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Aside from keto cheesecake, the number one keto dessert that people ask me for is how to make keto ice cream. And while there are a million ice cream flavors that you could make, my first priority when making homemade keto ice cream was just a basic sugar-free low carb ice cream recipe — because you can use it as a base for all kinds of flavors. I’ll show you how to make different flavors in the Flavor Variations section below!
This recipe has gone through so many iterations. I’ve tested it dozens of times! After this much (delicious) experimentation, and lots of testing with my kids, I can confidently say that this is the best keto ice cream recipe ever. After you try this latest version, I think you’ll agree. 😉
Is Ice Cream Keto?
No, regular ice cream is not keto friendly. While it does not have grains or other starchy carbs, ice cream is loaded with sugar, so is not suitable for a keto diet. There are a few keto ice cream brands out there, but when you make your own, you know exactly what’s in it. Fortunately, it’s very simple to make keto friendly ice cream at home — and similar to making the regular kind — so you can enjoy ice cream on keto again.
In fact, it’s much easier to make low carb ice cream taste authentic compared to keto baking recipes, because the only swap we need is the sweetener and we’re not trying to make any low carb flours mimic wheat.
Low Carb Ice Cream Ingredients
This section explains how to choose ingredients for the best homemade keto ice cream without sugar, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Butter – Use unsalted. This is the base of the keto condensed milk.
- Heavy cream – You’ll need 2 cups for the condensed milk and 1 cup added toward the end. Full-fat coconut cream should work as a dairy-free substitute, but the recipe still won’t be fully dairy-free because of the butter. If you’d like to lighten up the calories in sugar-free ice cream a bit, you can replace some (or all) of the 1 cup heavy cream (the part added toward the end) with coconut milk beverage or almond milk instead.
- Besti Powdered Monk Fruit Allulose Blend – Older versions of this low carb keto ice cream recipe used powdered erythritol, but now I highly recommend powdered Besti to keep your ice cream soft and scoopable, and also to avoid a gritty texture and cooling aftertaste that sugar alcohols (like erythritol) can impart. Straight powdered allulose is also fine to use, but you’ll need 33% more sweetener. Finally, because Besti dissolves so well, you can also use the crystallized version if that’s what you have on hand.
- Vanilla Extract – For keto vanilla ice cream. You can also add a teaspoon of vanilla bean seeds. See below for other add-ins or extract ideas.
- Almond Milk – This was not present in older versions of the recipe, but now I always include it because heavy cream alone can make the low carb ice cream a little too dense and butter-like. You can use store-bought or homemade almond milk, or for a nut-free option, use coconut milk beverage (the kind in a carton in the dairy section, not the thick canned kind).
How To Make Keto Ice Cream
This section shows how to make low carb ice cream, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Make condensed milk. This is the same process as my sugar-free condensed milk recipe: Melt the butter in a large saute pan or skillet (not a saucepan!) over medium heat. Add powdered Besti and 2 cups of heavy cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick (like condensed milk), coats the back of a spoon, and volume is reduced by half. It will also pull away from the pan as you tilt it.
- Add vanilla. Pour the condensed milk into a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Add milk and cream. Whisk in the almond milk (or coconut milk beverage) and more heavy cream, until smooth.
- Chill. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until very cold. (If you skip this step, the low carb ice cream recipe texture will not be as good.)
- Churn. Pour the keto ice cream base into the frozen ice cream maker bowl (I have this one and love it!) and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or until the consistency resembles soft serve ice cream.
- Freeze. You can enjoy the sugar-free soft serve ice cream right away, but I prefer firm ice cream. Transfer to a glass container and smooth the top with a spatula. Place in the freezer for 2-4 hours, until firm.
- Enjoy! See storage instructions below for scooping tips.
Can You Make Low Carb Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker?
Yes! You can make this homemade low carb ice cream recipe without an ice cream maker if you don’t have one. To make no churn keto ice cream, transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container, and freeze, stirring frequently until completely solid.
Now that you know how to make keto ice cream the basic way, it’s super easy to customize it for other flavors and add-ins. Try these…
Keto Ice Cream Flavors
For these sugar-free ice cream flavors, the ingredients will be fully combined into the ice cream mixture (rather than just pieces of add-ins).
- Chocolate – Whisk 1/4 cup of cocoa powder in at step 4. If it doesn’t want to dissolve, heat slightly to dissolve. I also have a custard-based keto chocolate ice cream recipe that uses egg yolks.
- Strawberry – Heat1 pound strawberries with a few tablespoons of Besti in a saucepan, until soft. Mash the berries as they start to soften. Proceed with the keto ice cream recipe as written, and mix the berry mixture in with the cream and almond milk in step 4. You can also use strawberry almond milk in place of the regular, but you’ll still need more strawberries to get enough flavor. The same process also works with other berries, such as raspberries or blueberries.
- Hazelnut – Follow the recipe in my Easy Keto Cookbook.
- Mint Chip – Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon, and add 1 teaspoon mint or peppermint extract at the same step. If desired, you can add green food coloring for color. For the chips, see chocolate chip ideas below.
Low Carb Ice Cream Add-Ins
Add these to the ice cream maker in the last few minutes of churning, or if making without an ice cream maker, stir in when partially frozen.
- Chocolate Chip – Try white, milk, or dark chocolate chips. All of them are sugar-free and taste great!
- Cookie Dough – Add chunks of keto cookie dough or keto chocolate chip cookies.
- Sea Salt Caramel – Swirl in sugar-free caramel sauce (add extra sea salt for salted caramel). If you like streaks, stop churning once it gets streaky. This method also works with sugar-free chocolate syrup for chocolate swirls.
- Butter Pecan – Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup pecans and 1 tablespoon Besti. Toast pecans for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Cool completely. Follow the sugar-free ice cream recipe as written, and stir the pecans into the mixture afteer the cream and almond milk in step 4. You can also make this caramel butter pecan by swirling in caramel sauce at the end, as described above.
Store this low carb ice cream recipe just as you would any other ice cream — in the freezer.
Using Besti Powdered as the sweetener, it will stay much more soft and scoopable than low carb ice cream recipes using other sweeteners, but these tips can help with scooping:
- Run your ice cream scoop under hot water to warm it up before scooping.
- If the keto friendly ice cream is still a little hard (this can happen if it starts to melt before you place it in the freezer), let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften.
What To Serve With Sugar-Free Ice Cream
This keto-friendly ice cream recipe is delicious on its own, but it’s also great for topping other keto desserts like these:
More Keto Ice Cream Recipes
For even more ways to make sugar-free ice cream, try these recipes: