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Ice Cream for Diabetics

Why can’t a Diabetic enjoy ice cream?

Something that bothered me about my Diabetes diagnosis was the things I had to give up. Ice cream is one of those things. Nothing says summer like a nice bowl of ice cream. Today’s post will attempt to bring back what Diabetics are forbidden to have: Ice Cream!

I recently had the displeasure of eating what passed as “ice cream” for diabetics at an ice cream stand. Trouble was, it tasted like plastic. The experience wasn’t all that great, but it got me to thinking:

What is ice cream?

Basically: air, cream (or milk for those misguided fat-free crowd), sweetener, and eggs.

Of course, it goes without saying that sugar as a sweetener is what gives us Diabetics the most trouble.

What if we used another sweetening agent instead? There are so many different products to sweeten with that I decided to make a Facebook Page just for Diabetic Ice Cream experiments.

What follows is today’s experiment, using an awesome ice cream machine, the Cuisinart ICE 50-BC (link goes to my Amazon store page). Of course, you don’t need a fancy machine to make this ice cream, but it sure helps.

Here is the experiment:

Today I will experiment with Splenda. The results will be at the end, with the recipe.

a photo of 2 very nice organic eggs

Start with 2 free range eggs

an action photo of whisking eggs until they are frothy

Here you see an action shot! Whisk those eggs until they are frothy!

Wait! You mean you are not going to cook them? Before you balk at not cooking the eggs, remember that if your eggs are fresh, it’s okay to eat them raw. For example, you would eat raw eggs when you eat mayonnaise.

Why not cook them like all those other recipes say? The reason is the mixture would thicken like a custard, and have a cooked flavor. There is enough fat in this mixture that we can enjoy the fresh taste of the cream and milk. Besides, I don’t like to heat Splenda from the packets. In coffee it is fine, but I have never had success with other heating applications with the packets. Perhaps the bulk Splenda is different.

a photo of a cup of half and half

In another bowl, 1 Cup of half-and-half

Some recipes will call for milk. I replaced it with half-and-half to up the fat content. Understand this people – the fat in ice cream is not what makes you gain the weight. It’s the sugar!

a photo of 2 cups heavy cream

Add 2 cups heavy cream to the half-and-half in the bowl.

A quick aside here… I love Martha Stewart! Seriously, I love her magazines. I recently took a quiz on her site to see if I was a “master chef or a novice cook?” I got 9 out of 10! One of the questions was on how you measure liquids. You can see I did not really measure this at eye level. I will tell you a secret though – we don’t use liquid measurements in a professional kitchen. We use a scale. But I digress… back to the ice cream at hand!

a picture of freeze-dried coffee

Add 2 tablespoons of Premium freeze-dried coffee to the cream mixtures. Yes, that is bacon in the background! I was eating my breakfast while preparing for this post!

Yes, it’s a shortcut. Thing is, I could probably make some double strength espresso, incorporate it into the mix. Truth though, this way isn’t so bad. Sometimes you can make a compromise and not affect the flavor. In this case, the flavor is superior to the espresso.

a photo of cocao powder

Add in 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the bowl.

My favorite cacao powder is Barry Extra Brut. You can get it by clicking on that link that goes to my Amazon store. I like to put it into a plastic container so it will keep almost indefinitely.

a photo of Splenda

Add in 18 packets of Splenda to the bowl.

Wow! You’re asking yourself, “Why doesn’t he just add in the baking Splenda?” Good question. I didn’t feel like buying a whole box of the stuff, and I had some leftover for my morning coffee before I discovered Stevia, so why not use them up? Find out how that turned out later…

an acton shot of whicking the mixture together

Whisk everything together to blend ... sort of.

Don’t get too carried away about blending the mixture. The eggs are coming next, you’ll get another chance. The main problem is incorporating the cacao powder with the liquids…

a photo of pouring in the eggs into the chocolate mixture

Pour and whisk the eggs into to the chocolate mixture.

Pour the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Why use another bowl to whip the eggs WDC?

I think it is only to annoy my wife. See, she hates it when I have so many different dishes for one recipe. I really can’t think of another reason.

a photo of the final whisking

Whisk for all your might!

Here’s your second chance to mix the works up. Once the mixture is homogenized, you can stop. (I just had to slip that big word in there!)

a photo of me testing if it is tasty or not

This is why I am fat - I can't resist the tasting of food!

Taste the mixture. Keep in mind that it might be a little sweeter than you are used to cold. The sweet sensation will dissipate with the cold, so keep that in mind. You may have to adjust the sweetness with another packet or two of Splenda. Of course, I always use that as an excuse to “test” things out. See if it works for you!

a photo of the machine used in making this ice cream

The Monster Ice Cream Machine!

Worth every penny folks! This machine will pay for itself in, uhh, 2 or so years. The best part? You don’t have to freeze the bowl to make ice cream. It has it’s own refrigeration unit inside. The downside? It weighs a tonne, and can’t exactly go on your counter.

