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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 (like keto hazelnut ice cream in my Easy Keto Cookbook!), my first priority when making homemade low carb ice cream was just a basic sugar-free ice cream recipe.
The key part to this easy keto ice cream is the sugar-free sweetened condensed milk. (You can actually use it for many other things – get the keto sweetened condensed milk recipe on its own here.)
The Best Sugar-Free Low Carb Ice Cream Recipe
This keto ice cream recipe has gone through several iterations. I’ve tested it at least a dozen times! You might have seen an older version of it back in 2017, but I’m renewing this post in 2019 to reflect my improvements.
After this much (delicious) testing, I can confidently say that this is the BEST low carb ice cream recipe out there! At least the best keto vanilla ice cream, for sure.
Is Ice Cream Keto?
No, most ice creams are not keto friendly. There are a few keto ice cream brands out there, but when you make your own, you know exactly what’s in it. Don’t worry, it’s much easier than you think.
Can You Eat Ice Cream On A Keto Diet?
You can’t eat regular ice cream on keto, but you can eat keto ice cream! And fortunately, making my homemade low carb ice cream recipe is super simple.
This keto friendly ice cream is also super low in carbs, with only 3 grams net carbs per serving. At the same time, it tastes unbelievably decadent and rich!
Can You Make Low Carb Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker?
Yes! You can make my homemade low carb ice cream recipe without an ice cream maker if you don’t have one.
But, you can also use an ice cream maker if you do have one. I’ll show you how to make keto ice cream both ways!
Keto Friendly Ice Cream Ingredients
I won’t lie, I’m super excited about this homemade keto ice cream without sugar! It only has four common ingredients for the base. Chances are, you have them at your house right now, if you make low carb recipes on a regular basis:
Okay, I sort of lied… that’s technically 5 ingredients for the best result. (See the recipe card below for the right amounts!)
I highly recommend using the MCT oil or powder so that the no sugar ice cream doesn’t harden too much. You can omit it if you don’t have it, but then you have to be extra diligent in stirring the ice cream regularly, or use an ice cream maker.
How To Make Keto Ice Cream (With Tips!)
Making this sugar-free ice cream recipe isn’t hard, but it does take a little while. The basic steps are on the recipe card, but here I’ll go into some more detail and tips for each:
Make sugar-free sweetened condensed milk.
This is the longest part aside from the freezing. You’ll melt butter in a large saucepan, add heavy cream and powdered sweetener, and simmer for a long time to reduce. Reducing basically means the liquid will evaporate and the mixture will thicken, forming the condensed milk.
TIP: The key here is to use a large, heavy bottom pan for even heating. A large pan means more surface area, so it will happen faster. It should be fairly thick and coat the back of a spoon – see the photo below:
Whisk in MCT oil (or MCT oil powder) and vanilla bean seeds, if using.
I highly recommend using the MCT oil or powder if you’re not using an ice cream maker. And honestly, it’s best to include it even if you are. I only made the ingredient optional to make the recipe more accessible, but after numerous tests I can honestly say it improves texture.
TIP: Go for MCT oil powder if you have a sensitive stomach, as it’s more gentle than the oil.
Vanilla bean seeds are optional, but I think vanilla bean ice cream is totally amazing!
Whisk the remaining heavy cream into the condensed milk.
For an older version of this homemade low carb ice cream recipe, I used to beat the cream to stiff peaks first. I actually found this resulted in sugar-free ice cream that was too dense and almost like butter.
This new and improved version just calls for whisking in the remaining cream. It’s less work and the resulting keto ice cream is way more creamy!
Freeze the sugar-free ice cream recipe.
The last step is to freeze the ice cream! You can use an ice cream maker if you have one, OR follow the method for no churn keto ice cream without an ice cream maker.
Choose you preferred method below…
How To Make No Churn Keto Ice Cream
To make no churn low carb ice cream, transfer the sugar-free ice cream mixture to a freezer safe container, and freeze!
TIP: The second container option above means your ice cream will be ready sooner! It also saves me freezer space because I can get rid of one of the containers once we go through half the ice cream, instead of a larger container sitting there half full.
The key to the no churn sugar-free ice cream recipe is to take it out and stir it every 30-60 minutes, especially for the first 2 hours, and every 60-90 minutes for a few hours after that. This essentially does the work of the ice cream maker if you don’t have one. Don’t skip this step, because it breaks up ice crystals and prevents the ice cream from becoming too hard or icy.
How To Make Low Carb Ice Cream With An Ice Cream Maker
I resisted buying an ice cream maker for a while, but am so glad I did! It makes making homemade sugar-free ice cream so much easier and more consistent.
If you have an ice cream maker, simply transfer the ice cream mixture to it and let it churn until the thickness is similar to soft-serve ice cream. It typically takes 15-20 minutes in my machine, but everyone’s is different, so follow your manufacturer’s instructions.
After churning, you can eat the soft-serve as-is if you like. Otherwise, transfer to your container of choice and freeze for a few more hours to get more firm keto friendly ice cream.
TIP: Using an ice cream maker reduces the need for MCT oil or powder, but I still prefer to include it for the best texture, plus healthy fats for keto!
Low Carb Ice Cream Recipe Mix-Ins
As you may know by now, I’m a huge fan of vanilla anything (vanilla mug cake, vanilla keto birthday cake, vanilla protein waffles, or vanilla milkshake, anyone?). It’s no surprise that my first take on low carb ice cream is simple vanilla.
