Here's a simple recipe for low-fat vanilla ice cream. Our version has all the richness you'll need but about 90 fewer calories than store-bought premium ice cream and a whopping 15 grams less total fat and 10 grams less saturated fat per serving.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2008


Recipe Summary

2 hrs 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you make the base for the ice cream.

  • Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the milk and add the pod.

  • Heat the milk mixture over medium heat until steaming. Whisk egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the back of the spoon is lightly coated, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or the custard will curdle.

  • Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean large bowl. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

  • Whisk the ice cream mixture and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. If necessary, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.


Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Equipment: Ice cream maker

Tip: Jazz up homemade ice cream with stir-ins, like crumbled cookies, toasted nuts or chopped fruit. Here are few tips to get you started:
• Stir-ins should be small, about the size of a pea.
• Cool toasted ingredients completely before adding them to the ice cream maker.
• Check your ice cream maker's instructions when it comes to judging the volume of your stir-ins. In general, we recommend 1 cup of stir-ins per quart of ice cream.
• Add stir-ins to the ice cream maker during the last 5 minutes of freezing.

Nutrition Facts

200 calories; protein 8.3g; carbohydrates 35.3g; sugars 35.1g; fat 2.6g; saturated fat 1.2g; cholesterol 80.1mg; vitamin a iu 398.5IU; folate 14mcg; calcium 250.1mg; iron 0.2mg; magnesium 43.8mg; potassium 614mg; sodium 95.1mg; thiamin 0.2mg.

Reviews (4)

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11 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 3
  • 4 star values: 8
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
Finally a recipe for vanilla ice cream that works! A rich and creamy ice cream recipe that actually tastes like you want it to. I have never made a batch of ice cream that I was happy with until I tried this one. It's is rather expensive 1-1/2 quarts of ice cream at the store is 4. I figure the equivalent amount using this recipe is more like 15. I am going to try and replace the vanilla bean with 3 tsp of vanilla extract. That should knock off about 6. Hopefully it tastes the same. We'll see. Pros: No need for heavy cream. Cons: Condensed milk and a vanilla bean set me back about 10 making this ice cream expensive Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Good taste but not that much healthier Looking at the back of my Blue Bunny brand premium vanilla ice cream ( not low fat or sugar free regular vanilla ice cream) it lists the following for a 1/2 cup serving: 130 calories 7g fat so this recipe is not really all that healthy compared to store bought. It has about half the fat but many more calories per serving. Not sure health wise how this stacks up to other homemade recipes but if you're counting calories the store bought regular vanilla has less with only a few more g fat. Pros: Good taste and easy to make. Cons: Not really that much healthier. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Flavor Boom I added a cup of strawberries and put it in my food processor after freezing it for 2 hours. The flavor was good pre-strawberry but once I added them it seemed like the flavor just exploded! I was so happy with the turnout since I am a big ice cream fan and this is a lot healthier (tastier maybe too) than store bought. If you have the time try it. Definetly worth it. Look up how to make ice cream in your food processor to learn more. Amazingly easy. Pros: Super simple the recipe turned out great!! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
wonderful recipe This is one of the only homemade ice cream recipes that I've made that doesn't turn into an ice brick in the freezer the next day. It will turn rock solid eventually but it takes a while. Most of the ice cream is gone by that time. Pros: not rock solid Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Great recipe! I've made this at least 10 times and it turns out delicious everytime. Really good low-fat ice cream recipe Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This ice cream was creamy delicious and had wonderful texture. Everyone at my luncheon loved it (including my dear hubby who is a fan of the mega fat version). It was confusing though because it does not get hard enough to stop the ice cream maker motor. I would suggest noting that in the directions as we could have enjoyed eating it much earlier if we had known to check it rather than wait for the machine to stop! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
How is this fewer calories than regular ice cream when this is over 200 cal per serving and my store bought is about 140 for a half cup. Is this based on a full cup serving? Sounds yummy but it might actually be more fattening. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Confused about quanity So the recipe states that this makes 1 quart but the ingredients alone are 6 cups. With expansion during the freezing process I expect this to yield around 7 cups. That's almost 2 quarts. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This is the best recipe for homemade ice cream! It tastes a lot like frozen custard. My kids (8 and 6) also said this was our best batch yet! Read More