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YES, this keto vanilla ice cream recipe is scoopable right out of the freezer! A pro pastry chef shows you how to make the creamiest, smoothest homemade keto ice cream ever. No gums, no starches, no alcohol, no glycerin, and no MCT oil needed!
Homemade keto ice cream is easy to make, and so much tastier than store bought brands. If you’ve always been disappointed by recipes that turn rock hard in your freezer, you’re going to love my soft and creamy recipe that stays scoopable!
Make a batch of my super easy Ultimate Keto Chocolate Sauce to drizzle over your ice cream.
Can I Eat Vanilla Ice Cream On Keto?
Regular vanilla ice cream is full of sugar, which means it’s not keto-friendly. A ⅔ cup serving of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream contains a whopping 28g of carbs, with 27g coming from sugars.
But don’t worry, because I’m sharing my rich and creamy Keto Vanilla Ice Cream recipe that’s perfectly scoopable right out of the freezer! You won’t believe how simple and delicious this recipe is. And of course, we’re making this low carb keto ice cream without sugar.
Will keto vanilla ice cream kick you out of ketosis?
Keto vanilla ice cream won’t kick you out of ketosis, and the best way to make sure your ice cream is truly keto-friendly is to make your own at home using my recipe.
The vanilla ice cream recipe I’m sharing today contains 4.8g of carbs, 32g of fat, and 5.8g of protein per serving.
However, if you don’t have time to make homemade ice cream, some keto-friendly ice creams are widely available in regular grocery stores:
- Halo Top Keto Series: currently these say “keto series” in small print all around the sides of the lid and “keto series” on the front of the pint – do NOT purchase regular Halo Top ice cream as it’s NOT keto-friendly.
- Enlightened Keto Collection: currently these say “keto” in large print all around the sides of the lid, and “Keto Collection” under the Enlightened logo on the front – do NOT purchase regular Enlightened ice cream as it’s NOT keto-friendly.
- Rebel Ice Cream: If you’re specifically looking for keto vanilla ice cream at the grocery store, look for Rebel. While other brands shy away from classic flavors, Rebel makes all the basics, like vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and mint chocolate chip (in addition to a few fun flavors like cherry chip!).
How To Make The Best Keto Vanilla Ice Cream From Scratch
Now let’s get to the best part of this recipe: YES, this keto ice cream is SCOOPABLE! Right out of the freezer!
Not only that, this recipe uses NO gums, NO alcohol, NO MCT oil, and NO glycerin (which, as a Type 1 diabetic, I can tell you is actually a carby sweetener – it’s insane that many recipe developers don’t realize this!).
You also DON’T have to make a separate recipe for homemade condensed milk first, and you DON’T need any crazy ingredients.
You don’t even have to let it sit out on the counter for 15 minutes to come to room temperature, because you can literally scoop it right out of the freezer.
And not only is this recipe low carb, sugar free, and keto friendly, it’s also gluten free.
So what exactly is the super-secret trick to an amazing scoopable keto vanilla ice cream recipe? It’s sooooo simple! We’re using allulose as the sweetener.
Allulose is one of my favorite keto friendly sweeteners because it has no effect on my blood sugar as a Type 1 Diabetic, and it’s clean flavor tastes the most like real sugar to most people.
In fact, many keto eaters who can’t stand other sugar-free sweeteners absolutely love allulose. And since keto vanilla ice cream relies entirely on the simple flavors of vanilla, cream, sweetener, and eggs for flavor, the sugar-like flavor of allulose is ideal.
Turning vanilla ice cream keto may seem like it would be a pretty simple sweetener swap, but it’s actually more complicated since all keto friendly sweeteners behave differently.
I don’t recommend using Swerve or non-Swerve erythritol in a keto ice cream recipe. The end result will be hard as a rock, icy, and likely grainy.
And while Bocha sweet is used by some recipe creators, I don’t personally use it because many folks report blood sugar spikes from it.
I also don’t like having to make a homemade condensed milk recipe first – it’s an extra step that’s unnecessary.
My simple recipe for keto vanilla ice cream is made exactly the same way I used to make the full-sugar version as a pro pastry chef. It’s an old fashioned base recipe with the perfect fat content, well-rounded vanilla flavor, and a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Truly the best of the best.
And if you’re worried that you’ll ruin or overcook the custard base, don’t be! Ice cream is one of those recipes that sounds overwhelming but it’s truly foolproof if you follow a few simple tips:
- Heat the cream and cook the custard base over medium-low heat. Sometimes I push it up to medium since I’ve made this recipe so many times, but medium-low is absolutely foolproof so that’s what I recommend.
- After you heat the cream up, gradually whisk two ladlefuls (about a cup) of the hot cream into the raw egg yolks. Then add the yolk mixture into the rest of the hot cream. This is called tempering, and it’s literally that simple. NOTHING to be afraid of.
