Recipes - Desserts

Home-made ice cream (sugar free & machine free)

As a die hard ice cream fan I thought I’d never be able to replicate store bought ice cream at home without two things – refined sugar and an ice cream machine. But, after months of experimenting, I’ve done just that. The recipe you see here is made by hand and packed with nutritious ingredients.

Home-made sugar free ice cream (no machine needed)So how do you get delicious silky ice cream without a fancy ice cream machine? Its simple thanks to a tip I found in a recent issue of Donna Hay magazine. Until then I’d been ‘churning’ my home made ice cream with a fork several times during the freezing process. But Donna Hay’s trick of using a zip-lock bag for the stage one freeze has made the process easier and the end texture even smoother.

Home-made sugar free ice cream (no machine needed)Here I’m sharing my go-to recipe. I make a batch twice or three times weekly. It’s free of added sugar and provides a hit of probiotics thanks to the natural yoghurt. Of course you can easily substitute cow’s milk and yoghurt with coconut based alternatives for dairy free diets.

Home-made sugar free ice cream (no machine needed)Home-made ice cream

Makes two cups (500ml)


  • 1 cup plain yoghurt – ideally Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk – ideally full cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Optional – one ripe banana
  • Optional – 1-2 tsp natural sweetener like stevia

The base ingredients can be added to with a whole host of flavourings. When it comes to my favourites I use different combinations of peanut butter, cocoa powder, desiccated coconut, chia seeds and cacao nibs. For this recipe I also experimented with a new snack product I’d been sent to trial called Barnana – dehydrated organic bananas with no nasties added.

Home-made sugar free ice cream (no machine needed)Flavourings

  • 3 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp chopped Barnana pieces (or cacao nibs)


  1. Blend the base ingredients plus the peanut butter and cocoa powder in a bowl to make a smoothie like mixture.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a large zip lock bag (use a BPA free product where possible).
  3. Flatten the mixture in the bag and remove any air before sealing the bag.
  4. Place the bag flat in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  5. Empty the mixture (now a semi firm ice sheet) into a bowl and blend again – you’ll achieve a texture that resembles very soft ice cream.
  6. Stir through the chia seeds and fruit pieces or cacao nibs.
  7. Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy right away for soft ice cream (like the photos you see here).
  8. Or (my preference) return the mixture to the freezer for another 3-4 hours for firm ice cream.

Home-made sugar free ice cream (no machine needed)

Home-made sugar free ice cream (no machine needed)Barnana is already available in the US and has just launched in Australia. The company mission is to reduce waste on organic banana farms by using bananas that are rejected for export because they’re considered imperfect. I love not only this admirable mission but also how the ingredients are illustrated on the packaging – see ‘so what’s in the bag?’. If other products were so transparent about what they contain we’d be able to make much more informed choices as consumers.

Home-made sugar free ice cream (no machine needed)I do hope this inspires you to try home made ice cream – and of course I’d love to hear any extra tips to make mine even better.

By Laura (Feast Wisely)

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8 thoughts on “Home-made ice cream (sugar free & machine free)

  1. The dried barnana pieces sound really interesting, I want to track some down! When I first saw your pictures I thought it was frozen banana coins but the dehydrated slices sound even more interesting! Love the look of your refined sugar free ice cream. I’ve got a (cheap but working!) churner so I do make ice cream without too much hassle but I love the fact that a snaplock bag works so well for those without one. I must try that technique! Awesome post Laur xx

  2. That looks glorious! What a neat trick, using that zip lock bag! I wouldn’t have thought to do hat. But I’m adding it to my list of neat tips and tricks.

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