Another bad point is your significant other might curse it when they trip over it in the kitchen floor. But… back to this post!

a photo of adding ice cream to the machine

Turn the motor on, then add the ice cream mixture in a thread through the hole.

The machine is loud, but if your significant other just turns up the T.V., all will be well in the household. Alternately, you could put the machine in the bathroom with the door closed. Excessive, but if it avoids an argument? Why not!

a photo of the machine spinning the ice cream for 60 minutes

Spin the ice cream mixture for 30 to 60 minutes.

The number 1 ingredient in ice cream is air. The reason it tastes so light and fluffy is because of the air that is worked into it. If you don’t have a machine, the ice cream won’t be as nice because the ice cream mixture will freeze into crystals. The paddles on the machine break the crystals as they freeze, and incorporate more air into the mixture as they swoop through the mix.

The amount of air added into the ice cream is called “overrun”, and is the main reason you see gums and thickening agents added to commercial ice creams. Enough theory!

a photo of me putting it into the freezer

Of course, if you don't have that huge monster machine, you could just put it into a bowl for the freezer

If you don’t have a fancy machine, you can opt for the freezer method. Put the bowl into the freezer, and set a timer for every 5 minutes. When it goes off, pull out your bowl and whisk the ingredients together. Repeat those steps until the mixture resembles a slightly melted ice cream. It will not be as nice, and it will be a major pain in the ass. (Especially if your significant other is trying to catch up on their PVR shows and the alarm goes off every 5 minutes!)

a photo of the REAL soft ice cream

Put the ice cream into a container with a piece of plastic touching the ice cream's top. Then place a lid over it.

No, your ice cream is not ready yet! It will need some curing time in the freezer first. If you must, you could give out a few tablespoons here and there as a taste, but avoid eating too much. It will be too soft!

a photo of the finished ice cream

After a couple of hours, your ice cream will be hard enough to scoop, and you will have this deliciousness to eat!

The results:

The ice cream turned out a little bit grainy. I think it was due to the Splenda. The cream base just did not lend well to the smoothness that I usually like with ice cream. It could be that I left the mixture too long in the bowl as well. Overall, the ice cream was not bad, certainly better than plastic! I think I will try with some Sweet n’ Low next time and see what happens.

The recipe:

Diabetic Mocha Ice Cream

Inspired by Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book pg 72

Serves: 8

Calories per serving (4 oz): 275

Carbohydrates per serving: 6.37 grams


  • 2 free-range chicken eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons Barry Extra-Brut cacao powder
  • 4 tablespoons freeze dried coffee
  • 18 packages Splenda


  1. Whisk eggs together until frothy. In a separate bowl, combine half-and-half cream, whipping cream, cacao powder, instant coffee and Splenda together. Whisk the mixture until incorporated, then add in whisked eggs. Whip the mixture together until the mixture is homogeneous.
  2. Set up ice cream maker according to instructions; add the ice cream mixture to the bowl while it is spinning. Process according to your ice cream makers instructions. (It should take almost 30 minutes to an hour.)
  3. Alternately, if you do not have an ice cream maker, you can put the bowl into the freezer with a whisk inside. Set a timer for 5 minutes, whisk the mixture, and replace it into the freezer, resetting the timer for 5 minutes. Repeat as necessary until the ice cream mixture is soft.
  4. Remove the ice cream from the maker, and place it into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure to put a layer of plastic on top of the surface of the ice cream to avoid ice crystals from forming. Freeze for a couple of hours to let the ice cream set.

{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Mike July 20, 2010, 5:18 pm

    July is National Ice Cream Month in the U.S., so your timing is great!

    I’ll be watching to see how your experiments turn out. Even if the texture isn’t quite right yet, I can see myself making a vanilla batch of this for root beer floats.

  • vanillasugar July 20, 2010, 5:41 pm

    do you know i would love one of those bad boy machines? i am currently experimenting with coconut milk to make ice cream with. i hope it works. i tried those new coconut milk ice creams and was blown away at how creamy and real they tasted–nothing like an ice milk crap.

  • Jan July 20, 2010, 6:51 pm

    Jason, the granular Splenda was indeed partly responsible for the grainy texture of the ice cream, and buying it in bulk won’t help that aspect. You can buy it in a concentrated liquid form (http://www.sweetzfree.com/); it’s a little on the pricey side but if you don’t dump it in everything you eat or drink, it will last a long time. Before I began eliminating artificial sweeteners from my diet, 1 large bottle and 1 small bottle (I think 4 oz and 1 oz?) lasted me more than a year. The liquid stuff won’t lose as much of it’s sweetness in the cooking process, either, so you could make a custard with it for your ice cream and be okay.

    Now, having said all that, when you remove the actual bulk of the sugar/Splenda, you’re left with an ice cream that turns into a giant, frozen rock once stored in the freezer. You can mitigate this in a couple of ways – add food-grade glycerin to your ice cream (look at any “no sugar added” ice cream at the store, and you’ll likely see it as an ingredient) or add, yes, vodka.

    See? This is what happens when you’ve been dieting for 30 years. :P

    And the link on the ice cream maker doesn’t go to your Amazon page; it goes to your ice cream Facebook page.