Don’t worry, I included instructions for adding any mix-ins you like to your sugar-free ice cream. I kept this version simple by just adding the scraped seeds from a vanilla bean, but even that is optional. If you only have vanilla extract, that’s perfectly fine, too.
I can’t wait to experiment with mix-ins and flavor variations in this keto ice cream recipe base. You can easily add these right before freezing:
- Sugar-free chocolate chips
- Raspberries, blueberries, or chopped strawberries
- Sugar-free caramel sauce swirled in
- Chunks of keto chocolate chip cookies – kind of like a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream!
How Many Carbs In Sugar-Free Ice Cream?
Carbs in sugar-free ice cream can be all over the place if you buy it at the store. And sometimes, the sweeteners used can still spike your blood sugar.
My keto friendly ice cream recipe is truly low carb. It’s almost like a fat bomb! Check out these keto ice cream nutrition highlights:
- 347 calories
- 3g net carbs
- 36g fat
- 2g protein
TIP: If you prefer to lighten up the calories in low carb ice cream, you can replace some of the heavy cream with unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk. See the notes at the bottom of the recipe card for details.
How To Store Low Carb Ice Cream
Store this low carb ice cream recipe just as you would any other ice cream – in the freezer. Since we don’t have and yucky artificial ingredients in there, it can harden a bit more than desired over time.
TIP: If it hardens too much, just let it sit on the counter for a bit to soften enough to eat and use a wet ice cream scoop to get it out. It’s worth it!
Tools To Make Keto Ice Cream:
Click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Saucepan – This one is a great, large sauce for making the condensed milk that is part of this low carb ice cream recipe. Plus, it has a convenient pour spout.
- Ice Cream Machine – You can absolutely make keto ice cream without an ice cream maker, but having one sure does make it easier. This is the one I have and love it.
- Glass loaf pan or glass meal prep containers – These are my go-to options for storing my homemade sugar-free ice cream recipe without taking up too much space in the freezer.
The Best Sugar-free Low Carb Ice Cream Recipe:
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Reader Favorite Recipes
The recipe card is below! Readers also made these similar recipes after making this one.
The Best Low Carb Keto Ice Cream Recipe (Sugar-Free)
See how to make keto ice cream with just 4 ingredients! It's the best sugar-free low carb ice cream recipe I've ever made. You won't believe how EASY it is to make this keto friendly ice cream recipe.
Recipe VideoClick or tap on the image below to play the video. It's the easiest way to learn how to make this recipe!
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Get RECIPE TIPS in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
How To Make Low Carb Ice Cream (For BOTH Methods - No Churn or Ice Cream Maker)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the heavy cream (2 cups (473 mL)) and powdered sweetener. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick, coats the back of a spoon and volume is reduced by half. It will also pull away from the pan as you tilt it. (This will go faster if you use a larger pan.)
Pour into a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract, and seeds from the vanilla bean, if using. Whisk in the MCT oil or MCT oil powder if using - this is optional if you have an ice cream maker, but highly recommended for texture if you don't.
Whisk the remaining 2 cups (473 mL) heavy cream into the sweet mixture in the bowl, until smooth.
For best results, chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can skip this step if you really want to, but the texture will be better if you chill it.
How To Make Keto Ice Cream With An Ice Cream Maker
Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions, or until the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve. (My ice cream maker took 15 minutes, so less than the average manufacturer time.) Do not over-churn, or it will turn into a butter-like consistency.
Enjoy immediately, or transfer to a freezer container and freeze for 2-4 hours, until firm.
How To Make Keto Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker
Transfer the mixture to a freezer container (like a 9x5 in (23x13 cm) loaf pan) and smooth the top with a spatula. (If you want to add mix-ins, gently stir them in at this step, and also sprinkle some on top.) Line the surface with a piece of parchment or wax paper to keep ice crystals from forming. (You can use an ice cream maker if you have one.)
Freeze for 4-6 hours, until firm. Stir the ice cream during the freezing process, every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours and every 60-90 minutes for 2-3 hours after. (Ice cream will get hard in the freezer after longer periods. Let it soften on the counter for 10-30 minutes before serving, and use a wet ice cream scoop to serve.)
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Serving size: 1/2 cup
- This keto ice cream recipe was updated in June 2018, again in July 2019, and a 3rd time in July 2020 to improve texture. The changes included ingredient amounts and method, but nutrition info has not changed much. Nutrition info below reflects the current sugar-free ice cream recipe shown here, not including optional MCT oil/powder. The video still shows the old method of whipping the cream, which you don't need to do - just whisk the liquid directly into the condensed milk instead.
- If you'd like to lighten up the sugar-free ice cream a bit, you can replace some of the heavy cream in step 3 with coconut milk or almond milk instead. However, you don't want to replace any of the cream in step 1.
- Low carb ice cream does harden if it's in the freezer too long. Using MCT oil or MCT oil powder in the recipe helps.
- After more than 6-8 hours in the freezer, you will likely need to soften the sugar-free ice cream on the counter before serving.
This low carb recipe was featured in the August 2020 Wholesome Yum Challenge! Learn more and join the challenge to enter this month's giveaway.
Video Showing How To Make Sugar-Free Ice Cream:
Don't miss the VIDEO above - it's the easiest way to learn how to make Sugar-Free Ice Cream!
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Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Net carb count excludes fiber, erythritol, and allulose, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. (Learn about net carbs here.) We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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