Last updated on May 2, 2023

Making low calorie Italian gelato ๐Ÿจ healthy and without cream

Gianni from All Italian - Author
Gianni from All Italian

Can you make make healthy ice cream at home without sugar, cow milk and whipping cream? We are Italians and we share our original recipes to make a delicious and low-calorie gelato with the ice maker

In the ice cream recipes we publish on All Italian we always pay extra attention to the ingredients.

As we often write that we like ice cream because it is a refreshing dessert, but we don't always like a high-calorie dessert.

That's why we often distance ourselves from those food bloggers who make ยซice creamยป with a bowl condensed milk (seriously); and instead we try to use fresh and light ingredients ๐Ÿ‘.

Ingredients and calories of homemade Italian ice cream

To become gelato, the mixture we pour into the ice cream maker must contain enough sugars and fats.
Otherwise the mixture will remain liquid or freeze in the ice cream maker before it becomes a soft ice cream.

The Italian ice-cream basic recipe, which we call ๐Ÿ”Š fiordilatte in Italy, contains three ingredients: milk, whipping cream and sugar.

Fiordilatte ice cream (milk, cream, sugar) 3.5 oz / 100 g 198 Calories

Even if milk and whipping cream are fresh ingredients, without food preservatives, ice cream is still a rather caloric dessert.


Dairy free ice cream

Of course there are also "ice creams" that are made with alternative ingredients to cream and milk: sorbet, usually made with fruit. Technically they are not real ice creams, but you can find them in ice cream parlors along with all the other flavors.

Strawberry ice cream, for example can be made in two ways: with milk and cream, or simply with water and sugar.
Ice cream is creamier, but the fruit flavor is softened by the dairy products; sorbet has a more vibrant taste and color and generally contains fewer calories.

Strawberry sorbet (strawberries, water, sugar) 3.5 oz / 100 g 96 Calories

But fruit sorbet contains a lot of sugar as well; actually it is thanks to the sugar that the sorbet is as soft as an ice cream, and you can enjoy it on the cone.

So how do you make creamy ice cream without sugar, milk and whipping cream? On this page from we give an overview of the alternative ingredients you can use to make delicious, light ice cream at home and share our recipe.


On this page



Learning Italian ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

The Italian words of this page:

๐Ÿ”Š Gelato Italiano Italian ice cream
๐Ÿ”Š Senza zucchero Sugar-free
๐Ÿ”Š Gelato poco calorico Low calorie ice cream

Sugar in Italian ice cream

Sugar in ice cream plays a dual role:

  • As a sweetener, to give a sweet taste;

  • to make the ice cream soft and creamy.

If you put too little sugar, you get an ice cream as hard as a popsicle.

In the ice cream maker, the sugar melts with the other ingredients and forms very small ice crystals that make the gelato creamy.


Alternatives for sugar in ice cream

Normal homemade ice cream is usually made with white sugar, brown sugar or alternatively with honey.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Making completely sugar-free ice cream is actually not possible: sugars are already in many of the basic ingredients, including fruit. It is more correct to say that we will try to make an ice cream without added sugars.

Sweeteners

The sweeteners in tablets only have the function of giving the ice cream a sweet flavour, but of course they do not help create the soft texture of the ice cream.

Alternative sweeteners for ice cream could be:

  • Maltitol, in the same amount of sugar as indicated in the recipe;

  • Erythrol, with 30% less than the amount of sugar.

Stevia

Stevia is often found in the supermarket mixed with maltodextrin or other sweeteners. Since it is in powder form, it can be used as an alternative to sugar.
However, we do not recommend using stevia powder exclusively as a sweetener for ice cream; especially because stevia has a very strong bitter aftertaste that not everyone likes. You can experiment and combine it with other sugars, for example honey.


Fructose

Fructose is the sugar found in fruit, and is also ideal for use in fruit ice creams and sorbets. In our opinion it is not ideal for other flavors as it changes their original taste.
It is also sweeter than sucrose, and therefore needs to be added in smaller quantities.

Brown sugar

There really isn't much difference between brown sugar and traditional sugar, as far as we know. What changes is the taste; you can use it according to the ice cream flavor you are making.

Honey

Honey to make homemade ice cream

Honey is mainly composed of glucose and fructose, a percentage of water, plus the aromas that give it its special taste, which is especially felt in ice cream. We often use it as an alternative to sugar, but it is not suitable for all types of ice cream. You can use about half the amount of sugar recommended in the recipe, and you can also try mixing it with other sweeteners like stevia.
We do it routinely and we get really good ice creams.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup to make ice cream at home

Maple syrup comes from maple trees and is composed of glucose, fructose and about 30% water. Like honey, it has a strong flavor that changes the flavor of the ice cream. It is therefore suitable for use with certain types of ice cream, such as yogurt gelato, hazelnuts and chocolate ice cream.


๐Ÿ‘‰ If you taste the ice cream mixture before pouring it into the ice cream maker, it will seem sweeter than the ice cream you get. This is because our palate perceives sweetness differently depending on the temperature.