- Cook the ice cream base until it reaches 170 degrees F. If you’re new to making old fashioned ice cream, I find that using a thermometer and cooking the mixture to 170 degrees F is the best method to help you feel more confident with the process. Classically, I learned to cook the mixture until it coats the back of a spoon. Sound vague? Honestly, once you make the ice cream a few times and gain experience, you’ll just KNOW when it’s done by the change in viscosity. But in the meantime, just trust your thermometer!
- Strain the finished mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. EVERYONE will get at least a few tiny bits of coagulated egg protein in their ice cream base – I don’t care who you are. This is why we strain the ice cream base when it’s finished cooking. The strainer will also catch the vanilla bean, if you’re using one. It’s like added insurance for a smooth result. A fine mesh strainer is your friend!
So now let’s cover why old fashioned ice cream made with eggs has the creamiest texture ever.
Why Low Carb Keto Ice Cream Made With Eggs Has The Most Creamy Texture
Before we get to the amaaazing texture, I want to reassure you that the eggs in this recipe are cooked. So if you have any concerns about eating raw egg yolks, there’s no need to worry.
Egg yolks contain emulsifiers, which are basically the magic ingredient when it comes to creamy homemade ice cream. Emulsifiers have a water loving side and a fat loving side, so it may seem obvious that they would be added to ice cream to emulsify the mixture, right?
BUT THEY’RE NOT. Believe it or not, we actually add emulsifiers to ice cream to destabilize the emulsion. Crazy, right?
You see, commercial dairy products purchased in the grocery store (like milk, half and half, and heavy whipping cream) are homogenized. During homogenization, dairy is usually forced through small holes at high pressure. The fat globules are made smaller, creating a larger surface area to volume ratio.
That larger surface area allows more proteins to bond to the fat globules, both weighing them down and stabilizing them. And voila, they don’t separate!
In order to create smooth and creamy vanilla keto ice cream, we need to create lots of tiny, stable air bubbles, and the backbone for those air bubbles is… fat globules! But first, those fat globules need to come together in a connected network through a process called partial coalescence. And as long as the protein membrane created during homogenization remains strong, those fat globules can’t connect.
So how do we make partial coalescence happen, so we can get those lovely tiny and stable bubbles to form?
We’re going to use the emulsifiers in egg yolk to destabilize the proteins, which will free the fat globules to mix and mingle with each other in the ice cream machine.
When we add the ice cream mix to our ice cream maker, the mixing action of the machine will both add tiny bubbles and cause those now unstable fat globules to bang into each other. When the fat globules bang into each other they’ll connect through partial coalescence and create a network to support the tiny air bubbles.
Not only that, the ice cream will actually melt more slowly as a result. Amazing, right?!
Why Is Keto Ice Cream So Hard?
There are two main reasons why keto ice creams are usually hard:
Reason #1: No Sugar
Sugar actually depresses the freezing point in traditional ice cream, making it easier to scoop right out of the freezer. So no sugar usually means hard ice cream, no matter how many crazy gums or other ingredients are added.
But luckily now you know that allulose is the perfect alternative sweetener to make soft and scoopable ice cream!
Reason #2: No Eggs Or Other Emulsifiers
We already covered why eggs help create the creamiest texture, and most homemade keto ice cream recipes don’t contain eggs. Egg-free ice cream is widely called Philadelphia style, and it relies on both sugar and other ingredients to stay soft.
Commercial manufacturers of Philly style ice cream use alternative emulsifiers, gums, maltodextrin, corn syrup, invert sugar, non-fat milk powder, vegetable glycerin, or any number of other commercial food ingredients to create a consistently scoopable product with a palatable texture.
However, many of these ingredients are not keto friendly, or aren’t common in a home kitchen. And honestly, formulating a creamy, scoopable keto Philly style ice cream is NOT easy. That’s why many commercially available Philly style keto ice creams are hard and dry.
And while many homemade Philly style keto recipes attempt to use some combination of xanthan gum, guar gum, alcohol, and other ingredients, they’re typically still rock hard out of the freezer.
The Best Ice Cream Maker For Keto Ice Cream
There are three main types of ice cream makers, and they range in price from the budget friendly ice bucket maker, to the mid-range freezer bowl, to the splurge-worthy compressor ice cream maker.
I’ve personally used and owned the machines below and I recommend them.
The Best Ice Bucket Ice Cream Maker:
The Nostalgia Bucket Ice Cream Maker is a cute wooden bucket with a plastic (easily wipeable) liner that holds the ice and salt.
You add the ice cream mixture to the aluminum canister inside the ice bucket, and fill the outer bucket with ice and salt. There’s a plastic dasher for churning the ice cream, which is powered by an electric motor in the plastic lid.
As long as you chill your ice cream base before adding it to the machine, it’ll freeze relatively quickly (this is important for texture). One of the biggest benefits to an ice bucket maker is that you can just run out to the store and buy ice for the maker whenever you want. Unlike a freezer bowl maker, there’s no freezer bowl to pre-freeze overnight.
