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20 Indulgent Ice Cream Alternatives

A collage of ice cream alternatives.

Ice cream is arguably the world’s favorite frozen dessert. This cold, creamy, and sweet summer treat is insanely good that it’s so irresistible. But when you’re watching your waistline or when you’re lactose-intolerant, ice cream is just a no-go.

So we collected this exhaustive list of indulgent ice cream alternatives for those who want something healthy, healthy-ish, or just another delicious frosty dessert.


Related: Types of Ice Cream | Types of Ice Cream Makers | Types of Bananas | Coconut Milk | Types of Yogurt Makers

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1. Chocolate-Dipped Bananas

Chocolate-dipped banana on a stick on white decorative plate.

These are so easy to make that anyone can do it. There are thousands of recipes for these bananas all over the Internet, and if you’re not interested in dipping them in chocolate or even carob, you can dip them in peanut butter, yogurt, and many other foods.

They are nutritious, easy to make, will certainly satisfy a sweet tooth, and the following should be kept in mind if you’re interested in eating chocolate-dipped bananas instead of ice cream:


  • It is a food that most people like
  • It has a lot of nutrients, including vitamins C and B6, as well as minerals such as potassium
  • You can enjoy them in a variety of ways


  • It has virtually no healthy fats or protein of any kind
  • It is not a good food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight
  • Bananas go bad very quickly and must be eaten right away

Dipped bananas are a great alternative to ice cream, and there are many recipes for this yummy treat, including this one.

2. Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut ice cream in a coconut shell with leaves on top.

If you don’t want gluten, dairy, or soy in your ice cream, try some made with coconut milk. These types of ice cream are usually 100% organic and are sweetened with agave.

They flavor them with ingredients such as seeds, nuts, and various vegan types of chocolate and vanilla, including carob. Here are some pros and cons of ice cream made with coconut milk instead of cream:


  • Absolutely delicious and natural
  • Healthy for you
  • High in certain vitamins, including A and E


  • Not particularly low in calories
  • Can contain BPA because it is sold in cans
  • Can cause gastric problems in some individuals

Another advantage is that you can find coconut milk ice cream in dozens of flavors, including yummy tastes such as walnut brownie, cookie caramel, and cherry amaretto, as well as a plain vanilla flavor that is usually very tasty.

Coconut ice cream can be purchased at stores such as this.

3. Frozen Kefir

A kid showing a glass of frozen kefir topped with strawberries.

Kefir delivers more probiotic capability than even yogurt, so it is no wonder companies started making it as an alternative to ice cream. When it comes to kefir, in fact, you can easily call it a superfood, because it contains many active and live probiotic cultures and is gluten-free as well.

Most frozen kefir is made in tangy fruit flavors, so it can be similar to eating yogurt or even an ice pop. However, like many other foods, kefir has both advantages and disadvantages, including:


  • It is very good for your immune system
  • Contains Vitamin K2, which is good for brain function and coronary artery disease, among other things
  • Has been proven to be anti-allergenic


  • Isn’t good for people with a histamine intolerance
  • It can increase your blood pressure
  • It is known to cause migraines in some people

Most of the companies that make this product include fruity flavors, so you can enjoy this type of ice cream in flavors such as strawberry, mango, pomegranate, and many others.

Here is a recipe for a delicious coconut almond kefir ice cream.

4. Gelato

A display of various gelato flavors at a store.

Gelato is similar to ice cream but usually has less cream than ice cream, and it usually has no egg yolks, either. Like ice cream, it is made in dozens of flavors because you can include anything in there that you like, including various flavorings, fruits, nuts, and many other foods.

There are things to take into consideration if you’re interested in eating gelato, such as:


  • It usually has a lower fat content
  • Since it is often served at a higher temperature, its flavor is usually hardier
  • Has a denser look and heavier, creamier taste than ice cream


  • It is relatively high in calories
  • It still has plenty of cream, sugar, and milk
  • It is not completely healthy for you

Although it can also be difficult to find a store that sells fresh gelato like they do ice cream, gelato is a delicious alternative to ice cream that, like ice cream, will have you screaming for more.

You can even purchase gelato online.

5. Hawaiian-Based Shaved Ice

Close up of a Hawaiian-based shaved ice in multi colors.

The best part about shaved ice is that you can make it any flavor you want, even if you don’t want a super-sweet ice cream alternative. You simply pick a flavor, such as a coconut, cherry, vanilla frozen yogurt, or lime, place it in the middle of the shaved ice, and then stir it around some before eating.

Hawaiians eat this a lot, and there are many good reasons that it is so popular. If you’d like to get started and make shaved-ice desserts, here are some things to consider:


  • You can shape the shaved ice thick or thin, curly or straight
  • You can change the texture and consistency of it very easily
  • It is fast and simple to get the flavor you want


  • Shaved ice is sometimes expensive
  • It is not always as popular as regular snow cones, which are different
  • They are not usually healthy for you

Nevertheless, if you intend to buy a shaved ice cone from a reputable business, it is an absolutely delicious alternative to ice cream, and it can quite literally come in dozens of different flavors.

Shaved ice makers can be found at stores such as Target, which are seen here.

6. Pudding Ice Cream

Pudding ice cream on a cake stand surrounded by Christmas decorations.

With this product, you start out with regular pudding, and you end up with ice cream, making it the perfect summer treat.

There are mixes you can buy in grocery stores that are easy to make, not to mention recipes found online, and the best part is the fact that the ingredients are always easy to find in most grocery stores.