Making fat-free ice cream: fruit sorbet

We've dedicated an entire article to fruit flavored sorbets, which can be easily made with water instead of milk and cream.
Because they contain no milk, technically they are not called ice creams but sorbets.
However, fruit sorbets require the addition of sugars.
An ice cream made only of fruit and water, but without sugar, would be bitter and not at all creamy.

๐Ÿ‘‰ There is a rule for homemade ice cream: if you add more sugar, you can add less fat.

Making homemade ice cream without milk and cream

In traditional Italian ice cream, milk, whipping cream and eggs are used to provide fats and proteins. If we look for alternative ingredients, it is then necessary to find fats and proteins of vegetable origin.

Vegetable whipped cream

Many recipes you find online use vegetable cream, which can definitely add creaminess to your gelato.
However, vegetable cream is not our first choice. generally acknowledged that fats in vegetable cream are often of low quality; in our opinion these fats are not a very good alternative for normal whipping cream.


๐Ÿฅฅ Coconut milk

Coconut milk to make homemade ice cream

Our favorite alternative to whipping cream and milk is coconut milk, which we also use in vegan ice cream.
Ice cream made with coconut milk tastes a bit different than ice cream made with cow milk. That's why it goes best with some flavors of ice cream, such as yogurt or chocolate.

We often use it too, especially in combination with honey: as in the recipe that we publish on this page.

Coconut milk is made from coconut pulp and a variable percentage of water. The result is a high-fat liquid similar to whipping cream, perfect for making homemade Italian gelato.

You can often buy coconut milk in the supermarket, in tetra pack or in cans, with different concentrations of fats. Pay attention to the fat percentage: we recommend taking the one with 17-18% fat.
Canned coconut milk doesn't work well because it has a lower fat percentage, around 6%.


More alternatives to whipping cream and milk

Nuts and pistachios as ingredients to make homemade gelato

There are other ingredients you can use instead of whipping cream to add the right fat percentage to homemade ice cream.
We tried with ๐Ÿฅ‘ avocado; gelato results soft and creamy, but the taste has changed. We prefer coconut milk, but we also recommend experimenting with avocado if you don't mind its flavor in ice cream.
Other alternatives: hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios are sources of vegetable fats. To use them in ice cream, simply chop them finely. The use of dried fruit is of course more or less suitable, depending on the taste of the ice cream you want to make.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Thanks to the fat contained in dried fruit, you can add a lower percentage of milk and cream.


Homemade gelato with eggs

Eggs are not always necessary, but in ice cream they are a thickener: and that makes for a creamier gelato. You can make flavors like chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream with or without eggs.

In Italian, we call the ice cream flavor with eggs is ๐Ÿ”Š gelato alla crema.



Low calorie gelato with coconut milk ๐Ÿจ Italian recipe


4.8
(19) reviews

  • ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ Easy
  • โฐ 50 min preparation
  • ๐Ÿค— Guaranteed result

In this recipe we make an alternative to the normal ice cream basic recipe. We replace the cow milk and whipping cream with coconut milk, which we simply dilute with water: like a coconut sorbet.

But to become ice cream, the mixture must contain sugar. In our recipe we use honey instead, in a smaller amount than the sugar we put in normal ice cream. This way we make a creamy ice cream with a delicious light taste and that contains about 1/4 fewer calories than a normal Italian ice cream.

Low calorie gelato with coconut and honey 3.5 oz / 100 g 155 Calories

If you don't like honey, you can of course substitute the same amount of sugar, white or brown sugar.



Ingredients


Quantities

 
3
 

people


Ingredient image Ingredient name Cups Grams Ounces
coconut-milk Coconut milk 1.4 cup 11.3 oz 320 g
water Water 0.75 cup 6 oz 170 g
honey Honey 0.3 cup 3.9 oz 110 g

โš–๏ธ How do I measure the ingredients?

For each ingredient we indicate both the volume in cups and the weight in ounces and grams.

In the US, most online ice cream recipes indicate the ingredients in cups: it's a very practical unit, in which each ingredient is already converted into volume, so you don't need a scale.

To be more accurate, however, we also write the weight of the ingredients. With a digital scale you can easily weigh each ingredient and then combine them all in a bowl or measuring cup.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Especially if you're just starting out, don't fill the ice cream maker completely: making ice cream in small quantities is easier.



Instructions

  1. Turn on the ice cream maker

    When making ice cream at home, it is important that both the ice cream maker and the ingredients are well cold.

    First turn on the self-cooling ice maker. This way it has time to cool down while you prepare the ingredients. An ice maker usually takes 10 minutes to cool down.

    What if I pour ice into an unrefrigerated ice cream maker?

    If the ice cream maker has not cooled down, the stirring arm often freezes before the ice cream is ready. This is one of the little tricks good to know when you make gelato at home. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Turn on the ice cream maker

  2. Mix the ingredients

    Mix the ingredients with an immersion blender for 1-2 minutes while the ice cream maker cools down.

    To make a proper ice cream, you need to pour a smooth mixture into the ice cream maker.

  3. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker

    Before pouring the mixture into the ice cream maker, make sure the ice cream maker is already freezing, at about -7.6 ยฐF (-22 ยฐC).

