Keto Rocky Road might be the most decadent ice cream you’ve ever tasted. It features a rich chocolate base with chopped pecans and homemade keto marshmallows. No one will ever guess it’s sugar-free!
Have I ever mentioned how much I love homemade keto ice cream? I am almost never without a batch in my freezer, even in the dead of winter.
And I love taking some of my old favorites and re-making them to be keto-friendly. I already have Keto Coffee Ice Cream, Jamoca Almond Fudge, and Chocolate Peanut Butter.
Now I am adding Rocky Road Ice Cream to that ketofied list and oh, boy, are you going to be happy I did. It is lick-the-bowl delicious!
You will love this ice cream recipe
I think this might be the some of the best ice cream I have ever made. It is so creamy and rich, it’s like spooning frozen chocolate pudding into your mouth.
And the crunch of the nuts, along with the soft sweetness of the marshmallows, makes it truly special. It makes me feel like I am a kid again, back in the Baskin Robbins near my house, licking a dripping ice cream cone.
I wanted an egg-free recipe, so I brought together ideas from both my keto vanilla ice cream and my death by chocolate ice cream. It was astonishingly rich and thick, so I had to thin it out quite a bit before I could even churn it.
Then I chopped up some of my sugar-free marshmallows, tossed in some chopped nuts, and enjoyed an amazing ice cream experience. You’ve got to give it a try!
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- Keto marshmallows: You need to make these in advance of the ice cream. While there are a few sugar-free marshmallow brands out there, I don’t recommend them as very keto-friendly. But it’s incredibly easy to make your own, I promise! And you can store them in the freezer or fridge for future recipes.
- Heavy whipping cream: Heavy cream and whipping cream are essentially the same for the purposes of keto ice cream. Whipping cream must have between 32% and 35% milk fat, and heavy cream must have at least 35% milk fat, but both work in this recipe.
- Powdered Swerve: Swerve Confectioners is a fine, powdery sweetener and it will blend in a little better. But the granular kind works as well.
- Allulose: Using at least some allulose, BochaSweet, or xylitol helps the ice cream stay soft and scoopable in the freezer.
- Xanthan gum: Xanthan gum is a common stabilizer in many keto ice cream brands, as it helps inhibit the formation of ice crystals, making the final product even creamier.
- Cocoa powder: I use Dutch process cocoa in most of my keto desserts, as I find it blends in much better and gives a richer chocolate flavor. If you use natural cocoa or cacao powder, make sure to really whisk it in well to break up the clumps.
- Unsweetened chocolate: Note that unsweetened chocolate and sugar-free chocolate are not the same thing. Sugar-free is sweetened with alternative sweeteners, whereas unsweetened chocolate has no sweeteners whatsoever. It has 100% cacao.
- Unsweetened nut milk: Cow’s milk contains 12g of carbs per cup, whereas most unsweetened nut milks contain 1 to 2g of carbs per cup. So I use almond or macadamia milk to thin and lighten the ice cream base without additional carbs. You can use hemp milk if you want to be nut-free.
- Vodka: This is another great trick for reducing iciness in keto ice cream, but it is completely optional if you don’t want to add it.
- Chopped nuts: Many recipes for rocky road call for chopped peanuts but I prefer toasted pecans in mine. You can use walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts as well.
- Pantry staples: Vanilla extract and salt.
If you don’t already have keto marshmallows ready to go, you want to make these first. They take a full day to set and dry out properly. But once you have them, you can refrigerate or freeze them for up to several months.
1. Simmer the cream and sweeteners: Combine the cream and both sweeteners together and whisk until the sweeteners dissolve. Then simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened and whisk in the xanthan gum. This creates a thicker base, similar to my keto condensed milk, but you don’t simmer it quite as long.
2. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate: Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes to melt, then whisk until the mixture is smooth and everything is well combined. Chill at least 2 hours before churning.
3. Whisk in some nut milk: The chilled mixture will be extremely thick, and almost like pudding, so you want to thin it out quite a bit before churning. Whisk in your preferred non-dairy milk, then whisk in the vodka, vanilla, and salt.
4. Churn the ice cream: Add the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Freeze until firm: Once the mixture is churned, transfer to an airtight container and stir in the chopped marshmallows and nuts. Freeze until firm, another 4 to 6 hours. If you use allulose in this recipe, it may take up to overnight to firm up properly.
Expert Tips and FAQ
Prep your ice cream maker: Don’t forget to freeze the canister if you own a model that requires this step. It often takes 12 hours for the canister to be ready for churning.
Dairy-free option: Use coconut cream in place of the heavy whipping cream. I do find that coconut milk ice cream tends to freeze a little harder than ones made with heavy cream. Make sure you add the xanthan gum and vodka to make it softer.
Store-bought marshmallows: I recommend homemade keto marshmallows, but you can also use Max Mallows if you prefer. They are made with xylitol so make sure you keep them away from your dogs, if you own them!
Rocky road consists of a chocolate ice cream base with chopped nuts and marshmallows. Many recipes call for peanuts or almonds, but you can use pecans or walnuts instead.
The sweeteners you use are crucial to keeping keto ice cream from freezing too hard. A combination of an erythritol based sweetener, such as Swerve, with allulose or BochaSweet works best. The addition of some xanthan gum and a little alcohol like vodka also help.
There are a number of good home ice cream machines on the market. It really comes down to how much space you have and how much you want to spend. A basic model such as the Cuisinart 2 Quart Ice Cream Maker works well for most people.
The bigger compressor model is more expensive and takes up more space, but it doesn’t require you to freeze the canister before churning. This means you can make ice cream without needing to plan ahead.
More recipes you with keto marshmallows
- I made Keto Rocky Road Fudge for a Christmas party. It disappeared so fast, even among the non-keto peeps!
- My family adores skillet cookies and so I created a Keto S’mores Skillet Cookie for us to share. It is off-the-charts good!
- These Keto Mississippi Mud Bars are a fan favorite. One reader says: “I wish I could give these Ten Stars!! They are that wonderful! They are so decadent and delicious!”
Keto Rocky Road Ice Cream Recipe
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 6 tablespoon powdered Swerve Sweetener
- 6 tablespoon allulose (or BochaSweet)
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or macadamia milk (use hemp milk for nut-free)
- 1 ½ tablespoon vodka (optional, helps reduce iciness)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped keto marshmallows
- ½ cup chopped, toasted pecans
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the whipping cream and sweeteners. Whisk to dissolve the sweeteners, and let the mixture cook until it becomes thicker and a little syrupy, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle the surface with xanthan gum. Whisk quickly to combine.
- Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and let sit until the chocolate melts. Whisk until smooth. Chill the mixture 2 hours.
- At this point, your mixture will be very thick. Whisk in the almond milk to thin it out, then whisk in the vodka, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Add the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's in instructions.
- Once churned, transfer to an airtight container and stir in the chopped marshmallows and pecans. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.