Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Low Carb Chocolate Raspberry Gelato @dreamaboutfoodRich and chocolatey low carb gelato with raspberry liqueur and frozen raspberries.

What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?  Heretofore if asked this question, I would have said that gelato was made entirely from milk.  Except that it’s not.  Almost every gelato recipe I’ve come across includes cream.  And in many cases, it is as much cream as you usually see in ice cream recipes.  They also include egg yolks, just like a custard-based ice cream recipe would.  There are some minor differences in process, but not quite enough to warrant a whole new category of food.  So I am stumped.  What IS the difference between gelato and ice cream?  Is it just more fun to say “gelato”?  Or will people think you are a bit of a pretentious snob?  Do you have to actually be Italian to call your milk/cream/egg yolk combination gelato?  Do you have to say it with an Italian accent?  If my husband lived in Italy for a year, does that allow me to call it gelato by proxy?

Fresh raspberries

I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately and I actually got a little sick of it.  Shocker, I know, but my Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream recipe is very heavy on the cream and the last time I made it, I really didn’t want to eat any of it (my kids kindly gobbled it up for me).  It must be the approach of warm weather, but I found myself craving something lighter in consistency, and thought I would attempt gelato.  Chocolate Kahlua gelato.  Doesn’t that sound great?  Yeah, I thought so too.  But then I started researching gelato recipes and realized that there was very little difference between the two. And if I made Chocolate Kahlua gelato with almond milk, cream and egg yolks, I would essentially be making my Chocolate Kahlua Ice Cream recipe all over again.  Some minor differences, but not enough to call them two separate recipes.

Low Carb Dark Chocolate Gelato with Raspberries @dreamaboutfood

But I am very good at changing horses mid-stream when it comes to recipe creation.  Why not just swap out the homemade sugar-free Kahlua with homemade sugar-free raspberry liqueur?  And why not toss some frozen raspberries in while I’m at it?  Aha!  Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato.  A whole new recipe.  Now, this is something I can present to my readers.  So much for lighter consistency, though.  The custard base was as thick as pudding, and with all that chocolate in there, it’s seriously rich.  But, oh, it is so good!  The question is, do I call it gelato or ice cream?

Notes:  If you don’t happen to have any sugar-free raspberry liqueur on hand, you can add some raspberry-flavoured vodka.  Or you can skip it altogether, but it does help the consistency.  And you will want some raspberry extract to to really get that raspberry chocolate flavour.  For the additional raspberries, I suggest using frozen so they don’t get crushed when you stir them in.

Low Carb Chocolate Raspberry Gelato

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato

Yield: Serves 8.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato

Rich and chocolatey low carb gelato with raspberry liqueur and frozen raspberries. Gluten-free and sugar-free.


  • 1 3/4 cups almond milk
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol, divided
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free raspberry liqueur (or raspberry vodka)
  • 1 tsp raspberry extract
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries


  1. Set a large bowl in an ice water bath.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, combine almond milk, cream and about half of the granulated erythritol. Bring to just a bare simmer, stirring to dissolve erythritol.
  3. Add cocoa powder and chopped chocolate and let sit 2 minutes to melt chocolate. Whisk briskly to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with the remaining erythritol until thick and pale yellow. In a slow stream, add almond milk mixture, whisking continuously to combine.
  5. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and temperature reaches about 165F on an instant read thermometer.
  6. Pour mixture into bowl set into ice bath and let cool 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours.
  7. Remove from fridge and whisk mixture (it will be quite thick). Stir in liqueur/vodka and raspberry extract.
  8. Pour into canister of an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a container, stir in frozen berries and cover tightly with plastic wrap flush to the surface. Freeze until firm but not rock hard, about 2 more hours.
  9. Leftovers will freeze very hard. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften.


Serves 8. Each serving has 10.1 g of carbs and 4.4 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 5.7 g.


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  1. says

    Gorgeous recipe and photos, Carolyn! Love the name Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato and I think you should keep it as it sounds rather refined…like a real treat. But, LOL! I understand your wonderment over the differences surrounding ice cream and gelato. The Italian word comes from “frozen”. But, I was taught that gelato is made from a custard (always an egg custard, always heated) and there is less air in gelato over ice cream. More like a frozen custard. Also, Italian gelato typically has a more intense flavor over American ice cream as classic gelato is made with a flavor infusion (a good example is coffee or espresso gelato). Anyway, this is what was explained to me by an Italian family who made classic Italian gelato in their store based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hope this helps! xo

    • says

      Oh! Here’s something else I just learned. (I was curious.) Found this statement about gelato at WiseGeek.com: “It cannot be classified in the United States as an ice cream because it does not contain a minimum of 10% butterfat, which the US Food and Drug Administration requires of ice cream.” This, of course, is due to the fact that classic gelato is typically made without cream, but with milk instead. It is called “gelato” due to the FDA, not to be hoity-toity, LOL! So, there ya go! Something to share with your readers. :)

      • Carolyn says

        Yeah, except almost all the recipes I came across included cream!!! Especially Miss DeLaurentis, and isn’t she the American expert on all things Italian??? :)

        • says

          Hahaha! So true! That’s why I was careful and used the words “classic” and “typically”. You are so right…the lines are blurred. Blurred! It would seem as though Italian gelato has evolved and perhaps become more Americanized? The best part is that you are the recipe developer and have the right to title your own creation! I love it the way it is, Carolyn.

