a low-carb lifestyle” because it only has 3 grams of sugar per serving. But while the fiber and sugar alcohols keep it low in net carbs, the ingredients are anything but good for you.

Flipping the container over reveals the true picture:

breyers carb smart ice cream ingredients
There are at least 11 questionable ingredients and four artificial sweeteners, including sorbitol, polydextrose, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose, the common name for Splenda.

Splenda specifically has been shown to raise blood sugar and insulin levels, contribute to weight gain, and alter your gut microbes for the worst.

And despite the marketing claims about fitting into a low-carb lifestyle, you’ll find sugar lurking in the ingredients list.

On top of the sugar and sweeteners, there’s also carrageenan, a thickening agent that may cause gastrointestinal side effects.

So while this ice cream may technically fit a macronutrient profile that’s safe on a ketogenic diet, the ingredients can sap your energy or create some unpleasant gut symptoms.

Breyers isn’t the only brand doing this.

If you don’t have time to dig deeper and read labels, you may unknowingly reach for the wrong ice cream. And that will make it much harder to meet your health and weight loss goals.

Read on for a hand-selected list of healthier low-carb, keto ice creams you can enjoy whenever the craving strikes.

Top 6 Keto-Friendly Ice Cream Brands

These low-carb ice cream choices add flexibility to your ketogenic diet without the sugar crash of most desserts.

They also prove you can have delicious ice cream on keto without busting out your ice cream maker.

As long as you enjoy them in moderation and factor them into your total carb intake for the day, you’ll be golden.

#1: Wink Frozen Desserts

Wink Frozen Desserts offers a line of 100-calorie, plant-based pints low in both sugar and carbs.
Take their vanilla ice cream flavor, Vanilla Bean, as an example. This vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free treat clocks in at zero grams of sugar and just 1 gram of net carbs for a half-cup serving. If you don’t count the sugar alcohol, it’s actually zero grams of carbs.

best keto ice cream: wink frozen dessert

If you ate the entire pint, you’d spend only 4 grams of net carbs. Not a bad dessert to add to your keto meal plan.

On top of their keto-friendly macros and clean ingredients, Wink pints are also non-GMO certified. They’re free of egg and peanut too.

Instead, you’ll see an ingredient list with pronounceable items like:

  • Pea protein
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Organic stevia extract
  • Vanilla bean seeds

There are 12 different flavors of Wink Frozen Desserts — from cake batter and lemon cake to salted caramel and pumpkin spice latte. You can have them shipped to your door or you can use their store locator to pick up some near you.

#2: Rebel Creamery 

Rebel Creamery is a keto ice cream brand loaded with a rich, full-fat base of cream and egg yolks, making it taste more like a custard than a sorbet. This creates a velvety texture similar to the kind of ice cream you grew up with.

But rather than being loaded with sugar, Rebel Creamery packs their pints with healthy fats and sweeteners like erythritol. Their high-fat ice cream contains 56-76 grams of fat per pint, which is hard to beat. Halo Top only has 8-14 grams of fat and Wink Frozen Desserts has even less at 2 grams.
Take a look at this nutrition label from the Peanut Butter Fudge, or their chocolate peanut butter flavor:

best keto ice cream: rebel creamery ingredients

A half-cup serving size is 200 calories, 19 grams of fat (10 of which are saturated fat), 3 grams of protein, and 2 grams of net carbs.

With these keto macros and healthy fats, you’ll be feeling satisfied instead of ravenous for more.

As for the other ingredients, here’s what you’ll find in this particular flavor:

  1. Cream
  2. Water
  3. Peanut butter
  4. Erythritol
  5. Fudge
  6. Chicory root fiber
  7. Egg yolks
  8. Milk protein isolate
  9. Monk fruit
  10. Vegetable glycerin
  11. Guar gum
  12. Peruvian carob gum

Rebel Creamery sources their cream from hormone-free cows, and their ingredients won’t raise your blood sugar.

Use their store locator to get your hands on classics such as Butter Pecan, Cookie Dough, and Mint Chip.

#3: Halo Top 

Halo Top is the original low-carb ice cream, offering dozens of flavors for low-carb dieters long before it became trendy.
But take a look at the nutrition facts for their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor:

halo top nutrition facts

You’ll need to budget 7 grams of carbs for a half-cup serving size due to the sugar added.

By contrast Red Velvet contains 90 calories, 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, and 13 grams of net carbs.

This may eat up a large portion of your daily carbs — especially if you’re aiming to consume less than 10 grams of sugar per day. If you eat slightly more than your serving size (which is easy to do), you could kick yourself out of ketosis.

Keep in mind that not all Halo Top flavors are this sweet. For a list of the best and worst Halo Top flavors, check out this guide to Halo Top ice cream.

Despite the relatively high sugar content, there are many good sides to Halo Top. First, their ingredient list is decent.

The Birthday Cake flavor — the best choice on keto — contains:

  • Skim milk
  • Eggs
  • Erythritol
  • Prebiotic fiber
  • Milk protein concentrate
  • Cream
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Beet juice
  • Annatto
  • Vegetable juice
  • Beta carotene
  • Natural flavor
  • Sea salt
  • Organic carob gum
  • Organic guar gum
  • Organic stevia leaf extract

Halo Top doesn’t use milk or cream from cows given synthetic growth hormones either.