  • Jason Sandeman July 20, 2010, 7:16 pm

    @Jan – D’Oh! Seems the copy and paste did not work on the link there, thank you for letting me know. :)
    I have a couple ideas to expiriment with Agar Agar, and with Stevia leaves for the custard base. The key is how it holds up to freezing, as the sugar makes it so the crystals don’t harden so. I like the idea of adding Vodka, so I will perhaps give that a try. In the end, the point is I would like to see a good resource here for people who could otherwise not have it.

  • Jason Sandeman July 20, 2010, 7:21 pm

    @Mike – I had no idea! Funny how things work out that way! The three favorite kinds in the US are strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate. Expect to see a post on the former two soon.

  • Jason Sandeman July 20, 2010, 7:22 pm

    @Dawn – I am lucky that I am a chef whose company deals with a restaurant supply store. (Got a ridiculous discount!) In the end, the machine cost me around 250$. I figure that making ice cream will pay off in about…. 3 years. That is what I told the wife, that is.

  • Kate Taylor July 28, 2010, 8:00 pm

    Hi there, My name is Kate Taylor and I’m a reporter for Lifescript.com, a website about health and wellness for women. I am hoping to interview you about food for diabetics. I could send you a few questions, if that would work. Are you a dietician or Diabetes expert? Perhaps a self-made expert? I like you website very much — Thanks, Kate

  • Jason Sandeman July 29, 2010, 1:13 pm

    @Kate Taylor – Thank you for your kind words. You can indeed email me some questions by emailing me at sandeman[at]welldonechef.com. I would be happy to participate!

  • brittany August 8, 2010, 5:57 pm

    just got an ice cream maker and about to use it for the first time, any advice on how much vodka or glycerin to use and when in the process to add it to prevent it from getting too hard?

  • Jason Sandeman August 8, 2010, 6:39 pm

    @brittany – One of the best resources for ice cream come from an awesome pastry chef named David Lebowitz. His FAQ page for ice cream has the answers that you need. I hope that helps you out some.

    If I may ask, what ice cream maker do you have?

  • Murphy September 9, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Hey Jason
    I am from a country that is so far country near South Africa,we dont have ice cream for Diabetic pepole in our country,i am a diabetic person,i am glad to find your email add,you know what i was just googling to find where i can buy diabetic ice cream and i found your page of recipes on how to make your home made ice cream,you are an answer to my prayer.
    i will continue logging on your site for recipes,i will try them out i love cooking.thanks again Jason.have a great weekend.

  • Jason Sandeman September 9, 2011, 4:59 pm

    @Murphy – I am glad to have brightened your day a little bit. I now feel bad for not posting more D friendly recipes. I will have to rectify that, STAT.

  • Murphy September 9, 2011, 5:45 pm

    Hey Jason
    I am glad you got my email,yes you did brightened my day thank you,every thing in life has it own time,No.no.no don`t feel bad at all what you did is perfect,you are creative and a guru you decided to come up with diabetic ice cream recips OK.keep up the good work ,continue doing what you love doing most coking and lets us know how to enjoy life as Diabetic people. because every one has to enjoy life it doesn`t matter what their conditions are. the onces you posted are perfect remeber you need to explore the more delicious diabetic ice cream recips take it easy you did great.

  • Murphy October 18, 2011, 3:11 am

    Hey Jason
    I have been busy lately, whats cooking in your kitchen these days? how was thanks giving?i had turkey and all kinds of canadian foodthey were deliciious, it was my first time to celebrate thanks giving i enjoyed the day.thank God days like this do exist and only come once in a year. i will try out the local strawberry ice cream. once you post it,i love ice cream my God.

  • JIMMY PIKE November 11, 2011, 12:50 pm




  • Wilfredo December 31, 2011, 6:40 am

    Hey Jason!

    Nice blog! Have also gone thorugh lots of trouble making diabetic icecream (have started since I discovered my godson had it) but I made it! We are a small ice cream business in Kommetjie, Cape Town and we have develoved a whole range of flavours for diabetics. They have been certified by the GI Foundation and the Diabetes South Africa Foundation. Would love that we exchange some recipes! Check out our webpage: http://www.wilfredoicecream.com.
    All the best man!

  • Jason Sandeman December 31, 2011, 8:00 am

    @Wilfred – Wow! Thank you for the kind words. I cannot see your page though, as I am on the road, and your page requires Flash.
    I would love to exchange recipes!

  • Muriel July 15, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Hi, was interested in your recipe. One ingredient that did catch my eye, were the adding of eggs. I am a type 2 Diabetic, and have been told that I cant have the yellow of eggs, any suggestions, what I can replace eggs with ? Be good to hear from you.

  • Sue Thomas April 30, 2014, 6:38 am

    Do you realise that Cacoa powder can have side effects for diabetics and also for IBS sufferers. Do check side effects for some people. My husband was quite ill after having choc icecream with an extreme case of IBS which is usually kept under control also his blood sugars were very raised.

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