17 Homemade Ice Cream Recipes to Beat the Heat

17 DIY Ice Cream Recipes to Beat the Heat

Few things scream “summer” more than a creamy, melty scoop of ice cream atop a crunchy sugar cone. But sometimes, the nutrition facts attached to those treats limit how often we allow ourselves to indulge. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to combine some much healthier ingredients (with names you can pronounce!) to create a similarly creamy and indulgent dessert. Here are 17 frozen yogurt, sorbet and ice cream recipes that will satisfy that sweet craving — without all the guilt.

RELATED: Frozen Yogurt vs. Ice Cream: Which Is Healthier?

17 Delicious Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

Dairy-Free and Fruit-Based


1. Raw, Vegan, Dairy-Free Mint Chocolate Chip Avocado Ice Cream
Avocado, banana and coconut butter make up the better-for-you base for this dairy-free ice cream, while a tablespoon of peppermint extract gives it that distinct minty flavor. The best part? No ice cream maker is necessary. It’ll take some patience though. Start by freezing the mixture and stirring every 30 minutes (for two and a half hours) to yield the perfect texture. Now that’s what we call a labor of love. Photo and Recipe: Lori and Michelle / Purely Twins


2. Peach and Basil Sorbet
This recipe takes the expected — peach sorbet — and adds fresh basil leaves for a departure fit for foodies. And since the two flavors are equally present in the final product, sweet and savory can share the spotlight. The herbaceous basil complements the sweet peach perfectly. Plus, since this treat is made from just fruit, basil, sugar and water, it falls into a lower-calorie camp when compared to its creamy alternatives. The recipe calls for a full cup of sugar, but feel free to cut back if you’d like something a bit less sweet. Photo and Recipe: Branny / Branny Boils Over

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3. Vegan Almond Butter, Caramel-Swirled, Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
All it takes to whip this vegan ice cream together is a high-powered blender. Mix up frozen bananas, a bit of non-dairy milk and vanilla bean powder (or fresh vanilla beans), stir in the caramel and nut butter swirls, add in some chocolate chips, and chill for an hour or so to achieve the perfect scoopable texture. Because the base for this dessert is just frozen bananas, you end up with a lower-calorie treat (which means there’s room to add more mix-ins!). Photo and Recipe: Kathy Patalsky / Heathy. Happy. Life.


4. 2-Ingredient Paleo Nutella Banana Ice Cream
This recipe calls for homemade paleo Nutella as one of only two ingredients, but if you don’t want to whip up a batch of your own, feel free to use the store-bought stuff. No matter which route you choose, making this ice cream is pretty darn easy: Simply blend frozen bananas with some chocolate-hazelnut spread, scoop and enjoy! Photo and Recipe: Chris / Shared Appetite

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Strawberry Ice Cream

5. 10-Minute Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe
Instead of whole milk, our vegan strawberry ice cream features coconut milk, which gives it a creamy texture and rich flavor. Naturally sweet strawberries are the star ingredient, which means way less added sugar. Meanwhile, lemon juice helps round out the flavor. Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote

17 DIY Ice Cream Recipes to Beat the Heat

6. Protein Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe
Chocolate protein powder is the secret ingredient in this satisfying frozen treat. Instead of using artificial flavors commonly found in store-bought ice cream, we add peppermint or mint extract to give it the same refreshing taste. Bananas lend a natural sweetness and give the mixture a creamy base. Top your cup or cone with dark chocolate chips to boost the yum factor. Photo and Recipe: Lee Hersh

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Coconut- or Soy-Based


7. Chai Coconut Ice Cream
Full-fat coconut milk gives this ice cream a rich base. But first, it’s mixed with strong black tea, honey, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and allspice to achieve the signature chai flavor. So what makes coconut milk such a good substitute for good old cow’s milk? This plant-based, dairy-free milk may be higher in fat than regular milk, but it also contains a healthy dose of iron. Plus, it allows dairy-free folks to achieve that signature creamy ice cream texture without all the lactose! (If you’re looking for an interesting way to serve this spicy, sweet treat, try this Chai Affogato!) Photo and Recipe: Kate / Cookie and Kate


8. Green Tea Coconut Milk Ice Cream
The green tea flavor in this dairy-free ice cream comes from matcha, a powder made from finely ground green tea leaves which are chock-full of antioxidants. In fact, matcha is said to have 20 times more antioxidants than pomegranates or blueberries! The preparation of this one is pretty easy, too. Simply dissolve the matcha in coconut milk, stir in some agave, chill and process in an ice cream maker. Photo and Recipe: Julia Mueller / The Roasted Root

