Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


I’ve had an ice cream maker for a long time. Let’s see now. I believe I received it for Christmas during my second year of graduate school, so that would be 1998. Which means that it has been in my possession for almost 13 years. But I have only made really good use of the darn thing in the last 3 years. See, back in the day I was an avid reader of Bon Appetit magazine and was always coming across delicious-sounding ice cream recipes. I also attended grad school in Arizona, so I had romantic notions of whipping up delicious flavours of ice cream and serving them to my classmates to cool off whilst we discussed evolutionary theory and memorized all of the species in the Order Primates.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. What really happened was that I tried it out a few times and ended up with ho-hum ice cream that froze rock solid and had to be chipped away with an ice pick. I thought it was the fault of the ice-cream maker, so I packed it away and didn’t get it out for years and years. It managed to travel with me from apartment to apartment, and then finally across the country to Boston, where it remained in storage. It followed me out to the suburbs and finally made it’s comeback when my children saw ice cream being made on a cooking show and asked about it. I expected similar ho-hum results and that my kids would tire of it quickly, but was taken aback by surprisingly great ice cream. Turns out that you have to have a little patience to make great ice cream at home, something I’ve never had a lot of to begin with. You need patience to chill both your custard and your freezer canister really well. I am quite certain that I skimped on both of these things back in Arizona.

Once I finally had that little trick nailed, making this particular recipe was almost inevitable. You might go so far as to say it was pre-ordained. Because Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream has always been one of my favourites. It was my usual choice on trips to Baskin Robbins as a kid, once I tired of the novelty of that revoltingly pink bubble gum flavour. I loved the deep, dark, creamy chocolate with the chunks of frozen peanut butter. Baskin Robbins did it best, no question, and I spent years trying to find a decent equivalent in the absence of a local BR. Lots of storebought brands seemed promising but failed to deliver. Either they simply contained peanut butter cups and not chunks of peanut butter, or the base ice cream was not creamy or chocolatey enough.

Then one day my husband brought home some Turkey Hill Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. I eyed it skeptically for a few reasons. One, it called itself “Peanut Butter Cup”, therefore it must not contain real chunks of peanut butter, but instead little mini peanut butter cups. Two, the base ice cream was a pale chocolate, not the deep dark chocolate of Baskin Robbins. But then I took a spoon and dug in…and to my delight I discovered huge ribbons of frozen peanut butter in a chocolately base, and nary a peanut butter cup in sight. In fact, the ribbons of PB were so big that sometimes you got a bowl that was more peanut butter than ice cream, and those were the ones that I loved best. Turkey Hill quickly became my favourite brand of ice cream and this was my favourite flavour.

Now, of course, I can’t eat much of any commercial ice cream, so the time finally came to make my own version of this beloved treat. I took my usual low carb base ice cream recipe, a combo of heavy cream and almond milk, and added a quarter cup of cocoa to the mix. I then dabbed spoonfuls of peanut butter on a wax-paper lined plate and popped those in the freezer to harden up. When the chocolate ice cream was done churning, I took the chunks of peanut butter and tossed them in, as well as swirling a little more peanut butter into it. And then I packed it away in the freezer to firm up.

The Results: I would say that this is the best low carb ice cream I’ve made to date. The custard base was thicker and creamier than any I’ve made so far, and I think it must have something to do with the cocoa powder. The chunks of peanut butter were perfect, and I think freezing them and dropping them in after the ice cream has churned is the key. I wouldn’t even bother trying to swirl any PB in, either when it’s still churning or afterwards…that just gets lost in the shuffle. Next time I would simply do more PB chunks.

I would like to find a way to get the base even more chocolatey, like the dark chocolate of the Baskin Robbins version. This is something to shoot for and I will let you know if I am ever successful!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/4 cup cocoa powder (GF)
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp vodka (optional, helps with consistency during freezing)
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 drops stevia extract

Set a medium bowl in a large container of ice water. Whisk cream, almond milk, erythritol and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan until cocoa powder is mostly dissolved. Over medium heat, stir occasionally and heat until mixture is steaming but not simmering, or 170F on a candy thermometer.

Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl until smooth. Very slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream mixture to temper the yolks. Then slowly whisk tempered yolks back into cream mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until very hot, 175 – 180F.

Pour custard into bowl set in ice bath, and let cool 10 minutes. Remove and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours.

Meanwhile, dab small amounts of peanut butter on a waxed paper lined plate and freeze until custard is ready.

