Healthy Ice Cream – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

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Video Low calorie homemade ice cream

The absolute best Healthy Ice Cream made with wholesome, nutritious ingredients, and no frozen bananas! What are we using instead of bananas? Sweet Potatoes! Don’t worry — you can’t taste them! This recipe can be made dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.

Top this creamy chocolate ice cream with a healthy caramel sauce and finely chopped dark chocolate. Try some of our other healthy ice cream flavors next like this blueberry ice cream or cashew ice cream.

Overhead image of the Healthy Ice Cream

Healthy Ice Cream

This isn’t your typical banana “nice cream” that has taken the internet by storm. Essentially, “nice cream” is blended up frozen bananas with a few other ingredients added and labeled as healthy ice cream.

To me, those concoctions just taste like flavored bananas with a smoothie-like consistency — not a thick and creamy ice cream texture. So today we’ve got a healthy ice cream without bananas and it actually tastes like ice cream. It’s rich, creamy, and deeply chocolate-flavored. This healthy ice cream is made with natural, wholesome ingredients and free of artificial sweeteners. It’s also very easy to make — the mixture can be whipped up and loaded into the ice cream maker in a matter of minutes!

Healthy Ice Cream doesn’t have strange, specialty ingredients — there’s no need to make a trip to a health food store. Everything can easily be found at just about any grocery store. And, there are only six ingredients needed!

So if there are no bananas in this recipe, what exactly are we using? Promise you’ll stay with me here? A sweet potato. More on this below!

Process shots of the sweet potatoes being prepped and the chocolate chips being melted

Let’s start by chatting about ingredients.

Healthy Ice Cream Ingredients

  • Sweet potato. I know, this sounds crazy in an ice cream recipe, so you’ll have to trust me on this. Although you may think there would be a sweet potato flavor of some sort, none of the taste testers (and there have been a lot!) has ever been able to detect the sweet potato in this healthy ice cream. The flavor is masked behind the chocolate, but it gives the ice cream a thick and creamy base, plus loads of nutritional benefits.
  • Dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats, among other benefits. For the richest and sweetest possible ice cream, I recommend Nestle’s® 53% cacao dark chocolate morsels. For a vegan/dairy-free healthy ice cream, you’ll want to use Enjoy Life® Dark chocolate chips.
  • Coconut milk. To keep this ice cream dairy-free and vegan while ensuring it’s also very creamy, I recommend canned coconut milk. I do recommend Lite coconut milk because it has a less overwhelming flavor that makes the ice cream taste more chocolate-y instead of coco-nutty. (See “quick tip” box below).
  • Coconut sugar. To keep this ice cream on the more nutritious side, I use coconut sugar, which is a natural (not refined) sugar; you can read more about it here. If you’re okay with less-sweet ice cream, you can leave out the coconut sugar. Alternatively, replace it with brown sugar or add some liquid stevia (I’d start with 1/4 teaspoon). For sweeter ice cream, feel free to increase the amount of coconut sugar in the mix.
  • Vanilla and sea salt. These two ingredients enhance and balancing the flavors in this ice cream.

Process shots of all the ingredients being added to the blender and being blended and added to the ice cream maker

Let’s talk more about sweet potatoes

  • Red and orange sweet potatoes are often labeled as “yams” at the grocery store, which is actually inaccurate. True yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes with thick and fibrous skin. (They’re also very hard to find in American grocery stores.)
  • There are lots of different varieties of sweet potatoes. I recommend skipping tan or purple-skinned sweet potatoes (known as the “dry” varieties) and sticking with orange or red-skinned sweet potatoes. This variety (known as “moist” varieties) is sweeter and has a creamier texture. My favorite sweet potatoes for healthy ice cream are either Red Garnet or Jewel.
  • When picking a sweet potato at the grocery store, look for firm potatoes without growths or discolorations on their skins and avoid soft potatoes.
  • This roasted sweet potatoes recipe describes sweet potato benefits in more detail. If you’d like to avoid using the microwave to cook the sweet potatoes, use the method outlined in this baked sweet potatoes recipe.

Recipe tips

  • Freeze the ice cream insert ahead of time. An ice cream insert takes a good amount of time to be thoroughly frozen, which is a requirement for the ice cream to set up — otherwise, it may never reach the consistency you’re looking for.
  • Chill the mixture. Depending on the quality of the blender used, the blender may warm up the mixture as it works to blend it all together. If this is the case, I’d recommend chilling the mixture for 30 minutes to an hour before adding it to the ice cream maker.

Healthy Ice Cream going into the freezer

Ice Cream Maker

  • For this healthy ice cream recipe, you’ll need an ice cream maker. Here’s the one I use and love.
  • If you’re determined to try this recipe without an ice cream maker, here’s the method for that. The consistency isn’t quite the same, and it’s a lot of extra work, but you’ll arrive at a similar outcome.

Up close image of a bowl of the Healthy Ice Cream

Can I substitute ingredients in this recipe?

Of course, you can always experiment and try any substitutions you’d like, but I likely won’t be able to tell you if your specific substitution will work out. I’ve only tested this recipe as written and can’t say how recipe substitutions will work out.

The most common question on this recipe is how to replace the chocolate chips. There is no substitute I know of that will work for chocolate chips. Cocoa powder won’t work the same in this recipe.

Image of a bowl of Healthy Ice Cream about to be eaten

Healthy Ice Cream Dietary Concerns

  • Gluten-free: While the ingredients in this ice cream are naturally gluten-free, make sure to check all your ingredient labels to verify they weren’t processed in a facility with gluten.
  • Dairy-free: Use dairy-free dark chocolate chips.
  • Vegan: Use dairy-free dark chocolate chips.
  • Vegetarian: As written, this healthy chocolate ice cream is vegetarian.

More nutritious treats

  • Healthy Zucchini Muffins made with Greek yogurt
  • Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding creamy pudding made with chia seeds
  • Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake with chocolate chips
  • Healthy Cookie Dough Cups with a cashew “cookie dough”
  • Healthy No-Bake Cookies chocolate oat cookies

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