RELATED: 14 Must-Try Matcha Recipes You’ll Drool Over


9. Coffee Coconut Ice Cream
This four-ingredient vegan coffee ice cream is more like creamy, frozen coffee than the super-sweet coffee ice cream most of us are used to. The recipe also cuts down on the amount of sugar used in traditional ice creams, using just half a cup instead of three-quarters of a cup or more. Swirl in some dark chocolate chunks or homemade fudge for some extra decadence. Just take note: Even though this recipe cuts down on sugar, it still comes in at about 360 calories per cup. (For comparison, one cup of Haagen Dazs Coffee Ice Cream contains 500 calories.) Photo: John and Dana / Minimalist Baker


10. Dairy-Free Coffee Ice Cream
This is the perfect coffee ice cream recipe for those who can’t consume dairy. Plus, it’s lower in calories than the stuff made from heavy cream and whole milk. Soy milk and soy milk creamer combine with instant coffee, sugar and vanilla to make this simple coffee-flavored ice cream. It’s already rich in flavor, but this one is made even better with a drizzle of melted chocolate or hot fudge on top. Photo and Recipe: Evan / The Wannabe Chef


11. Vegan Chocolate and Hazelnut Ice Cream
There’s no sugar in this decadent recipe — instead, dates sweeten up the chocolate, hazelnut and coconut milk mixture. Toasting the hazelnuts before adding to the ice cream mixture adds an even deeper nutty flavor. Once it’s been through the ice cream maker, fold in the nuts and dark chocolate pieces and return to the freezer to firm up. To serve, scoop and top with some extra hazelnuts and chocolate pieces. Photo and Recipe: Arielle / Arielle Likes to Cook

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12. Healthy Peach Frozen Yogurt
A bit of honey is all that’s needed to sweeten this peach-based frozen yogurt to perfection. Blend up fresh, ripe peaches, honey and Greek yogurt and you have a fruity, slightly tart and protein-rich frozen yogurt base. Just 30 minutes in an ice cream maker and this treat is ready to enjoy. Photo and Recipe: Joanne Choi / Week of Menus


13. Berry Coconut Frozen Yogurt
Fruity yet frugal, this frozen yogurt recipe is the perfect way to use up the last bit of jam in the jar, as well as the last few berries in the container. Greek yogurt mixed with coconut milk make the creamy base for this frozen dessert and coconut flakes amp up the coconut-y flavor. (Oh, and the two tablespoons of coconut rum don’t hurt either — plus, it helps keep the yogurt soft.) Photo and Recipe: Erin / The Law Student’s Wife


14. Strawberry Lemonade Frozen Yogurt
If you’re looking for a light and refreshing way to end a meal, this bowl of sunshine has you covered. The main ingredients in this fro-yo are simple: Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries and lemon juice. Maple syrup is added for subtle sweetness that also helps to boost the other flavors. Garnish with some lemon zest or fresh strawberries and enjoy! Photo and Recipe: Cheri / Kitchen Simplicity


15. Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt
We all crave it, it’s true. But this recipe combines the classic mix-in (chocolate chip cookie dough bites) with a much healthier base (Greek yogurt fro-yo) for a less sinful treat. The recipe calls for just three tablespoons of sugar to sweeten, but you can add more, or sub in your favorite sweetener, to achieve the flavor you prefer. Top with more cookie dough balls before serving for an extra special indulgence! Photo and Recipe: Amy / Amy’s Healthy Baking

RELATED: Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches Recipe

Cottage-Cheese Based


16. Healthy Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream
Naturally colored, sugar-free, low-carb, and high-protein — could you really ask for anything more in a decadent dessert? The secret is using cottage cheese as the creamy, protein-rich base. Beet purée is used for color, and vanilla, stevia and butter add the flavor. One half-cup serving of this guilt-free treat contains just 90 calories and three grams of sugar, and a healthy 10 grams of protein. Dig in! Photo and Recipe: Jessica / Desserts with Benefits


17. Blueberry Protein Ice Cream
Here’s another protein-rich frozen treat to add to the books. Blend up cottage cheese with frozen banana, frozen blueberries, almond milk, vanilla and stevia. Let it set in the freezer for a few hours, scoop and serve with whatever toppings you like! Melted peanut butter, toasted coconut and granola are perfect pairings. (But a little chocolate syrup wouldn’t hurt either!) Photo: Heather Powers / Kiss My Broccoli 

Originally published May 2014. Updated July 2016.

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