Summer is in full swing, and with all those backyard BBQs and beaches that can only mean one thing - it’s time to step up your BYOD (bring yo’ own dessert) game. We’re here to share some of our all-time fave low carb desserts, and to shed some light on alternative sweeteners hitting the shelves.
We’ll also be sharing delicious low carb dessert recipes that are suitable for people on a ketogenic or Paleo diet, those indulging on a low carb diet, or for anyone else who simply loves dessert!
If you’re new around here - welcome - we subscribe to the ketogenic gospel that a low carb or reduced sugar diet boasts a ton of health benefits and can aid in fat loss, reduce inflammation, lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Going low carb is a fantastic lifestyle change that you and your family can make to take charge of your health. So, if eating delicious foods and feeling fabulous is part of your summer goals, we can help.
And if you’ve been here a while, but you’re wondering how desserts or cookies, which are traditionally made with cups full of sugar and carb-filled grains, can be low carb or sugar-free, we have some great news for you. With some kitchen magic and a little TLC, it’s possible to whip up yummy treats that won’t spike your blood sugar levels or kick you out of ketosis. This is the metabolic process where your body seeks out fat for fuel instead of carbs to sustain itself.
Your body wants to be in a state of ketosis because this is the environment it thrives in. When in ketosis, your metabolism turns fat into ketones for energy. Unlike sugar, which provides a jolt of short-term energy, ketones offer sustainable energy with no sugar-crashes; think of it like rocket fuel! This means you can lead an active, healthy and action-packed summer while feeling your best - all while eating delicious and indulgent low carb desserts.
Ketosis is also unique because your brain is hungry for fats; not carbs. When you fuel up on fats your brain rewards you with improved cognitive skills; so wave goodbye to mommy brain! So not only are these low carb desserts delicious and sugar-free, but they can also help you feel like a genius!
The 411 on Low Carb Sweeteners
What we love about being in ketosis is how much energy it gives us, and with no sugar crashes to deal with throughout the day, you can really stand to get the most out of summer. Whether you plan to take up hiking or go kayaking, low carb desserts can double up as fat-bombs, which provide your body with the fuel for boundless energy. Plus, they taste amazing.
Best of all, more retailers than ever are stocking alternative sweeteners, which provide bakers with a sugar replacement, but without the nasty side-effects of sugar. These sweeteners support a low or no sugar diet thanks to their low GI-impact. Now, it’s easy to make low carb desserts at home with no fillers or hidden carbs. Going guilt-free has never been this easy or delicious.
Some alternative sweeteners we dig are:
- Erythritol: This is a sugar-free substitute that looks and tastes like sugar, yet has almost no calories (winning!)
- Monk Fruit: This sweetener is the only alternative that doesn’t invoke any metabolic GI reaction whatsoever; this is huge news for diabetics and people who are insulin resistant
- A blend of the two - this can give the best result as you get the sweetness of the erythritol without any aftertaste. Spoiler, it's also what we use in our Nui cookies.
You can buy these in powdered, granulated, and liquid versions. Most recipes will tell you what sweetener to use, but for most desserts, a powdered or granulated sweetener is ideal. You may find a liquid sweetener is too sweet. Plus, a powdered or granulated sweetener will respond, in many cases, as sugar would in a recipe. However, not all sweeteners have a 1:1 replacement ratio, and it may take you a few times to perfect an old family recipe.
But here’s the cool thing now you have this knowledge, you can turn almost any recipe into a low carb dessert by making simple substitutions to replace the sugar and carbs. For example, replacing sugar with stevia and white flour with almond or coconut flour will give you a similar foundation to bake your grandma’s favorite coconut cake.
Feeling inspired? Below are some DIY recipes you can whip up at home.
Low Carb Chai Tea Ice Pops
Looking for a sugar-free glo-up? These low carb chai tea pops are the perfect summer pick me up and have all the nostalgia of chasing the ice cream van as a child. Now, put a gourmet spin on things with this classic popsicle with peppercorn, vanilla, ginger, and cinnamon. Then, sit back and relax in a summer daze.
Serves 6-8 medium ice pops
Recipe: She Knows Food
- 2 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split down the middle
- 1 star anise
- 8 cardamom seeds, gently crushed
- 6 whole peppercorns
- Pinch ground cloves
- 2 bags of black tea
- 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup erythritol sweetener, such as Swerve or 1/4 teaspoon liquid stevia extract
- Combine water, cinnamon sticks, ginger, vanilla bean, anise, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let steep 5 to 10 minutes.
- Pour mixture through a strainer and let cool completely.
- Stir in cream and sweetener. Add additional sweetener to taste.
- Pour mixture into ice pop molds and freeze one hour.
- Insert wooden ice pop sticks about 2/3 down into the molds and continue to freeze until solid, another 2 or 3 hours.
