Real Life Paleo

The Healthiest Ice Cream EVER

I hesitate to call this The Healthiest Ice Cream Ever, because maybe someone’s going to make kale and bone marrow ice cream. But, as much as I’d give it a whirl, I doubt it’d please your palate – and your kids – the way this version does. Seriously, my kids refused to stop licking the spoon when we were making it. And then begged for it while we awaited the ice cream firming up.

Then I told them it was made with a vegetable and no sugar. And they shrugged their shoulders and put their faces back into the bowls. So, there you have it. Picky eater? This one is a must-try!

Further, the recipe was specifically designed to not include sweeteners. This means, this recipe will be slightly under-sweet if you’re not used to slightly sweetened foods. However, a drizzle of honey on top would fix that if you wanted to. I recommend trying it without – because, how awesome it is it to have a delicious dessert made with ONLY healthful ingredients?

Last but not least, the caveat to this recipe.

This recipe has been officially approved by Diane Sanfilipo, the creator of the 21 Day Sugar Detox. However, please note – IT SERVES 4. Not 1. People, we know we ended up on the detox for a reason. We love food. Specifically sweet, carb-rich deliciousness. Don’t blow your progress with this recipe! Share it with your kids or hide it under all your frozen organ meats – whatever you gotta do to not eat it all in one day, please.


Slightly Sweet & Salty Frozen Custard
also known as “Healthiest Ice Cream EVER”

The Healthiest Ice Cream EVER



  1. Roast your butternut squash, using the coconut oil and salt. Usually we use the Elana method; however, for this recipe - to increase the caramelization of the natural sugars of the squash - we recommend cubing your squash into 1" pieces, lathering it in coconut oil, tossing with salt and roasting it at high heat until soft, brown, bubbly and delicious.
  2. Scoop from inside skin if you didn't separate the flesh already. Then, let your roasted squash cool. Listen. Patience, young grasshopper. We actually let ours cool overnight - but it will be ready when the squash meat is cold. It will stick to your ice cream maker and ruin the whole batch if you try to put warm anything in there!
  3. Combine 2 packed cups of the now cold roasted squash (should have some moisture) and the remaining ingredients until smooth (we suggest a food processor to get it super smooth, but use whatever you have).
  4. Put the mixture in an ice cream maker and watch for it to stiffen - ours took about 7 minutes. Good thing Finn was watching over it the whole time to tell us when it stopped moving with the motor still running!
  5. Freeze ice cream to firm up, 3-5 hours is usually ideal. If it stays in longer, simply let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes prior to serving to "soften" it up.
  6. Top with Sweet & Salty Sugarless Snack Mix (below). This is really kind of a must - skip the almonds if you can't do nuts - but you have to have the salty crunch to fully appreciate the creamy ice cream.


If you do not have an ice cream maker, simply freeze the roasted squash pieces after they've cooled to room temp. After about 30-90 minutes (before they are fully frozen), pulse until smooth in a food processor for "soft serve" ice cream!



Sweet & Salty Sugarless Snack Mix
this recipe is inspired by one of our favorite recipes of all time, Caramelized Coconut Chips by The Clothes Make the Girl as featured in Well Fed

Sweet and Salty Sugarless Snack Mix



  1. Combine coconut chips and almonds in a pan (clean stainless steel preferred) over medium high heat, stirring often, until the fragrance of the nuts and coconut come out and a light brown color develops.
  2. Toss in a bowl with remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve on top of ice cream or snack on it obsessively. Store in an air tight container for a LONG time, although best served fresh.



So, healthiest ice cream? Let’s look at the nutritional profile. We’ve got good, healthy fat and protein of almonds; the medium chain fats and antimicrobial benefits of wonderful coconut; a vegetable rich in Vitamin A, B complexes (including Folate and Riboflavin) as well micro-nutrients including zinc, copper, iron, and potassium; and wonderful, spectacular egg yolks.

If you’re about to berate us about raw eggs, we address consumption of raw eggs in this Frozen Custard post, read on for more info – short story, use quality eggs.

This recipe could be made without the eggs or almonds to be autoimmune compliant. Yipee!

Might I suggest you use your egg whites on this other detox friendly recipe, Paleo Mocha Frappo. Yes, that’s right. We reinvented a Mocha Frappucino and it’s 21DSD compliant!


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  • I’m going to move in with you the next time I do a 21 DSD πŸ˜‰

    • You’re always welcome to come over! Especially Sundays at 1pm πŸ˜‰

  • That looks so yummy I definitely would love to make my own ice cream so I have to ask what kind of ice cream maker do you have there? I know you make a lot of ice cream so it seems reliable. I wanted one for Christmas but couldn’t decide so many had terrible reviews :(.

    Thank you for all that you and your family do! I have gotten so many ideas from this site and hopefully soon I will have your book :).

  • Lea @paleospirit

    The kale and bone marrow ice cream reference made me laugh out loud! What a genius recipe is. It will be tough to stick to the portion size! Yum.

