What a treat this homemade strawberry protein ice cream is on a hot summer’s night! What a treat this frozen high protein dessert is any time and any season, for that matter! If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to high-fat, high-sugar ice-cream, you’ve come to the right place. This recipe has almost no fat and no added sugar.
Want to know the best way to kick a sugar or junk food habit? Don’t try to give up cold turkey. Find something equally delicious, but more nutritious to put in it’s place. Replacement is easier than removal. If you like eating ice cream, don’t stop eating ice cream, start eating high protein strawberry ice cream.
Since I’ve built a whole collection of recipes like this one, (protein shakes, protein pudding, protein mug cakes, protein brownies, protein cookies, protein balls, protein bars, and now protein ice cream), I’m never tempted to eat high sugar, high fat, unhealthy junk. I don’t even think about it. I not only have a substitute for sweet snacks and desserts, I’m getting a full muscle-building serving of quality protein at the same time!
But does protein (powder) ice cream really have the taste and texture of real ice cream?
You can make this protein ice cream recipe and decide for yourself how close it tastes to real ice cream.
In my opinion, especially when you use the casein protein, indeed this is very close to real ice cream. Deliciously sweet, simply perhaps a little less rich due to the low fat content. Call it a “protein freeze” or “protein sorbet” if you prefer, but yes, it’s ice cold, it’s thick (it’s not a smoothie – it doesn’t even pour – you eat it with a spoon), and it tastes great even though it’s almost non-fat.
The best part is, this protein ice cream is ridiculously quick and easy to make and only requires three ingredients (four if you add some extra sweetener). This is all you need:
Strawberry protein ice cream ingredients
- Frozen strawberries (250g – about 10 -12)
- Casein protein powder, vanilla or strawberry (31g – about 1/3 cup)
- Skim milk (1/2 cup)
I haven’t tried it with almond milk, but I’m sure that would work fine.
Most protein powders are sweetened, and strawberries are a very sweet fruit, so this is tasty without any extra sweetener. However, if you add one or two packets of your favorite sweetener (Stevia, erythritol, Splenda, etc) it’s even better and tastes even more like real ice cream.
How to make protein ice cream thicker
Understanding that casein is a thicker protein powder, I first started making it exclusively with casein. Casein works great for making protein ice cream thicker. Casein is one of the milk proteins, the other one being whey, but casein is very different than whey.
Whey is a fast-digesting protein, while casein digests slowly. More importantly, when it comes to certain recipes, whey is thinner and more watery, while casein is very thick. That makes casein great for protein puddings, thick protein smoothies, and in this case protein ice cream.
However, later on, after having so many readers ask me if they could use whey, I tried it myself and yes indeed whey protein works. It’s just not quite as thick.
I know some people add Xanthan gum as a thickener. I occasionally use that in some of my other recipes. I didn’t find it was even necessary when using casein protein powder.
Is there vegan protein ice cream?
If you’re vegan and don’t use milk proteins, you may have to settle for a smoothie. However, you could experiment with plant-based protein powders and maybe larger fruit amounts and see if you end up with spoonable ice cream.
If you try a vegan protein powder that is not casein, please post in the comments and let me know. But I can only guarantee you’ll get ice-cream like consistency with the ingredients listed on this page, in the amounts indicated.
Do you need a blender to make protein ice cream?
Now, you might be thinking right away that this is made in a blender, and yes I have made this with a blender.
You’ll need to make sure you have the type of blender that can handle frozen fruit. (If your blender can handle ice cubes, it can surely handle frozen fruit). The word on the web is that if you put frozen fruit or ice cubes in certain blenders ( cheap, not so heavy duty), it can damage or crack the blades. Not to mention, it doesn’t break down the fruit completely and you’re left with chunks, and if it does blend, it takes forever. According to “blender experts” it’s best to put in the liquid first, then the powder, then the fruit on top.
