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Food & Recipes

Protein Ice Cream Recipe Is So Easy to Make With Just 5 Ingredients: My Taste Test Results

I tried the viral feel-good dessert that tasty and boasts 21 grams of protein per serving!

It’s true that we all scream for ice cream — and protein ice cream is the feel-good version that satisfies any sweet tooth. This treat just as creamy as the regular kind, except a kick of protein makes it extra filling. (No wonder so many people online are making and showcasing their protein ice cream creations!) Since it requires 5 basic ingredients, I decided to try making this treat at home to see if it lives up to its viral reputation. Here’s more the nutritional benefits of protein ice cream and a registered dietitian-approved recipe to make soon!

What is protein ice cream?

This ice cream starts with a base of milk, protein, a sweetener and any other ingredients like nut butter or frozen fruit. Once combined, this mixture is often frozen and churned using an ice cream maker. (Though you don’t need the machine to make it — more on that below!) Mix-ins such as fresh fruit or chopped nuts can be incorporated when it’s almost finished for added texture. The ice cream is then scooped and served. 

The protein perks of this ice cream 

Homemade ice cream is often better for you than store-bought, and adding in whey protein powder boosts its nutritional profile. One scoop of protein powder typically contains 25 grams of the essential nutrient that’s linked with promoting healthy muscles, skin, bones and hair. Because of this, an unflavored powder such as Isopure’s Zero Carb Protein Powder is a great choice as it contains no sugar and allows you to customize the flavor of your ice cream base. (For more options, check out this guide on the best protein powders for women over 40.)

Trick to silky smooth ice cream

Erin Coffield, RDN, LDN, registered dietitian at National Dairy Council, swears by protein ice cream as a nourishing way to get your sweet treat fix. Her trick? Mixing the ingredients for your base before freezing to ensure they’re fully combined. “Just blend it all together in a food processor or with a hand blender,” she says. The mixture being thick and smooth is a good sign that it’s blended and ready to turn into ice cream!

How to make protein ice cream

Below, Coffield shares her easy Protein Ice Cream recipe that you can make with or without an ice cream machine. (Read our stories on protein coffee and other protein powder recipes for more on the nutrient-rich powder.)

Protein Ice Cream

Vanilla protein ice cream served in a bowl with berries
JulijaDmitrijeva/Getty

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 2 cups whole or 2% milk  
  • 1 scoop unflavored whey protein powder 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. sugar or sweetener of choice like stevia or monk fruit 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Additional ingredients like handful of frozen fruit or scoop of nut butter (optional)

Mix-ins (optional)

  • Chopped nuts, crushed cookies, chocolate chips or other ingredients 

Directions:

  • Yield: approximately 2 servings (1 cup each)
  1. Blend all ingredients for base using traditional blender or hand-blender. Proceed with preferred method.
  2. Ice cream machine method: Follow manufacturer’s instructions for churning base so it forms ice cream. Fold in desired amount of mix-ins (if using) once churning is almost complete, or when instructions suggest. Serve. 
  3. Frozen loaf pan method: Place 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan in freezer until chilled. Pour prepared base into pan and lightly stir in any mix-ins. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze around 4 to 6 hours, or until solid. When ready to serve, sit at room temperature 30 minutes or until scoopable. Enjoy.

    Note: Store leftover ice cream in an airtight container in freezer for 1 to 2 weeks.

    Nutrition info per serving (whole milk with whey protein powder, no mix-ins): 210 calories, 21 grams of protein and 11 grams of total fat

My taste test

I’m no stranger to protein ice cream as it’s a trend that’s flooded my social media feeds for months. So, I took that as a sign to use my Ninja CREAMi ice cream maker and make a couple of batches of this frozen treat. Here’s what happened when I recently whipped up vanilla and mixed berry protein ice cream.

Vanilla

Two scoops of vanilla protein ice cream in a clear mug
Alexandria Brooks

It’s hard to mess up vanilla ice cream since there’s no mix-ins needed. That said, I used a teaspoon of Simply Organic vanilla bean paste instead of extract for a more concentrated flavor and those small black flecks. Taking the first bite, the sweet and caramel flavors from the sugar and vanilla shined through immediately. The milk added a nice creaminess that didn’t make the ice cream overly rich. Along with the taste, the ice cream’s smooth consistency resembled that of a store-bought pint — which enticed me to savor another scoop!

Mixed Berry

Two scoops of mixed berry protein ice cream in a clear mug
Alexandria Brooks

For this batch, I blended a handful of frozen mixed berries into the base. After freezing and churning, I incorporated chopped fresh strawberries before serving. The final ice cream was sweet yet tart due to the berries. While I might add a touch more sugar next time, this berry protein ice cream was delicious nonetheless. The strawberries gave the treat a slight chunkiness that complemented its otherwise creamy texture.

All in all, I enjoyed both batches of protein ice cream — despite being initially skeptical how they’d turn out. The protein powder provided the treat with richness, all without overpowering the other flavors. I can’t wait to try other flavor combinations to create more yummy batches of protein ice cream!


For more feel-good treats, check out these stories below!

It’s Easy to Turn This 2-Ingredient Dough Into Protein-Packed Bagels and Donuts — And Science Says It Can Boost Weight Loss

Homemade Protein Bars Are Healthier, Cheaper + So Easy to Prep in 5 Minutes

Protein Brownies: Women Over 50 Are Eating Them for Breakfast and Losing 100+ Lbs — The Science Behind the Success

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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