          It was interesting to learn that “ice cream” (as we know it today as a modern frozen dessert–ice cream or gelato) was invented by the Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1565 which predates the Quakers introducing ice cream to the U.S. The earliest reference to ice cream given by the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1744. That is a span of almost 200 years. (Can you tell I’m working on ice cream recipes and research right now? LOL!) :)

  2. Donna says

    Might have to break down and buy an ice cream maker for this one. Oh my goodness, it sounds yummy!

  3. Eric says

    Sounds wonderful, but I don’t happen to have any sugar free raspberry liqueur on hand (or raspberry vodka, for that matter, but the first sounds better). Do you have a recipe, or the tweaks for your coffee liqueur to make it raspberry?

    Incidentally, there is a commercially made coconut milk sugar free ice cream, and it, too, freezes rock hard. I find that if you put it in the fridge as you sit down to dinner, it will be soft enough to scoop by dessert time. Just remember to put it back in the freezer once it is served (which helps with portion control… no late night spontaneous “treats”, since it is rick hard!).

    • Carolyn says

      Hi Eric, I made my sugar-free version following THIS recipe from Good Cocktails http://www.goodcocktails.com/liqueur_recipes/raspberry_liqueur_recipe.php I just swapped the sugar for erythritol.

      You know, I’ve told my husband that from here on in, I am portioning out my homemade ice cream into small single-serve size tupperwares so I can just get out exactly one serving when I want one. We actually went and purchased a bunch of the right size and I am looking forward to trying it next time.

  4. says

    I think most of your ice cream recipes call for alcohol in some form. Can you suggest a substitution for the coffee and/or raspberry liquor?

    Otherwise, our raspberries are nearly ripe so … it won’t be long before I’ll attempt some form of this recipe. :-)

    • Carolyn says

      YOu can just skip it altogether. It freezes quite hard as it is so even if you skip the alcohol, you should be okay. Just make sure to add some raspberry extract.

  5. says

    I’ve been excited to check this out ever since I saw it on Facebook earlier! I really love this flavor combo and I wish we had chatted about ingredients at EWR. Your recipes are always so intriguing to me!

  6. Michele says

    Traditional “european” gelato is processed with very little overrun (whipped in air), which does not require a high fat content to produce a smooth and creamy result. In fact, it turns out better with a lower fat content (made with milk or water). However, for whatever reasons, american-style ice cream has a much higher overrun and therefore requires a LOT more fat while processing to produce a creamy result.

    When you think of the typical “home ice cream maker”, obviously it beats a lot of air into the cream as it freezes. Whereas specialized commercial “gelato machines” (mostly european) allow for very low overrun.

    Gelato also has a strong tradition of being made fresh every day, with the freshest of ingredients, without preservatives, additives, or false colorings. Also, the product itself is kept “softer” and not “deeply frozen” like ice cream, so the resulting product has a freezer-life of just a few days . Gelato bought in markets like Whole Foods (such as Talenti) requires cream as an ingredient (not to mention preservatives) because a) higher overrun and b) rely on deep freezers for storage.

    A very cool (and massive) convention is held every January in Italy called Sigep for the production of gelato (and other food specialities). I attended a few years ago. Check it out! http://en.sigep.it/

    • Carolyn says

      Thanks, all very interesting. I am limited to my little cuisinart ice cream maker so gelato and ice cream will essentially remain the same thing for me! :)

  7. Sara summers says

    It sound great!, except I’ve been trying to get all the fake sugar stuff out of my diet. So I guess I’ll try to make it with

  8. Pam says

    OH. MY. This was wonderful!!! I don’t have an ice cream maker (yet, but after tasting this, I have one on my wish list!!) , but it sounded so good I made it and just left it at the refrigerator stage. So very delicious!! I recently make your Brownie Cheesecake for a potluck with low carb and non-low carb eaters. Everyone raved about it. Thank you for your great recipes!!

  9. brett says

    Has anyone made this yet? Well, I just did and let me say, this is no ordinary gelato. It is unbelievable-to think there is no white sugar death in there! It is truly revolutionary and going to change a lot of lives. Those of you who live for chocolate, stop what you’re doing, and make this NOW. No kidding. I did not have the ras extract, but used Absolute Raspberry-about 3/4 oz. I used 3/4 c raw cacao, and Baker’s unsweetened chocolate. I used a little cream, whole milk and almond milk, but could’ve gone without milk probably. One thing different I did-carmelized 1/4c of the swerve first in a pan. Then added the milk mixture and brought to almost a simmer. It gave it an even richer flavor.

  10. says

    So glad I found your blog. This recipe looks fantastic. I have been low carb for a while…and after a diagnosis of adult-onset type 1 (LADA) diabetes, I’m even more committed. I’ve recently begun experimenting with ice creams (with a fair amount of success, actually) but this recipe is next on my list.

  11. Jo says

    If any kind of alcohol has been added to ice cream for the purposes of making it easier to scoop, rather than for flavouring purposes (e.g. vodka), is it still okay to serve it to children? Obviously a vodka ice cream would be out but otherwise?

    • Carolyn says

      I serve it to my kids but it’s a personal choice. Just understand that it adds up to less than 1 tsp of vodka per serving.


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