  • Melanie

    Will it still work without the egg yolk? I know it won’t be custard… is there something it has to be substituted with?

    • Melanie, as I mentioned in the post, the recipe will work without eggs and almonds – just leave them out. It’ll be less creamy, but still good.

      • Melanie

        Sorry, I must have missed that when I read the post. Thanks!!

    • Moose

      Complete coincidence, I made this last night for a quick pudding after a dinner that included butternut squash (but without that topping, must make that!). No eggs. I never use eggs in anything, yes agreed, my ice cream is icier, but still uber delicious. Go for it!

      • Melanie

        Excellent! πŸ™‚

  • Alicia K

    You are my HERO’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And….perfect timing since I purchased an ice cream maker on sale over the holidays!

  • Made the snack mix while the squash is in the fridge…I thought to myself “I should double it in case its THAT good”….I was literally burning my fingers and tongue and I was eating it as soon as it came out of the pan. This may be my new “munchie” for night time! Thanks so much for your inspiration and wonderful recipes! What would be an appropriate serving size..say, a 1 gallon bag full?

  • Without an ice cream maker I cook up my cream and milk (and egg and vanilla) and then freeze it for about 3-4 hours and before it’s very solid, I take it out and put it through the blade processor (Thermomix). Then I can put it in the freezer without disturbing it further, other than to eat it :-). If I don’t put it through the processor, it will be icy rather than creamy. Using this same principle, can I blend this mixture, partly freeze, and then blend in the processor again for a creamy result?

    • Maybe? It does freeze quickly because it’s so thick.

  • Thanks for posting! And by the way your photos look really INCREDIBLE! Great job on that. The styling and tones are just gorgeous. Can’t wait to make this! See you in Austin!

  • Kimberly

    I also laughed at the kale and bone marrow ice cream reference…haha! This looks brilliant, going to go need to buy a squash!!

  • We’re on The GAPS Diet and my kids will ABSOLUTELY love this! Thank you!

  • Loretta E

    Oh, this would make my hubby very happy….

  • Morgan

    This was fabulous….awesome recipe that tastes incredible! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Jennifer

    I made this today . . . and WOW is it delish! Couldn’t get my hubby or 19-yr. old stepson to eat it, but my four year old loves it, so we get it all to OURSELVES!!!! MMMMM . . . . and the Sweet and Salty Snack Mix is perfect on top. Thanks Stacy & Matt!!!

  • Elizabeth

    You’ll love this, I had to come straight to the computer and tell you this! My kids are doing homework at the kitchen counter while I’m cooking. I told them I found an ice cream recipe that had butternut squash in it. They both started making gagging noises and faces. I then told them the recipe came from the people who came up with their favorite Chunky Monkey Muffins, and they immediately stopped and said, ‘Oh, alright, cool”!!! We’ll be trying this very soon, thanks for all that you do!

    • That’s adorably awesome, thanks for sharing!

  • Megan

    We tried this tonight and it was wonderful! The kiddos already love the dinosaur book, which automatically gives anything else you do instant street cred, so it was a big hit. The 18 month old stood watch over the ice cream maker cooing and oohing… and then it was delightfully all devoured. Thanks bunches!

  • I don’t know about that bone marrow and kale ice cream, but this on the other hand… I have a weakness for ice cream and it sounds like it would hit the spot.

  • Come on, say it with me, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Thank you for sharing this coconut-based ice cream recipe, Stacy. You know, I’m a very big fan of coconut fruit salad. I’m thinking of adding some fruits to this. Can you suggest which dried or fresh fruits will compliment the recipe?

    • Banana would be the only fruit I can think of, of course then it’s no longer detox-friendly.

  • Eliza Thornton

    Another great healthy “ice cream” is banana ice cream. You only need 2 ingedients. You can add in things if you’d like but you don’t have to. It’s not sugar detox approved though because it contains honey. Chop nd freeze a banana. Put the frozen pieces in a blender or food processor. Turn on until you get small pellets. Once the pellets form add honey(1-2Tbs) until it starts to get creamy. It’s really good. It serves 2. We’ve added peanut butter or chocolate chips before for a super special treat.

    • DJ

      If you want it sweeter, then just add some natural unsweetened applesauce. The Granny Smith kind will be the sweetest. Then add cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips and it is even more healthy πŸ™‚ Also, you can add nuts and dried fruit with no sugar added to them.

  • Melissa

    May give me a reason to try and find an ice cream maker at the thrift store….

  • kelleysgirl

    I just made this today for a birthday treat for my mom. She was so excited when I called her and told her I was bringing it over! I was surprised at how delicious the custard turned out! Thank you for sharing such an easy,tasty and good for you recipe!

  • Christy

    Any thoughts on whether you could use canned butternut squash?

  • Christine Cherpak

    Can you make the ice cream without eggs?

