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Four Ingredient Ice Cream

healthy ice cream



Sweet, drippy ice cream, cascading into a delicious pool of vanilla.

Yes, it’s winter. But I can’t keep this dreamy recipe to myself for the next four months. And actually, I really like eating ice cream in the winter.

healthy vanilla ice cream

One of my favorite memories is of a Christmas my family spent with relatives in Italy. The weather was bitter cold and rainy, and yet we knew it’d be a sin to leave without sampling the famed Italian gelato. Therefore—decked in hats, scarves, and heavy coats—we sat in a little gelateria, clumsily using gloved hands to spoon the rich, creamy dessert into our mouths. I’ve never tasted ice cream as delectable as on that blustery December day.

Perhaps this memory is what prompted me to pull out my ice cream maker a few days ago, in the ugliest weather we’ve experienced so far this year. The frustrating thing about ice cream makers is that you can really only make one batch per day, since the base needs to be completely frozen for optimum performance.

And I am not a patient person! If a recipe experiment doesn’t come out perfectly the first time, I immediately want to try again. My first attempt at making a healthy ice cream was awful. Loosely following a recipe from The New York Times, I mixed cornstarch in with my almond milk. The result was not an ice cream; it was a paste! In my second attempt, I reduced the amount of cornstarch, but it was still pasty. So, on day three, I omitted the cornstarch altogether…


healthy ice cream

Feel free to customize this basic recipe any way you want! Add cocoa powder for healthy chocolate ice cream, berries for a sherbet, or even crushed candy canes and peppermint extract for a Christmas treat.

Four Ingredient Ice Cream

  • 2 cups milk of choice or nondairy creamer or coconut milk (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup sweetener of choice: such as pure maple syrup, brown sugar, or xylitol for sugar-free
  • pinch stevia or 1 extra tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional ingredients for whatever flavor you desire

Mix all ingredients (except optional ingredients, if they are chunky) in a dish. If you have an ice-cream maker: simply transfer to your ice cream maker and watch the magic! (I have a Cuisinart, and it took 12-14 minutes to turn the liquid into ice cream. Warning: Make sure your ice cream maker’s base is completely frozen before use, or it will NOT work!!) You can eat it straight from the machine, or freeze a few hours for firmer texture. Homemade ice cream is best the day it’s made, but you can technically thaw it out and it will keep for a few weeks. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, see nutrition link below:

View Nutrition Facts


**A word about the milk: If you use only almond milk, the texture is more foam-y (in a good way, if that makes sense!) than creamy. If you use only nondairy creamer or full-fat canned coconut milk, the texture is more like ice cream. If not serving right away, be sure to thaw a little if your freezer is super-cold. Also, I’d probably stay away from fat-free milks, such as ricemilk.

If you are using all almond milk and still want it creamier, you can freeze the ice cream and then re-blend it in a Vita-Mix for Vita-mix ice cream. The end result is incredibly creamy, without the fat and calories of using the coconut milk or creamer.


Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?

Mine’s always been mint-chocolate chip. But plain chocolate is a close second. Coconut’s good, too! And cookie dough, peanut butter, cookies-n-cream… probably the only flavors I’m not big on are sorbets or sherbets.

Here’s a list of flavors: Over 100 Healthy Ice Cream Recipes.

(All of the recipes in the above link can be made without an ice-cream maker.)

4.71/5 (7)

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Published on December 7, 2011

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day!

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  1. alex says

    bluebell – which is made in Texas – is AMAZING! They have a Christmas Cookies ice cream flavor. It is fabulous. I really enjoy the old school Homemade Vanilla thought. Yum!

    • Lori says

      Blue Bell is the BEST! I feel sorry for the rest of the country that can’t get it! 🙂 Our favorite it Butter Crunch, with Butterfinger-type candy all in it. We also just tried the Red Velvet Cake. It’s yummy, too!

      • Vonnie says

        Gosh, is there any place in the U.S. that doesn’t get Blue Bell? I grew up in Texas and was disappointed when I moved to the Carolinas, but it’s been here about 10 years now. Also, my parents in Phoenix are able to get it.

        Not that it matters. I recently bought an ice cream maker to avoid the junk like carageenan and artificial sweeteners. This recipe is perfect! It’s so easy and delicious. To me, it tastes like Dairy Queen’s soft serve and who knows what’s in that stuff! I also mixed in some fresh strawberries that I had puréed and frozen, and that was also amazing!

        This one’s a keeper! 🙂

  2. katie @KatieDid says

    mmmm ice cream in december! I love vanilla bean, with specks of real vanilla. With apple pie of course. Ice cream is big for me in the summer but I practically forget about it in the winter!

  3. Demelza says

    I haven’t eaten ice cream in a long while, but my favorite used to be Baskin Robbins’ bubblegum flavor. I’d often beg my parents to take me after gymnastics practice. :]

  4. Amanda says

    I also like eating ice cream no matter the weather. Mint chocolate chip is a favorite, but I also really like pistachio. There aren’t too many flavors I don’t like. 🙂

    Love the addition of the rainbow sprinkles!

  5. Ali @ Peaches and Football says

    I fell in love with mint oreo and then it was discontinued. I was broken-hearted because it was SO fantastic!

