Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love ice cream?  I know my family does.  In my opinion soft vanilla ice cream is one of the most wonderful treats known to man. So, when my family decided to move to a keto, sugar free lifestyle I absolutely had to figure out a way to still have this treat.  Hence, the development of this beautiful ice cream. Please note, this ice cream is not super sweet like the cheap ice creams you can buy, but I think it has a wonderful richness of flavour. Let me know in the comments what you think once you’ve made it.

Throughout my ice cream discovery journey, I had a few not so great results.  Most of the problems were with icy ice cream (not creamy), until I spent $35 on a secondhand ice cream maker.  I had resisted bring yet another small appliance into my already overloaded tiny kitchen, but it was honestly the best $35 I’ve ever spent.

Just as a side note, I’m no longer using my $35 secondhand ice cream maker.  My gorgeous son, Jesse bought me a Cuisinart 2 litre ice cream maker for Christmas so I can make bigger batches. For those in NZ, he purchased mine from Moore Wilsons.I’ll be writing a review on the ice cream maker in a later post.

Anyway, back to the ice cream recipe which is why you are here!

The recipe requires you to make a custard, it’s pretty easy, but essential to get the rich creamy texture.  

Let’s Talk Low Carb Ice Cream Ingredients


I purchase my xylitol in bulk from Dr Hisham’s Oral Care System website. It usually costs around $30 per kg which is the best price I’ve found.  If you have found it any cheaper, please let us all know by adding a comment.

I’ve found this xylitol to be extremely good, consistent quality.  Xylitol is my preferred sweetener for most recipes as I find it doesn’t alter the taste as much as other sweeteners.  Xylitol is not good for recipes that you need crunch, but that’s another story for another day.

Maple syrup

I have added maple syrup as an option here.  Originally when I made this recipe, I added more but it was too high in carbs.  I only use a tablespoon and I’m willing to trade the higher carbs for the amazing richness of flavour that adding this brings. There are about 13 grams of carbs in this tablespoon of maple syrup.  In the grand scheme of things, spread across the amount of servings, it’s not that high.  Obviously, if you eat huge bowls of this ice cream on a daily basis, it will affect your ability to stay in ketosis. The choice is yours – add it or leave it out and adjust the amount of xylitol to your taste.


I’ve used arrowroot to thicken the custard. A word of caution - be careful when buying arrowroot.  In New Zealand it’s very difficult to purchase true arrowroot.  In the past, I’ve purchased what I thought was arrowroot, only to find that it was actually tapioca flour.  Tapioca flour does the job but is slightly higher in carbs.

If you can’t find either, you could substitute cornflour (cornstarch). In New Zealand we call it cornflour, in theUS they call it cornstarch.  Whatever you call it, it does the same job.  It thickens the mixture.  

Here’s how it will affect the carb count of the ice cream:

  • Arrowroot – 13g carbs/100g
  • Tapioca – 22g carbs/100g
  • Cornflour (cornstarch) – 91g carbs/100g


You may be wondering why I’ve added brandy to my ice cream recipe.  Ice cream is for kids, right?

This is true; however, it is only a just a tiny bit of alcohol and there is a good reason for adding it, apart from the added note of flavour it adds.  Alcohol, added to your ice cream, stops it freezing as hard which, in turn, makes it easier to scoop. It is absolutely your choice to leave it out.

Tips for Success

To get success when using your ice cream machine, it is really imperative that everything is as cold as possible.  Store your ice cream machine bowl in the freezer.  Mine just stays there, taking up a little space all the time.  That way, when I want to make ice cream, I don’t have to wait 24 hours until the bowl is cold.  After you’ve finished making ice cream, wash it, dry it well and put it back in the freezer.

Your ice cream mix must also be as cold as possible.  I know it’s hard to wait a whole five hours to taste your delicious ice cream (if you’re like me you can’t resist a taste of the mixture before it goes in to be chilled) but it’s worth it.  Don’t skimp on the chilling time or you won’t get good results.

Make your mixture and put it in the freezer for four hours, or in the fridge overnight. You won’t regret taking the time, I promise.

I speak from experience here – in the past when I’ve made ice cream at 3pm hoping for a dinnertime dessert, I’ve put it in the ice cream machine too early and it hasn’t frozen during the mixing process.  Be patient and you will get the best results. 

Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients List

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot (thickener)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brandy


  1. Whisk the egg yolks, sweeteners, thickener and salt.  Add 1 ½ cups cream and whisk.
  2. Heat in a large pot whisking constantly until this mixture thickens slightly. Do not boil.
  3. Remove from the heat, add rest of ingredients.  Heat through.
  4. Cool completely (in freezer for four hours) and then mix as per the ice cream machine’s instructions.
  5. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

January 12, 2020