Healthy Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

You know how there are social media aficionados out there?  There are Facebook stalkers, there are Twitter addicts and there are Pinterest freaks…  and then there are food fiends (aka, me).  I don’t spend hours on social media sites, I spend my free time on websites like FoodGawker, TasteSpotting, Joy of Baking, etc.  Right now, I’m obsessed with finding cold recipes — ice creams, frozen yogurt, no-bake refrigerator pies, that kind of stuff.  It’s July, it’s freaking hot, I’m hungry.

When I made my other frozen yogurt recipes I compared my recipes’ nutrition labels with a similar Ben & Jerry’s flavor.  This led me to look through the entire Ben & Jerry’s website.

So, many, flavors!  I wanted to make a Healthy Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt kind of like the B&J version, except healthier…  no refined white sugar, no corn syrup, no heavy cream, no butter, etc.  I used organic Greek yogurt because it was on sale, surprisingly, but I think any Greek yogurt that doesn’t use hormones would be just fine (Fage, Chobani, etc).

This Healthy Homemade Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt is smooth, creamy, sweet and easy to make (if I can do it, you can do it).  I like the bit of tanginess from the Greek yogurt, it makes this dessert incredibly unique and totally craveable.  Perfect for the hot and humid weather these days  :)

Beat the heat with this guilt-free treat!

Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook – Jessica Stier of Desserts with Benefits


Find the recipe in the Naughty or Nice Cookbook!

With 70 secretly healthy dessert recipes, full-color pages and photos for every recipe, you’ll soon discover what heaven feels like.  See this page for more information on the book, including the Table of Contents, some sneak peaks, and sample images.

Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook – Jessica Stier of Desserts with Benefits

Get your copy from Amazon here!

37 comments on “Healthy Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  1. I WANT THIS!!!!

  2. What’s the purpose if the vodka? For flavor or consistency? I don’t have flavored vodka; will regular vodka work? Looks amazing!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Natalie- The vodka prevents the ice cream from freezing rock hard like a brick, because alcohol does not freeze. You can use regular vodka if you like. Hope you like the recipe!

  3. Loving this, it looks so creamy and soft! I love that the total carbs is 7gm, that makes it perfect.

  4. I would never guess by the picture that this is made with yogurt!! It looks too good to be true. Once again, stunning pictures!

  5. Have you seen the new Arctic Zone icecream alternative sold at Walmart? It’s only 150 calories a pint! I’m wondering if it’s actually a good alternative. It seems too good to be true. I tried the vanilla maple flavor and it’s super addictive!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Ashley- My parents have actually tried the vanilla maple Arctic Zero ice cream before too! It seems way to good to be true but from the ingredients it doesn’t look TOO bad… there is sugar but it’s a very small amount. Personally, I think it is a much better alternative to Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs :)

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  8. Is it ok to use a hand mixer for this receipe?


    • dessertswithbenefits

      I’m sure a hand mixer will work just fine! Just make sure to beat the mixture very well to incorporate air into the “batter” :)

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  11. I made this, but I’m not sure what I’m tasting. I’m confused. Its like a soda biscuit. I definitely only used the called for amount of baking soda.

  12. Okay maybe a dumb question, but does the vodka make this ice cream alcoholic? Also, if you’re using stevia, where does the sugar come from? This looks super delicious by the way!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      I know the vodka in the recipe seems like it would be really boozy, but the flavored vodkas are not as strong as regular vodka. No one really knew it was there. It just helps the texture of the fro yo because otherwise yogurt will just freeze into a brick.
      Although the recipe is sugar-free (no refined sugar or other sugars added), there is still natural sugar from the greek yogurt. On the nutrition label, 1 cup usually has 9g carbs and 5-9g of sugar, but this isn’t refined white sugar that you need to worry about :)

  13. The yogurt is listed twice- is it supposed to be just once, or do I use two quarts?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      I listed the yogurt twice because one tub I used was “nonfat,” and the other “lowfat.” In total, 2 quarts (or 64oz) of greek yogurt are used in the recipe. Feel free to use all lowfat but I wouldn’t use all nonfat… unless you add more vodka, which will help with the texture. Hope you like the recipe!

  14. Ah, thank you – I see that I didn’t read closely enough! If it’s as good as your lemon fro-yo recipe, I’m sure my guests this weekend will hardly believe how low the fat and sugar content are.

    The addition of alcohol to lower the freezing temperature seems obvious now, but I had never thought of it on my own.

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  18. Hi Jessica! I don’t drink, could I omit the vodka and put in some other liquid? Like almond milk?

