There are few foods that have their own aisle in the grocery store. Ice cream is so popular that it’s one of them. What’s better than a sweet, creamy, cold bowl of your all-time favorite flavor?

If you’re an ice cream lover, you might be reluctant to start a low carb or keto diet. Removing ice cream from your diet can seem intimidating, if not impossible.

But, there are a variety low carb, gluten-free substitutes to ice cream that can satiate your sweet tooth while helping you stay in ketosis and reach your goals.

Why Isn’t Ice Cream Low Carb or Keto Friendly?

Where did ice cream come from? Many historians believe the early Greeks ate snow mixed with honey and fruit. Around 200 BC, the Chinese served mixtures of milk and rice with snow covered with syrup to enjoy a sweetened dairy dish.

Ice cream is best known as a sweet, frozen food made out of dairy products. The main ingredients in classic ice cream are milk and cream. These ingredients are accompanied by several other flavors, creating the vast variety of flavors you see in the grocery store.

While the calories and macronutrients vary depending on the type and flavor of ice cream, it’s helpful to use classic vanilla ice cream as an example. One serving of vanilla ice cream has about 137 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein and 16 grams of net carbs.

Comparatively, a serving of Moose Tracks ice cream comes to a total of 210 calories, including 13 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein and 20 grams of net carbs.

Dairy is an acceptable addition to a ketogenic diet, but ice cream is not considered keto friendly because of added sugars. For example, Moose Tracks typically contains peanut butter cups and chocolate chips.

While natural peanut butter is keto friendly, the added sugars create a problem because they can kick you out of ketosis. The sugars raise your blood glucose levels, lower the levels of ketones in your blood and prevent your body from burning fat stores. Peanuts also have an inflammatory effect, so it’s a good idea to limit even natural peanut butter in your diet.

5 Low Carb Ice Cream Alternatives

While most ice cream flavors provide a suitable dose of fat for a ketogenic diet, they are also high in carbs due to their sugar content. Most commercial brands also lack dietary fiber, making the treat a poor nutritional choice.

Fortunately, there are an abundance of homemade low carb ice cream recipes that allow you to indulge in your favorite desserts while keeping your carb count low, including some dairy-free options and substitutions. While dairy can be incorporated into a ketogenic diet, it also some potential downsides, so you may want to limit your intake or stick to the dairy-free choices on this list.

#1: Low Carb Death by Chocolate Ice Cream

Five Low Carb Ice Cream Alternatives to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

Image: Low Carb Death By Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate is a classic ice cream flavor loved by many. Luckily, you can still enjoy a low carb version of it.

This Death by Low Carb Chocolate recipe has a keto-approved ingredient list, and contrary to the name, it won’t kill you! All you need to make this decadent keto treat is heavy cream, non-dairy milk, cocoa powder, low carb sweetener, eggs, unsweetened chocolate and vanilla extract. Chances are, you already have all the ingredients on hand!

Find the full recipe here.

#2: Low Carb Mint Chocolate Chip Ice CreamFive Low Carb Ice Cream Alternatives to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Image: Low Carb Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Missing mint ice cream on keto? This unique recipe makes for a delectable low carb and sugar-free version.

This low carb ice cream concoction uses heavy whipping cream as its base, so it will taste nearly indistinguishable from the sugar-filled version. Just remember to look for grass-fed dairy, if possible, when enjoying dairy foods as part of a keto diet.

In addition to (preferably grass-fed, or at least organic) heavy whipping cream, you’ll need low carb sweetener, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, non-dairy milk, and sugar-free dark chocolate for this recipe.

Find the full recipe here.

#3: No-Churn Keto Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Low Carb Ice Cream Alternatives to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Image: No-Churn Keto Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Don’t have an ice cream maker on hand? You can still make a great low carb dessert without one. This recipe does require a bit more effort to fit a low carb keto diet, but it’s worth it.

Since you won’t be using an ice cream maker, you’ll have to create your own condensed milk with coconut milk and your keto-friendly sweetener like stevia or monk fruit to ensure the texture is light and airy.

The “cookie” part of this ice cream recipe includes almond flour, cacao powder, sugar substitute, egg and coconut oil. But the simple ice cream recipe makes up for it: The ice cream consists of just coconut milk with heavy whipping cream.

While you have to prepare these components separately, the end result is a delicious, creamy treat. The ingredients in this recipe are packed with healthy, low carb fats.

Find the full recipe here.

#4: Keto Vanilla Ice Cream

5 Low Carb Ice Cream Alternatives to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Image: Keto Vanilla Ice Cream

The perfect accompaniment to any dessert is classic vanilla ice cream. The flavor of this low carb treat is anything but boring.

Similar to the cookies and cream recipe, this Keto Vanilla Ice Cream does not require churning with an ice cream maker.

One thing most low carb or sugar-free ice cream recipes have in common is heavy whipping cream. If you incorporate dairy into your diet, whipping cream provides a great base for the perfect ice cream consistency and is abundant in several vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, C, E and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium for a high nutritional value.

Find the full recipe here.

#5: Keto Superfood Nice Cream

5 Low Carb Ice Cream Alternatives to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

You might say this ice cream has superpowers. The simple ingredient list is packed with nutrition, flavor and a very special secret ingredient: Cauliflower. Cauliflower’s appearance in this easy-to-make chocolate ice cream makes it a guilt-free dessert.

Cauliflower is bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, has an anti-inflammatory effect and improves your brain and heart health. Paired with coconut milk, cocoa powder, stevia (or monk fruit) and a pinch of black pepper and pink salt, you can be savoring this “nice” cream in about 10 minutes.

Find the full recipe here.

Many people think adopting a low carb, ketogenic diet means you have to completely miss out on your favorite sweets. Low carb ice cream alternatives are a great way please your sweet tooth without sabotaging your diet.


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Responses (6)

  1. These all look great! Idk though, I feel like the biggest threat to my not sticking to this diet (or any other) is that everything that used to be easy AF is now a project. Honestly, I work 50+ hours a week and I’d probably rather just cheat if I got an intense craving than hunt around for grass fed, organic cream and everything else and then churn my own ice cream.😂 Who has time to live this way lol??

  2. As long as it’s low carb and fits your macro goal, then it’s acceptable on keto. You can read more about acceptable keto ice creams and recipes here

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