This Protein Ice Cream Recipe is a MUST make! A High Protein Ice Cream that’s rich, creamy, and SO delicious with 15g of protein per serving!
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If you love creamy, delicious ice cream, but are also trying to indulge mindfully or increase your protein, you must try this Protein Ice Cream Recipe!
This rich and creamy protein ice cream will satisfy your ice cream craving without derailing your nutrition during the hot summer months.
This delicious treat is made with only 6 simple ingredients, no refined sugar, and 15 grams of protein per serving! Plus it can be served in a variety of ways; check out our favorites below!
Why you’ll love this Protein Powder Ice Cream
There is a lot to love about this dessert recipe. It’s one of our favorite healthy desserts because it’s:
Is this Protein Ice Cream Recipe healthy?
This recipe is a healthier ice cream recipe. However, it still does have a good bit of sugar and fat, but is great for anyone wanting to indulge mindfully.
Homemade Protein Ice Cream Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make this high protein ice cream:
- Thai Kitchen unsweetened coconut milk
- maple syrup
- sea salt
- unflavored whey protein powder
- vanilla bean paste optional
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded box.
How to make Protein Ice Cream
- Combine 1 can of coconut milk, maple syrup, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a low boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by about 1/4, stirring regularly. Remove from heat. Slowly sprinkle in the gelatin while whisking to avoid any clumping.
- Open the refrigerated can of coconut milk. The liquid and cream should be separated. Use a knife to chisel a small hole in the top of the cream in order to drain the liquid out. Add the cream to a blender. Add the condensed coconut milk, protein powder, and vanilla bean paste and blend on high until well incorporated.
- Line a bread pan with parchment paper and pour in the ice cream mixture. Place in the freezer for at least 5 hours or until it reaches your desired consistency.
Protein Ice Cream Substitutions
Coconut Milk – I only used the brand Thai Kitchen in this recipe because it has a good amount of coconut cream and I know it will separate well when refrigerated. Do not try to use lite or reduced fat coconut milk and expect varying results if using any other brand (some may work fine, but some brands do not separate when chilled!). For the refrigerated can of coconut milk, you can substitute 1 cup of canned coconut cream, but the texture will be a little different (silky, but very heavy on the cream).
Protein Powder – I had the best, most creamy results using unflavored whey protein isolate. I used 1 cup of this unflavored whey protein which contains only one ingredient. I also tested this recipe using vanilla flavored whey protein which worked well.
I would also recommend selecting a brand of protein powder that contains minimal ingredients for the best results. I tested one brand of vegan protein powder which seemed to freeze more solid, and taste chalkier compared to whey, but does provide an option for those who cannot have dairy.
Maple Syrup – I tested both maple syrup and coconut sugar in this recipe. I preferred the flavor of maple syrup, but both worked. Honey or another type of sweetener can likely be used but these were the only two I had tested.
Sea Salt – Salt is used, in part, to help lower the freezing/melting point of the ice cream which helps it thaw more quickly. It is also added for flavor. You can reduce the salt to taste but I wouldn’t recommend omitting entirely.
Vanilla Bean Paste – This ingredient adds flavor to the ice cream and can be found in the spice aisles of most grocery stores. If using a flavored protein powder, you can omit this ingredient. You can also substitute vanilla extract for a little less flavorful but more widely available option.
Can you make this recipe lower carb? You can reduce calories and carbohydrates by using a flavored protein powder that is sweetened with monk fruit or stevia. I would opt for a protein powder that contains minimal ingredients (only whey protein, flavor, and sweetener is ideal) to ensure consistent results. If using a sweetened protein powder, you can reduce the amount of maple syrup used by half, reducing the calories and carbohydrates.
Can you make vegan protein ice cream?
The gelatin is an important ingredient in this recipe to prevent it from becoming too icy while freezing.
Something like agar or a little bit of vodka could potentially be used for this purpose, but I have not tested either of these so I cannot recommend them.
If you just need a dairy-free option, vegan protein powder will work but expect the results to be a little less creamy and a little more chalky. These protein powders generally contain more ingredients which means results will be more variable.
Can you use flavored protein powder?
If you have a favorite flavor of whey protein powder that you would like to try in this recipe, give it a go!