It is great for cooling down on a hot summer day, and there are so many flavors that you are guaranteed to find one that you love. Here are some of the pros and cons of pudding ice cream:


  • They tend to be very healthy for you
  • There is a flavor for everyone to enjoy
  • They are extremely easy to make


  • Since they are made with milk, some people may experience negative symptoms
  • Most have too much sugar and carbs in them
  • They don’t have a high protein content

Pudding ice cream is thick and delicious, and it gives you plenty of vitamins and other types of nutrition. In addition, it is easy to make, so even if you decide that you want to make some at the spur of the moment, it is easy to do so.

Here is a simple, yummy recipe for pudding ice cream.

7. Sorbet

Raspberry, mango, and coconut ice cream sorbet surrounded by fruits.

The great thing about sorbet is that it comes in various textures, so whether you like it light and fluffy or creamy and snow-like, you can find a brand that suits you.

Sorbet comes in a lot of the same flavors that ice cream does, so you can enjoy it just like you do ice cream most of the time. It usually has a very creamy texture that people seem to love, and the selection of available flavors may surprise you. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to eating sorbet:


  • If you include fruit flavors, you get added fiber in your diet
  • There are dozens of flavors to choose from
  • You can make it as healthy as you like by adding the right ingredients


  • There is no calcium in sorbet-like there is in ice cream
  • Contrary to popular belief, it is not a digestive aid
  • There can be a lot of sugar in sorbets

If you’re looking for something healthy, sorbet is likely not the way to go. However, if you want something yummy and refreshing on a hot summer day, it will serve you well. Sorbet satisfies a sweet tooth and cools you down just like ice cream, and it is perfect for those who are lactose-intolerant.

Sorbet can be found at most retail outlets, as shown here.

8. Tofu Ice Cream

Silken tofu ice cream in a bowl.

Your ice cream can be dairy-free when you make it from tofu. If you choose a reputable brand of tofu, it is easy to produce a delicious alternative to ice cream that won’t weigh you down with sugar and heavy creams, not to mention whole milk, which is bad for you.

Tens of thousands of ice cream recipes that use tofu can be found online, and if you’re interested in the pros and cons, here are just a few of them:


  • It is a heart-healthy food
  • It is high in fiber
  • It has a lot of protein in it


  • Some soy products like tofu provide you with too much estrogen, which isn’t good for you
  • There have been some links between this product and certain types of cancer
  • Unless it’s organic, it could have Hexane, which is linked to some neurological conditions

That being said, tofu is a very healthy food overall, and once you get used to the fact that it doesn’t taste exactly like ice cream, you’ll likely enjoy eating it all the time.

Here is a delicious strawberry tofu ice cream recipe.

9.  Frozen Yogurt

Hands showing a cup of frozen yogurt.

The frozen yogurt or froyo is basically a frozen dessert made of yogurt, milk, sugar, and yogurt cultures. It’s creamy and sweet but tarter than ice cream. It’s frequently promoted as a healthier alternative, but others dispute this claim.

10. Yogurt Parfait Popsicles

Yogurt parfait popsicles with strawberries on the side.

The yogurt parfait popsicles are a healthy dessert that can be served for breakfast. It’s made up of Greek yogurt, granola, and berries.

11. Granita

A serving of almond granita.

Granita is an Italian frozen fruit dessert made of fresh fruit and water. It’s similar to a sorbet since both are healthy ice cream alternatives and easy to make. But the granita is made by hand and is coarser and flaky like shaved ice.

12. Popsicles

Colorful popsicles on display at a market stall.

This is a popular frozen snack on a stick. It’s milk or water-based which can be mixed with anything to create any flavor you can think of. It’s also pretty easy to make since you just need to make the mixture, pour them into the popsicle mold, use the stick as a handle, and let it freeze.

13. Ice cream sandwich

A plate of ice cream sandwiches.

It’s another versatile snack that lets you create any flavor you can think of. The ice cream sandwich is as the name implies, a sandwich but has the filling of cold, sweet cream.

14. Bingsu

Mango-flavored bingsu in a bowl.

It’s a Korean traditional dessert which is basically shaved ice. It has many variations to accommodate different flavors and toppings such as sweetened azuki beans, strawberry, chocolate, and cheesecake.

15. Halo-Halo

A glass of halo halo.

It’s a popular Filipino cold dessert made of crushed ice, evaporated milk, and a variety of ingredients such as sweetened beans, coconut juliennes, sago, gulaman (seaweed gelatin), pinipig rice, boiled root crops in cubes, fruit slices, and flan.

16. Nice Cream

Three glasses of nice cream with flavors of banana, raspberry, and spinach on wooden background.

Nice cream is the perfect alternative for vegans. It’s fruit-based, vegan, and dairy-free so it doesn’t have sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Hence, it’s “nice.” It’s also super easy to make and can take you as quick as 10 minutes.

17. Soft Serve

Soft serve against blurred leaves background.

Soft serve is a type of ice cream that has the expected dairy and sweeteners plus a bunch of other ingredients. Unlike the regular ice cream, it’s soft and less dense.

18. Vegan Chocolate Shake

Two glasses of chocolate shake on a striped cloth with chocolates on the side.

This delicious drink is rich, thick, and super healthy that’s perfect for a post-workout meal. All you need is your protein powder, some fruit, and a blender to mix them together.

19. Coconut Ice Milk

Coconut ice milk in coconut shell over banana leaf.

It’s the perfect summer treat that’s both healthy and refreshing. It’s easy to make and all you need is coconut milk and milk so it’s sugar-free.

20. Frappe

Two glasses of chocolate frappe with cookies on the side.

It’s an iced or chilled drink often confused with a milkshake. It looks like a milkshake but the milkshake is just milk and syrup whereas frappe is a thick milkshake made of ice cream.

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