(Do you have a blender that’s great for frozen fruit? If so, please share in the comments below which one you use).
My preference for making this strawberry protein ice cream is actually a hand mixer (immersion blender) with the steel blade attachment. The one I use is the Mueller Austria Ultra Stick (This is my Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3kC5pwJ). I prefer the hand mixer because I find they clean up a little faster and easier. Plus, if you use one little trick, the strawberry mashes up and mixes with the protein powder and milk almost instantly.
What I like to do is instead of using rock hard whole strawberries right from the freezer, I run them under cool or room temperature water briefly to just slightly thaw. They will still be hard and frozen (they need to be, if you want ice cream and not a smoothie), but they’ll blend so much quicker this way. I know some people put them in the microwave briefly, but the water method works best for me. Also, this makes it easier to take a knife and pluck out the leaves and stem on the strawberries. Then, I cut them in half, which also makes for quicker blending. Before I started doing this, whether I was using the hand mixer or blender, it took four or five minutes to fully blend. With this method, it takes under a minute.
What’s the best way to serve protein ice cream?
You can serve strawberry protein ice cream immediately after blending and it will have the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
If you let it sit for long a hot kitchen, it stays thick, but it is ice cream, so it will melt.
If you want it even colder with an even firmer ice-creamy texture, put it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before eating.
Nutrition information for this protein ice cream recipe
You won’t believe the awesome macros on this.
These ingredients make a very generous serving but it only has 210 calories.
You get 29 grams of protein, 20.7 grams of carbs and only 1.4 grams of fat.
It’s so light, you could easily scale the recipe by 25% or 50% and the calories would still be ridiculously low, and you’d never get that amount of protein in regular dessert foods. You’ll find however, that this regular serving size is quite filling. That’s largely because of the casein protein, which is thick and great for making you feel full.
Do you need strawberry protein powder?
I used vanilla casein and there is little to no vanilla taste – all you taste is the strawberries. But if you like, try strawberry casein for “double strawberry protein ice cream.”
I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m betting that bananas or a combination of strawberries and bananas would be great for a different flavor combination.
For years, I’ve heard people complain about how hard it is to eat enough protein each day. It’s not hard at all when you have a bunch of protein powder recipes. Considering how casein has a reputation as a “night time protein” and how there are studies showing that nighttime casein can support muscle growth, and how delicious and darn easy this is to make, this could easily become an every evening dessert staple.
Founder & CEO, Burn the Fat Inner Circle
Author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM)
Author of The BFFM Guide to Flexible Meal Planning For Fat Loss
PS. Okay, I tried protein ice cream with bananas alone. It was really good, but the strawberry is still my favorite. I’m going to try a mix of strawberries and bananas next time.
PPS. Be sure to check out the newest e-book From Tom Venuto: The Guide To Flexible Meal Planning For Fat Loss
Strawberry Casein Protein Ice Cream
- 250 g strawberries, frozen
- 33 g Casein protein powder, vanilla or strawberry (about 1/3 cup = average scoop)
- 1/2 cup Skim milk
- 1-2 packets Sweetener
- Freeze strawberries
- Run or immerse in water briefly to slightly unthaw
- Pluck out leaves and stem, and slice in half
- Add strawberries to mixing bowl with protein powder, skim milk and sweetener
- Blend with hand mixer until smooth
About Tom Venuto, The No-BS Fat Loss Coach
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilding and fat loss expert. He is also a recipe creator specializing in fat-burning, muscle-building cooking. Tom is a former competitive bodybuilder and today works as a full-time fitness coach, writer, blogger, and author. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoor enthusiast and backpacker. His book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is an international bestseller, first as an ebook and now as a hardcover and audiobook. The Body Fat Solution, Tom’s book about emotional eating and long-term weight maintenance, was an Oprah Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine pick. Tom is also the founder of Burn The Fat Inner Circle – a fitness support community with over 52,000 members worldwide since 2006. Click here for membership details
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