Stir in vodka, stevia and vanilla extract, then pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. When mixture reaches soft-serve consistency, transfer to an air-tight container and stir in frozen peanut butter chunks. Freeze until firm but not rock hard, 2 to 3 more hours.

Serves 8. Each serving has a total of 13.3 g of carbs and 1.5g of fiber, but only 7.3 g of carbs if you subtract erythritol. Total NET CARBS = 5.8g

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  1. Erin says

    Carolyn, What are you doing to me! This looks amazing, and everyones favorite flavor combo. You are tempting me to get out my ice cream maker again!

  2. Curt says

    I don't have an ice cream maker, but reading your article gave me the perfect solution to peanut butter ice cream my daughter showed me how to make a few years ago.

    I could never get the nice ribbons in there. The wax paper lined plate in the freezer will work perfectly!


  3. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    Is this youre retaliation for the PB party? If so, nicely done:-) Chocolate peanut butter ice cream would completely do me in!

  4. Catherine H. says

    Freeze the PB FIRST!!!! Brilliant! You are my hero. I LOVE PB & C. Have you ever tried Haagen Dasz's version? I can eat a whole pint in one sitting. This will be my next treat as a break from weight loss.

  5. The Slow Roasted Italian says

    Peanut butter Chocolate is my favorite ice cream ever!!! Can't wait to try the peanut butter chunks in my chocolate base. YUM!!!

  6. Lindsey says

    This sounds like heaven in a bowl! And it looks perfectly delightful!! I'm convinced that I need to start making my own ice cream. :)

  7. Cara says

    This looks delicious! I'm still trying to find my towards a low-carb, lower calorie ice cream that doesn't become a rock in the freezer – I've tried so many tricks and haven't found it yet, but I'm determined!

  8. Baking Serendipity says

    I didn't know you went to grad school in Arizona! I'm living in a suburb of Phoenix now and ice cream sounds so good to cool off :) I don't use my ice cream maker enough!

  9. Hester Casey @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says

    Pass the smelling salts, Carolyn – I think I might faint with delight. This ice cream looks amazing. Peanut butter is on my shopping list and my favourite yoghurt brand has just started producing gorgeous cream so will be making this very soon.

  10. sara826 says

    Well this post was just archived into the favorites! Chocolate peanut butter ice cream is my all-time favorite!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. Foodness Gracious says

    Wow, it really looks good with that perfect snowball consistency. You cant go wrong with two flavors like these, they will be forever married to one another..
    thanks for sharing..

  12. Eileen says

    My favorite flavor! It looks perfect. I just got an ice cream maker this year and haven't gotten around to experimenting with flavors yet. This is now on my must make list!

  13. Shumaila says

    How I wish I had an ice cream maker, so that I could whip that ice cream right now. I don't blame you though for not being as patient with your ice cream maker when you were back in Arizona, since presently I am living and facing the Arizona heat and its just not possible to keep your cool and be patient about things in the kitchen!
    Thanks for sharing and thanks for dropping by my blog. :)

  14. Parsley Sage says

    No one else can make low carb ice cream look so SEXY! Yummy to the 10th power. Great flavor combo…gonna have to see if we have Turkey Hill in Cayman :) Buzzed!

  15. Cassie @ Bake Your Day says

    I love your low carb ice creams and I'm pretty sure you can't go wrong with PB + Chocolate combo! Sounds heavenly!

  16. Sandra says

    This looks so good..better than store bought:) Great flavor, awesome combo..yummy all the way!!! Now i need an ice-cream maker too:/

  17. Wilde in the Kitchen says

    I have an ice cream maker that doesn't get nearly enough use too! I love your flavor here, love the chocolate and peanut butter!

  18. Peggy says

    Oh yum! It's been a while since I busted out my own ice cream maker – think I might have to do so soon though because this flavor is calling my name!

  19. The Harried Cook says

    A winning flavor combination… Who can resist chocolate & peanut butter :) Great recipe, Carolyn! Buzzed you :)

  20. Kari says

    I have to admit, I don't see myself having the patience for ice cream making :) Which is why I'm even more impressed with this recipe. It looks delicious.

  21. Roxana GreenGirl says

    i love peanut butter ice-cream. I've never tried Turkey Hill, to be honest the turkey in the name stopped me from buying it, but next time I crave ice-cream I'm going to give it a try or I might buy myself an ice-cream machine and make my own. hmmm, tough decision

  22. Gina says

    Glad you decided to dust that baby off. I love p.b. and chocolate. I bet if you were to melt the p.b. and stream it into the mixer in the last couple of minutes you would get a nice swirl. WIll have to try, can always use more ice cream.