  • I’m sorry, I’m sure its in there and I’m just not seeing it. With the snack mix do you heat it on the stove?

  • cac

    I made a chocolate version by adding 1/3 cup cocoa powder, then added about 1/4 cup maple syrup and about 1/4 cup lowfat coconut milk to get the right consistency/sweetness. Not quite as healthy, but super delicious!

  • Ceri

    This sounds wonderful – and great that its detox friendly. I’m wondering if I can make it with carrots instead to be lower in starches. I find them wonferfully sweet whilst on a SIBO diet!

  • Betsy

    Do you think this could be made with sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash?

  • Sonja

    Can I make this without an ice-crema maker?

    • If you can’t churn ice cream to get the tiny crystals of ice cream, you’ll just end up with a block of ice. Sorry!

      • Shira

        Could you freeze the squash and then put in in the food processor to break it down to make an ice cream? Like you would do with frozen bananas?

        • Don’t know, worth a shot! If it works let us know πŸ™‚ Although squash is more dense than banana so don’t kill your processor’s motor!

    • Nancy

      You might be able to just turn this recipe into popsicles rather than ice cream.

  • jado

    I garden and freeze squash and pumpkin in vacuum seal bags in the fall – as well as keep some in cold storage. It’s springtime so I went to the freezer and only had the frozen pumpkin left in the freezer. I freese in 2 cups quantities, so …. PERFECT! I followed the recipe substituting the pumpkin for the squash and added a little nutmeg to the mix, just beecause it’s pumpkn. VOILA! It’s wonderful! I’m sure the baked squash makes the ice cream a lot sweeter, but this is great as well. Also, didn’t have to wait through the cooling of the squash, just thawed the pumpkin bag in hot water long enough so it was workable. Thanks for a fantastic recipe! My husband is T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D! Ice cream is his favorite food and the fact that it’s paleo/primal puts it back on his plate – or – in his bowl as is the case. πŸ™‚ Thanks! I’m also thinking that this year I will bake the squash following your directions and then freeze some special batches of it just for making the ice cream.

  • Wow. This looks -amazing- and we will definitely try it. We just posted about our Fig and Coconut paleo icecream, hope you like it!

  • Ashley Hedge

    There is a way to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. YouTube it.

  • Kristie Rue

    HI …. just started paleo- gaps in Australia. Is Butternut squash the same as Butternut pumpkin?

  • Kimberly

    This would be perfect to make today (80 degree weather) if I only had an ice cream maker! I’m a huge fan of coconut ice cream and would love to try other non-dairy versions. I must see about convincing the hubby to let me purchase an ice cream maker now…

    Just so you know, there’s a place here in Portland, OR that makes a Bone Marrow and Smoked Bing Cherry Ice Cream. Totally not Paleo/Primal compliant, but I hear it is AMAZING. They make small batches, use quality milk from Eugene, OR and keep the sweetness low so you can really taste the ingredients.

  • Mindy

    OK, I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and finally tried it tonight. I had to do a little improvising… I didn’t have squash but I had baked and cooled sweet potatoes. And I didn’t have sliced or slivered almonds for the topping (what self-respecting paleo doesn’t keep those in the house?!?! I’m disappointed in myself… but my paleo FAIL-eo actually resulted in something pretty cool), so I used pumpkin seeds instead. PEPITOS!!! It worked pretty darn well if I do say so myself! Loved this recipe and I got to enjoy it as my end of day treat on the 4th of July. Thanks!!!

  • lunablanca

    I can”t have egg yolk, what can I use as a substitution.

    • Elizabeth

      This is a huge reach because I’ve never tried it, but maybe some gelatin or chia seeds would work? I’m not sure if the chia seeds would work when cold….

  • Mae Lynn

    Do you think this would work with acorn squash and raw milk?

    • We’ve never made it that way, but it might work! That wouldn’t make it 21 Day Sugar Detox friendly anymore however, and if you only used milk, and not cream, there might not be enough fat in the mixture to make it creamy, and it might turn out ice-y. Let us know if you try it though!

  • Clare

    Can I ask a quick q- the T vanilla. Is that powder or extract. I look forward to making this

  • Alicia

    how do I make this ice cream, if I don`t have an ice cream maker??

    • We have heard from some that YouTube has the details, we have heard from others that you may be able to use a high speed blender and then freeze the concoction, but we only know of the ice cream maker producing ice cream like texture. Sorry!

  • Michele J

    Would it be possible to sub gelatin for eggs? I am AIP.

    • Yes, the gelatin should work as a sub, but we haven’t officially tested that sub. Please let us know how it turns out!

  • Sally Beadell

    Can I ask what are coconut chips and where do I get them from?

  • Farrell Dillon

    Can I use Frozen butternut squash?

    • Yes, adding frozen butternut squash will work just fine!

  • Andrew H

    Would this work with whole milk yogurt instead of coconut milk?

    • Probably, but it likely will need to be thinned out a bit with water or milk.

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