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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

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  1. AJ says

    Yumm, can’t wait to try this! 🙂 Can I add half almond milk and half coconut? Wold it come out the same??

  2. Deese says

    I can’t wait to try this! I have an ice cream maker on my wedding registry. I hope to be spoon deep in homemade ice cream soon! Lately I have been searching for vegan sprinkles, what brand do you use? So far, every jimmy or nonpareil sprinkle I have found is coated in confectioner’s glaze which is from my research isn’t vegan (shellac from beetle secretions). I would greatly appreciate finding some vegan sprinkles and my cupcakes and cookies would too! 🙂

  3. Thuy Duong says

    If I use dairy creamer will it still work the same as nondairy creamer? Is it the same amount as the nondairy creamer if I use dairy creamer?

  4. Susanne Mortensen says

    Another fast way to make it into ice cream if you don’t have an ice cream maker, which is a fun science experiment too and especially fun if you have kids:
    Put the mixture in a small ziplock back. Fill a big ziplock bag halfway up with ice cubes about 1/2 cup salt. Put the small, sealed ziplock bag into the big one, put in a pair of gloves and shake shake shake for about 5 minutes or so. Boom, ice cream has been made! 🙂

  5. Zoe says

    I made this at 8:30 in the morning and proceeded to have it for breakfast… So good! I made it with almond milk, blue agave, and a small amount of mint extract. It was delish. Thank you for the great ice cream recipe!

  6. Susan says

    I created an add-in to ice cream: chop a banana into 1/4 inch bits, sprinkle cocoa over it and mix with your knife until all of the banana pieces are coated. Scrape the whole thing into your soft serve ice cream and stir until it’s swirled well.


  7. Jane says

    My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate. You can never go wrong with chocolate. But in December, I like Blue Bell Peppermint ice cream when it comes in season. Coffee ice cream is good—I made a Mississippi mud pie with coffee ice cream for my birthday this year. Neopolitan is fun to eat, too. I’ve always hated sherbet (why make dessert fruity???).

  8. Kim says

    Does anyone know the macros? I need to log them in and I have no idea what the carbs are in this,

    BTW, LOVED this recipe! Turned out amazing- esp the consistency which is what I was hesitant about.

    • Unofficial CCK Helper says

      Do you have her cookbook? If you do, this is one of the recipes in the book, and it lists full nutrition facts in the book 🙂

  9. Melissa says

    Hi! I’m excited to try this recipe, we just inherited a cuisinart ice cream maker. I was wondering what type you have (ie the kind where you freeze the bucket or has its own freezer mechanism?)? I don’t think I need to freeze mine beforehand but want to double check. Thanks!

  10. Brenda says

    My brother-in-law has cancer and cannot have sugar…I was hoping you might be able to email me your homemade ice cream recipes that are only made with stevia. Thanks so much!

  11. Kris says

    Hi! The recipe looks great but I’m not clear on how/when/where the mixture freezes into ice cream without an ice cream maker. Does your cuisinart have a freezing mechanism? Or do you blend for 12-14 mins and then freeze and reblend after frozen?

  12. Kari says

    Would 1% dairy milk or skim work with this? Also, what model ice cream maker do you have? I’ve been looking for a reliable, inexpensive one to kickstart making some healthier creamy treats!

  13. Lauren says

    Thank you for this recipe– I made this last week for myself, my kids and our babysitter, and the verdict was: so delicious!! I used coconut milk, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. I would like to make it for our family and guests, so my question is, can I double the recipe? Straight double (2 cans coconut milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, etc.)? I’m not a cook, and I’m a little taste impaired, so please don’t tell me to do it to taste–thank you!!

  14. Christina says

    I am trying to make ice cream with flaxseed milk (due to many dietary/medical issues). I do not have an ice cream maker. I thought you mentioned that you can make these recipes without an ice cream maker but did not see the directions. Am I missing them somewhere? Thank you very much.

  15. Penney says

    I tried this in a small 4 qt ice cream maker that I just purchased. I was so disappointed when it was just liquid after about an hour. It has the bucket that I had left overnight in the freezer. Is that the kind of machine you have? I wonder why it doesn’t work for me and if I should just take the machine back. Any thoughts?

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