Protein powders with simple ingredients will work best (at least more predictably).
Make Protein Ice Pops!
For a fun twist, use this ice cream recipe to make ice cream pops that are tasty, nutrient dense and loaded with protein! Here’s how:
- Fill a popsicle mold (silicone would work best) with the liquid ice cream straight from the blender. Place popsicle sticks in each mold and place in the freezer until frozen solid (about 3-4 hours).
- Once frozen solid, heat 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until fully melted. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly before dipping to prevent it from melting right off the ice cream.
- Carefully remove the pops from the molds and dip them into the chocolate. Place the dipped pops on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the pops have a light chocolate coating, taking care to move quickly to prevent them from melting. You can also opt to place the pops on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with chocolate if you are having trouble dipping.
- Place the baking sheet back in the freezer and allow the pops to re-freeze for another 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and enjoy!
This will yield about 10-12 pops depending on the size and shape of your popsicle molds.
Protein Ice Cream Recipe Mix-in Ideas
This protein ice cream is super versatile and can be made into so many fun flavors.
Depending on the density of your mix-ins, some things may be best mixed in after the ice cream is partly frozen (after about 2 hours) to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
Here are some ideas to try:
- peanut butter cups + a swirl of peanut butter
- crushed Oreo cookies
- your favorite cereal or Granola
- a swirl of jam + white chocolate chunks + graham crackers
- crushed candy
- a swirl of fudge + chunks of cookie dough
- Stirring the ice cream every 20 minutes for the first 2 hours of freezing will make the ice cream even more creamy and smooth. You can also transfer the ice cream to a Ziploc bag after you blend it to better agitate it; however, I thought that freezing without agitating or stirring still resulted in a very creamy ice cream that was not too icy.
- While making the condensed coconut milk, stir frequently to prevent the maple syrup from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Watch closely and keep the heat low to prevent it from boiling over.
- Sprinkle in the gelatin slowly and whisk while adding it so that it does not clump.
- You can store leftovers in the bread pan. Just place the pan in a resealable gallon size bag and seal it so that it does not absorb flavors from the freezer. Consume within 4 days for best quality.
Ways to serve Protein Ice Cream
This ice cream is delicious on its own, but you can serve it however you serve your typical vanilla ice cream. We love it in a cone or topped with chocolate chips like pictured below, or with:
- Black Bean Brownies
- Sweet Potato Brownies
- Peach Crisp
- Blueberry Crisp
- Apple Crisp or Baked Apples
- In between Monster Cookies for an ice cream sandwich
- Topped with Vanilla Granola
High Protein Ice Cream FAQs
Ice cream typically does contain some protein, but this recipe contains 15g per serving.
It normally is in the milk, heavy cream, and eggs that are in the ice cream.
How to store Protein Powder Ice Cream
Storing: You can store leftovers in the bread pan. Just place the pan in a resealable gallon size bag and seal it so that it does not absorb flavors from the freezer. Consume within 4 days for best quality.
Protein Powder Ice Cream
- 14 oz. can Thai Kitchen unsweetened coconut milk full fat
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon gelatin
- 1 cup unflavored whey protein powder
- 14 oz. can Thai Kitchen unsweetened coconut milk full fat – Refrigerated in the back of the fridge for at least 24 hours
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste optional
- Combine 1 can of coconut milk, maple syrup, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a low boil, stirring frequently to prevent the sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture reaches a boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Allow mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the volume has reduced by about 1/4, stirring regularly. Remove from heat.
- While the condensed coconut milk is still warm, slowly sprinkle in the gelatin while stirring with a whisk to avoid any clumping (do not dump the whole teaspoon in at once or it will clump).
- Open the refrigerated can of coconut milk. The liquid and cream should be separated. Use a knife to chisel a small hole in the top of the cream in order to drain the liquid out. Add the cream to a blender pitcher (this should yield about 1 cup of coconut cream but will vary based on brands).
- Add the condensed coconut milk, protein powder and vanilla bean paste to the pitcher and blend on high until everything is well incorporated.
- Line a bread pan with parchment paper and pour the ice cream mixture into the bread pan. Place in the freezer for at least 5 hours or until it reaches your desired consistency. If frozen solid, pull the ice cream from the freezer and allow to thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes before scooping.