    • Sahar-
      The vodka is just there to help with the texture… it keeps it soft and smooth since alcohol doesn’t freeze.
      You can definitely try replacing the vodka with almond milk, just note that the final product will freeze/harden faster. When this is completely frozen, you might need extra time thawing it :)
      Hope you like the fro yo!!

  19. This is perfect! I kept adding things to my recipes and couldn’t figure out how to keep it from freezing solid. I’m definitely trying this.

    • Elizabeth-
      Thanks so much! :)
      The starch and alcohol work wonders in ice cream. I’ve tried so many times to make ice cream without them and they always end up crystallizing or freezing into bricks :(
      I hope you like the recipe!!

  20. Hi, this looks really tasty! But can I sub in something or leave out the vodka? In case I want to serve this to children or mormons. I know it’s to keep the ice cream from freezing rock hard and not necessarily for flavor. Do you have any other tips for that or know how commercial ice cream has such a great texture? Thanks!

    • Alyssa-
      I totally understand the need to omit the vodka! You can replace the vodka with full-fat unsweetened coconut milk (the canned stuff, not the cartoned stuff) :)
      The ice cream will freeze pretty hard, but just thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. I find that thawing ice cream in the fridge is better than thawing it on the counter. Thawing on the counter only softens the edges of the ice cream and not the center.
      Also, store-bought ice creams have soft and creamy textures because they use so much sugar, corn syrup, egg yolks and additives. Excess sugar and corn syrup prevent the ice cream from crystallizing. While I don’t have any issue with organic/cage-free eggs, using egg yolks just requires cooking and I don’t think making ice cream should require us to stand over a hot stove. Especially in the summer 😉
      And the additives/preservatives are just synthetic chemicals that have been processed in a lab to make sure the ice cream doesn’t turn hard. Yuck!
      I hope this helps!

  21. Thank you so much for the recipe (I’m getting ready to try it). On September 24, 2013 you told Jase to increase the vodka if only fat free yogurt is used. By how much should the vodka be increased? Also, I found a”butter vanilla emulsion”. I cant find the plain “butter emulsion” in any store near my home (Long Island, NY). Can it be substituted & if so, do I still use the vanilla paste? Thank you.

    • hv-
      I haven’t tried using only fat-free yogurt, so I can’t be sure. However, I would try increasing it to 1/3 cup or maybe even 1/2 cup. If you try using 1/2 cup though, I would recommend using a flavored vodka rather than plain to offset the alcohol taste. I used whipped cream-flavored in this recipe, but since then I’ve become uncomfortable with how artificial that stuff is, so I try to use naturally flavored vodkas now.
      Also, the butter-vanilla emulsion smells almost exactly the same as the plain butter flavor, however, one of the ingredients is partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat), which is a very unhealthy (and dangerous) ingredient. I mean, if you already bought it then I guess you could use it, but I would recommend buying the plain version online from Amazon because it’s all-natural. I get mine from Amazon ( and I’m in NY too!
      If you end up using the butter-vanilla emulsion, you won’t need the vanilla paste, it just adds pretty black specks to the ice cream and some good flavor :)
      I hope you like the recipe!!

  22. Thank you! I’ll get the just butter emulsion as opposed the butter vanilla.

  23. In your vanilla frozen yogurt recipe, can I just leave out the stevia and the vodka or use much less?

    I don’t like a lot of stevia but is it necessary for the recipe? When making frozen yogurt, is sugar or stevia necessary in order to make it hold together or for some other reason? Are there any other ingredients necessary in order to make frozen yogurt?


    • Beatrice-
      I’m afraid you need the stevia and vodka in this recipe. The stevia sweetens the fro yo, and without it, it will taste like plain/somewhat bitter yogurt. The vodka helps with the fro yo’s texture, it’s not really there for flavor. Don’t worry, you can’t taste it! :)

  24. Just made this and it was amazing!

    Soooo good. I can’t taste the vodka–but I think I can taste the whipped cream flavor. It does add a tiny bit of sweetness. In a really really good way…

    I will still sometimes make frozen yogurt without any sweetener and it does work if you add enough fat & stabilizers. It can be pretty tart, but I kind of like it with lemon zest. That’s just me though!

    • Christina-
      YAY I’m so glad you made the recipe!! I’m glad you don’t taste the vodka, that would make for a strangely-flavored ice cream. I’m always surprised at how we can never taste it :)
      I have a few friends who aren’t huge on super sweet treats so I’ll definitely give the no-sweetener-ice-cream a shot soon!
      Thanks :)

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