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ Use the opening on the lid of the machine to pour the ice cream. This way the cold in the inner bowl of the ice cream maker does not escape.
    The mixing paddle should already be moving when you pour the ice.

    Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker
    ยซAlle Italiaanseยป is the original name of our website, which we initially wrote for the Dutch audience.

  4. Let the ice cream mix for 30-40 minutes

    The transparent lid allows you to check the status of the ice cream.

    After 15-20 minutes, the mixture will increase in volume and gradually become a soft gelato.

    Wait 30-40 minutes until the low-calorie ice cream is ready to enjoy.

    Let the ice cream mix for 30-40 minutes

Your Italian low calorie gelato is ready, light and creamy. ๐Ÿ”Š buon appetito ๐Ÿจ

Low calorie coconut ice cream
The low-calorie coconut ice cream from our ice cream recipe book, soft and creamy.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Freshly homemade ice cream is very soft. We suggest you store it in the freezer for at least an hour before serving.




50 authentic gelato flavours

For all connoisseurs who, like us, can't wait until summer to enjoy a delicious homemade ice cream

Original gelato recipes
with ice cream maker

Many ask us for more information about making ice cream. We've collected it all in our ice cream recipe book, available in e-book or paperback format.

Everything you want to know to make a perfect gelato at home with the ice cream maker, and our Italian recipes to learn how to make all kinds of ice cream recipes.

Gelato
2nd edition

All Italian made original by Italians
The cover of our ice cream recipes e-book.
๐Ÿ” Click to zoom in
  • All Italian Gelato - 2nd edition
    `

Our best and most delicious ice cream flavours:

  • ๐Ÿ„ Fiordilatte - Milk ice cream without egg
  • ๐Ÿฅš Vanilla ice cream - Basic recipe with egg
  • ๐Ÿจ Cinnamon ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ‹ Lemon ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Greek yogurt ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ Goat milk ice cream with honey
  • ๐Ÿจ Quark ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Ginger ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Milk and mint ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Licorice ice cream
  • โ˜• Coffee ice cream with honey
  • ๐Ÿซ Bacio with dark chocolate en hazelnuts
  • ๐Ÿจ Chocolate ice cream with cocoa
  • ๐Ÿซ Vegan chocolate ice cream and mint
  • ๐Ÿจ White Chocolate ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Pistachio ice cream with honey
  • ๐Ÿจ Pistachio-coconut vegan ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Almond ice cream
  • ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿง€ Stracciatella ice cream with ricotta
  • ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿง€ Sicilian Cassata ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅฅ Coconut vegan sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ๐Ÿง€ Ricotta Pear Ice Cream
  • ๐Ÿ‹ Lemon sorbet
  • ๐ŸŠ Orange sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ“ Strawberry sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ“ Strawberry ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ’ Cherry sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ’ Cherry ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ„ Amarena ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅญ Mango sorbet
  • ๐Ÿฅญ Mango ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅ Kiwi sorbet
  • ๐ŸŒ Banana ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Raspberry sorbet
  • ๐Ÿจ Raspberry ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅ•๐ŸŽ Carrot-apple-ginger sorbet
  • ๐Ÿฅ‘ Avocado-apple-kiwi ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Passion fruit ice cream
  • ๐Ÿน Spritz sorbet
  • ๐Ÿฅƒ Limoncello ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Chocolate chip cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Amaretti cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Stroopwafels ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Gingerbread cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Sandwich cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Hazelnut paste biscuits ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿง€ Strawberry cheesecake ice cream
  • ๐ŸŽ Apple strudel ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅ• Carrot cake ice cream
  • ๐Ÿง€โ˜• Tiramisรน ice cream

Each recipe is original; we show the preparation of each. We made, photographed and enjoyed every ice cream recipe. And we can confirm: they are all excellent!

Gelato
2nd edition

All Italian made original by Italians
50 authentic gelato flavours

โ€œ Teach someone to make Italian ice cream
and they will enjoy it for the rest of their lives.
โ€

E-book โ‚ฌ 9,99
(about 10.63 USD / 14.32 CAD /
16.54 AUD / 17.96 NZD at 2024-12-04 exchange rate )
  • 187 pages full of recipes

  • The original, now in its 2nd edition with 50 delicious ice cream flavors

  • Compatible with all types of devices

Available directly from our website

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Paperback $ 29,90

By popular demand, we published a paperback version in 2024 which is available internationally on Amazon, where we as affiliates earn a commission.

All Italian Gelato book - paperback version

A beautifully illustrated recipe book that faithfully reflects the original digital version.

Alle Italiaanse IJs boek paperback versie



Follow our recipes

We regularly update these pages on Italian gelato with recipes we make at home with the ice cream maker.

Over All Italian

Hi! We are Italian expats and have been living abroad for years, currently in the Netherlands. Wherever we go, we carry part of our tradition with us. And we often notice that Italy, its heritage and its lifestyle, are very popular.
Now that we understand a little better the culture of the countries we live in, we want to offer an account with original content about our home country.
We are also writing this blog to practice English, so you will find our writing a little ยซcreativeยป at times. Grazie mille!