25-Minute Healthy Vanilla Ice Cream

Here are the top best Is vanilla ice cream healthy voted by readers and compiled and edited by our team, let’s find out

Nearly every 4th of July throughout my childhood, Mom slid our paperback copy of the Ben & Jerry’s cookbook off of its spot on the bookshelf, flipped through the pages, and pulled out the ingredients for their egg-free vanilla ice cream recipe. While she beat the sugar and heavy cream with our hand-held mixer, Dad drove over to the grocery store to brave the crowds and pick up a box of rock salt and big bag of ice.

When Dad returned, he finagled our antique ice cream maker out of its cabinet in the garage, maneuvering it Tetris-style past the parked cars, rod of Mom’s fancy dresses, and two bicycles hanging upside down from the ceiling. He carried it out to the backyard, setting it down near one of the grated drains, before pouring Mom’s ice cream base into the metal container and placing that in the center.

After nestling alternating layers of ice and rock salt around the edges in between the metal container and the wooden bucket’s sides, we gathered around the machine, perched on little plastic step stools, and quickly planned out our turns. Dad took his place at the hand crank first, easily turning it round and round, to ensure a smooth start. My younger brother grabbed it next, placing his hand directly over Dad’s and continuing to push the handle at the same speed in the same direction. Dad taught us very early on that seamless transitions were the key to perfectly smooth and creamy ice cream!

I took over after my brother, hunkering down on the little step stool and turning the crank around and around in a circle. By the end of my turn, the ice cream had begun to thicken, and pushing that handle required a lot more effort! With their bigger muscles, Mom and Dad took the last two turns, and about 20 minutes after we started, Dad hoisted the metal container out of the wooden bucket and carried it into the kitchen on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch the salty water droplets from the melted ice!).

After removing the lid and scraping off the plastic paddle in the center, Dad served us each a big bowl of that fresh, homemade ice cream. As smooth and creamy as soft-serve and with its classic vanilla flavor, that ice cream tasted a hundred times better than anything we bought from the grocery store!

This year, the county fair ended on the 4th of July, and since the fairgrounds sit directly across from the grocery store, we decided to avoid the massive crowds of cars and people and skip buying ice for our antique ice cream maker. However, my brand new electric ice cream maker arrived in the mail the day before, so we still whipped up homemade ice cream! Instead of Ben & Jerry’s indulgent version full of heavy cream and sugar, we made my healthier recipe…

This 25-Minute Healthy Vanilla Ice Cream! Mom and Dad were completely surprised by how perfectly it turned out. Even with no heavy cream or sugar, they agreed it was still just as smooth and creamy as their favorite cookbook recipe (or anything you’d order from an ice cream parlor!), and it had the same sweet, rich vanilla flavor. And with only 78 calories and nearly 8g of protein, nobody felt guilty serving themselves a second scoop!

To make this healthier ice cream, you’ll start with Greek yogurt and 2% milk. If you’ve been around Amy’s Healthy Baking for a while, you already know how much I love Greek yogurt! Its thick texture is perfect for this ice cream base, and with around 21g of protein per cup, it gives your frozen treat a big protein boost too!

As for the milk, I highly recommend using 2% instead of trying to substitute something else. Ice cream requires some fat to give it that smooth, creamy texture.

{Nerd alert—here’s why!} Traditional ice cream is a combination of sugar molecules, fat molecules, air molecules, and frozen water molecules. Think of them as tiny spheres of various sizes. If too many frozen water spheres are touching, the ice cream has ice chunks form, which makes the ice cream taste hard or grainy. Adding the other types of spheres—sugar, fat, and air—reduces the chances of those frozen water spheres touching, which makes your ice cream smooth and creamy!

Since you aren’t sweetening this ice cream with sugar (more on that in a minute!), it’s very important to make sure you include fat in the ice cream base. You can use higher percentages of milk (i.e. whole milk) if you prefer, but do not substitute nonfat or 1% milk. I also recommend against substituting almond or cashew milk because both of these have a very high water content, which will increase the chances of your ice cream having those ice chunks and grainy texture.

Like I mentioned, you’ll skip the refined sugar and sweeten this ice cream with one of my favorite ingredients instead: vanilla crème stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that’s clean eating friendly, and it’s very concentrated. A little goes a long way—you just need 1 teaspoon! This is the kind I buy because I love its warm vanilla flavor and don’t notice any bitter or strange aftertastes like some stevia products can have. You can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, as well as online. (And you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine, too!)

{Another nerd alert!} Finally, there’s one more important ingredient in this ice cream base. Eggs act as a natural “glue” that helps hold together the different spheres and therefore create that perfect smooth, creamy texture. Because we’re skipping the eggs (I’m impatient and don’t want to heat my ice cream base—I just want to eat my frozen dessert as soon as possible!), you’ll use a different “glue” called xanthan gum. You can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, as well as online. Do not skip the xanthan gum. Your ice cream will taste icy and hard without it.

Remember how I explained that air spheres are a crucial part of ice cream? Because they keep the frozen water spheres separate for that smooth, creamy texture? That’s why it’s important to use an ice cream maker for the best result! This is the one that I have, and it’s really affordable and so easy to use. I bought it online, and I can already tell I’m going to use it just about every week this summer! (I have another new recipe coming for you in the next few weeks!)

{One last nerd alert!} The ice cream maker plays two key roles. Firstly, by rotating and churning the liquid ice cream base, it incorporates more air spheres into the ice cream. Secondly, it rapidly chills the liquid ice cream base, much faster than a no-churn ice cream preparation method. That’s why your ice cream will be ready to eat just 25 minutes after you start mixing together the ingredients! (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I included instructions for that no-churn method in the Notes section, but remember your ice cream will turn out a little grainier and harder!)

So to recap…

Now that we’ve covered all of those nerdy ice cream chemistry things… (I was an organic chemist before a baking blogger! ?)

Who’s ready for dessert?? And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees that I’ll see the notification from you! ?) I’d love to see your ice cream and feature it in my Sunday Spotlight series!

And now for the really exciting news… I’m giving away a brand new ice cream maker! To enter, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter box below. It sometimes takes a few minutes to load, so be patient! After logging in with your email address or Facebook account, enter using as many options as you’d like.

*Ice Cream Maker Giveaway will be open until 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on July 21, 2016. Open to the US only. Must be 18 years or older and have a valid email address to enter. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond, or else a new winner will be selected.

View Nutrition Information You may also like Amy’s other recipes…♥ Mini Hula Pies♥ Blueberry and Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches♥ Peppermint Ice Cream Chocolate Cupcakes♥ Skinny Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches♥ Mango Almond Popsicles

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