    You can’t beat regular vanilla with fresh raspberries over the top in the summer. I’m also a fan of caramel cashew frozen custard.

    Then again… never met an ice cream I haven’t really liked. 🙂

  6. Barb says

    thank you thank you thank you!!! my boyfriend just got me a cuisinart ice cream maker, but all of the recipes in the recipe book are super fattening and I have been wanted to try a lighter version! this is JUST what I was looking for! you could not have had better timing 🙂

    I’m crushing up candy canes and putting them in mine for a peppermint ice cream tonight 🙂

  7. Carissa says

    That ice cream looks fantastic. I’m a chocolate girl but the vanilla even looks amazing. I usually get Blue Diamond almond milk, but you made me curious – why do you say not to use Silk?

      • mrsluckypants says

        Brilliant! I loved your post about ice cream and it got me thinking. I’ve had family asking what they can get me for Christmas and I’m running out of ideas so your post was wonderful and gave me a great idea, the cuisinart ice cream maker! How fun would that be to make ice cream with the kids? We are dairy free so I’m thinking we could make ice cream cheaper than we can buy it. Would you agree? Also, just read the comment about using the vita-mix for ice cream and I already have one of those, can you tell me how the texture is in the vitamix vs the ice cream maker? Do you freeze the leftovers and if so, do they turn out ok consistency wise? Thanks so much for your help.

        I love pralines and cream from Baskin Robbins but it is full of milk so I don’t get to have it much anymore.

        • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

          Hmmm… I’ve actually not re-frozen the vita-mix one.
          The texture really does depend, though, on what milks you use. I’d recommend ones with a higher fat content… unless you want the spongey texture, which some people like too!

  8. Megan says

    I absolutely love gelato! My favorite flavors have been gelato: amaretto chocolate chip, amarena black cherry, nutella swirl, and sea salt caramel. If only I could emulate them at home! What model of Cuisinart do you have? I have wanted an ice cream maker but did not know which brand is best.

  9. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola says

    Ohh I was having such an ice cream craving last night so I had some So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream.. but I’d wish I’d had a homemade one! Turning it into a peppermint one sounds fab– chocolate with peppermint perhaps?? But my all time favorite ice cream flavor is jamoca almond fudge- I grew up ordering it at Baskin Robbins and it kind of stuck!

  10. Melissa says

    Katie, try making fro yo!

    I just take a big container of Whole Soy unsweetened yogurt, add about 3-4 tbs of Stevia baking blend (it has gums in it that help the texture once frozen. Amazing.) and then whatever extracts I want. I’ve done vanilla, peppermint and pumpkin so far! I loooove it. It’s rich and creamy and tangy. You could easily use a different sweetener or just use the sweetened Whole Soy and not add any extra. Both are so good and so easy.

    I’ve used the Wildwood unsweetened, too, but Whole Soy is my favorite!

    When I make ice cream, I use arrowroot powder and a mix of coconut milk and almond milk. One of my ice cream recipe books (yes, I have more than one!) calls for arrowroot and it works very well with no chalky taste like you can get with other starches. I think it’s Vegan Scoop that I have that calls for arrowroot. Awesome book!

    Vice Cream is the other book I have and that’s more nut based ice creams. I make cashew ice cream like they do in Vice Cream. I blend two cups of raw cashews with two cups of water in my vitamix. Add extracts and sweetener to taste and then process in my ice cream machine once the base mix is chilled. Katie, TRY THIS. It makes the most creamy, rich ice cream ever! 😀

  11. MANDEE says

    what kind of milk did you use for the ice cream in your pictures? i see that you have a couple of workable options listed. thanks!

  12. Rebecca Wright says

    I love chocolate chip cookie dough soft serve ice-cream! & I have a question, did you use the sweetened almond milk or unsweetened? I usually get the Unsweetened Vanilla Blue Diamond. (& I just made-up some homemade chocolate ice-cream Monday using leftover chocolate pudding so I’m with ya on the winter ice-cream cravings!)

    Can’t wait to try this now, everybody has so many good ideas!

  13. Katie says

    I ALWAYS crave ice cream, so this is perfect! 😛 So regular coconut milk (not the full-fat kind in cans, but Silk Coconut Milk) would work? I’ll have to test this out…

  14. Sarah says

    Why do you do this to me? Do you always have to tempt my weak self? Do always have to make me lick the screen… which never tastes that good? And then everyone laughs at me! as if they never licked a screen! Well, since they dont read CCK, they probably have no reason to 🙂 Ok, so here is the current scenario. I just finished Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar for 10th grade literature ( not that you care) and am in the middle of a book report on this EXTREMELY boring dude. So i take a break to check CCK, and man oh man was it worth it! Some computer is gonna have ice cream drips all over it real soon…….
    That is all 🙂 Have a chocolate covered day Katie!
    questions for YOU: did you like shakespeare? And on a disconnected note, do you favor vanilla or chocolate?
    My answers: NOT ON YOUR LIFE! and chocolate by far

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Well, it depends on the work! For example, I really liked Macbeth… Othello made me cry… Hamlet was way too depressing!
      And do you really not know my answer to the chocolate question? Hint: check my blog title ;).

      • Sarah says

        Well, i had a feeling but was wondering why you didnt post a pic of chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla, that’s all 🙂

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