Healthy Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with these waistline-friendly recipes.

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with these waistline-friendly recipes
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If you scream for ice cream, we scream for ice cream. And we don't feel bad afterward.

Indeed, a bowl full of the good stuff doesn't have to mean diet chaos. Often, the trick is making it at home – and taking advantage of smart swaps.

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, celebrated throughout July, U.S. News turned to Katie Higgins, whose blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, highlights healthy dessert recipes. Grab a spoon, because these homemade ice cream recipes – which make one big serving each – are as good for you as they are delicious:

Cake Batter Ice Cream

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Scant 1/16 teaspoon salt

Sweetener, such as 1 Stevia packet or 1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon sprinkles

1 cup almond milk or canned coconut milk (see below for substitution notes)

For a stronger cake batter taste, add 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut butter. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon butter extract.

Mix the ingredients together in one or two shallow plastic containers. Freeze. You can also use an ice-cube tray. Once frozen, pop the blocks out of the container (you can thaw for 30 seconds in the microwave first) and mix in a blender until creamy.

When made with Silk almond milk, the ice cream will have a very light texture. For a creamier texture, add an extra 1/4 cup canned coconut milk. You can sub other milks for the almond, but if so, play around with the amount of vanilla extract, sweetener and add-ins. For example, an already-sweetened milk will probably need less added sweetener.

Low-Calorie Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Scant 1/16 teaspoon salt (don't omit)

Sweetener (such as 1 tablespoon sugar or agave, or Stevia to taste)

1 cup almond milk (or unsweetened Silk; see below for substitution notes)

1 to 3 tablespoons nut butter of choice (peanut butter, almond, cashew, etc.)

Optional: Add banana, chocolate chips, etc.

Mix the ingredients in a plastic container, or use an ice-cube tray. Freeze. Once frozen, pop the block out of the container; you can also thaw for 30 seconds in the microwave first. Then mix in your blender. Thanks to the fat in the peanut butter, this ice cream is a bit creamier than the vanilla version. If you'd like it to be even creamier, add an extra 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk or creamer.

Secretly Healthy Red Velvet Ice Cream

1 1/4 cup frozen raspberries

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk of choice (or canned coconut milk)

Scant 1/8 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 ice cubes

2 tablespoons Barleans Chocolate Silk (or regular dutch cocoa powder)

NuNaturals vanilla drops, or your favorite sweetener of choice, to taste

Optional: 2 ounces melted chocolate (for a richer flavor)

Optional: chocolate chips stirred in after blending

If you have a high-speed blender, use the tamper to blend all ingredients until you've achieved a smooth, ice cream-like texture. Or blend in a regular blender and then transfer to an ice cream maker. Optional: Add a handful of chocolate chips post-blending.

Avocado Frozen Yogurt

1 large, ripe avocado

2 cups plain yogurt of choice

1/2 cup milk of choice

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Pinch pure Stevia extract, or 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar of choice (The amount depends on the sweetness of your yogurt, and you may need more if you're using an unsweetened yogurt.)

Scrape out the flesh of the avocado and discard the peel and pit. Blend all ingredients until completely smooth, using a blender, food processor or Vitamix. If you have an ice cream maker, transfer the mixture to the machine and churn according to the manufacturer's directions. Eat immediately as soft serve, or freeze in an airtight container for a half hour to achieve a firmer texture. If you don't have an ice cream machine, transfer the blended mixture to an airtight container, freeze and stir every half hour for 2 to 3 hours.

Raw Mint-Chocolate Chip Shake

1 frozen large banana, as ripe as possible

Cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)