Bottom Line Up Front: I have created my own homemade protein ice cream recipe, which can only be described as a revolution in desserts. This post outlines how to make it and some pro tips for maximum effectiveness.
Trying to keep this brief because it’s not really important, but it started when my family got me a Ninja Creami home ice cream maker for Christmas so we could make healthy ice cream. I immediately started out with just freezing a protein shake (milk & protein mix). This isn’t bad, but it wasn’t like ice cream. I knew I could add sweet things to pick up the taste, but I didn’t want to. So I persisted with trying to get the ratios of protein to milk right. Still not that great but a welcome snack after dinner with zero guilt. Then my daughter said I should add Jello pudding mix (she saw it on social media). Game changer! Just a small amount of pudding mix changed the consistency completely. I experimented with different amounts of pudding mix before settling down on 20 grams, which is two servings. I eventually added collagen for added nutrition (I don’t think it affects the taste or consistency). Finally, I realized adding some salt actually brought out the flavors even more.
Protein Ice Cream Ingredients
- Protein powder, 1 scoop/30 grams
- Sugar-free pudding mix, 2 servings/20 grams
- Collagen peptides, 1 scoop/10 grams
- 1% milk, 1.25 cups
- Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
You can use whatever brand of these you want or whichever flavors, even the pudding mix. There are alternate “keto” or sugar free pudding mixes. I tried a few and none compare to Jello. I support the Jocko Fuel brand from Jocko Willink. I trust the supplements, so I use Jocko Mölk Whey Protein Powder. I am a Thrive Market member and I use their collagen because it’s very fairly priced. Milk and salt probably don’t matter. Cheap milk and high end milk are different but not a ton. Skim milk was too watery and 1% was a big improvement. 2% wasn’t any different so I stuck with 1%.
I have used vanilla protein powder with chocolate pudding mix, strawberry protein with both chocolate and vanilla pudding, even pumpkin spice protein (available in limited quantities from Jocko Fuel around Halloween) with vanilla pudding. All good. I personally am a big chocolate guy, so I go chocolate/chocolate most of the time. Of note, cheesecake pudding mix is pretty bad. I would steer clear. There are other flavors I haven’t tried too and probably won’t.
I built an Amazon list for you with all the ingredients and even the Ninja Creami with extra cups (how can you be expected to only make two at a time?). Only substitute is the collagen. I personally use Thrive Market brand, but Mark Sisson’s Primal line is well respected.
I computed the total cost of ingredients to be $3-4 per pint.
Ice Cream Comparison
Let’s get to the nutrition facts. Overall, my recipe has 348 calories, 5.5g of fat, 31g of carbs, and 42g of fat in a one pint serving. Pretty, pretty, pretty good for anything, especially ice cream.
For the sake of comparison, one pint of Halo Top has 360 calories, 11g of fat, 69g of carbs, 18g of fat. Halo Top is much better than regular ice cream mostly because of less calories and some added protein. The same size pint of Ben & Jerry’s is 1030 calories, 59g of fat, 114g of carbs, and 15g of protein! So Halo Top is FAR better than this, but FAR worse than my recipe! Check out the nutrition facts below:
Ben & Jerry’s
Making the Ice Cream
It’s not rocket surgery here, but I’ll explain it just to be thorough.
- First step is putting in the milk. Too much milk makes a mess when you try to mix it. It also expands when frozen, so you don’t actually want to get to the max fill line for maximum taste and mixing. 1.25 cups is perfect. I find putting the dry ingredients in first then liquid on top leaves a layer of powder at the bottom.
- Then add protein, collagen, Jello mix, and salt.
- Mix using a whisk for 30-60 seconds. Spoon won’t cut it. I have found an attachment to a small mixer is actually better than the whisks we have because it has smaller, thinner wires. It doesn’t really have to be well-mixed; just make sure to knock out the big chunks. It is going to go in a blender before you eat it, so it will fix any major whisk failures.
- Freeze. Over night is optimal, but I have done as little as 12 hours and it was frozen enough.
PRO TIP: Make a bunch at once. I make 6-8 pints at a time. Doing it in batches is the way for maximum efficiency. You get two pint containers with a Creami. I bought more containers so I could make more at once and other family members could make some of their own recipes too.
Ninja Creami Tips
The only trick that isn’t ingredient related is how to use the Ninja Creami. There are a lot of settings. You would think “ice cream” is the setting you’d want here, but that doesn’t produce the best results. For me, it’s “smoothie bowl”. All the settings adjust the time, speed, and method of spinning the blade. For whatever reason, “smoothie bowl” is perfect. On “ice cream”, you will get a crumbly mixture. I used to add a little water and then re-spin it, which was pretty good. But when I found “smoothie bowl” I never went another way.
I eat the ice cream right out of the pint container, but if one were so inclined, one could take some out and refreeze it. One pint is one serving to me. It’s only 350 calories.
I have the original Creami, which I will keep until it explodes. The new Breeze series ones may be better/different. I can’t imagine how it could be better honestly, but I am open to the possibility. They also have larger ones for family sized containers. Matter of preference.
I have used the Creami for sorbets and other ice cream type recipes. I use it for protein ice cream 99% of the time now.
PRO TIP: Microwave the ice cream about 20 seconds either before or after putting it through the Creami. It is slightly different each way, but they both produce a creamier result. Give it a try and see if you like the texture better.
But, Wait! There’s More! Ultimate Pro Tip
The ultimate protein ice cream/Ninja Creami tip is that you don’t even need a Ninja Creami! There was a time when I had a Ninja Creami failure. I ran it without ensuring the blade was properly seated, so I ended up breaking mine. Fried the motor. Thankfully, I got a replacement, but there was a week or so there that I didn’t have a Creami. I was in a (first world) crisis wondering what I was going to do. Turns out, microwaving the cups for about 45 seconds and mixing it with a spoon produced a pretty good dessert still!
Is it better in the Creami? Yes, for sure! If I were on a budget, would I get a Creami? Actually, no. I would get everything else to include the replacement pint containers (they are perfect to make and eat out of) and have a very healthy, great tasting dessert at very little cost.
Best of luck losing weight and/or getting jacked by eating ice cream!
Post questions, thoughts, ideas, recipes, etc. to the comments below.