What’s more, they have dairy-free versions that use a coconut milk base. Aside from almond milk, coconut milk makes a great swap if you’re avoiding dairy on keto.

Another positive mark is that Halo Top is widely available at most grocery stores, including big box stores like Whole Foods and Publix.

You can also order it online, including Amazon. Choose the right flavors and measure out your serving size before accidentally going overboard.

#4: Enlightened

Enlightened is another low-sugar, low-fat ice cream brand that keto dieters use to satisfy cravings.

You can compare Enlightened to Halo Top since their macronutrient profile is very similar. Their Movie Night flavor — a popcorn base with a chocolate and caramel swirl — has 2 grams more fiber and a gram more protein than Halo Top:

Enlightened nutrition facts

The Enlightened story deviates from Halo Top when comparing the ingredients, however.

In this Movie Night flavor, you’ll see a few questionable ingredients including:

  • Cane sugar
  • Natural flavor
  • Caramel color
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Corn starch
  • Lecithin

These additives may raise your blood sugar levels. If you’re going to eat Enlightened ice cream, you should do so in moderation.

Certain flavors may be helpful for satisfying cravings — such as Marshmallow Peanut Butter or French Toast — but you wouldn’t want to make this a daily habit.

The 24 grams of sugar in the Movie Night pint can certainly ruin ketosis for you and cause you to crave more sugar. Their Strawberry Cheesecake has an incredible 18 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar alcohols.

Similar to Halo Top, many grocery stores carry this option and you can ship it straight to your house.

#5: Arctic Zero 

Another brand in the high-protein, low-fat, and low-sugar ice cream explosion, Arctic Zero has its own standout features.

Notably, Arctic Zero doesn’t use sugar alcohols in their frozen dessert.

And their milk, cream, and whey protein are all rBST and hormone-free.

However, you’ll notice a slightly higher sugar and carb count than their competitors’ pints.

A serving of Arctic Zero’s Mint and Chocolate Cookies flavor will set you back:

  • 2.5g of fat
  • 13g of carbs
  • 11g of sugar
  • 2g of protein
best keto ice cream: artic zero

So while you can technically have this on keto, you must work your meal plans accordingly to fit it into your macros safely.

While you can opt for a different flavor, you won’t save yourself that much in the way of carbs.

Additionally, Arctic Zero pints have a lengthy ingredient list similar to Enlightened.

Here’s a peek at what’s inside the Mint flavor:

  • Skim milk
  • Cane sugar
  • Prebiotic fiber
  • Fudge mint cookies
  • Unbleached wheat flour
  • Dried cane syrup
  • Palm oil
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Dried cane invert syrup
  • Baking soda
  • Sea salt
  • Soy lecithin
  • Peppermint oil
  • Organic chocolate chunks
  • Cream
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Spirulina extract
  • Fruit juice or color
  • Acacia gum
  • Guar gum
  • Locust bean gum
  • Natural flavors

Again, not something you’ll want to indulge in every day.

If you do decide to try this one, you can find Arctic Zero at most grocery stores and online.

#6: So Delicious No-Sugar Added

For a dairy-free treat, So Delicious offers a no-sugar-added line that’s safe to eat on a low-carb diet.

The macros for the brand’s Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk bars come in at:

  • 9g of fat (8g of which are saturated)
  • 7g of net carbs
  • Less than 1g of sugar
  • 1g of protein

so delicious nutrition facts
This bar is higher in fat and has fewer carbs than Enlightened and Halo Top, making it slightly better for you on keto.

The line also includes other dairy-free and low-sugar flavors such as Butter Pecan and Chocolate.

As for the ingredients, the Vanilla Bean bar contains:

  • Non-dairy frozen dessert base of organic coconut milk, water, and organic coconut cream
  • Chicory root extract
  • Acacia gum
  • Erythritol
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Pea protein
  • Guar gum
  • Sea salt
  • Locust bean gum
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Natural flavor
  • Chocolate coating
  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate liquor
  • Natural flavor
  • Stevia leaf extract

While the So Delicious brand is available at most grocery stores, finding the No Sugar Added line could pose a challenge.

If you have trouble sourcing it, consider ordering online and you’ll have a dairy- and gluten-free keto dessert whenever the craving hits.

Enjoy These Keto-Friendly, Low-Carb Ice Creams Today

Wink Frozen Desserts and Rebel Creamery make the best store-bought keto ice creams.

These two low-carb ice cream brands should be your first choice since they’re more aligned with a ketogenic diet in both macronutrients and healthy ingredients.

The other four ice creams on this list can work as occasional stand-ins. Just make sure to find the lowest sugar flavors and stick to the serving size.

Another option is to make ice cream at home using avocado, coconut milk, or heavy cream as a base. Homemade ice cream isn’t as hard as it looks — especially if you’re using a no-churn recipe. All you typically need is heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and keto-safe sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.

While making your ice cream at home requires more total time spent in the kitchen, it lets you control all the ingredients. Plus, you can play around with different flavors and textures, from adding stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips for keto chocolate ice cream, or crushing up Perfect Keto Bars.

Visit this guide next for a complete list of the best keto ice cream recipes you can make at home. And don’t forget to try making your own keto whipped cream to top whichever ice cream you choose.

With all of these options, you don’t have to skip ice cream just because you’re following a keto diet.

As long as you savor them in moderation, you should have no trouble reaching your health and weight loss goals on keto.


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