Crustless Low Carb Cheesecake
Chilled cheesecake is the perfect sweet treat to stash in the refrigerator, but don’t expect it to stay there for long. This crustless cheesecake is low carb and 100% flavorful with a rich and creamy vanilla filling. You won’t miss the base, we promise, but if you do, you can always throw some snickerdoodle cinnamon Nui cookies in a blender with butter to consistency. Add in sweeteners to taste, and now you have two summer cheesecake recipes in one. Yum!
Serves 12 people
Recipe: Sugar Free Mom
- 24 ounces cream cheese 3 (8 oz.) packages, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla liquid stevia
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup Swerve confectioners sweetener
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients into a stand mixer or use an electric hand mixer until you have no clumps and a smooth texture.
- Grease an 8-inch springform pan and pour the batter into the pan. Even off the top then wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil.
- Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot water, until halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off oven, do not open oven door. Let the cheesecake stay in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven, remove aluminum foil and cover cheesecake with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Top with sugar-free whipped cream and sugar-free maple syrup if desired!
Low Carb Mason Jar Ice Cream
Mason jars? Check. Ice cream? Check. Long summer afternoon with the kids? Check. Ditch the sugar with this delicious - and super easy - ice cream recipe that kids will love to help mix. For adorable gifts, simply customize the jars with different flavors and labels for a fun way to keep the kids distracted - we mean nourished - throughout summer.
Yield: 2 cups - 4 servings
Recipe: Peace and Love and Low Carb
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granular erythritol
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sugar-free chocolate chips, optional
- Combine all ingredients in a wide mouth pint sized mason jar. Screw the lid on and shake vigorously for 5 minutes. The liquid inside should double in volume, filling the mason jar.
- Freeze for 3 hours up to 24 hours.
- Scoop and enjoy!
Low Carb Ice Cream Sandwiches
When it comes to summer, you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream sandwiches! This quintessential recipe is a hit with kids of every age and is the perfect low carb dessert because you can make it ahead of time. Simply whip these bad boys out of the freezer when guests arrive or you can indulge your sweet treat on a hot afternoon - your sugar-free secret's safe with us!
Yield: 1 serving (3 tablespoons of ice cream plus 2 Nui cookies)
Author: Maria Emmerich
(Please read our blog for even more low carb ice cream recipes)
- 1 batch Maria’s Keto vanilla bean ice cream
- 1 batch Maria’s Keto malted milk ice cream
- 1 batch Maria’s Keto choc ice cream
- 2 Keto Kookies per sandwich
1. Make the Keto ice cream first, according to Maria’s instructions in the link above for a creamy, low carb sandwich filler.
2. Smash 3 tablespoons of fresh churned Keto ice cream between 2 Nui cookies.
3. Place in the freezer at least 1 hour before guests arrive to set (longer if possible!)
4. Serve on decorated trays.
Keto Strawberry Thickshake
Strawberry is the undisputed champ when it comes to milkshakes - and none take the reign like a classic thick shake. More milkshake for your buck, and a classic summer flavor that never goes out of style. Sip on these when date night rolls around. As the saying goes, “Eat dessert first” - life is too short to play by all the rules.
- ¾ cup coconut milk (from the carton)
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 7 large ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons Sugar-free Strawberry Torani
- 1-2 tablespoons MCT oil
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- Add all ingredients to a blender: 3/4 cup Coconut Milk (from the carton), 1/4 cup Heavy Cream, 7 Ice Cubes, 2 tbsp. Sugar-free Strawberry Torani, 1-2 tbsp. MCT Oil, and 1/4 tsp. Xanthan Gum.
- Blend everything for 1-2 minutes or until the consistency looks right to you.
- Pour out and enjoy!
If s’mores don’t make you think of summertime, nothing will! Cozy up around the campfire with this nostalgic and utterly delicious low-carb dessert. Nothing goes with our ooey-chewy keto cookies quite like chocolate and marshmallow, but look closer at this recipe hack. You won’t find any sugar here! Just good times and camp songs.
Yields 10 keto s’mores
Author: Keto Connect
Keto marshmallow fluff:
- 1/2 cup Mascarpone Cheese
- 1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 30 drops Liquid Stevia
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Keto chocolate options:
- Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
- Coco Polo
- Lily's Chocolate Chips
- Nui cookies
- To make the marshmallow topping, combine the mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream in a bowl using a hand mixer until you get a whipped, creamy texture.
- Add the vanilla extract and liquid stevia and mix with hand mixer one last time.
- The topping is ready and can be stored in the fridge.
- Place 1-2 pieces of chocolate onto a Nui cookie. Top the chocolate with a dollop of marshmallow topping and place another Nui cookie on top of the marshmallow to make your low carb s’more.
- We like to use unsweetened bakers chocolate in our smores - two pieces yields 14 grams.
So there you have it, folks. These low carb desserts are giving us summertime vibes; how about you? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think about the recipes, or if you have a particular sweetener you love to bake with (ours is a tasty monk fruit and erythritol blend, taste it for yourself in our Nui cookies!).