  23. The Swedish Cook says

    really nice blog you have here! I will stay tuned.
    just one question about this post: with what can I substitute erythritol (and what is it by the way)?


  24. Caroline @ chocolate and carrots says

    You are incredible. It's like you read my mind. My all-time favorite ice cream is the Baskin-Robins Chocolate Peanut Butter. I just can't get enough of those strips of frozen peanut butter. Yum! This is amazing!

  25. Savorique says

    Just stumbled upon your blog because you talked about chocolate peanut butter and ice cream, a favorite combo of mine 😀
    The photos are very mouth watering!
    To make it more chocolatey, maybe try reducing a little the almond milk and cream and why not adding some chocolate chips?!
    @Barbara erythritol is a zero calorie sugar which can be replaced by more stevia, but beware of the aftertaste…

  26. Lizzy says

    Carolyn, that is one amazing looking bowl of ice cream! You've done it again…I'm yearning for your creamy treat just after breakfast :)

  27. Karen says

    Okay. Now you're just being mean!! Baskin Robbins doesn't open for a good 3 hours!
    Truly mouth-watering ice cream here. PB Chocolate is always my go-to flavor. Have never made it at home because I feared it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but clearly you have found a way. Fantastic!

  28. Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} says

    Carolyn Oh My!!! Golly this is just insane. I am full of envy that I am not eating it right now! Wow!

  29. Alida says

    Yum! I have only used my ice cream maker once, and it yielded disappointing results. Thank you for sharing your story – I am bookmarking this recipe to try making ice cream again. :)

  30. Island Vittles says

    I love this ice cream, and I haven't even tasted it…frozen chunks of peanut butter have me drooling! theresa

  31. Katie@Cozydelicious says

    This ice cream looks awesome! I really need to use my ice cream maker more often…. this recipe is a great excuse to break it out.

  32. Kate@Diethood says

    I’d be all over this!! It’s reasons like this that purchasing an ice cream maker was 100% worth it!! :)

  33. Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane says

    YES chocoalte peanut butter! My boyfriend hates but but i think it's the best thing ever! :)

  34. Catherine H. says

    I thought this ice cream was scrumptious. I did not find the base lacking in chocolate flavor at all (surprisingly chocolatey despite its paler color), although I never object to more chocolate! The only thing I will change in the future will be the peanut butter. I used all natural pb (the kind where the oil separates), which I now despise, and have discarded in favor of brands like Jiff Natural, which are mixed with palm oil–a fat that is actually healthy, and makes the pb deliciously smooth as a bonus. The only downside is that I've yet to find a palm oil pb that does not include some form of sugar. But for me, the tiny hike in carbs per serving is worth the incredible texture I get from the palm oil brands.

  35. Catherine H. says

    Just nota bene for anyone who's never made low carb ice cream and needs to be warned about what to expect: my ice cream came out somewhat icy (i.e., with ice crystals in it) and hardened like a rock, but these are universal features of low-carb ice cream and to be expected. The flavors were fantastic nevertheless.

  36. Carolyn says

    I just love getting all of your comments, Catherine, whether they are in favour of the recipe or not! You are so thoughtful with them. My IC didn't have ice crystals, but as you say, it does harden like a rock. But truth be told, every time I've made homemade IC, even with sugar, it does the same thing. I've made regular IC for my kids and I have to let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to be soft enough to scoop. If only I could figure out the trick to keeping it soft like the commercial brands!

  37. Michelle says

    Hubby and I made this yesterday. It was hard to WAIT but that was the hardest part of making it and it was so worth it. Very yummy!
    PS if you ever run out of ideas would you try low carbing a banana flip? ;0)

  38. Serena says

    So now that you’ve found the Hershey’s Extra Dark cocoa powder mentioned elsewhere, going to try to make this one extra dark like the Baskin Robins version? (Also, Haagen Dazs has created an amazing choco-pb icecream. Not low carb, but good for when you don’t have patience…

    • Carolyn says

      I usually use Skippy Natural. I wish I loved the totally natural peanut butters, but I don’t. But my local grocery store also has a good creamy all-natural one and if I can find it there, I buy it. Another reader suggested Marantha brand.


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