This is also the most budget-friendly type of ice cream maker, and has the largest capacity of the three I’m recommending.
The Best Freezer Bowl Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart has a well deserved reputation for manufacturing simple, workhorse freezer bowl ice cream makers that are very easy to clean.
Both use an inner ice cream maker bowl that you’ll need to pre-freeze overnight before you make ice cream. That freezer bowl rotates inside the base while the plastic dasher and plastic lid remain still and churn the ice cream.
Both of these freezer bowl ice cream makers are very simple to use. My biggest tip: it’s important to follow the instructions to add your ice cream mix to the freezer bowl while the bowl is turning. Don’t pour the mix into the stationary bowl and then try to turn the machine on, or the dasher will get stuck!
The Best Compressor Ice Cream Maker
I’m currently using the Whynter ICM-201SB in the BIK test kitchen, and I LOVE it.
Compressor ice cream makers are amazing, because all you have to do is plug them in and add your ice cream mixture. There’s no ice to add or freezer bowl to pre-freeze. This means that you can make batch after batch of ice cream in one kitchen session. The one compressor maker I use is also super easy to clean.
Professional kitchens usually have large (super expensive) commercial models, but recently smaller, more reasonably priced models like the one that I use have become available for home cooks.
Now don’t get me wrong, they’re still pricey compared to other options. But if you love making ice cream all year long, it might be a splurge you want to save up for.
How To Store Homemade Low Carb Ice Cream
My favorite way to store ice creams is in these disposable paper pint containers. Since I’m always testing new flavors, these make it easy to share my homemade ice cream with others. Not to mention how fun it is to have pints that look just like they came from the local ice cream shop!
My favorite reusable containers are these 1.5 quart plastic tubs. They’re dishwasher safe and the long narrow shape is easy to fit in my packed freezer.
When I’m in a pinch and don’t have any special ice cream storage containers, I just use food storage containers from the grocery store (such as GladWare). If you’re not filling the container to the top, you can press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream before you add the lid to help keep any freezer burn at bay.
What To Mix Into Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream
I love classic vanilla ice cream, but sometimes you want to mix it up a little! Try folding these things into your ice cream after it’s finished churning:
- Keto brownie bits (just chop up a few of my fudgiest keto brownies)
- Keto chocolate chips (I like Lily’s or Lakanto)
- Keto cookie bits (chop up a few of my Best Ever Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies, Keto Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Keto Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. Chopped up pieces of my Keto Pumpkin Snickerdoodles would be an amaaazing fall keto treat!)
- Peanut butter (just make sure it’s sugar free – the only two ingredients should be peanuts and salt!)
- Homemade keto hot fudge sauce (or even add this with some peanut butter – yum!)
- Chopped up Lily’s Peanut Butter Cups
Keto Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (that’s ACTUALLY scoopable!)
- Add the yolks to a medium bowl and set the bowl next to the stove, along with a whisk and a ladle.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, heavy cream, salt, allulose, and vanilla bean. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat to scalding (roughly 170 degrees F – giving off steam, but not quite simmering), stirring regularly.
- Once all of the allulose has dissolved in the cream mixture and it's reached scalding, turn off the burner. Now gradually whisk two ladlefuls of the hot cream mixture into the yolks. Don't worry, it's easy! Just make sure you're whisking the entire time and everything will be fine.
- Whisk the tempered yolk mixture into the saucepan of hot cream. Turn the burner back on to medium-low heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until it returns to 170° F and thickens noticeably to coat the back of a spoon. When this happens the yolks will be cooked.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Strain the keto vanilla ice cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into a clean container set in an ice bath. Chill the ice cream mixture until completely cold, stirring occasionally. If you try to churn the mix when it's room temperature it'll take much longer to freeze, and the texture won't be as nice.
- Churn the keto vanilla ice cream mixture in your ice cream machine following the manufacturer's instructions. When it's finished churning it should have roughly the consistency of soft serve (it'll firm up to be the perfect scoopable ice cream consistency after a few hours in the freezer). Transfer the churned ice cream to your storage containers and store in the freezer.
Nutrition facts have been calculated using Cronometer, with the carbs from all erythritol and allulose sweeteners subtracted because I do not personally have to bolus insulin for Swerve, erythritol, or allulose as a Type 1 (autoimmune) Diabetic. All Bake It Keto recipes have been tried and used successfully, but results may vary from person to person. All information provided regarding nutrition on the Website is intended to be used for informational purposes only. I am not a nutritionist. Consult your medical professional before using any recipe if you have concerns about how you may individually react to the use of any particular recipe or ingredient. By voluntarily creating and using any recipe provided here, you assume the risk of any potential injury that may result. Please see my full disclosures at https://www.bakeitketo.com/disclosures-privacy-policy/.